AN ILKESTON college has revealed plans to move to the centre of town and build a supermarket and homes on its current site.
Derby College announced this week it aims to sell off the Field Road campus and move students to one of three locations in the centre of Ilkeston, where it can provide ‘21st century learning facilities’.
The move could spell good news for town centre traders with a planned 1,000 students at the new college base within walking distance of shops.
But it is feared another large supermarket on the edge of town could also pull shoppers away.
Principal and chief executive David Croll explained that the Field Road campus is ‘not fit for purpose’ and has been looking to find a new site since it merged with South East Derbyshire College in 2010.
“We have of course considered the option of refurbishing the site at Field Road but have decided that, in the interests of our staff, students and for Ilkeston as a whole, the college needs to be in the heart of the town,” he said.
“This will not only benefit local businesses through the spending power of more than 1,000 staff and students but will also hopefully kick start the regeneration of the rest of the town centre with investment in a key site as has happened at our other sites in Derby.”
The Advertiser revealed last month that one of the sites the college is considering is the former Ilkeston Magistrates Court in New Lawn Road.
The college will not reveal where the other two sites are or whether a specific supermarket has expressed an interest in the site.
“The construction and then operation of the supermarket will create much needed jobs in the town and we plan to work closely with the company when it is finalised to ensure that local people have the training and skills required to keep those jobs in this area,” added Mr Croll.
The homes are planned to be a mix of private and social housing.
Residents and businesses will be asked what they think of rough plans for the site, currently being drawn up, in early March.
If it gets planning permission from Erewash Borough Council, the college plans to relocate in September 2013.
Leader of the council Cllr Chris Corbett said they would have to look closely at any plans for a new supermarket in the town.
But he added: “The thought that we might have 1,000 pupils and a number of teachers relocating into the centre of Ilkeston, that can only be good for trade.”