By Laurice Laird and Tim Dickens
Lambeth College’s “dated and underused” Brixton Hill campus could be knocked down and redeveloped as housing, the institution has revealed.
The complete redevelopment of the prime site, with the college campus being relocated within Brixton, is one of two options being considered by principal Mark Silverman.
Another option for the centre, described by the college as “underused, in poor condition and expensive to maintain”, would be to develop part of the site as housing while rebuilding college facilities on the remaining land.
The college has said that it has 20% more space than it needs across its three sites in Vauxhall, Clapham and Brixton, but has committed to keeping a strong presence in the centre of Brixton. It hopes to appoint a development partner by September.
Mr Silverman said: “Against a backdrop of public spending reductions, the redevelopment of our Brixton campus offers us a great opportunity to generate the necessary resources to maintain our presence in Brixton and secure the long-term future of Lambeth College as a whole.
“With the proceeds of the sale, we can build a new, fit-for-purpose facility in Brixton as well as invest further in the delivery of first-class education, learning and skills for local people across the Borough.
“This approach will meet the needs of the community, improve the quality of our offer and secure the long-term sustainability of the college.”
While he said that no provision will be lost by the development, some courses currently taught at Brixton will be moved elsewhere in the borough.
The new Brixton facility will focus on teaching employability courses, as well as maths and English as a second language.
The news comes at a time of huge physical change for central Brixton. With ambitious redevelopment plans scheduled for the Town Hall, Somerleyton Road and around the temporary ice rink on Popes Road.
Courses at the campus will continue until 2014, with any disruption after that “kept to a minimum”. A spokesman added: “A couple of years ago there were plans to develop a new college on that site. The college did a complete review of teaching and purpose in line with funding cuts. What came out of that is that the Brixton centre is underused by 20%. It’s not a sudden decision; it’s been very clearly planned out.”
Lambeth College is reeling from a cut in government funding of about £3.5million and in May announced planned redundancies of “30 to 40” staff members.