LOSSES totalling £14m by Greenwich University are partly responsible for the decision to close its Dartford campus.

An estimated £9m was lost over the past four years by the university's Natural Resource Institute (NRI), which carries out government-funded scientific work for the Third World and is part of the Medway campus at Chatham Maritime.

But this only came to light recently when university chiefs realised the NRI's accounts were being audited over a different time period from the rest of the university.

To add to the bad news, Unison sources are suggesting there is a further loss of £5m this year.

Members of the public services union are now criticising the university's reluctance to let anyone look at a report into the losses by accountants Ernst and Young.

A spokesman said: “The university should be morally bound to provide the information so the 60 Dartford campus people who might be made redundant at least know why.”

Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate said: “It is disappointing a successful campus has to close because of the university's financial mismanagement elsewhere.

“The university had been expected to play a major role in the regeneration of Kent Thames-side, and its decision to withdraw from Dartford entirely has robbed the area of some key skills and facilities.”

From a leaked draft strategy paper by the university's vice-chancellor, Rick Trainor, the News Shopper learnt campus closures, including the Dartford and Woolwich campuses, will be the university's main way of recouping the NRI's losses over the next five years.

The NRI's acting director, Tony Clayton, denied the institute's difficulties will lead to the closure of the entire university, although the solution will be difficult with staff losing their jobs.

Explaining the decision to keep the Medway campus open and close the Dartford and Woolwich campuses, Mr Clayton commented: “The NRI has some very specialist equipment used by government scientists and students from the engineering, and earth and environmental science schools. To rebuild these facilities elsewhere would just be prohibitive.”