Suffolk Tories plan children's varsity

AN INNOVATIVE children's university to encourage access to sport, leisure, arts, science and technology will be established in Suffolk if the Conservatives win control of the county council next month.

By Graham Dines

AN INNOVATIVE children's university to encourage access to sport, leisure, arts, science and technology will be established in Suffolk if the Conservatives win control of the county council next month.

The pledge is contained in the party's manifesto for the elections, which take place on May 5.

The university, based on a model already up and running in other counties including Kent, would have the aim of encouraging children to enjoy learning and to make it a lifelong pursuit.


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Jeremy Pembroke, leader of the minority Tory group which hopes to regain control of the authority from Labour and the Liberal Democrats after 12 years in opposition, says: "Children's universities have been very successful elsewhere in the country in providing opportunities for children to learn outside the normal school environment.

"The university can be instrumental in raising children's self-esteem and self-confidence. Evidence from those already in operation suggests that taking part can lead to better behaviour and improved attendance and achievement at school."

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Other manifesto commitments include a community warden scheme, mandatory 20mph speed limits outside schools, respite care for older people, increasing investment in repairing Suffolk's roads and pavements, and working with district councils to release land to provide affordable homes.

The Tories have pledged to co-operate with St Edmundsbury council to provide a railway halt at Moreton Hall and a park-and-ride site for Bury St Edmunds close to the A14 and will work with Ipswich Borough Council to improve access to the port.

Mr Pembroke says a Tory-run county council would bid for Government funding to provide a by-pass for Marlesford, Farnham, Little Glemham and Stratford St Andrew on the A12, and relief roads for Great Barton on the A143 and Bungay on the A144.

All recruitment will cease if the Conservatives win control of the authority pending an audit of the authority to see if new and replacement appointments are necessary.

The council would work with the seven district authorities in Suffolk to reduce overheads by employing joint staff to undertake work throughout the county, such as legal services, to remove duplication of posts.

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