MIKE Amesbury is calling for the principal of Northwich’s college to resign after it emerged the Hartford campus is lined up for 108 new houses.

As revealed by the Guardian this morning, Warrington and Vale Royal College is working with Lane End Developments on plans to knock down the site for housing.

Members of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Hartford Parish Council and Northwich Town Council attended a meeting on Monday where they were told about the plans.

Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, is now calling on principal Nichola Newton to step down after claiming that her college has ‘taken a wrecking ball to further education in Northwich’.

He said: “I met with the principal very early into my role as an MP where I pledged to do all I could to help promote the college campus but that offer of help was never taken up.

“Despite assurances that plans were in place to do everything possible to bring in new students, I personally never saw any evidence to convince me that enough was being done.

“In my personal opinion, they are acting more like property developers than educators, they’ve taken a wrecking ball to further education in my constituency, and as principal and chief executive, Nichola Newton should resign.”

Mr Amesbury also raised concerns that money invested by Cheshire West and Chester Council into a sports hall and theatre at the campus may be wasted.

He said: “This is council tax payers’ money.

“It’s scandalous that this money was invested in good faith to further the educational life chances of our young people and now it all faces being torn down. It’s deeply cynical and frankly outrageous.”

In a letter sent to Hartford residents, Warrington-based Lane End Developments has invited residents to a public consultation meeting.

It said: “We are writing to invite you to a forthcoming public consultation event in your community.

“This event relates to proposals to build up to 108 homes on the site of Mid Cheshire College on Chester Road, Hartford.

“Following the public consultation event, the development team will review the feedback received prior to the submission of a planning application to Cheshire West and Chester Council.”

The event will take place next Thursday from 4pm to 7pm at Winnington Park Rugby Club.

CWAC members Cllr Patricia Parkes, Conservative, and Cllr Sam Naylor, Labour, have already expressed concerns about the proposals.

Mr Amesbury now wants the college to ‘do the right thing’ and provide courses in Northwich.

He added: “As a show of good faith that would be the very least they could do. First and foremost in anybody’s mind should be the education of our young people.

“On top of everything, the last thing the area needs is further housing development with infrastructure there already under pressure.

“Myself and local councillors have been fighting this from day one and will continue to fight for young people’s educations in Northwich.”

In a statement released today, November 21, Warrington and Vale Royal College said the Hartford campus was ‘seriously under-utilised and financially unviable’.

Mervyn Ward, chairman of the corporation, added: “Significant work has been undertaken to market the curriculum, however, the college’s income has continued to reduce due to a historical decline in student numbers.”