The University of Cumbria is moving ahead with extensive plans to redevelop its entire Lancaster campus. The changes are part of its decade long masterplan to 2030.
With student numbers reducing and future growth predicted to be modest, bosses at the university aim to revitalise the campus – which is at the south east of Lancaster’s city centre.
“Over the last two years the university has been working to deliver its estates strategy which was agreed in 2018. The objectives of this strategy are to deliver just enough of the right type of space and services, available at the right times, in the right condition, at sustainable financial and environmental cost.”Kate McLaughlin-Flynn, Director of Finance and Resources, University of Cumbria
The University of Cumbria will be demolishing a number of its vacant student halls – at the city campus off Bowerham Road. These will include the William Thompson Tower, Gressingham Halls and Sarah Witham Thompson Halls. The university will also be demolishing part of the art school, the old dining room and The Black Box theatre.
The decision to demolish is to remove redundant building stock – which will provide opportunities for the development of new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). It’s also seen as an opportunity to raise future revenue – via the disposal or redevelopment of surplus land.
The new PBSA will be built where other vacant and under-used buildings are – behind the campus’ Gateway building and chapel.
“Good progress has been made and while we have invested in new buildings and refurbishing others, the amount of space that we occupy is not proportionate to the size of the university and our future delivery plans; we have too much space.
“Many of the older buildings are in poor condition, not suitable for modern teaching or empty. This brings high costs to both maintain and run, but also to improve the poorer buildings to a suitable standard.”Kate McLaughlin-Flynn, Director of Finance and Resources, University of Cumbria
Historically, the Lancaster campus was home to Bowerham Barracks (1880 – 1959) and St Martin’s College, which was established in 1964. The existing Barracks buildings (1880), the Harold Bridges Library (1976) and the Chapel (1967) currently remain on campus.