Ambleside residents have their say over plans for university campus

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

THE latest plans to bring more than 500 students back to the University of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus are open to comments for the next fortnight.

A public exhibition was held at the campus over the weekend, with residents able to look at the latest draft of the masterplan and give their feedback. Online and postal comments will also be accepted until January 6.

After concern from residents during the last consultation, plans for a student accommodation block to be built on the site have been removed for the time being.

A spokesman for the university said its location would be looked at again in the spring.

And there was confirmation that the neighbouring Greenbank residential estate will not be used for construction traffic, but rather the campus’s northern access, after an outcry from residents.

Estates director Mike Berry said that by 2014, it was expected 550 students would be back at the campus.

And he said the process of selling off surplus university buildings around the town to fund the redevelopment was under way after a ‘European-wide’ marketing campaign.

“We have had bids back on some of the lots but not all,” he explained.

“I am confident as we are about to embark on the second round that the bids received will give both the university and planning department the confidence that they will deliver the income we need.”

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Responding to calls for the university to engage with local community groups as part of its sell-off, Mr Berry said the bids process had been ‘open to all’.

“It has been clearly highlighted from early on and it has not excluded anybody,” he said. “We are working very closely with the Lake District National Park Authority’s planning department and potential bidders.”

A planning application is expected to be submitted to the park authority in 2012, when comments from the consultation will be considered.

A spokesman said: “The university is pleased that people took the opportunity to attend the consultation exhibition on Friday and Saturday.”

He said feedback to date had been positive and the university would continue to talk to residents and other stakeholders.

Visitors can give feedback online at www.cumbria.ac.uk/ amblesideconsultation until Sunday, January 6.

The exhibition boards will be at Ambleside Library over the Christmas period.

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