SOUTH Essex College is celebrating 1,500 applications to study at its new Thurrock campus –months before it even opens.

The £45m project at the end of Grays high street is nearing completion ready for its opening in September and, with three months left for people to apply, has already seen 1,500 school leavers and adults put their names forward.

Michael Bennett, the college’s head of marketing, said this was a 500-person increase on the same time last year and did not include current students continuing their studies next year.

He said: “We’re located just 150 metres from Grays train station, which has really opened up our catchment area and made it much easier for students to get public transport directly to us, which is why we’ve seen a greater interest from as far afield as east London.

“It’s practically like the college having its own train station, which is great for the college, and will be great for Grays high street as well.”

The current Thurrock campus on Woodview hosts its final open evening on May 22 between 5pm and 8pm.