A ROW is brewing between the University of South Wales and campaigners from the Welsh Liberal Democrats hoping to keep the Caerleon Campus open.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by a campaigner appears to cast serious doubts on the university’s claims that an investment of £20 million is needed to bring the campus up to scratch.

But the university argues that the figures used by the campaigners are ‘selective’.

In September, the University of South Wales announced plans to close the Caerleon campus within the next two to three years, shutting its doors to new students this year, putting 145 jobs at risk and affecting 2,500 students.

Paul Halliday, Welsh Liberal Democrat’s prospective candidate for Newport East, says a Freedom Of Information request he submitted to the university shows that the buildings at Caerleon need just £5.5 million to bring them up to the standard expected.

Figures seen by the Argus appear to show it would take just £5,518,988.04 to bring Caerleon Campus’ buildings up to date with a further £1,794,979.88 to bring residences up to standard.

Mr Halliday said: “The figure they have now given is about a quarter of what the university claimed the campus needed when they tried to justify closing it.

“Even if you add in the £1.8 million they now say they need for the accommodation blocks, the total is still way short of £20 million.

“If they can be misleading in this way on the simple facts they have put forward, how can we trust anything else they have told us.”

A petition started by Mr Halliday has more than 2672 signatures campaigning to keep the campus open.

A USW spokesman said: “The campaigner appears to be using information selectively, and which doesn’t reflect the current and future requirements to bring Caerleon up to the modern standards required.

“Although for understandable reasons our assessment is commercially sensitive, we can confirm that in our view, a figure of in the region of £20m is needed.”