Chance for Ambleside to have its say over new student accommodation

The Westmorland Gazette: University chief operating officer Janet Whitworth University chief operating officer Janet Whitworth

A CONSULTATION to look at possible options for the University of Cumbria’s new student accommodation in Ambleside has opened to the public.

The historic site in the town was closed by the university in 2010. Parts were then mothballed until the institution did an assessment of its campus plans.

Now, after major investment, the re-development of the campus has begun, with the university’s ‘new vision’ ready for the public to view and discuss.

Three artist’s impressions of what the accommodation blocks could look like and their whereabouts were unveiled at the Beehive building last Friday.

University of Cumbria’s chief operating officer Janet Whitworth said: “This event is part of an ongoing consultation process for the redevelopment of our Ambleside campus and we would be grateful to hear the views of all our stakeholders.

“The aim of this consultation is to find out what the public think and adjusted plans to incorporate feedback received from all other consultation exercises.”

Over two years, 370 undergraduate and postgraduate students will return to the site. And the university is hoping to increase and develop a portfolio of activities that will benefit the students and the town.

Ms Whitworth said: “We want to provide a setting that is relevant to the subjects that are studied in such a unique setting here in Ambleside – subjects like forestry and outdoor studies.

“Not only that, there is a huge appeal for students to study in Ambleside, in the heart of the Lake District, with students in the UK and overseas wanting to live and study in the town.”

Some of the plans have caused concern among home owners in the area, particularly one of the proposals to build on playing fields near the current site.

Option one shows plans to build on the original site at Ambleside, house up to 156 students. Option two is fairly similar, with up to 141 beds. And option three shows plans to build three accommodation blocks on the neighbouring playing fields, housing 137 students.

“Of course it is going to cause some controversy to people who live in the area, anything that involves building and re-developing on land always does.

“But we want to focus on the positive side of this re-development, the young people it will bring to the area, and the business it will bring to the area,” said Ms Whitworth.

The exhibition has been moved to Ambleside library.

People can view the material online at www.cumbria.ac.uk/ambleside

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