Uni boosts coffers

AS THE University of Chichester is in the North Ward of Chichester, the three North Ward district councillors, Peter Budge, Simon Lloyd Williams and I, this week met the University’s Vice Chancellor, Clive Behagg, the Executive Dean, Dr Sarah Gilroy, and the Chief Operating Officer, Ian Child, to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The vice chancellor pointed out the financial benefits of the university to the city and Bognor Regis. The two campuses have approximately 5,500 students. Their annual benefit to our communities from next September is estimated at £13,500 per student per year (comprising tuition fees averaging £7,500, rents £3,000 and spending £3,000). This amounts to an annual total of a massive £74 million across the two campuses spent in our communities.

The vice chancellor said the university would like to open up its sports and other facilities to public use but said it is presently constrained by access issues. It also wants more on-site student accommodation to be provided by the private sector on the Chichester campus. This would reduce the pressure on other housing in the city and stem the growth of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The university’s aim is that eventually all first-year students should have accommodation on campus or in the purpose-built blocks in Stockbridge Road now under construction. This dedicated, secure accommodation is a prime need of sixth-formers applying to universities, and Chichester needs to be competitive with its peers.

The university shares the district council’s concerns about the narrow winding nature of College Lane, now the only vehicle access route to the university. It would like one-way working for vehicles in College Lane coupled with a cycle lane to be a priority for the county council.

To cope with the traffic generated by new student accommodation and to allow improved public access to university facilities, it is essential a new access road is created from the university to the east via Kingsmead Avenue, Graylingwell.

I suggest there needs to be closer working between county, district and the university to resolve these issues sooner rather than later. We need to do all we can to help this very valuable asset.

Councillor Tony Dignum

West Broyle Drive, Chichester