THE PORTFOLIO Holder for Education, Diana Hale shocked her opposition colleagues by describing the Thurrock Learning Campus as “two portakabins stuck on top of each other.”
The comments came in a heated exchange at the childrens services committee. The question of the cuts to the Thurrock Adult Community College came up for discussion.
Cllr Hale told the meeting that as she was a former Principal of the college, any cuts to jobs or resources were difficult to handle.
Shadow Portfolio Holder, cllr Sue MacPherson discussed the continued use of the Richmond Road site.
She said: “Sometimes old buildings bring back bad memories for people considering going back into education.
“I am impressed with the new Thurrock Learning Campus and believe there must be a way for resources to be pooled”.
It was at this point that cllr Hale, a board member for the college, made her comments regarding the Argent Street site which clearly angered many of the committee members there.
After the meeting, cllr MacPherson said: “I don’t think cllr Hale’s comments were helpful. We need to use all the resources we can an din many ways think outside the box.
“Perhaps she feels closely associated with the Adult Community College and so any discussion on cuts cut deep.”
A spokesperson for South Essex College said:
John Hayles, Deputy Principal, South Essex College of Further & Higher Education said:
“Thurrock Learning Campus is a £4.4million partnership project led by South Essex College. It was set up in response to a strong need by local businesses and people for the latest facilities, equipment and courses that will help support the growth in key sectors and job opportunities in Thurrock.
“For example, our specialist IT training centre is unique in the area, as will our specialist retail and logistics training – all essential for business growth. Being next door to Grays Train station and close to bus stops, it is set in an ideal location for young people and adults and the overwhelming response to the project has been very positive. The Campus is a two phase project and we are currently planning Phase Two which will be a permanent College building on the campus.”