Plans for 30,000 new places

April 21, 1995

One national and 11 regional universities could be established by the end of the century, costing more than Pounds 300 million and creating 30,000 or more places, according to information compiled by the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals.

As well as Labour's prospective nationally-based "university for industry", which would be set up after 1997, the CVCP notes that there are plans for six English universities, four Scottish universities and one university in Northern Ireland.

In England, Lincolnshire, which is well on the way to admitting its first students, may be joined by Gloucester and London Docklands, each of which has proposals for 5,000 students. County-oriented universities may be set up in Cornwall, Cumbria and Suffolk.

In Scotland, there are proposals for a Highlands and Islands University, a university campus in Lanarkshire, and a university of the environment in Perthshire. Leith's Queen Margaret College may seek university status in 1998. In Northern Ireland, plans for the Springvale campus straddling the Belfast peaceline are taking shape.

Not all these ventures will begin as independent universities. The Pounds 60 million Docklands university will be jointly owned by Queen Mary and Westfield College, the University of East London, City University, and London Guildhall. Cornwall will be tied to Exeter, and Suffolk will have strong links with the nearby University of East Anglia.

The Lanarkshire campus will start out life as a college of St Andrew's University.

The CVCP wants to see universities right across the country, and is this week promoting universities as essential to the regional economy, running a "Cities of Learning" conference as a follow up to the CVCP report on universities and communities produced by Newcastle's John Goddard last year.

A spokesman for CVCP said that the number of plans for new universities shows "that our message about universities and the local economy is getting through".

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