A LEYLAND College's award-winning restaurant which has nurtured the culinary talents of Michelin star chefs is set to shut.

Bosses at Runshaw College say years of cutbacks to budgets are to blame for closing the Foxholes Restaurant.

The facility has been open for more than 30 years and has trained the likes of double Michelin star chef Mark Birchall, and Chris Kenny who is the head chef at Richard Branson’s Necker Island.

A Runshaw College spokesman said: “We would like to thank our customers for the magnificent loyalty and support that they have shown to our multi-award winning training restaurant Foxholes during the last 31 years, and we also want to thank our students and staff for their exceptional skill and dedication, helping Foxholes to be consistently rated as the number one restaurant in Leyland.

“However, the costs of running a college training restaurant are extremely high, so it is with enormous sadness that we will be closing Foxholes due to nine consecutive years of government cuts to FE funding in England.

“We will of course continue to campaign for fairer funding for the FE sector and members of the public can express their support for this campaign by Tweeting, using the #LoveOurColleges hashtag.

“Whilst we and our customers will greatly miss our fabulous training restaurant, we are pleased to announce that we will be continuing to offer a full-time Level 2 chef training course to students aged 16-19 at our Runshaw Chef School and we will also be continuing to train apprentice chefs at a wide range of restaurants, hotels and other organisations in our local community.”

Kim Snape, South Ribble parliamentary candidate, whose sister Lucy attended Foxholes said: “It’s really sad news to hear that Foxholes Restaurant is having to close.

“I know how closely Foxholes is regarded in the heart of many residents locally both in Leyland and the wider area. On a personal level it gave my sister the fantastic opportunity do her catering and hospitality training. This decision exposes the crisis that the Tory government have created in further education funding. We are now seeing the consequences. I will do all that I can to support Runshaw College in lobbying the government for the increased funding they need and deserve.”