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Merrist Wood College and University Centre granted planning permission for campus redevelopment

The multi-million-pound redevelopment of Merrist Wood College and University Centre has moved a step closer after Activate Learning received planning permission this week to commence the work.

This approval marks the initial phase of what is anticipated to be one of the largest investment projects in Activate Learning’s history, with the project aimed at transforming and modernising the college’s aging facilities.

The project will see state of the art teaching and learning facilities developed on the Surrey-based campus, one of eight that makes up the wider Activate Learning group.

Aligned with Activate Learning’s commitment to providing industry-standard facilities that reflect the dynamic and evolving educational needs of our community, these new facilities will benefit the hundreds of learners that come through the campus every year. The redevelopment will include upgrades to existing buildings, new state-of-the-art learning spaces, and improved resources for both students and staff.

This exciting development is contingent upon the final approval of funding from the Department for Education, as part of its ongoing initiative to upgrade educational facilities across the country.

Merrist Wood College and University Centre was identified as a potential beneficiary in the latest phase of this transformative funding effort, with the funding announced in April 2021.

Gary Headland DL, Chief Executive of Activate Learning, expressed his enthusiasm about the project.

He said: “This is a significant milestone for Merrist Wood College and University Centre which we are proud to have as part of Activate Learning.

“As one of Surrey’s anchor institutions, we are striving to make a major contribution to the productivity of Surrey by significantly increasing the range of high-quality, highly relevant programmes we offer in the county.

“Each of three college campuses in Surrey – Merrist Wood College and University Centre, Guildford College, and Farnham College – are adapting and investing to ensure that we serve our local communities as best we possibly can.

“While funding isn’t yet in place, this is a really positive step in the right direction, we now await formal approval from the Department for Education for this incredibly important project for Surrey.”

The redevelopment will not only strengthen the college’s ability to provide top-quality education but will also ensure that facilities can meet the future needs of all learners, particularly in the development of land-based skills.

Jo Manser, Group Director of Merrist Wood College and University Centre and Activate Learning’s Landbased faculty, also welcomed this latest development.

She said: “This will be the biggest investment for Merrist Wood in its 81-years as a Landbased college.

“Now, more than ever, it is critically important to preserve land-based education within our communities and we want to see Landbased education flourish in Surrey.

“The development will consist of two new buildings that will provide new state of the art facilities for arboriculture, countryside management, horticulture and landscaping, equine, and animal management.

“This investment will secure a sustainable future for Merrist Wood for generations to come.”

To find out more about the wide range of programmes offered at Merrist Wood College and University Centre, go to www.merristwood.activatelearning.ac.uk.