Steve Morgan’s Redrow Homes has the first option to buy a Wolverhampton college horticultural centre which closed despite a campaign to save it.
The firm’s managing director for the Midlands, Matthew Pratt, confirmed the company has the first option to purchase the former Cedars site, on Compton Road West.
The centre is next to Compton Park, where Redrow is leading a £50million redevelopment which includes a new school for St Edmund’s Catholic Academy, an expansion of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ training ground and the creation of 55 new executive homes.
Mr Pratt says Redrow, which is run by the Wolves owner, will talk to Wolverhampton City Council to see if the site, which ran horticulture and floristry courses, can be developed.
He added: “We have agreed to work with the college in this matter. If the council agrees that the land can be developed we will submit an application to build a small number of new homes.
“If approved we would then buy the site from the college and the money from the sale would be used to enhance its educational provision for the people of Wolverhampton. It is very early days and very much in the hands of the college and the local authority.”
College bosses say they conducted a ‘rigorous’ curriculum review before they decided to close the site. They say their decision was down to it losing money and the lack of demand from students.
Before its closure at the end of the past academic year, the centre was used by around 350 students. A campaign was launched to save it which saw 1,000 people sign a petition.
David Rose, director of finance and estates at the City of Wolverhampton College, said any proceeds from the sale of the now redundant site would be ploughed back into other training courses and enhanced IT facilities.
Mr Rose added: “A rigorous review of our entire curriculum found that there wasn’t enough demand for the courses offered at the Cedars Horticultural Unit.
“The campus was losing money so we decided to stop the courses from there, which means the site is now vacant.
“Selling the site will enable us to enhance our provision in other areas and by working with leading local employers we would be able to offer industry standard training to help the people of the city obtain skilled and managerial jobs. We also plan to improve our IT facilities to provide an excellent learning environment.”
Earlier this year it was revealed that Wolverhampton City Council plans to sell the 19th century Compton Grange, which is also yards away from the former horticultural centre. Adult education services held at Compton Grange are being relocated to other facilities.