EXETER University has been forced to drop plans for a new university campus in Treireife, Cornwall and work with other institutions to expand higher education in the region, writes Harriet Swain.
A meeting of Penwith District Council this week confirmed the council would not buy the Treireife site for Exeter's scheme because of doubts about its economic impact on the area. Exeter was relying on the council to buy the site before it could raise the money needed to develop the campus.
At a separate meeting, the Higher Education Funding Council for England brought together the vice-chancellors of Exeter and Plymouth universities, the principal of Falmouth College of Arts and regional government representatives to discuss a joint project for expanding higher education in Cornwall.
This is likely to build on Exeter's plans for a new Pounds 35 million campus, combined with Plymouth's network of partnerships with further education colleges and other institutions close to the community. It will also involve arts, design and media programmes run by Falmouth College of Arts.
The outcome is likely to be a central campus, combined with a number of outreach programmes.
A series of working groups have been set up to draw up business plans, look at financial support and organisation and identify possible sites for the campus.
But any new higher education provision for Cornwall is unlikely to be in place before the millennium, as originally planned.
John Inkson, Exeter University's deputy vice-chancellor, said: "What we have is a commitment of support from the funding council and a commitment from all higher education institutions to work together and that's an enormous step forward.
"We have never tried or wanted to make it an exclusive development so from our point of view we would take it as a very positive step," he added.