A PROFESSOR has criticised his university for announcing it is likely to abandon plans for a new laboratory.

The University of Sussex spent ten years and £7 million on blueprints for a £100 million biology building.

Permission was secured to start the project three years ago.

But now the university has admitted it is unlikely to go ahead, prompting Professor Laurence Pearl to accuse vice-chancellor Professor Adam Tickell of “chickening out”. “It’s a completely wasted opportunity,” Prof Pearl said.

“We’re embarrassed to show prospective students around the current building because they’re often worse than what’s on offer in some schools.

“It’s not the place for cutting-edge research. It was built in the Sixties.

“Prof Tickell had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the university’s international standing, but sadly chickened out.”

Management has proposed refurbishing the existing biology building instead.

But Prof Pearl said the idea would not work.

“The narrow corridor structure of the existing buildings is completely unsuited to modern interactive team laboratory research and modern health and safety requirements,” he said.

“Massive disruption would be caused to ongoing research and teaching.

“The current university management is in danger of ploughing more of the university’s increasingly limited financial resources into yet another ineffectual planning cycle.

“We were once the tenth-best university in the country for life sciences, on par with Cambridge.”

A University of Sussex spokesman said the final decision on the building would be made later this month.

“The university announced in February 2018 that it was pausing the plans for life sciences to allow a review to take place,” he said.

“Some people closely involved in the original project will understandably be upset but, in these changing times, nearly all organisations need to make difficult decisions.

“Instead we are recommending our council approves a significant investment to go towards substantially refurbishing the existing school of life sciences estate.

“We asked our university community and they were clear we should make long-term investments that ensure the greatest benefit.”