A three-month public consultation into a proposed new university centre that could replace the University of Brighton’s Hastings Campus over the few years has been launched today (Monday, August 1).
If the plans go ahead the new centre would open its doors in September next year and aim for an initial cohort of up to 300 to 400 students with further growth in following years.
The University of Brighton said the centre would also initially offer a range of higher education courses drawn from existing provision from the Hastings campus and Sussex Coast College Hastings.
There has been widespread opposition since the university first announced its controversial proposals in March.
Several demonstrations have taken place in Hastings, the last being on May 14 when scores of marchers waved placards and chanted ‘Hands off Hastings’ and ‘You’re not taking our campus’ through town.
Unions have also branded the plans to close the university campus in Hastings as ‘educational vandalism’.
Professor Chris Pole, University of Brighton deputy vice-chancellor, said: “Over the past few months we have been working with our partners and stakeholders to explore the idea of a university centre and are now at a stage where we can consult more widely on our emerging thinking.
“The new university centre offers the potential for a new vision for the sustainable long-term delivery of higher education in Hastings building on the achievements of our Hastings campus.
“The new centre would be able to set its own priorities driven by the needs of the local economy and the people of Hastings and be able to react flexibly to changing circumstances.
“The University of Brighton will continue to provide the framework for academic quality and standards ensuring that the teaching and degree-level qualifications provided by the University Centre are of the same standard as those provided by the current Hastings campus.”
Clive Cooke, principal of Sussex Coast College Hastings, said: “We have been working in a successful partnership with the University of Brighton for more than 20 years in delivering higher education courses in Hastings. Today marks a potentially important next step for the provision of higher education in the town.
“Over the next few years the new university centre will develop a range of accessible and flexible courses built around the needs of students and directly linked to future employment and growth opportunities in the local area.
“This would enable the current and future generations of people to be able to progress almost seamlessly from local schools, into further and higher education all on their own doorstep.”
The consultation on the proposals for the new university centre runs until October 30.
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