The new University of Peterborough will aspire to have the UK’s greenest campus, according to the man brought into drive the project forward.
Sir Les Ebdon said the campus at the Embankment will reflect Peterborough’s aspiration to be the country’s environment capital.
Speaking exclusively to the Peterborough Telegraph, Professor Ebdon, who has a wealth of experience in higher education, also insisted that previously highlighted problems with the project have been addressed.
“Exceptionally good progress is now being made,” he declared.
The university is due to open in 2022, then take on the name of University of Peterborough from 2025 according to Professor Ebdon, who is chairman of the Shadow Council of University Centre Peterborough (UCP).
The shadow council is tasked with accelerating the progress of the new university.
Professor Ebdon has previously been involved in the establishment of new universities at Plymouth and latterly Bedfordshire, where he was Vice Chancellor until 2012.
He told the PT: “Our vision for the campus is for it to be the greenest university campus in the country.
“It’s Peterborough’s own ambition to be the showpiece city for sustainable environment and having a green campus appeals to students - they are very concerned about environmental issues. Also, a low energy consuming campus will be cheaper to run.
“It’s an important ambition.” He also insisted: “We will be very much an employment focused university - that’s what is needed in Peterborough.”
UCP has submitted an application for degree awarding powers which, if approved, would give the go ahead for the fully-fledged university to open in 2022. It will eventually host 12,500 students a year.
Professor Ebdon is confident the degree powers will be approved in the near future, and he is buoyed by the news that UCP is already looking to offer degree apprenticeships in business management and engineering from September.
Concerns have been raised about the project’s progress, with an independent report published late last year by HM Treasury and the Local Government Association claiming there was poor leadership, a lack of trust and major disagreements behind the scenes.
But Professor Ebdon said: “The establishment of the shadow council I think meets the particular concern about leadership of the project. I do think we now have a clear vision of where we’re going and it’s an exciting opportunity.”
Professor Ebdon added that the shadow council has already begun meeting local employers to discuss the degrees which will be offered.