STUDENTS have voiced their disapproval of plans to merge their colleges according to a public consultation.

More students disagree to plans to merge City College Brighton and Hove and Northbrook College than support the move according to a survey of the college’s current intake.

Chief executive Nick Juba said there was “broad support” for the proposed merger set to go ahead in March but the consultation had highlighted concerns from a “serious minority”.

The merger has been tweaked in light of the results with the “well-regarded” Northbrook name set to be retained and the new institute to be called The Greater Brighton Metropolitan College after just 15 per cent supported the original proposal of The Metropolitan College.

The two colleges outlined plans in March to create a new college of 13,000 students and £40 million combined income in "a merger of equals" under a single board and executive team.

A month-long consultation with 200 responses gave “a clear majority” of 42 per cent expressing a supportive view.

The plans had the strong support of teaching and support staff, parents and unions but both students and residents had a greater proportion disagreeing.

Concerns raised include the potential for staff cuts as well as the loss of local provision and further travel for students though Mr Juba said the new college would retain its five primary campuses across Brighton, Shoreham and Worthing.

Worthing and Mid-Sussex students were also concerned about the potential loss of identity and reputation of courses such as prop-making and music production at Northbrook.

Consultees hoped the merger would expand adult and community learning, lead to more work experience for catering and hospitality students and see improved resources and facilities for current courses.

Mr Juba said the consultation showed broad support for the merger with "really significant" support from key stakeholders such as the LEP, councils and universities.

He said in “an ideal world” the consultation would have “everyone’s support” but not all consultees had all the information in part because of a six-month government delay in publishing a report into future further education provision in Sussex recommending a number of mergers.

The chief executive said many concerns would go away once more information around the merger became available.

Mr Juba added: “The name Northbrook College has very positive connotations and has real status and we don’t want to anything that will damage that.

“People are proud of Brighton, proud of Worthing and proud of Sussex and The Metropolitan College didn’t give people that identity which they wanted in that name.

“What we will be doing is amending our proposals to reflect that, we’ve heard that very clearly so the new college will be the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College and we will retain the name Northbrook in Worthing and Shoreham.”