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Press Release - 01 March 2007

University of Bath withdraws from Gateway project

The University of Bath has decided, with regret, to withdraw from the proposed Gateway development project in Swindon.

The University’s governing body, Council, met this afternoon to consider a recommendation from the University’s Senate to withdraw from the project.

Council received a report from the Director of Estates on developments relating to the detail of the revised site Masterplan. Council was also informed that the creation of a new, research-led campus no longer appeared to align with national investment priorities for the higher education sector, calling into question the financial sustainability of the project.

Professor Glynis Breakwell, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said that the decision to withdraw from the Gateway Project was made with great reluctance.

“For almost five years, the University of Bath, supported by a range of stakeholders, has been working to exploit an opportunity to build an iconic, new campus at the Gateway site in Swindon. It is very disappointing that the prevailing planning and funding conditions no longer appear to favour a project of this nature and scale.

“Although changing circumstances have worked against the Gateway project, we are confident that the University is already well-placed to respond to the Government’s agenda for more radical approaches to higher education, particularly through increased employer engagement.

"Some of the activities at our existing Oakfield Campus in Swindon are in the vanguard of developing the flexible approaches to curriculum delivery that the sector is now being encouraged to explore.”

Professor Breakwell added: “We will continue to work closely with a wide range of external partners to explore how best to expand the higher education provision in Swindon and Wiltshire.”

The University’s main campus at Claverton Down in Bath continues to flourish and the strategic decision to invest in science and engineering infrastructure has today been rewarded with almost £1 million of additional public funding for 2007-08.

The University is one of the higher education sector’s main beneficiaries of a new funding stream from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to support very high cost and vulnerable science subjects.



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