Eastbourne to lose 2,000 uni students as campus closure is announced

The Checkland building at the University of Brighton Credit: University of Brighton

The Eastbourne campus of the University of Brighton is to close by September 2024, it has been announced.

The closure of all three of Eastbourne’s sites – Hillbrow, which includes the sports centre, Darley Road and Leaf Hospital – means the loss of about 2,000 students from the town.

It's a blow to council leaders, who say it will also result in a loss of sports and health facilities for residents.

David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council, said: "I am extremely disappointed that the University of Brighton is going ahead with the closure of its Eastbourne campus, having made strong objections to this plan during the consultation process.

Welkin Halls in Eastbourne Credit: University of Brighton

"The university will have no physical presence in Eastbourne beyond this time and that represents a massive blow to the town.

"Not only has the Eastbourne campus attracted students here, bringing economic benefits such as the money they spend locally and employment for staff, losing these sites will result in a loss of sports and health facilities for residents.

"Following this decision by the University of Brighton, we will be proactively engaging with other universities to encourage them to establish a campus in Eastbourne.

"There are so many benefits for a university to locate in our wonderful seaside town and we are very keen to welcome a new third-level education organisation here, with all the accompanying advantages that brings for residents and businesses."

The decision comes just a few years after the University closed its Hastings campus.

The decision to approve the proposals follows a ten-week public consultation which took place between October and December 2021.

The plans build on the redevelopment and expansion of the University of Brighton’s Moulsecoomb campus,  which has seen the creation of new halls of residence, new sport, leisure and Students’ Union facilities and a new home for the School of Business and Law.

As part of the plans, significant investment will take place over the next two years at the University’s Moulsecoomb and Falmer campuses.

At Falmer, the repurposing of the site previously occupied by Virgin Active will enable the School of Sport and Health Sciences – currently split across Falmer and Eastbourne campuses – to come together on an expanded Falmer campus.

Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “Our Eastbourne campus is an important part of the University’s history and heritage.

"While we may not continue to have a physical presence in Eastbourne in the future, the University of Brighton remains firmly committed to its role supporting people and businesses across East Sussex and beyond.

"We have a strong track record of working in partnership in our region and that will only grow stronger as we move forward with our plans.”