Narrative

Rolle Site

REL is a Community Benefit Society, owned and led by local people. REL was established in 2010 by community members in response to the economic and social impact of the closure of the Rolle College Campus.

  • It was formed in 2010 to secure ownership of, and breathe life into, a purpose-built campus that was closed by Plymouth University in 2008.
  • Between 2008 and early 2014 Plymouth University made three open market attempts to secure sale of the site.
  • In early 2012 Plymouth University proposed to transfer to REL about 4 acres of the site, with the buildings thereon, for £3m, payable within three years.
  • In May 2012, 748 shareholders invested over £115,000 in a community share offer.
  • Surveys undertaken in June 2012 identified that the main buildings, with the exception of the Owen, could no longer be returned to use without extensive refurbishment. This required a fundamental re-think of our approach to re-opening the site.
  • In December 2012 East Devon, Devon County and Exmouth Town Councils invested in the development of ‘The Case to Invest’, which demonstrated economic and social justification for development of the Rolle site for community, enterprise and educational purposes.
  • In May 2014 REL and Plymouth University jointly commissioned Stride Treglown to develop a joint mixed-use master plan for the site. The proposals developed need to meet two key criteria:
    • to meet the identifiable and viable needs of the Exmouth and East Devon communities for education/vocational training, business incubation/support and community facilities.
    • to create the optimal value for Plymouth University, taking into account the need to secure community commitment and the approval of the planning authority.
  • REL has a board of five volunteer Directors from the Exmouth and east Devon community.
  • REL’s current Chairman (Deborah Hallett) was appointed in September 2014 and Mike Green was commissioned as full-time project support.
  • In November 2014 REL secured funding (£99,000) from the Social Investment Business Group to conduct site feasibility and planning activity.
  • In January 2015, following a review of the draft master plan proposals, Plymouth University proposed an offer to REL, this offer was revised in July 2015.