University campus project receives support
Plans to create a new university campus as part of a wider vision to transform lives in a recognised higher education (HE) ‘cold spot’ have taken a major step forward.
Members of Barrow Borough Council’s planning committee have agreed to support the principle of a multi-million pound higher education campus in the town, proposals driven by the University of Cumbria as part of the #BrilliantBarrow Town Deal.
The University of Cumbria and its design partners will continue their ongoing endeavours, working closely with planning officers, to resolve the remaining concerns relating to drainage, car parking and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists to the campus site so the proposals can progress.
Designed by DAY Architectural Ltd, the university has developed the campus project in collaboration with BAE Systems.
Helping to address sector and regional skills needs, among the first courses being developed to offer learners include university-level programmes in Advanced Manufacturing, Computing (Digital and Cyber Security), Business Management, Project Management, and Supply Chain and Logistics.
The university campus is to be sited beside BAE Systems’ Submarine Academy of Skill and Knowledge. It is being funded by a significant grant from the Government’s Town Deal initiative and capital investment from the University of Cumbria. It forms part of the transformative Barrow Learning Quarter (BLQ), which also includes a new Skills Hub at Furness College’s Rating Lane site.
Partners of the University of Cumbria also include Barrow Borough Council, BAE Systems, local businesses and stakeholders. The BLQ scheme is recognised as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the educational landscape of the area.
A national hub for advanced engineering, energy and related sectors with high demand from local employers for graduate level employees, Barrow is recognised as a HE ‘cold spot’ with low levels of participation below the national average, despite secondary school leavers comparing well with their peers at GCSE.
University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell (below) added: “Planning permission is a key milestone towards realising our ambition to develop a new university campus in Barrow. Some issues remain but we continue to work collaboratively with others and seek to resolve them so our shared ambitions of enhancing local education opportunities progress.
“The campus and wider Barrow Learning Quarter will be transformational, to the learners who will access and aspire towards HE and, also, contribute to the area’s future prosperity and growth. Innovative, inclusive and inspirational facilities and provision will enhance vitality and vibrancy.
“The new campus will also increase the accessibility, reach and impact of our academic offer. It will offer new progression opportunities into and participation in higher education for young people and others, driving our mission to transform the lives and livelihoods of our communities and beyond.”
The University of Cumbria is working with employers and academic partners to co-create course programmes in areas to support long-term higher skills need, upskilling and reskilling the workforce now and for the future.
The university will base a new academic area – its Institute of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Computing, led by a director and two professors – in Barrow. Initially offering university-level programmes in these areas, plans are to develop other provision to support wider region skills needs.
It is expected that the main construction work on the university campus can begin next year, with completion forecasted for summer 2024.
Notes to editors
Notes to editors
On July 27, 2019, the Prime Minister announced that the Towns Fund would support an initial 101 places across England to develop Town Deal proposals, to drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. See further details of the announcement: PM speech at Manchester Science and Industry Museum - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
A Town Deal is an agreement in principle between Government, the lead council and the Town Deal Board. It will set out a vision and strategy for the town, and what each party agrees to do to achieve this vision. See the 101 places being supported to develop Town Deals: list-of-100-places.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Each of the 101 towns selected to work towards a Town Deal also received accelerated funding last year for investment in capital projects that would have an immediate impact and help places “build back better” in the wake of Covid-19. View a list of accelerated funding by place: towns-fund-accelerated-funding-grants.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)