Plans unveiled for £300m university complex to be built by 2018

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A NEW £300 million town centre campus for The University of Northampton could be open by 2018, the institution’s Governing Council has said.

It was confirmed yesterday that the university is planning to relocate the Park and Avenue campuses to the old power station site in the town centre off Bedford Road.

Building work on the new campus is expected to start in 2015 with a completion date sometime between 2018 and 2020.

Delia Heneghan, director of marketing, said: “This new Waterside Campus will place us in the heart of the community and will also enable us to deliver our mission of raising the bar; regionally, nationally and internationally through social enterprise.

“It is a hugely exciting project and a massive undertaking.”

The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) is currently carrying out a Compulsory Purchase Order to address fragmented ownership of the land on which the new university is to be built and this process is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

The move to the town centre was first exclusively announced in the Chronicle & Echo last month after the university’s vice chancellor, Nick Petford, confirmed the university was in the early stages of plans to move away from the current Park and Avenue campuses to one new location.

The announcement came after the university was granted planning permission to build 464 new student flats on the site of St John’s car park, a short walk from the new town centre campus, close to Becket’s Park.

A University of Northampton spokesman said: “The landmark development in the history of the university would provide a campus that is more accessible, central and visible – benefiting from the regeneration of the railway station and the Enterprise Zone. It will also link in with our new central St John’s halls of residence.”

The university’s modern history stretches back to 1924 when Northampton Technical College opened in St George’s Avenue. Margaret Thatcher then opened the College of Education at the Park Campus in 1972.

In 1999, Nene College, as it was known, became University College Northampton and in 2005, the college was awarded full university status.