THE UNIVERSITY of Brighton will not expand its student numbers beyond its current capacity of 21,000 over the next five years.

Vice-chancellor Debra Humpris told The Argus that there would be no expansion as part of their newly-launched strategy.

She has also committed to offering all first year students university-managed accommodation by 2021 in a move to “take the pressure” off the city’s housing market.

But Professor Humphris also warned about difficult times for the university sector in the wake of Brexit and Government plans to open up higher education to a wider range of providers.

The next five years will see £200 million invested in the university’s Brighton and Eastbourne campuses.

One of the first projects to bear fruit will be the “world-leading” £14 million Advanced Engineering Centre opening next year while plans for the £150 million Preston Barracks project are set to be submitted within weeks.

As well as a Central Research Laboratory, creating more than 700 jobs, the project will include 1,300 new student rooms and retail and leisure facilities for the community.

The university will also continue to expand its academy chain adding to the 14 schools it has across Sussex with two further schools in Crawley and the secondary free school in Brighton which will make it the largest university multi-academy trust in the country.

Prof Humphris said that further expansion would be unlikely if it diminished the level of support it could offer teachers and opportunities for young people.

She added that she could not currently say when the secondary free school site would be announced but said the university was working closely with the city council and other agencies to resolve land ownership issues.

The university’s Hastings site merits just a line in the 24-page strategy with the mention of plans to create a university centre in partnership with Sussex Coast College Hastings opening in 2017.

Campaigners and Hastings politicians had hoped that a consultation on the site, which closed this week, would reopen the possibility of it being retained as a campus.

But Prof Humphris said that the consultation was designed to explore how the new centre could work best for Hastings and that issues around the campuses’ financial viability remained the same.

She added that the sector was heading for difficult times because of the new Higher Education and Research Bill which is set to open the industry open to new providers.

She added: “We get over £2 million a year from EU funding. I don’t think anybody thought that on exit the same amount of money would be available to UK universities.

“I can’t believe the government will be making that available to universities when you have competing demands in the NHS and social care.

“It’s going to be challenging.”