University boost

SUFFOLK'S university bid has received a £13million boost today after officials agreed to invest millions of pounds into the project.Suffolk County Council has agreed to provide funding to buy land for an Ipswich campus and for learning centres across the county.

SUFFOLK'S university bid has received a £13million boost today after officials agreed to invest millions of pounds into the project.

Suffolk County Council has agreed to provide funding to buy land for an Ipswich campus and for learning centres across the county.

Bryony Rudkin, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: "This is the opportunity we have been waiting for – to develop a higher education base that will serve the whole of Suffolk for generations to come.

"This substantial contribution from the county council will help to make sure we have local learning centres and a central campus to make the university accessible to as many people as possible."

The Ipswich campus is proposed on Suffolk College site and will expand to Neptune Quay.

Peter Monk, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, added: "A university campus and learning centres across the county will have many benefits for Suffolk residents, and we are committed to working with our partners to see this succeed. We need to reverse the brain drain of talented people leaving our county and make sure we can capture the economic benefits for everyone of a university."

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The county council has already contributed £50,000 to prepare the business case for funding to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFC).

With funding from the university's steering group and the HEFC the initial development budget has been £545,000.

The detailed business case is being produced by a project planning group, along with project manager Carol Macaskill, and will be presented to the funding body HEFCE in December.

A decision on funding is likely to be reached in January 2005.

A number of consultation events have already been held with businesses and education experts to consider the subjects that will be offered by the university as part of the curriculum.

In addition, a Learning for Life Overview and Scrutiny Panel organised by Suffolk County Council has met on several occasions, giving county councillors and others the opportunity to consider in detail the plans for the university.

This is due to report to the Learning for Life Overview and Scrutiny Committee on January 27, 2005.

Do you support the university bid? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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