It is the normal practice when a government department proposed to make a gift of a value exceeding £300,000, for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.
Given wider exceptional circumstances, the Department for Education intends to purchase the Kensington Centre (Wornington Road, London) and provide a 125-year lease to a Further Education institute formed by merger between Kensington and Chelsea College (KCC) and Morley College (but with the Secretary of State for Housing Communities, and Local Government to be the named freeholder/lessor in each instance). The purchase price of £10,000,000 is below market value and KCC will additionally contribute £6,000,000 towards the cost of the acquisition of the site.
The lease of the site is valued at £1,100,000 per annum and will be subject to a peppercorn lease of only £1 per year. The peppercorn lease will contain a break clause after 25 years. The lease therefore represents a gift to the merged college worth £18,764,000 which is discounted at a rate of 3.5%. The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle.
This investment represents a unique and pivotal opportunity to rebuild trust and contribute towards the education and skills components of the Grenfell Recovery Strategy. KCC’s only campus in North Kensington is on Wornington Road, close to Grenfell Tower. The college has an important role in providing Londoners, and in particular the North Kensington Community, with the skills for the future.
Within this unique context, through strong partnership working, Government, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and KCC, will achieve good value for money in securing and refurbishing the Wornington Road site. This will help create a sustainable college to maintain and grow a wide-ranging further education offer, benefiting the local community and honouring the Government’s commitment to the Grenfell community.