The reluctance of young people to walk an extra TEN minutes to Central Beds College’s base outside Leighton town centre prompted the decision to pull all the courses there.
The revelation comes after the college, which currently has a base at Grovebury Road, expressed an interest in using the empty Riverside Centre on Bridge Street for its art department.
Ali Hadawi, principal of Central Beds College, spoke at Leighton-Linslade Town Council’s leisure and community committee and it was revealed that feedback from young people indicated a reticence to attend courses at the Grovebury Road because of the perception that the venue was outside the immediate town centre.
Mr Hadawi confirmed the college felt it was important for people in the town to develop their business skills ‘especially given the significant growth expected in the population of Leighton-Linslade’.
Councillors expressed their disappointment that courses were no longer being run at Grovebury Road.
The council suggested a stakeholder group should be formed, including representatives of the college, town council, Central Beds Council and the local business community in order to develop a business plan for the Riverside Centre.
It was also mentioned that other options for a venue should be explored, including the possibility of providing training within local employer’s own premises.
But various discussions have taken place across town council committees where members raised concerns over the viability of the Riverside Centre building.
Budget implications for costs involved in developing the building to an approved standard were also deliberated, as were risks involved for the town council if they became responsible for the building.
A spokesman for the college said: “The college is looking at different options in Leighton Buzzard. One is Riverside Centre for the art department. We will comment further when we have something concrete to announce.”