Committee to take second look at UWE campus expansion plans

University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol.

Members of South Gloucestershire Council’s Development Control (West) Committee will tomorrow (Thursday 6th June) take a second look at an outline planning application for a major expansion of the University of the West of England’s (UWE’s) Frenchay Campus in North Bristol.

The plans include the erection of new buildings “for academic, recreation, administration and support purposes”, a 200-bed hotel and a new public transport hub.

If implemented, the so-called ‘UWE Masterplan‘ will allow the university to increase the number of students studying at the site from the present 18,000 to 25,000. The number of students living on campus would similarly increase from 2,000 to 3,500.

Councillors on the committee first considered the application at their meeting in May, but decided to defer a decision to allow time for a site visit, which subsequently took place on 24th May.

Stoke Gifford Parish Council has raised concerns about the potential for “rat running traffic flows along Long Down Avenue” if the university is granted its wish to re-open the currently unused “south entrance” onto that road (which serves the new Cheswick Village housing development). It has also asked for the junction of Long Down Avenue and Coldharbour Lane to be remodelled in order to “address the needs of the wider community and modes of transport other than the car”.

The council’s officers have recommended that permission be granted, subject to a number of conditions.

In addition to its application for outline planning permission for its masterplan, the university last month submitted a full planning application for the construction of a new students’ union building on the campus. The new building was originally expected to be ready by September 2013, but is reported to have been delayed because of planning officers’ concerns about its potential visual impact on the nearby grade II listed Wallscourt Farmhouse, currently used as the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

Wallscourt Farm, Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Photo: Wallscourt Farmhouse (located within the UWE campus).

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