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University of Cornwall News

28th May

The following articles appeared in today's The Cornishman:

University still remote possibility says local MP
'Let's look for money first this time and then look for the site'

Staff Reporter

A UNIVERSITY site in Penwith is still a remote possibility according to St Ives MP Andrew George.

The news follows last week's shock announcement that Exeter University, who were behind the scheme to build a university campus at Trereife, Penzance, have pulled out following Penwith Council's refusal to buy the site for them.

Penwith Council said the reduced plans for the university campus fell short of an economic impact study which concluded that economic benefits did not justify the expenditure.

However, Mr George had lunch with Education Minister David Blunkett MP to reaffirm the minister's support for the university.

Mr George said: "The meeting with Mr Blunkett was very positive. He was clearly well briefed on this. The minister accepted the need for a University College in Cornwall."

Mr Blunkett has offered to broker a deal between the "battling factions" who are split over the siting and form of a new university.

"This a challenge for Penwith to get its act together and pull the university back to Penwith," added Mr George.

Mr George said he felt that the Trereife was an "unlikely" but there was no reason why the district could not put forward another site.

Exeter University prefers a single site while Plymouth University would rather see a split site embracing higher education establishments across the county.

Mr George added: "Let's look for the money first this time and then look for the site."

A meeting is being planned this week between higher and further education chiefs in the county, some of who have been cited as barely conversing with one another.

The meeting is being called by Jane Henderson, director of the Government Office for the South West, and will gather Sir Geoffrey Holland, vice-chancellor of Exeter University, Professor John Bull, as well as the chief executives of higher and national education.

Richard Caborn, minister for the regions, has also taken an interest in the issue as a potential way to help regenerate the county.

Mr Blunkett told Mr George that although he could not put bricks on [sic] mortar into any university, he was willing to help bring all the factions under one umbrella to push for a campus.

Mr George said: "With the cutting of grants, many students want to study nearer home which puts the Comish students at a disadvantage. What is important is that there is a university in Cornwall."

THE notion of a single university campus in the county was again thrown into jeopardy last week following the comments by Dr Alan Stanhope, principal of Cornwall College.

Dr Stanhope, was commenting on a new report "Towards a University in Cornwall" which calls for education chiefs to put aside competition and work together.

He said the county could not afford a traditional campus-based university.

"The present funding of students in Cornwall would not generate sufficient revenue to justify building it - but Cornwall could create a dispersed university by building on existing facilities provided by the county's colleges and learning from the experience of the university of the Highlands and Islands," he said.

Copyright © Cornish Weekly Newspapers Ltd 1998

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