£160m university to open in region?
FURTHER plans to deliver a state-of-the-art £160million university to Suffolk have been unveiled.Ipswich Borough Council has outlined its role in the ambitious project, which would include the creation of an Education Quarter in the town.
FURTHER plans to deliver a state-of-the-art £160million university to Suffolk have been unveiled.
Ipswich Borough Council has outlined its role in the ambitious project, which would include the creation of an Education Quarter in the town.
Land covering more than 12 hectares, including the current Suffolk College site, has been earmarked for a “critical mass” of further education and higher education provision in the county.
The proposed site would include soon-to-be redundant Suffolk County Council buildings and land bought by Ipswich Borough Council on the town's waterfront.
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Essex and East Anglia Universities are at the forefront of talks on the project, which could provide the equivalent of 7,400 full-time higher education places in the long-term.
The university, which has been costed at £160m, could open its doors in four years.
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Ipswich Borough Council's executive committee will be asked to support the project on Tuesday, including recommending making land available to boost development.
Sue Arnold, its head of strategic planning, said: “The most exciting thing about the current move towards a new university, which has been talked of many times, is that this is the first time every organisation which would have a role to play in its delivery wants it to happen.
“It is a fantastic moment which we must capitalise on for the sake of higher education in Suffolk.”
She added it was important to make the best use of the council's land when planning for the university.
“We do not have a big war chest labelled 'money for higher education', but we have to think about how we can use what we have got. It's really important we deliver this,” said Mrs Arnold.
She added the college and the new university could be accommodated on land already owned by Suffolk College.
That includes the main college site, which covers almost seven hectares, and an area measuring half a hectare on the waterfront, between Coprolite Street and the Bellway flat development on Neptune Quay.
The site could be supplemented by a two-hectare site on Orwell Quay, which Ipswich Borough Council has an option to buy from Associated British Ports as part of a land swap agreement.
On top of that, Suffolk County Council could add its three-hectare site on Rope Walk and St Helen's Street once it has moved across Ipswich to Endeavour House near Ipswich Town's Portman Road ground.
The additional land could provide facilities and accommodation to support the new university. Buildings could be shared between the new facility and Suffolk College, while courses are set to be linked.
There are also set to be satellite centres linked to the university throughout the county.
Peter Gardiner, leader of the borough council, said last night: “We need to help this project get off the ground and show our support.
“We are saying, in principle, we will make land under our ownership available to help the project.
“It is vitally important for the local economy and it's not just about Ipswich - we are looking to provide a facility the county can be proud of.”