University challenge

A SECOND MP has launched a campaign to bring a university to the north of the county.

Corby MP Phil Hope yesterday said he was campaigning to create a university in the town as part of the new Tresham Institute building being developed near the new railway station.

But the move fuels concerns that Corby and Kettering may appear as rivals for the main campus site.

Corby Council leader Pat Fawcett said she is backing Mr Hope's bid and while she is keen to work with Kettering Council, she viewed the main site coming to Corby.

She told the Evening Telegraph: "I will be backing Phil Hope's campaign, with the core of the university in Corby and the spokes in Kettering."

But Kettering Council leader Jim Hakewill has urged all parties to focus on presenting a united bid to bring a university to the north of the county.

The Government has announced it wants to create 20 new universities and a campaign has started to bring one to north Northamptonshire.

Mr Hope said he wants local people to put their weight behind the plan before he presents a detailed case to secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills John Denham on May 14.

He said he thought the case for the main campus in Corby was "overwhelming" in terms of the economic and educational needs of the town but did not rule out the possibility of a sister campus emerging elsewhere.

Mr Hope said: "This has got to be a bid based on educational and economic benefits for which I feel Corby has the strongest case. I really want all local authorities in north Northamptonshire to support my proposal."

Members of Kettering Council will next week discuss a motion to "vigorously pursue a university campus in Kettering" with a sister campus in Corby.

Kettering MP Phillip Hollobone said the sensible approach would be to have a joint bid in north Northamptonshire.

He said: "Calls for a university in just one of the towns isn't helpful. We need a multi-borough and district approach if we are to maximise success."

Tresham Institute principal Mark Silverman said: "I think the important thing is to get higher education into north Northamptonshire. Our vision is to create a very aspirational higher education which is

going to attract more young people to stay in education."