Sell-off leaves NEC homeless

22nd July 2011 at 01:00

In her letter ("NEC's future not in doubt", 8 July) Yvonne Smithers of the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) says the decision to sell the land which houses the National Extension College (NEC) was "in line with plans developed by NEC trustees".

Not so. As an NEC trustee I chaired its property committee from 2004 to 2010 and worked with its architects and surveyors on developing plans for the site. We received consistent advice that selling the whole of the site would not be in the best interest of the college. Our plans, which were halted by the 2008 financial crisis, were for a development on part of the site that would yield an income, but also allow the NEC to remain on its own freehold site. But my understanding is that LSN has now put the whole of the site on the market. If the sale goes through, it will leave the NEC without its existing freehold site.

To reassure those of us still concerned about the NEC's future, will Ms Smithers confirm that LSN has a contingency plan that will allow NEC to remain on a freehold site in Cambridge?

Dr Hilary Perraton, Former NEC trustee.

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