A UNIVERSITY is in discussions to open up a new faculty in Croydon – and could rent out space in the council's new HQ. Representatives from the University of Roehampton, based in south-west London, have met with council leader Tony Newman to discuss bringing a campus to the borough. Cllr Newman said the council was keen to "start getting better value" on Bernard Weatherill House and hoped to strike a deal to see the university move into part of the building. He said: "It could be there. It's no secret we made a big deal about the new offices in the build-up to the election and we are keen to see Bernard Weatherill House give a greater return for Croydon residents and to increase the range of stuff going on there. "We are very keen to see them come to Croydon and it would complement the great work going on at Croydon College." Cllr Newman said Roehampton is keen to open the faculty "in the next couple of years" and was looking at various sites other than Bernard Weatherill House. While it is unclear what department would move to Croydon, the council leader – who threw some shapes of his own watching Arcade Fire at Hyde Park last week – said he had heard dance mentioned by officials. Professor Lynn Dobbs, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Roehampton, said: "We are in very early exploratory talks regarding potential opportunities in Croydon. Although the discussions to date have been extremely positive, no decisions have been taken regarding the nature of the activity, if any, that will take place in the area." Gavin Barwell, Croydon Central MP, said he had met with intermediaries acting on behalf of the university as early as March. He said the university was very serious about making the Croydon base an important part of its offer and were looking at a number of sites around East Croydon station and Wellesley Road. He added: "A town the size of Croydon should have a university really. There could be serious economic benefits for the town. "One of the reasons they are looking at Croydon is because a significant number of peoples at the university are from the borough." Mr Barwell also said he is not against the idea of the university's base being at Bernard Weatherill House but is unsure if it would have enough space to accommodate its plans. The university hopes to initially open to between 200 and 300 students.
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