A MUCH loved Whitehaven hotel has been bought by a university - to provide additional student accomodation and 'keep pace' with the growth of their campus located within the town.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has purchased Summergrove Halls near Whitehaven in Cumbria, a hotel which will now provide additional student accommodation within walking distance of UCLan’s Westlakes Campus.

Westlakes includes 'state-of-the-art clinical skills laboratories, simulation suites, teaching spaces, a lecture theatre and library'.

A range of vocational courses in medicine and nursing are delivered from the campus, and it is home to the National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine (NCRRM), which helps train clinicians in all aspects of medicine relating to living and working in remote and rural environments.

The university said that student numbers have grown rapidly at the campus with an unprecedented increase in applications.

The purchase of Summergrove Halls allows UCLan to expand their student accommodation provision as it is located within walking distance of both the campus and West Cumberland Hospital, where many students spend time on placements.

Summergrove Halls also includes facilities such as a restaurant, social space, gym, laundry area, outdoor seating and self-catering kitchen facilities.

A UCLan spokesperson said: “Our Westlakes campus, and the National Centre for Remote and Rural Medicine, gives students a chance to study, practice and live in a rural community, with all the unique opportunities and challenges that can bring.

“We’re seeing the number of students at Westlakes growing, and our facilities need to expand to keep pace with this growth.

"This new accommodation, providing additional rooms, will mean we can continue to provide an excellent educational experience for our students, in turn encouraging healthcare professionals to train and work in Cumbria.

"We’re very grateful to all at Summergrove Halls who have made this new venture possible.”

The NCRRM at Westlakes has been working with NHS partners in Cumbria since 2017, with the aim of improving the provision of medical services for patients across the county.

It says its aim is to 'equip future nurses, physician associates and doctors with the knowledge and skills they need to provide the best possible care, tailored to the specific needs of patients in rural communities'.

UCLan will take over ownership of the accommodation in the next couple of months and in the meantime will be working with Summergrove Halls to manage the transfer of employees from the hotel to the university