Job seekers are suffering the loss of more than 2,000 Horsham vacancies after the collapse of a deal to bring a University campus to the town Brighton University pulled out of a bid to buy the former Novartis site in Wimblehurst Road after a Government agency refused crucial funding.
The hi-tech campus for higher education would have potentially employed about 2,250 people and brought £1.7 billion of investment to the area. As well as the prestige of having a university department based in Horsham, the purchase would have brought a massive jobs boost. Glen Poole communications manager for the university told the Post: “The site was excellent for many reasons. But without the actual funding in place we can’t go forward.” The scheme was doomed when the university’s application to the Regional Growth Fund was unsuccessful, and attempts to find alternative funding to support the University’s own investment have failed. The university planned to open an innovative, high-quality centre for higher education, providing about 3, 500 places for students. Tom Crowley, chief executive of Horsham District Council, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the University of Brighton has not been able to agree the Government funding package they require to redevelop the former Novartis site as a student campus. “We have worked very closely with the University in recent months to help them secure alternative investment, but sadly they have now confirmed that they are withdrawing from further negotiations to secure the site. “We will continue working with Novartis to investigate other options for the site and we are confident that there is sufficient flexibility on other sites to satisfy the district’s housing and employment needs.” Professor Julian Crampton, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “The government grant was the minimum amount need to complement the university’s much more significant investment and as we have not been able to find an alternative and viable business plan for the development, the university has, very regretfully, had to withdraw from further negotiations for the purchase of the site”