Crumbling building backlog tackled

April 18, 1997

Crumbling new universities are to benefit from money set aside by funding council chiefs.

Under the proposals about Pounds 30 million per year would go to new universities and colleges of higher education which inherited badly maintained buildings from local authorities when they left their control eight years ago.

Money for the projects, which should start in 1998, will come from winding up the present backlog maintenance programme due to end next March. Universities estimate that about Pounds 1 billion- worth of maintenance still needs to be done.

Brian Roper, vice chancellor of the University of North London, said he wanted laboratory money to be allocated through value for money in teaching rather than just research. "We aren't looking for frills, we are looking for basic facilities," he said. "We don't expect to compete on research money but we do expect equal treatment over buildings."

But Peter Knight, vice chancellor of the University of Central England, disagreed with any kind of top-slicing. "It gives the impression that if you leave a difficult problem, the funding council will step in," he said.

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