Sussex

Fears University of Brighton will pull out of Hastings

Hastings students
Image caption Students Sophie Hewitt and Alice Naylor said the closure would be a huge loss to Hastings

Campaigners fighting to a keep coastal town's university campus open said it would be devastating to lose it.

The University of Brighton has three sites in Hastings, but it is feared they may close following a review being considered by the board of governors.

"It would be a massive loss to Hastings, the uncertainty is a huge worry," said student Sophie Hewitt.

The university said it had struggled to recruit enough students to make the Hastings campus sustainable.

Mature students

Student Alice Naylor said many of those studying in the East Sussex town were mature students with children.

"Not having a university in Hastings would mean that some people wouldn't be able to access a university at all," she said.

The university's board of governors will meet on Tuesday with an announcement due on Wednesday.

The Hastings campus opened 13 years ago and has received £12m of public investment.

Image caption The Priory Square building is one of three University of Brighton sites in Hastings

"The whole community - elected politicians, business leaders and heads of schools - are all absolutely united that we will fight to keep the university here," said Amber Rudd, Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye.

"We will be making a strong case for why it's such a great place to live and work."

The university said it was committed to the regeneration of Hastings through its sponsorship of nine academy schools as well as higher education.

"We have invested £14m in the development and running of the Hastings campus," it said.

"We have consistently struggled to recruit the overall numbers of students required. One of the biggest drivers of student choice is location.

"This means that Hastings has to compete with Brighton and other campuses in the region and nationally.

"The implementation of any changes will be require careful consideration and our partners, staff and students will be fully involved."

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