UCL Bloomsbury Masterplan: Consultation feedback and next steps
24 June 2011
Over 160 responses from teams and individuals were received via the masterplan website during the consultation that ended in late May.
Comments from the consultation were wide-ranging. Examples included:
"I think that UCL's Campus is in great need of this masterplan. The campus has great potential and it's fantastic to see that something is being done about it. Look forward to seeing the changes and hope some of them will be visible before I graduate." (Undergraduate)
"The vision seems fine, even compelling but problems are likely to arise from how the vision is implemented." (Academic)
"What ever else, please retain the Housman Room at the centre of the estate as the heart of the college." (Academic)
"I think it will lead to a more rational use of the estate based on a coherent set of principles rather than historical accident." (Academic)
"This is a cogent plan of immense potential for maximising all year round full use of all these remarkable central London spaces: the opportunity for transforming Bloomsbury into a more strategically arranged and so even more dynamic scientific and cultural centre seems within reach." (Academic)
"The best news is the formation of a strategic planning unit to weigh the competing demands on space in a rational way against the plan. Membership of this group and the transparency of operation will be critical." (Support staff)
The three main themes from the feedback were:
- great concern about the proposals affecting the Housman Room and its functions (44% of the academics who responded).
- local concerns about the proposals affecting the Slade Woburn Research Centre (50% of the students who responded).
- comments about the lack of detail in the Masterplan - which was reflected in a significant level of 'don't know' responses.
In response to concerns about the future of the Housman Room, and reflecting the importance that UCL places on good staff facilities, a working party drawn from people across the institution, including the Academic Staff Common Room (ASCR) Committee, has been set up to look into staff facilities across UCL. The findings of this working party will be fed into the masterplan in due course.
The UCL Slade School has addressed its concerns over the proposed loss of the Woburn Research centre in a very positive way, by proposing a scheme to develop new studio space by extending the north elevation to their main Quad building. This is being reviewed as a possible inclusion in the masterplan.
The masterplan will be presented to the Finance Committee later this month and to UCL Council in July for adoption. Of course this will not be the end of the masterplan consultation process. Its aspirations, strategies and plans will be developed and implemented through dialogue with the UCL community and UCL Estates via the creation of the new Estates Strategy Unit. Regular progress updates will also be made in The Week@UCL.
Andrew Grainger, Director of Estates