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'Ambleside win shows strength of community campaign' says MP

March 30, 2012 9:19 AM

Tim has been leading the campaign to save Ambleside CampusSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has thanked the local community after the University of Cumbria today confirmed plans to bring 700 students back to Ambleside. Tim joined other local community representatives at the Ambleside campus today to hear University managers explain that they will now present a business case to their board in May.

The campaign to save the much loved campus was spearheaded by Tim and has had widespread public backing throughout theSouthLakes. At public meetings in Ambleside over the last 2 years, 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 a major turnaround after the university revealed plans to close the campus in 2009. 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 with the university's Board agreeing to save the campus so that the site has a major future within the university.

The university plan was outlined at a meeting today. University bosses plan to bring between 600-700 students back to the campus. This means that there will be more students in Ambleside than there were at the point that the campus was closed last year. The plan also stated that parts of the campus would be improved and upgraded. With the new course portfolio it will mean major investment in facilities like laboratories and new student accommodation.

The university will have to sell certain buildings outside the main site to pay for the plan.

Tim said: "Going to the meeting and hearing the plans the university has was fantastic. Knowing that our campaign has ensured that the campus has a major future is great news. I will now continue to work with the community, Lakes Parish Council and others to make sure we hold the university to its word. Two years ago the university mothballed the campus, but our campaign made them see sense. I want to pay tribute to Vice Chancellor Peter Strike and Deputy Vice Chancellor Liz Beaty for their vision and determination. We wouldn't have had this announcement without them.

When I heard the news that the university wanted to close the site, I was devastated. 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 thank 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!"