Peter Chowney: "Let's Grow Our Own University"

Published on by Liam Forkes (author), Neil Miles (author)

Topic(s): Politics

Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney (photo: )
Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney

The closure of the University of Brighton's Hastings campus has been described as "a betrayal to the town" and "a stab in the back" by Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney, who is also standing as Labour candidate for Hastings and Rye.

In an exclusive interview with students of the University, Cllr. Chowney explained how he sees that the Government failed to step in to stop the closure of the campus.

"The university closing is shocking, and is a real betrayal of the town. I will criticise Government policy... because they did nothing to intervene, they seem to treat higher educations as a business, free to make their own decisions in a way that benefits them rather than having any planned provision of higher education across the country or in Hastings.

"There was a memorandum of cooperation signed between the university, but when the new Vice-Chancellor came in they tore that up. It meant nothing and nobody intervened. It either means that Government policy is such that they aren't capable of intervening, which is wrong, or they don't care."

Cllr. Chowney also explained how he believes the best next step is to support Sussex Coast College in the creation of a new University Centre, which will replace the current campus

"Our best option now is the Sussex Coast university centre, which on its own is not enough. But if thats given proper attention, focus, and funding, they could get degree awarding powers of their own in the next five years or so, and we could grow our own university, and I think that's the best way forward really.

"Let's grow our own university. That's something I would be strongly supporting if I were an MP and it's something I think the government should be strongly supporting because we need higher education provision in Hastings." 

We contacted candidates from the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats, who at the time of writing, have not responded. In the past, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has described the closure of the university as "unwelcome".

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