AN ADULT educational college will close after racking up a £1.6m debt.
Liverpool Council spent £284,000 subsidising Burton Manor, in Neston, last year, even though only 158 adult students from the city were taught at the college, which offers residential courses.
It will close at the end of March after the council told governors it was cutting its budget by 25% in 2011 and a further 25% the year after.
Town hall officials will now write to Education Secretary Michael Gove to ask permission for the grandiose Grade II-listed building to be sold.
Cllr Nick Small, head of the college’s governors, said the decision became inevitable.
He added: “The Government settlement means the council has got no choice. It has to focus on frontline services and unfortunately Burton Manor is not one of them.
“The college has racked up a huge deficit and it is just not sustainable.”
Manor opened in 1948 and offers courses ranging from photography to literature, music and dance, during evenings and on residential weekends.
Its establishment involved a number of public authorities, including Birkenhead, Wallasey, Bootle, Cheshire, Lancashire, the University of Liverpool and Liverpool Council.
But the city council is the only one which continued to support it by agreeing to underwrite its deficit.
It became less popular recently because it only offers basic accommodation, compared with more luxurious venues available elsewhere.
The total number of people who took courses at Burton Manor was 2,190, of which only 7% were from Liverpool.
In recent years, it developed a base for cottage industries in collaboration with the University of Chester, and won a Lottery grant to revamp its historic greenhouses.