Legal deal to be signed and sealed to facilitate the ‘emergence’ of new University Centre in Peterborough

Published: 14 February 2007 at 09:57

Plans to create a University Centre in Peterborough are about to move a step closer as Anglia Ruskin University and Peterborough Regional College have signed the legal contracts for the creation of the new Joint Venture Company at a special signing ceremony on Wednesday (21 February). The JVC formation marks the culmination of the legal negotiations and securing of funds required in order to build a new higher education centre for the City.

The leaders of the two institutions, Peterborough Regional College’s Principal Don Lawson and Anglia Ruskin University’s new Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Thorne, will join representatives from the institutions’ legal teams Eversheds and Mills & Reeve to attend the official ‘signing’ event along with members of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Peterborough City Council.

The new Joint Venture Company (which is Limited by Guarantee and therefore a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation) will be managed by an equal number of directors from both partner institutions who will be responsible for the academic and operational running of the new centre.

The new higher education centre will be built on land adjacent to existing buildings on Peterborough Regional College’s Park Crescent Campus and will significantly enhance opportunities for students in Peterborough to undertake university programmes, building on the highly successful degree provision offered in the City through Peterborough Regional College over the last twelve years.

Anglia Ruskin University Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Thorne said:

“This is yet another important milestone in the emergence of a new University centre for Peterborough. To have moved to the point of completion of contracts at this relatively early stage in this extensive project is very encouraging indeed.”

“The fact that the Joint Venture Company now exists will help to speed along the next phases of the set up process. While we will be using the existing facilities of Peterborough Regional College in the first instance, we will be hoping to move onto the construction of the dedicated University building in the very near future.”

“Artists impressions of the proposed education quarter will be made available as soon as they are finalised.”

Principal of Peterborough Regional College, Don Lawson, commented:

“We are delighted to be forming the Joint Venture Company with our partners at Anglia Ruskin. The completion of this phase of legal negotiations now brings us considerably closer towards the construction of a University

Centre on the Peterborough Regional College campus and we are confident that working together we can significantly increase the range of higher education services on offer to the benefit of the people of Peterborough, and local employers.”

Anglia Ruskin University has been given a £10 million boost to help build this new higher education centre at Peterborough Regional College, which will look to increase student numbers there from 900 to over 3,000. The first intake of students to gain admission to degree level courses under the new Joint Venture Company agreement will start their studies in September 2007.

The funding, which has been agreed in principle by HEFCE, the board of the East of England Development Agency (EEDA), and other partners, will see the college working closely with local industry.

The new centre will not only increase participation in higher education in the City, but also it will provide essential links with businesses which will inevitably help improve workforce productivity and business development. The project is part of an ambitious development plan which is being overseen by both Peterborough City Council and Opportunity Peterborough.

Peterborough was chosen for this investment because of current underprovision in the area and the need to build a labour force to meet the needs of expanding and new industry in the area.

Anglia Ruskin University has been at the forefront of providing higher education opportunities for those areas where University participation rates and aspiration has been low. In 2005/06 there were over 4000 students studying for Anglia Ruskin University awards in Centres across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk.  The new developments in Peterborough and Harlow will ensure that all those with the ability to succeed in higher education have the opportunity to do so. 

Plans to expand University opportunities to other parts of the East of England are being developed for the South Essex and King’s Lynn/Fenland areas by Anglia Ruskin University in partnership with other higher and further education institutions.