A pioneering new skills centre that would offer training to hundreds of students a year now looks unlikely after the Government pulled out of funding.

Hounslow Council granted planning permission to West Thames College in May for the £20m Feltham Skills Centre - but plans remained uncertain because of concerns about the recession.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) - the Government funding body for higher education - has now said it will not back the project, which would have replaced the dilapidated former People’s Centre in the High Street.

The new centre was seen as vital for filling a skills gap in an area which has a high rate of unemployment, but campaigners were worried about the proposed six-storey building being located within a conservation area, and the danger of hundreds of students spilling out on to a busy junction during rush hour.

Marjorie Semple, principal of West Thames College, said she was "very disappointed" the LSC had not included the skills centre as one of 13 college capital building projects for funding.

She said: "West Thames College will now actively pursue alternative plans to secure the long term future of this vital centre which provides such an important training provision to the community in the west of the borough.

"I would like to reassure staff, students and prospective students that the future of the skills centre is secure and will continue as normal at its current location in Boundaries Road until at least 2011."

  • What do you think? Tell us using the comment box below.