Page last updated at 16:22 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 17:22 UK

Arts college merger is confirmed

Save Dartington College Campaigners protest in Totnes
Campaigners have been trying to halt the merger for more than a year

A Devon college has formally merged with a campus in Cornwall after more than a year of controversy.

Students from the internationally renowned Dartington College of Arts will continue studying on the Devon site until 2010.

The college, which will join with University College Falmouth, said it had to merge or face closure.

Last month campaigners trying to save the Devon college withdrew their High Court bid for a judicial review.

The college was founded in the 1960s and has taught some big names in the arts, including Benjamin Britten, Ravi Shankar and John Cage.

The tooth fairy hasn't come up with the funding we'd need to stay here
Prof Andrew Brewerton, Dartington principal

It is one of the smallest of its kind in the UK, with 680 students.

College principal, Professor Andrew Brewerton, has described the emotions of the move to Cornwall as akin to grief.

"Shock, disbelief, anger, denial, blame - we've been through every state of that cycle through to acceptance," he told BBC News.

"But the alternative would have been closure because the tooth fairy hasn't come up with the funding we'd need to stay here."

Students and local residents said the college had influenced the character of nearby Totnes, and campaigners had argued the move could not only have a disastrous economic impact on the town, but would also destroy the college ethos and rip the heart out of the community.

'Sheer vandalism'

A spokesman from Save Dartington College Campaign said the move to Falmouth would destroy the "symbiotic relationship" between the student body and the town.

"It's a bit like taking away a limb," Simon Cassell said.

Dartington dance student Jessie Percival said she had reluctantly accepted the move.

"It is sad because I do think Dartington is site specific and it should stay here," she said.

"But it has to change, so I hope it can take the ethos over to Falmouth."

Campaigners have described the merger as "sheer vandalism of a national treasure", but the college governors are adamant Dartington's legacy will live on.


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