A £300,000 University of South Wales attempt to expand into London - amid controversially shutting the Caerleon campus - was aborted in January this year before taking on any students, it has been revealed.

The university wanted to cash in on the lucrative international student market, offering part-time courses to people from overseas.

But now it has been said Home Office immigration crackdown on students meant the plan was no longer viable, and the proposal was shut it down before taking on any students.

The Lib Dem’s Newport East candidate for the Assembly elections has subsequently called on university vice chancellor Julie Lydon to resign.

Paul Halliday, a vocal campaigner for Caerleon Campus to stay open, said: “Julie Lydon is clearly not fit to be vice chancellor of USW and should resign with immediate effect. "Under her leadership not only have we seen the Caerleon campus of the university being run down, ultimately to be sold off, but we now see almost half a million pounds being wasted on a London campus vanity project. The comments I continue to get from students, staff and the community is that she has lost their trust and respect.”

The university announced it would shut its base in Caerleon in 2014 and focus on the Newport city centre campus next to the Usk after Glamorgan and Newport universities merged into USW, now the largest Welsh university.

It also announced its intention to have a base in London, like other Welsh universities including Cardiff Metropolitan and Bangor, offering courses predominantly in business areas. The Argus understands such courses can subsidise campuses at home in Wales as universities are able to charge international students more.

Although students applied to study at the centre in London’s Docklands after it was launched last summer, the university shut it down before anyone studied there although four staff members were employed.

The university did not pay rent on the building but would have paid a proportion of the fees for the undergradutate, post-graduate and professional qualifications on offer in subjects such as finance, law and information security.

A spokesman for the university said: “The university explored a “proof of concept” exercise that involved a hosted-facilities arrangement for USW’s own staff to teach its part-time courses in a small, highly specialised range of professional disciplines.

"The arrangement allowed us to test the market without major financial outlay.

"We had a number of student applications but, having tested the market, USW decided not to proceed at this time.

"In part, the business case was based on recruiting international students.

“However, the UK visa regulations changed in between the decision to start the project and the point at which we would have moved to enrol students.

"This change, for universities recruiting to satellite delivery points, introduced a level of complexity which impacted on the viability of the project."

The university has not published the figure but it is understood that the expenditure was around £300,000.