Peterborough could have fully fledged university by 2020 after ‘Eastern Powerhouse’ announcement in budget

University Centre Peterborough, which could be converted into a fully fledged university

University Centre Peterborough, which could be converted into a fully fledged university

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A fully fledged university is on the cards if Peterborough signs up to the new ‘Eastern Powerhouse.’

The government has guaranteed that it will not block the city finally achieving its long-standing ambition if it agrees to proposals announced in today’s Budget.

Should Peterborough City Councillors agree in June that it is right for the local authority to sign up to the East Anglia Combined Authority, alongside councils from the rest of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, then the council is hoping to have University Centre Peterborough converted to a full university by 2020.

Council leader Councillor John Holdich said it could cost anywhere between £20-50 million to set up a university and that funding would need to be sought for a new campus.

The aim is to see 12,500 students signed up by 2030 with Peterborough renowned for its ICT and engineering courses.

Simon Machen, the council’s director of growth and regeneration, said: “It’s a long-standing aspiration to have a fully fledged university. And for the first time it’s been flagged in a government document which is important.”

Currently, Anglia Ruskin University has a campus in Oundle Road, Woodston.

The public will soon be consulted on the combined authority which, according to the council, under an elected mayor would have powers to spend an extra £1 billion from the government for economic growth on top of each council’s current grants.

Cllr Holdich said the party leaders on the council had agreed that he sign a letter of understanding which would allow the council to vote on the government’s proposals.

He added: “Our services won’t change because of this.”