EDGE Hill’s vice-chancellor has spoken of the university’s plans for the future, its place within the town and issues with student behaviour.
Dr John Cater sat down with the Advertiser to discuss the key issues of its relationship with Ormskirk – and where it is heading.
He said: “In any town which has got a £100m business with 3,500 employees there will always be pluses and challenges as well. My argument is I accept there are some challenges but the benefits the university brings to the locality are greater than the difficulties created.
“Although Ormskirk is suffering to some extent from the recession I think the buoyancy of the university is one of the things which means its suffering slightly less than other areas.”
Dr Cater, who joined the then college in 1979 and became principal in 1993, has overseen Edge Hill’s move to becoming a university in 2006, and its growth to the current position – with around 11,000 full-time students at the St Helens Road campus. Detailing where the focus lies now that the university has reached the stage it no longer needs to increase student numbers, he said: “What you’ll see us trying to do over the next five years or so is to further strengthen our brand and reputation.”
He said he had “no issue at all” with the bid being discussed by West Lancs council to introduce an early morning restriction order in the town centre to make all bars stop serving at 12am during the week – and encouraged students to use the bar on campus rather than heading intro the town.
But he said suggestions Edge Hill could provide a bus to ferry students back to campus weren’t feasible as they leave bars at different times and it only works with organised events.
Explaining how he saw the impact on the housing market reducing over the next few years due to the university taking on around 200 fewer students last year – and the same again this year – he said: “The situation in the town will get better and continue to get better over the next few years because we are in a position each year now to accommodate a higher proportion of students on campus.
“Ormskirk 2005 won’t be recreated. But Ormskirk 2013 is probably close to the peak in terms of scale and presence of students in the town.”