Best chance in generation for university
IPSWICH is facing it's best chance in a generation of turning itself into an university town, the project's manager said today. Plans to build a university campus in the county are gaining pace and could pump tens of millions of pound into the region's economy.
IPSWICH is facing it's best chance in a generation of turning itself into an university town, the project's manager said today.
Plans to build a university campus in the county are gaining pace and could pump tens of millions of pound into the region's economy.
Carol Macaskill, project manager for University Campus in Suffolk, said: "We think this is the best time. It is much more likely now we have got the right parties around the table.
"There has been discussion about a university in Suffolk for many years and this project has been active for the last 18 months.
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"In the last three to four months activity has stepped up. This is the best chance we have had in a long time for the plans to proceed."
As part of the research into the impact a university campus would have on the town Mrs Macaskill and other partners in the project are visiting Lincoln on Friday .
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She said: "Lincoln is not identical to Ipswich but there are similarities. It is in a rural county, the university there is ten years old, it has a waterfront site.
"We want to find out about the impact on the economic and cultural life of the town.
"If you look at other university towns the university brings in £50 to £70 million of additional income. The cultural life of Ipswich would benefit as well."
Mrs Macaskill explained the latest developments in the proposals.
"University Campus in Suffolk is a partnership between the University of Essex, University of East Anglia and Suffolk College.
"Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, East of England Development Agency and the Suffolk Development Agency are also contributing.
"At the moment we are completing a business plan for phase one of the scheme which we will submit in December."
The business plan will be taken to funding organisations, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Learning and Skills Council.
Mrs Macaskill said she could not disclose the amount the project was hoping for but said it would be a 'substantial sum'.
She said: "Ipswich Borough Council have already pledged land on a site at Ipswich Waterfront. We are still putting it all together at this stage. We will have the details in two to three week's time. We are hopeful that a substantial sum will become available."
New teaching accommodation, new Suffolk College buildings and possibly a graduate school are among the facilities planned for phase one of the scheme.
Mrs Macaskill said: "We are not starting from scratch. We are building on the reputations of Essex and the UEA, it is not a new university in Suffolk it is an Ipswich campus for Suffolk.
"It is very important for the town and the county. It is an exciting time. This is the final piece in the jigsaw of Suffolk as a developing place."