More student accommodation to be built in Bognor

University of Chichester vice-chancellor Jane Longmore, seen here completing the last section of the new engineering park, spoke to councillors
University of Chichester vice-chancellor Jane Longmore, seen here completing the last section of the new engineering park, spoke to councillors

More student accommodation is planned for Bognor to help cope with an extra 1,500 students moving to the town.

The University of Chichester’s brand new Engineering and Digital Technology Park is due to be finished this year, and will bring hundreds more students to Bognor.

Speaking at Bognor Town Council on Monday, university vice-chancellor Jane Longmore said: “I have been at the university a very short time but it has been a fantastic experience. It is a wonderful university.

“I am very pleased that we have got the two campuses.

“They are very different in feel but they are both excellent.

“On this campus at the moment we have fewer students than we have on Chichester campus, but that will change over the next few years.”

But councillor Jim Brooks questioned where the hefty influx of students would live.

He said: “There will be 1,500 extra students but you are only providing accommodation for 300.

“I think there will be some pressure in the town and I think a few people will be raising their rents which concerns me.”

Mrs Longmore said she understood the effect this would have on the town and pledged action.

She told councillors: “We have to be good neighbours and we have to be aware of the pressure we put on the community.

“We are looking to put more university accommodation together.

“We will not be able to accommodate every student.

“I think what we will see is a gradual tilting of the accommodation. It will not happen overnight.”

The new Engineering and Digital Technology Park will focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses, creating up to 1,500 extra student places and 300 work placements by 2023/24.

Councillor Jan Cosgrove asked Mrs Longmore what the university is doing to help local young people in an area with low educational performance compared to the rest of the country.

Mrs Longmore said: “We do as an institution provide teachers for a lot of schools.

“The Academy Trust is the other way in which we are trying to work with schools.”

The vice-chancellor said the trust has worked ‘incredibly hard to lift schools’.

“Nobody cares more about it than we do.”