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Farron celebrates Ambleside campus victory!

July 8, 2011 10:56 AM

TF Ambleside protestSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has celebrated a major victory after the University of Cumbria decided at their council meeting yesterday that they would bring students back to the campus after a long running campaign to save the site.

The campaign to save the much loved campus was spearheaded by Tim and has had widespread public backing throughout the South Lakes. At public meetings in Ambleside hundreds of local residents came to voice their opposition to university management about the plans to close the campus; thousands also signed a petition and there were two marches through the town.

This is major turnaround after the university planned to close the campus just 18 months ago. Tim led the campaign to make the university change its mind. This led to the campus being saved but parts of the site were 'mothballed' until the university did an assessment of its future plans for its campuses. That review ended yesterday with the university's council agreeing to save the campus so that the site has a major future within the university.

The university's preferred option is to move all higher education courses like outdoor studies and forestry from Newton Rigg to Ambleside, and to offer some postgraduate courses on the site. The campus would have around 600 students at the end of academic year 2012/13. This means that there will be more students in Ambleside than there were at the point that the campus was closed last year.

Last year an assessment of the economic impact of a fully functioning campus concluded that the staff and students provide around £15 million to the local economy. Many academic staff will be transferred from other sites but the university will be advertising for support staff. It is believed that this will provide job opportunities for dozens of local people.

Tim said: "I'm over the moon today because all our hard work has really paid off. I remember when I heard the news that the university wanted to close the site. I was devastated and I pledged to do everything in my power to restore the campus and to bring the students back - and I'm pleased to say we've done it! I just want to thank the community for their help, support and their determination. We've done this together - it was a real community campaign. I want to thanks the students, their families and the community for their help. I do not know any other town that would campaign to keep their students but we did and we've won."