SLASHING the government funding for Swindon’s first university campus has been labelled as “absolutely crazy” by the councillor in charge of the town’s regeneration.

Coun Phil Young, cabinet member for culture, regeneration and economic development, has spoken of his disappointment at the news that central government will be cutting funding for new universities by around £950m meaning the University of the West of England (UWE) will no longer be building a new campus in Swindon.

But he believes it is not the end of the road to get a university presence in the town as there are other options.

“It is absolutely crazy that there is no university presence in a town the size of Swindon,” he said.

“What is very frustrating is that the bid we had was one of the strongest in the entire country.

“We were shortlisted for the next stage of development because the bid was so good.

“It is important to say that this is not the end of the road for a university presence here, this is just another hurdle.”

Coun Young said there were two options to explore.

The first would be to work closely with Swindon College and New College to set up accredited university courses. These would be run in-house and would see students working towards university qualifications.

He said the second would see the establishment of Continuing Professional Development schemes – whereby businesses in the town would work in partnership with the university to allow employees to work towards a university accredited course.

During the Coate inquiry last year, where the plans for housing and a university campus were rejected on appeal, UWE bosses said they had already contacted a number of the town’s businesses including Honda, Motorola, Zurich and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Coun Young said he did not want the people or businesses in Swindon to give up on the project altogether.

He said: “This is too an important issue for us to let go of – this is just another hurdle along the road. We must not give up.

“We are still very committed to this project.

“This would be hugely beneficial to the people of Swindon and its future generations.”