THE construction of new student accommodation has moved a step closer after a final plan was unveiled by the University of Cumbria.
Bosses have reduced a shortlist of three potential options - all using land on the campus in Ambleside - down to one plan, which will be submitted to the council within weeks.
The ‘preferred option’, according to a university spokeswoman, would be ‘a mix’ of the best aspects of each of the three shortlisted ideas, using a plot south-west of Rydal Road and one west of the existing cottages on the main campus site.
The proposal has been developed in response to public consultation, with the aim of dispersing accommodation across both sites, reducing the number of bed spaces to 140, retaining the Beehive building and green space on Nook Lane adjacent to the Charlotte Mason building.
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Chief operating officer Janet Whitworth said: “The university is competing in an increasingly competitive higher education market and must provide accommdation which meets the high expectation of fee paying students. Creating the right student experience is critical in ensuring the success of the campus.
“As part of the university’s long-term business plan, it is proposed that the campus will be used as a conference centre during the vacation periods, similar to the model used at many universities across the country to maximise occupation of the campus and create revenue income for the university.”
The three shortlisted options included development at the north of the campus, development south-west of Rydal Road which would be close to the existing halls of residence or several smaller developments dispersed across the campus.
Consultation took place in February, when it was made clear the accommodation must be on university-owned land, be on or immediately adjacent to the campus and provide up to 150 bedrooms.
“Offering good quality, single occupancy en-suite accommodation will play a key role in making this a viable business model,” added Ms Whitworth.