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MP says university must live up to its promises over Ambleside campus

October 23, 2012 11:20 AM

Tim has been leading the campaign to save Ambleside CampusSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on the University of Cumbria to 'live up to its promises' and re-open Ambleside campus. Tim is confident that the University will return to Ambleside by 2014, but wants the University management to be careful that it doesn't undermine itself by raising unnecessary doubts.

Speaking to Ambleside Civic Trust's AGM, University Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Liz Beaty said that Ambleside would have to make a 'strong case' for itself, because the University would not return if the figures 'did not stack up'. Tim has warned the University that it risks its own future if it back tracks on plans to return to Ambleside.

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

The university responded by stating that their 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 then have around 600 students at the beginning of the 2014 academic year - providing a huge boost to the local economy.

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 said that they would be advertising for support staff. It was believed that this will provide job opportunities for dozens of local people.

Tim said: "Every time I meet university bosses I remind them of their name, the University of Cumbria. Having campuses in London and Lancaster is all well and good but they must deliver Higher Education to the people of Cumbria - and Ambleside should be a key part of that. For me it's the jewel in their crown. They put it on the front page of their prospectus to attract students, so I call on them to deliver on their promises to our community and to their students.

"I have always said to university bosses I will do whatever I can to help them. I know the National Park Authority agree with this too. I want the university to make a clear and unequivocal statement that they are coming back to Ambleside so that we can get down to the details of their plan. I understand that they need to raise significant funds from the sale of surplus buildings in order to fund their return, they should concentrate on making sure that this happens and asking for help if the need it rather than undermining their relationship with the community with unwise words!" 