"Our legacy is important to us and the proposed uses for Beaconside are absolutely in line with that. It means that the site is retained for education and it brings a new international employer into Stafford. We remain committed to Stafford and are currently investing £4m in creating a self-contained Centre of Excellence for our highly rated nursing, midwifery and professional health courses at our Blackheath Lane site."
Margaret Monckton, Staffordshire University Deputy Chief Executive
Staffordshire University is selling its Beaconside campus to a Chinese investor for education purposes - honouring a commitment to leave a legacy for the county town.
The University has confirmed that contracts on the 50 acre site have now been exchanged and that it will be working closely with the new owners to help them realise their ambitions for the site.
Staffordshire University will maintain a strong presence in Stafford through its Centre of Excellence at Blackheath Lane which is home to approximately 1,500 students on nursing, midwifery and professional health courses.
And Staffordshire University Business Village, which offers commercial business space for new and fledgling businesses, will continue to operate on Stafford Technology Park after the University’s remaining courses are transferred from Beaconside to their main Stoke-on-Trent City campus in September this year.
Margaret Monckton, Deputy Chief Executive, said: "Our legacy is important to us and the proposed uses for Beaconside are absolutely in line with that. It means that the site is retained for education and it brings a new international employer into Stafford."
"We remain committed to Stafford and are currently investing £4m in creating a self-contained Centre of Excellence for our highly rated nursing, midwifery and professional health courses at our Blackheath Lane site."
News of the sale has been welcomed by Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy and leaders of Staffordshire County Council and Stafford Borough Council.
Jeremy Lefroy, MP said: "I am very supportive of the site being used for educational purposes. Stafford is increasingly becoming a town that welcomes international partners and clearly the UK is very keen on closer ties with China. I’m aware of concerns over the closure of Beaconside Sports Centre on the site but look forward to working with the investor to benefit the public of Stafford."
Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins added: "This is very welcome news for Stafford and our wider Staffordshire economy and presents us with more fresh opportunities. Closer links with China and their growing economy is good news and in particular that they have chosen Stafford for their educational investment."
Councillor Patrick Farrington, leader of Stafford Borough Council, said: "I am delighted with the proposed use and the retention of the site which will be a real benefit to Stafford and the wider community. I am looking forward to discussions with the new owners in the coming months and to welcoming them to our Borough."
Notes to editors:
Leading property adviser Bilfinger GVA were appointed to handle the sale of Beaconside on behalf of Staffordshire University. Situated just off Weston Road and less than two miles from Stafford town centre, the Beaconside site is currently home to a mix of buildings, including academic, leisure and student accommodation.
All computing and entertainment technology degrees will move from Beaconside to its Stoke-on-Trent campus by September 2016. Sale completion is scheduled for November 2016.
1,500 students and 100 staff from nursing midwifery and professional health courses are to remain based in Stafford at its Blackheath Lane site which is benefitting from £4m refurbishment.
Staffordshire University Business Village on the Stafford Technology Park will remain open and is unaffected by the sale of Beaconside.
Beaconside Sports Centre, which forms part of the site, is scheduled to close this summer although the use of the large Astroturf facility will remain in public use until June 2017.
Users of Beaconside Nursery, which is also open to the public, have been advised that the facility will close in September 2016.
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