The University College for the Creative Arts (UCCA) has announced proposals to close down its Maidstone campus in Kent as it seeks to establish a single campus in the area. UCCA officials have claimed that Maidstone college is one of five campuses that are likely to be financially unsustainable in the long term. However, officials have not ruled out the possibility of retaining provision in Maidstone if a suitable development opportunity can be found. The university is planning to increase its student numbers to 9,000 over the next 10 years by broadening the academic portfolio to include the performing arts. A feasibility study in July will consider the possibility of closing down the college at Oakwood Park in Maidstone over the next two to four years.
The rector of the institution, Elaine Thomas, has outlined a ten-year plan for a £75m modern, eco-friendly campus in Kent, a project that will provide improved facilities and new academic opportunities in creative arts. She has said that the new campus will eventually incorporate all the existing teaching in Kent and expand the academic portfolio to encompass the performing arts. Staff at the university are concerned that the proposed savings of £3.3m pa will inevitably lead to redundancies, and courses that do not enrol an adequate number of students face elimination. This has raised concerns among students that the value of their qualifications will suffer if courses are closed, leading to the loss of a unique course, one of the few of its kind in Europe.