University of Brighton 'disguising' Hastings campus plan

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

The University of Brighton has been accused of being "intentionally vague" about plans for its Hastings campus.

The Students' Union has claimed the university intends to close the campus within two years, but is disguising its ambition to exit the East Sussex town.

The university reviewed its operation in Hastings and found its current model was "not sustainable".

A spokesman said claims the campus was closing was misleading and provision "would evolve".

'Devastating blow'

A statement from the university said its current model was not sustainable as it predicted a sharp fall in the number of 16 to 17-year-olds in the town and also had increased competition.

It said a recommendation had been made that the university "supports the delivery of a more focused higher education offering in the town targeting the local community".

The statement said: "This could be delivered through a broadening and deepening of its relationship with Sussex Coast College Hastings."

Brighton's Students' Union said the university planned to close the campus.

A statement from the union said: "The statement released by the vice chancellor was intentionally vague and misleading. This is an extension of the shameful betrayal and disrespect shown by university management towards the Hastings campus community."

It added: "University of Brighton is intending on closing the Hastings campus within two years. The security of the university's future partnership with Sussex Coast College Hastings has been overstated, in order to disguise the ambition to exit Hastings entirely."

Hastings council leader Peter Chowney said: "If Brighton university are indeed closing their Hastings centre, it's a devastating blow to the town's regeneration, especially considering the amount of public money that went into creating a university centre here.

"This must not be the end of a university in Hastings.

"We will be looking to Brighton university to co-operate with us and Sussex Coast College not just to retain some higher education in Hastings, but to create a genuine university of Hastings.

"Hastings has become a university town. It must remain a university town."

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