David Ford said: “I am grateful to the Director and his team for the time they took to explain their proposals for the future of Northern Regional College. The college provides excellent services for young people and adults in the north-eastern area, but suffers from significant funding pressures compared to other colleges across Northern Ireland.
“It is of course disappointing that the college proposes to close the Antrim campus in a year’s time. The old Antrim Tech in Railway Street and the current premises in Fountain Street have served the people of Antrim and the district well for many years.
“Unfortunately, however, the current building is not fit for purpose as it would require very large investment to meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act. It is also significantly under-used and many students from Antrim already travel to Ballymena, Newtownabbey or Magherafelt to attend specific courses.
“While I would wish to see the Antrim building retained, this does not seem to be realistic. What is more important is to see that the current range of part-time courses is delivered by the college in partnership with local schools and community groups. This is the key to making the best possible use of existing resources.
“I trust that the North Eastern Education Board, as well as other bodies like the council, can work together with the college to meet the needs of the people of Antrim and district.”