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University could become reality

PUBLISHED: 07:58 27 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:43 03 March 2010

TALKS are under way which could see the long-held dream of a university for Suffolk become reality.

Officials from the University of East Anglia in Norwich have announced they are currently discussing plans to build a campus in Ipswich catering for more than 8,000 students.

TALKS are under way which could see the long-held dream of a university for Suffolk become reality.

Officials from the University of East Anglia in Norwich have announced they are currently discussing plans to build a campus in Ipswich catering for more than 8,000 students.

The proposals are at an early stage, but council leaders hope any new campus will be built on the recently rejuvenated Ipswich waterfront.

If given the go-ahead, the scheme is likely to bring millions of pounds worth of investment into the town and beyond, and attract hundreds of young people to the area.

The news comes on the day exclusive details of Ipswich's first four star hotel, which is currently under construction on the town's waterfront, are also revealed.

The hotel, which will be called The Salthouse Harbour Hotel, is costing more than £4.5million and will offer guests 43 luxury rooms overlooking the marina, from as early as next summer.

Ipswich Borough Council chief executive James Hehir, described the waterfront area as "picking up pace" and said the campus plan was the biggest news to affect Ipswich and Suffolk for more than 20 years.

"This is a really big opportunity," he said.

"We are really excited about this and I am sure people in the community will totally support this. We are hoping it will be based in the waterfront area of Ipswich.

"A lot of hard work has gone into this and we really want it to happen. We have been trying to get a campus for ten years.

"We will be getting more young people coming into Ipswich and we welcome their skills and training."

Mr Hehir said the UEA had appointed finance company KPMG to carry out a business plan about the possibility of having a university in Ipswich.

Suffolk College has been an accredited college of the UEA since 1992, meaning all undergraduate degrees and postgraduate degrees taught there are awarded by the UEA.

However, the hope is that an actual university campus can be developed in the town.

In a statement, UEA Pro-Vice-Chancellor Moya Willson, said: "The government has set a target of getting 50 per cent of 18-to-30-year-olds involved in higher education.

"UEA is in early discussions about the feasibility of building a new campus in Ipswich for about 8,000 students.

"There has been no decision as yet by the university to go ahead with this plan, and there is no indication that money would be available to do so. Any such decision will be dependent on funding arrangements which the government has yet to clarify."

Professor Dave Muller, principal of Suffolk College, said the current plans were the best opportunity Suffolk had ever had in bringing a university to the county.

"If people can pull together we really have got an opportunity of making this happen," he said.

"We would look for additional capital funding to secure new accommodation and premises to establish a university campus.

"We want a university campus in Ipswich, it will bring all the benefits of an international university which the UEA has."

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