Leader of Rochdale Council reveals university ambition

The leader of the council has revealed his ambition for Rochdale to become a university town.

Town hall supremo Councillor Allen Brett wants to bring a student campus to the borough by teaming up with an existing higher education establishment, in the way Bury and Oldham have.

And he believes the connections are already in place that could see his vision of Rochdale as a seat of learning become a reality.

The former teacher says that the borough has links with the University of Huddersfield via its textile and advanced manufacturing industries, while the council has  been talking to the University of Salford about its aspirations.

The town hall has also approached Hopwood Hall College to see if it would be interested in being part of the venture.
Coun Brett says he  is treating it as a matter of some priority.

“If we don’t start now we’ll never get one,” he said.

The town hall chief also sees it as tying in with his overarching regeneration strategy, from the building work it would involve to the extra people it would bring.

“Regeneration comes in various forms. If you have got a big new firm moving to Rochdale you want them to have a house they feel is commensurate with their status.” he said.

“We want that person living in the borough, shopping in the borough and educating their children in the borough – and when they (the children) have finished going through the school system, going to university in the borough.”

And, ultimately,  he sees that as a way of boosting the skills base in the borough  creating a virtuous circle of investment.

“Research shows that where people went to university is often where they ended up working,” said Coun Brett, adding that this is true of his own experience.

Coun Brett has asked officers are to continuing to explore the possibility of bringing a university campus to Rochdale, with the universities of Salford and Huddersfield being the parent establishments.

No potential site has yet been identified for the campus.

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