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September 27, 2011 12:27 PM

TF Ambleside protestSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron attended a meeting with University of Cumbria chiefs yesterday where they committed themselves to bringing more students back to Ambleside than ever before.

Tim had a meeting yesterday with Liz Beaty (Pro Vice Chancellor: Academic Enterprise & External Relations) which detailed major plans for the university, which will involve all academic courses moving from Newton Rigg to Ambleside alongside science & environmental courses from other campuses. This will mean that by 2014 the site will have more students than before the campus was 'mothballed'.

Tim has been at the forefront of the campaign to save the Ambleside campus - and this news represents a major win for the campaign, and a u-turn for the university. With the new course portfolio it will mean major investment in facilities like laboratories and new student accommodation.

The university will sell certain buildings outside the main site to pay for the plan. Tim and Leslie Johnson, the Chair of Lakes Parish Council, sought assurances from university management than any buildings being sold will be sold for affordable housing.

The university will now appoint designers in January 2012 and then by March the university council will have the chance to sign the plan off and after which it will go to public consultation. The completion date is June 2014, although the university may well bring some students back to Ambleside before that time.

Tim said: "Going to the meeting and hearing the plans the university has was fantastic. Knowing that our campaign has meant that the campus has a major future is great news. For me I will now work with the community, Lakes Parish Council and others to make sure we hold the university to its word. I remember 18 months ago when the university planned to mothball the campus and our campaign made them see sense. They admitted they had made mistakes yesterday and now we must move on and make sure the plans work for the university and the community."