A CRISIS hit college is set to be taken over by two councils and another education provider.

The government says East Sussex College Group and both Lewes and Eastbourne councils are ‘preferred partners’ to takeover the University Technology College in Newhaven.

Funding for the UTC was being stopped after a shocking Ofsted report with a view to closure by August.

Dan Shelley, executive director of strategic partnerships and engagement, East Sussex College Group, said: “This is just one small step in a longer process, yet I am absolutely delighted that the government has chosen to work with ourselves and our partners at Lewes and Eastbourne councils.

“Together with East Sussex County Council, Newhaven Enterprise Zone and other local stakeholder groups, we will work tirelessly to make the site and the training fit for purpose.

“There is still a long way to go with negotiations with the Department of Education, but I am very hopeful we can achieve the various agreements needed and ensure UTC becomes the heartbeat of quality learning for young people and adults that it was always intended to be.

“I would also like to thank Maria Caulfield MP for her steadfast support and determination to create a new beginning for UTC.”

Maria Caulfield said: “I am delighted that the government have chosen East Sussex College Group and Lewes and Eastbourne Councils as their preferred partner to take over the UTC in August 2019.

“This is excellent news for Newhaven and young people in the town who will be looking to go to college.

“Whilst there is still more work to do, this is a very encouraging step closer to ensuring college provision in Newhaven and goes hand in hand with my work to regenerate Newhaven into a more vibrant and thriving community.”

Councillor Andy Smith, leader of Lewes District Council, said:

“This is astoundingly good news for Newhaven and for families across the wider district.

“The council is driving forward with numerous commercial developments and initiatives in Newhaven and learning and skills are fundamental to this broad strategic plan.

“East Sussex College Group is a much valued partner of the council and I look forward to continuing our work with them and other local organisations that share our ambitions for Newhaven.”

East Sussex College Group was previously known as Sussex Downs College.

UTC was slammed by Ofsted.