CIVIC leaders have welcomed an ambitious bid for Accrington to become a university town.
Accrington and Rossendale College has expressed an interest in creating a new campus – one of only four towns in the North West and 27 in the country to register for the Government’s "university challenge" scheme.
The aim is to bring the benefits of higher education to more communities up and down the country by building 20 new universities over the next six years.
Hyndburn’s MP Greg Pope, who has already lobbied Skills Secretary John Denham, said: "A new university campus would bring a wealth of opportunitiers to people in Hyndburn.
"It would create jobs, help local businesses and give people the top-level training they need without having to move away from home.
"But there will be stiff competition, which is why I am committed to working with the council, the college and local businesses to make our bid a winning one."
Equally enthusiastic was council leader Peter Britcliffe, who said: "This is a wonderful idea which could breathe new life into the town.
"Accrington is the ideal location for a university, being located right in the heart of Pennine Lancashire.
"I would expect it to massively improve prosperity in the town, creating huge social regeneration. It’s very exciting."
The other North West towns making a bid are Wirral, Rochdale and Stockport.