£20m education centre plan for Wirral moves a step closer

Plans to create a £20m centre of higher education at the heart of a new Wirral Learning Zone have moved a step closer.

A proposal submitted by the University of Chester has been given the green light to move onto the second stage in the process.

Out of 23 proposals submitted to the Higher Education Funding Council for England just six across the country have been given approval to move forward, although any further progress will be subject to a decision on how much government funding is available.

If the ambitious plans come to fruition, a flagship higher education centre would be created in the borough.

The so-called "Learning Zone" would also incorporate a new further education campus for Wirral Metropolitan College and a Special Educational Needs teaching facility.

Professor Tim Wheeler, the University of Chester’s vice-chancellor, said: “Although the plans are very much in their early stages and further progress is subject to funding being available, we believe this proposal could help unlock the potential, competitiveness and productivity of Wirral"

He said it would provide not just the highest quality teaching and learning facilities, but also "a stable and nurturing environment within which individuals can be supported to maximise their talents."

Chester University had worked with Wirral Council, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and Wirral Metropolitan College to develop the proposal.

A statement from the university said a significant proportion of Wirral’s working age population possess no formal qualifications, and a current shortage of opportunities for individuals to secure higher-level skills has resulted.