University will bring economic boom
PROJECT leaders have revealed the full extent of the economic boom set for Suffolk with the creation of a new university campus.The education establishment, based in Ipswich but with centres in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds, is expected to be worth up to £50million a year to the county.
PROJECT leaders have revealed the full extent of the economic boom set for Suffolk with the creation of a new university campus.
The education establishment, based in Ipswich but with centres in Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds, is expected to be worth up to £50million a year to the county.
As well as bringing in new investment, the project's backers hope it will spawn a host of new research-led companies, while serving businesses already in the area.
Property experts have also welcomed the expected boost to Ipswich's housing market.
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Richard Lister, director of operations for University Campus Suffolk, said: “Potentially, this development has the capability to change Suffolk economically in a way that no other initiative has in recent decades.
“We hope the existence of the university will enable a cluster of small businesses to come into the area, for example the creative and new technology industries.
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“We hope as a university to support them by building a relationship in their specific subject fields. If we can do that we'll probably be able to breathe some life in the rural area of the economy.
“We hope the existence of a university will support a high-wage industry in parts of the county where there has been a drive towards low-wage labour.”
The £150m project, a partnership led by the universities of East Anglia and Essex, is expected to open its doors to students in September 2007.
Jeremy Pembroke, leader of Suffolk County Council, believes increasing the number of graduates working in the county can only be a good thing.
He said: “At the moment too many of our young people leave to continue their studies elsewhere and don't return, so we miss out on the economic benefits of their skills and knowledge.
“It's time we reversed this brain drain, which is why Suffolk County Council is such as enthusiastic supporter of University Campus Suffolk.”
He backed plans to introduce specialist courses to meet the needs of local firms and establish link-ups with companies such as BT at Adastral Park, Martlesham Heath, and the Offshore Renewables Centre in Lowestoft.
James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council, who has been working on the project, pointed to the benefits set for Suffolk's county town.
He said: “There's no doubt that having a university in the centre of Ipswich, as part of the education quarter, will have a very significant positive impact on the town.
“It will certainly encourage economic development and offer an opportunity for people in the area to go to a quality university.”
Guy Jenkinson, partner of Bidwells Property Consultants, who is based in Brightwell Court, Martlesham Heath, said the university will boost the town's housing market.
He said: “It will be yet another catalyst for the dock development and another factor that helps maintain a buoyant market in the dock area.
“Whether that means it increases property values is arguable but what it might is absorb a number of new homes planned in the next few years.”
Colin Girling, of the Suffolk branch of the National Association of Estate Agents, added: “I would have thought the demand for the smaller houses within a close radius of the university will grow, particularly in the buy-to-let market.
“People will be looking to invest in the area and there could be a benefit for people living there.”
The university development will be built on what has been dubbed Ipswich's education quarter, stretching from Rope Walk to the waterfront. Lowestoft and West Suffolk colleges are also set to be developed as part of the scheme.