University bid nears climax

ANTICIPATION is building today among education bosses and town chiefs, as a decision is imminent on whether or not a university comes to the county. There is now just over a week to go before the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) board members hold a two day meeting with University Campus Suffolk (UCS) one of the items on the agenda.

ANTICIPATION is building today among education bosses and town chiefs, as a decision is imminent on whether or not a university comes to the county.

There is now just over a week to go before the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) board members hold a two day meeting with University Campus Suffolk (UCS) one of the items on the agenda.

The meeting on February 24 follows a bid made in December by the UCS project team for £15 million of funding. The money will kick start plans to build a university campus in the town.

An announcement by HEFCE is due to be made on February 25.

James Hehir, chief executive at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "I have lived and breathed this project for the last 15 years. It is a very exciting time. All of us involved are positive that it will be a good outcome.

"I look forward to UCS coming to Ipswich and the changes that it will bring to the town, UCS will transform Ipswich for evermore."

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A partnership lead by the University of East Anglia and University of Essex and including Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk College, UCS is expected to use land next to Suffolk College and a plot set aside at Ipswich Waterfront making up a new Ipswich 'education quarter'.

Mr Hehir said signs had been put up on a site at the waterfront set aside for the campus.

He said: "We are trying to tell people what is going on. Ipswich is the fastest growing urban centre in the East of England. The signs are on land set aside for the new UCS."

Mr Hehir said the proposed development of the waterfront will include a multi-storey car park and student accommodation.

Carol Macaskill, project manager for University Campus Suffolk, said she was excited as the deadline drew closer.

She said: "The HEFCE decision is an important signal that will endorse our decision that a university campus is key to Suffolk.

"The decision will hopefully show that HEFCE has full confidence in University Campus Suffolk as a serious higher education project."

What do you think? What benefits will UCS bring to the town? Do you want Ipswich to become a university town? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

n Weblink www.hefce.ac.uk

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