Support growing for university bid

SUPPORT continues to grow across the county for Suffolk's long-awaited university.Following the announcement earlier this year that the £150million University Campus Suffolk project had received £15m backing from the Higher Education Funding Council, plus a further £10m from Ipswich Borough Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council is planning to throw its weight behind the scheme.

SUPPORT continues to grow across the county for Suffolk's long-awaited university.

Following the announcement earlier this year that the £150million University Campus Suffolk project had received £15m backing from the Higher Education Funding Council, plus a further £10m from Ipswich Borough Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council is planning to throw its weight behind the scheme.

The council is waiting to hear whether it has been successful in its bid for cash to open a western annexe of the university in Bury St Edmunds and is preparing to allocate land to house the facility.

Council leader John Griffiths said: "This is a very exciting project and we have been working very closely with other partners including West Suffolk College to try and ensure this becomes a reality.


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"The provision of a university in the county is a great idea and establishing provision for higher education in the west of the county is an integral part of that.

"Hopefully this will bring in undergraduates and post-graduates to the town and provide a boost for the local and regional economies and the social wellbeing of the town."

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The council's bid for £2million of funding from the East of England Development Agency to develop land at West Suffolk College has progressed to the final stages, and a decision is expected by the end of the month.

At a meeting next Wednesdaycouncillors are being asked to delegate powers to the council chief executive and Mr Griffiths to negotiate engineering contracts and land ownership issues, and appoint consultants to oversee the project.

The Higher Education Funding Council has pledged an initial £15 million for the new university, which it is expected will represent a total of £150 million inward investment to the county over the next 10 years.

West Suffolk College principal Dr Ann Williams pledged her support for the scheme and said the college has particular strengths to bring to the project.

The university, based principally at the waterfront in Ipswich, is expected to accept students as early as 2007, with the initial phase of development completed by 2009.

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