Questions over Uni sell-off

How the campus will look after redevelopment, with the new centrepiece shown in the centre of the plan.
How the campus will look after redevelopment, with the new centrepiece shown in the centre of the plan.

Regards University of Cumbria local sellout – I totally support investment in the local area if it has a local benefit. As a nearby resident I read with great interest the Lancaster Guardian article about the University plans for Bowerham. Janet Whitworth claiming: “the investment is good for local people” and being “honest and open” with the local community but I did however notice a few very important differences between the newspaper report and the actual plan obtained from the University website.

Parking – The report says that “Car parking on campus is expected to remain a similar amount, or slightly increase”. The official University plan quotes existing capacity as 563 spaces and proposed capacity of 399 spaces plus overflow of 33 space (total 432) reduction of 131 spaces. Loss of 24 per cent capacity is hardly the same or an increase unless Ms Whitworth has created a new branch of mathematics at the University. Local people have had enough of the parking issues caused by the University and do not need it deliberately making it worse.

Selling off land for development – The article talks about selling off land for other uses but carefully steers away from one word used in the University plan – retail. Were it to be sold for this use this could harm rather than benefit our existing local business, potentially disastrous for them but great for the property price to the University. It also hard points to a University committed to expanding or remaining in the area if it wishes to sell a significant part of the site off.

The consultation is open – Anyone interested or local to the University, please do visit the University website and download the actual consultation document. You only have until August 2 to make your views known, positive or negative. With many local people being away as part of the traditional Lancaster holiday period, the more cynical reader might think the consultation timing was deliberately chosen to minimise possible negative local comment.

A very concerned Bowerham resident

Name and address supplied.