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University vice-chancellor pledges not to sell campus to a direct competitor

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

By Sarah Marshall

1167855-C3_nc110111-Michael Gunn[1]

1167855-C3_nc110111-Michael Gunn[1]

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A TOWN centre “satellite” of Staffordshire University could be created as bosses also pledge not to sell the Beaconside campus to a neighbouring university.

Vice-chancellor Michael Gunn says the university will keep a presence in Stafford when the campus closes some time after September 2016, a move which will save around £4 million each year.

But today Mr Gunn said, while the campus would be sold off, they would not consider selling it to any universities in direct competition to Staffordshire. And he insisted the move was not just about money.

He said by the end of a special meeting of the board of governors last night, everyone was in agreement about shutting the campus.

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“This is primarily about student experience and making sure we can make it as good as we can.

“I firmly believe moving computing and technology to Stoke-on-Trent will improve experience. It will save money in the long run, about £3-4 million.

“We would not sell the campus to a direct competitor but might like to sell it to someone offering something complementary to what we do.

“We still want to have a presence in Stafford. We are not moving out altogether. Our health courses will remain and we work with businesses, such as Perkins and Alstom, which will continue. We would look at getting some sort of town centre base for those and look to working more closely with Stafford College, which already delivers some university courses.

“The downside is that some of our staff live in Stafford and will find their jobs moving to Stoke. But we are supportive of Stafford Borough Council’s plans to make changes in terms of housing and the return of the MoD. We have a good working relationship with the MoD and want that to continue.

“There will be some redundancies but we do not know how many jobs will be affected at this stage. However, they are likely to be site specific jobs. No jobs will go before September 2015.”

Mr Gunn said nothing would be moved before September 2016, although they would look to see if 2015 would be a possibility. He said the move would also not be done piecemeal.

He said it was likely there would be new buildings created in Stoke to accommodate the move.

“We recognise there is support for Stafford and the majority of students in Stafford do very much like being there. However, students who have previously moved out of the site to Stoke have recognised their experience is better.

“I understand there are concerns about the future of Stafford’s economy but we are not moving out of the town.

“Generally a successful university, whether in Stoke or not, benefits the whole county.”

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2 comments

  • unigrind  |  January 31 2014, 9:01AM

    Mr Gunn said on BBC Midlands Today that this is an ideal opportunity for the regeneration of a run down area of Stoke. I wonder if the cost savings projected take into account the cost of rates and security at Beaconside. It's a bit cynical to keep a small presence in the county town just so they continue using the Staffordshire tag. Come on Mr Gunn be honest and change the name to what it should now be, either the University of Stoke on Trent or the University of North Staffs, it is certainly not the University of Staffordshire.

  • gypsylee  |  January 30 2014, 11:31AM

    and will this also include RAF Stafford I see they want to build houses after selling them off years ago I smell corruption

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