University a step closer after talks

TALKS have been held over land deals on the Ipswich Waterfront area that will help secure the future of a university in Suffolk.A meeting was held behind closed doors on Tuesday night to move the multi-million pound project forward, and borough council chief executive James Hehir said: "Things are moving very fast.

TALKS have been held over land deals on the Ipswich Waterfront area that will help secure the future of a university in Suffolk.

A meeting was held behind closed doors on Tuesday night to move the multi-million pound project forward, and borough council chief executive James Hehir said: "Things are moving very fast."

"We want to see a new Suffolk College, a new university and new student accommodation all in the centre of Ipswich on the waterfront area," he said.

"We have agreed some private land discussions that helps towards that. Everyone is unanimously behind the whole thing.


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"Everyone is working hard together to make this happen. The borough council endorses the university for Suffolk. We were talking about how we can bring forward the campus on the waterfront area."

The university is planned for six town centre sites, including the waterfront and land currently occupied by Suffolk College which will be relocated to buildings being vacated by the county council.

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The project is being backed by the University of Essex in Colchester and Norwich-based University of East Anglia.

A decision on the financing of the scheme is due to be announced from the Higher Education Funding Council for England in July.

The first phases of the development are expected to cost £120million, while establishing the college on a new site will cost £45million.

Work on relocating the college could begin next year if planning approval and land deals are finalised.

Tuesday's meeting was held at the borough council's offices and excluded members of the press and public.

Peter Gardiner, borough council leader, said: "There was a positive decision taken by the borough council to continue to move forward with the university."

Ipswich MP Chris Mole has already written to the Government urging support for the project, which would help fulfil ministers' plans for an increase in student places throughout the UK.

Mr Mole has called a meeting at the end of this month for key players including the vice-chancellors of Essex University and UEA and representatives of the Higher Education Funding Council and Learning and Skills Council.

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