Dockland campus gets the go-ahead

February 25, 2000

Quay to the future: work on the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside's development will begin later this year The University of Lincolnshire and Humberside has won its bid to transform nine acres of redundant dockland in Hull into a campus worth more than Pounds 48 million.

Subject to final approvals and planning consent, work on the riverside development will start later this year. It is hoped that students will be able to use the facilities by September 2001.

The investment comes only four years after ULH invested more than Pounds 50 million in its Lincoln campus. A large proportion of the university's estate is to be disposed of, according to a university spokesperson, who said it was "an important part of the development package".

Britain's universities have spent more than Pounds 200 million on new facilities during the past three years, according to figures from the British Universities Accommodation Consortium.

More than two-thirds of this sum has been used to improve standards of residential accommodation, with many halls of residence being upgraded from three to four-star accommodation.

BUAC's studies also revealed that universities are now hosting more than 80 per cent of Britain's business events, including launches, training courses and hospitality days.

It is becoming increasingly common for universities to contract out the management and maintenance of their halls of residence to specialist companies, raising student fears of steep rent increases.

Groups such as Unite, a Bristol-based provider of multi-occupancy accommodation for the health and education sectors, are poised to expand in this area. Unite announced this week that it had taken over two halls of residence close to Manchester Metropolitan University. Nicholas Porter, Unite's managing director, said this type of arrangement would allow universities to invest their time and capital elsewhere.

News of the development plans comes as students across the country continue to protest against rent costs. Worried students at Leeds University are preparing to campaign against rent increases after it was announced that a hall of residence was to be privatised.

A university spokesperson said the land would be leased out for only 30 years, to allow essential development work to take place.

The spokesperson said: "We face a range of options costing between Pounds 6 million and Pounds 10 million. The university is not in a position to consider the possibility of the huge investment required."

Working groups are to consider all available options.

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