University land deals go through

MULTI-million pound deals to buy the land for Ipswich's 'education quarter' have now been sealed, The Evening Star can reveal. The land, which will be used for the planned University Campus Suffolk (UCS), has been bought two years before the first students are expected to arrive.

MULTI-million pound deals to buy the land for Ipswich's 'education quarter' have now been sealed, The Evening Star can reveal.

The land, which will be used for the planned University Campus Suffolk (UCS), has been bought two years before the first students are expected to arrive.

UCS project leader Carol Macaskill said a total of £25 million will be spent on buying land for the new campus.

She added: "The land assembly for the project is now in the final stages. We are in final negotiations but the site has mostly been bought."

Seen as a significant boost to the project, the completion of land purchases will mark the beginning of the transformation of an area, which stretches from Rope Walk and Grimwade Street in the north and east to Ipswich Waterfront in the south, into the town's 'education quarter'.

Ms Macaskill said the final agreements to buy all the land needed are expected to be completed by the autumn.

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Ipswich Borough Council, Suffolk County Council and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) have all pledged land to be handed over to the UCS project.

The former Suffolk County Council buildings St Giles House and St Edmund's House have been sold for the project.

Alison Lys, head of skills and employment for EEDA said: "We have spent £5m on land purchase. "We have bought St Edmund's House, Alexandra House and St Giles House and associated car parking.

"The land purchase has established our intention and commitment to the project. We have a long term commitment to Ipswich and UCS is an achievable ambition."

What do you think about a university in Ipswich? How will the new 'education quarter' affect you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

ONE of the largest schemes of its kind in the UK University Campus Suffolk (UCS) is due to open its doors to students in September 2007.

Backed by The Evening Star and costing an estimated £150million over the next ten years UCS was handed a £15 million kick-start in February by the Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE).

Land has already been set aside for the project and UCS, plus a new Suffolk College, will create an 'education quarter' stretching from Rope Walk to the Ipswich Waterfront.

A partnership lead by the universities of East Anglia and Essex, the UCS project is supported by Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and East of England Development Agency. There will also be substantial private sector investment in the scheme.

n UCS is expected to be worth £1 million a week to the Ipswich economy.

n UCS will include the Ipswich campus and a number of linked centres in other Suffolk towns. This county-wide campus will be known as the Suffolk Learning Centres.

n The total cost of the scheme is expected to be £150million over ten years. Phase one is expected to cost £75m.

n In November 2004 Suffolk County Council pledged £13m towards buying land for the project.

n The plans include halls of residence for students and car parking.

Weblinks www.suffolk.ac.uk www.ucs.ac.uk www.eeda.org

n Autumn 2002- Officials from the University of East Anglia and University of Essex meet with Suffolk College bosses to discuss a collaborative approach to extending higher education in Suffolk.

n Spring 2003-Suffolk County Council revived ambitions for a university in the county. The council established a group made up from the interested parties.

n January 2004-HEFCE awarded £245,000 of funding to produce a business case for the UCS scheme

n Spring 2004-Ipswich Borough Council agreed a £10million contribution towards land purchases for the project.

n June 2004-The UCS website www.ucs.ac.uk was launched at the Suffolk Show.

n September 2004-Discussiuons take place with education and business leaders about the UCS curriculum.

n November 2004-The plans gain pace as Suffolk County Council pledges £13 million to buy the land needed for the main campus in Ipswich.

n December 2004-The UCS project team submits a bid to HEFCE for £15 million of funding.

n February 2005 HEFCE grant £15m towards the project.>