STUDENTS, lecturers and supporters marched through Brighton yesterday to demand their campus remains open.

Around 100 demonstrators chanted "they'll never take our campus" as they marched on the University of Brighton to protest against plans to close the Hastings site.

University bosses have said its current campus model was not sustainable as it predicted a sharp fall in the number of 16 to 17-year-olds in the town and also had increased competition.

It said yesterday it planned to turn the campus into a University Centre offering "an accessible ‘university experience’ to local students studying courses that enhance their careers."

Third-year Hastings student Ré Poko, was among those demonstrating yesterday.

He said facilities at the current campus were first-class and students as well as the town would be worse off without it.

He added: "It is about the commitment that the University of Brighton has made to the town, to the regeneration plans and also to the people who are there.

"They say there is going to be a decline in 16 and 17-year-olds: that is a really, really weird reason to move a campus.

"The other aspect of it I am annoyed about is the precedent it sets . If senior management are not consulting their staff, it is scary."

Carole Chick, branch secretary for the university's branch of Unison, said about 100 staff would be affected by any closure.

She added: "We are concerned about our university's commitment to its local communities and that has always been a very important part of why we have been proud to work for Brighton."

Also demonstrating yesterday was Hastings student Mark Harvey, 42.

He said the facilities at the campus for disabled people were excellent and it would be a huge waste to see them closed.

A spokesman for the university said all current students, including those applying for 2016 entry, would be able to complete their courses at the Hastings campus over the next three to four years.

He added they hoped to open the first University Centre courses in September 2017 and were not "as protesters are suggesting, simply closing our Campus and walking away".

He added: “Our decision to evolve the current campus into a new University Centre was taken precisely because it offers the best way to continue to provide the people of Hastings with access to educational opportunities that can help them to transform their lives and continue to support the town."