19 May 2008
Campus plans spur Cheshire boom
£30 million second phase
MMU's £70 million investment in its Crewe campus is a catalyst for the economic and social development of South Cheshire, according to business leaders.
Centralising its activities at Crewe will mean a larger student and staff population, a livelier, more vibrant campus atmosphere and better equipped, and improved, academic facilities.
And revealing the latest plans to business leaders this week, the University said it was also good news for the booming local economy and for rising living standards in the county.
Martin Lee, chief executive of Cheshire and Warrington Economic Alliance, told the audience: "The very significant development in Crewe by MMU has been a key factor in helping Crewe become the fastest growing area in the North West."
The £30 million second phase of the Crewe campus development will see:
- a new Performing Arts Centre completed in December 2008
- a new Exercise and Sports Science Centre, due for completion in 2011
- a Student Hub housing the library, IT, catering and Student Union facilities, to be finished in 2011
A stronger university on the doorstep will underpin the knowledge economy, according to vice-chancellor John Brooks who confirmed that MMU's activities mapped closely onto growth sectors locally - financial and professional services, education, retail, sport, leisure and engineering.
Mr Lee said that MMU's expertise in rail technology would be a valuable asset in developing the £10 million National Railway Skills Academy in Crewe.
Also speaking at the event for 70 major businesses and local government officers, were Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Cheshire County Council, Brian Silvester, the Mayor of Crewe & Nantwich, Neil Gibbons, secretary general of Bentley Motors, and Rob Allen, director of partnerships, Wulvern Housing.
The current phase of development at Crewe Campus builds on the £40 million already pumped into Crewe in new facilities and student residences, and accommodation for staff and students in humanities, which has already moved from Alsager.
The relocation of the Alsager Campus to the Crewe Campus began in 2005, the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies moved across to the Crewe campus in September 2005, the Department of Contemporary Arts will begin the move across to Crewe in September 2008.
MMU is committed to the long-term benefits of providing a centre of educational excellence at Crewe and we believe the strategic and well planned integration of our two sites into one campus will strengthen our national and international reputation as Cheshire 's leading university.
MMU Cheshire will be based on one single campus in Crewe from 2011, creating a university town and strengthening our reputation as Cheshire's leading university. Centralising our location will provide a larger student and staff population, a livelier, more vibrant campus atmosphere and better equipped, and improved, academic facilities.
Proposals are in place for the Alsager site, the University is likely to retain the sports fields on one half of the site, and the Congleton Borough Council is planning to build 250 properties on the other. The University is maintaining an interest going forward in the Alsager campus to continue the excellent sporting reputation that is synonymous with the town itself.