University of Leicester eBulletin

University of Leicester Development Plan: The Vision

September 2002
No 205a

STRICTLY EMBARGOED UNTIL 00.01 FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27

The  £300 million Development Plan for the University of Leicester will transform the University of Leicester’s physical environment, creating a forward-looking campus in which to work and study.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess said: “The existing buildings on the main campus of the University of Leicester are a dominant feature of the Leicester skyline.

“These buildings, like much of the central campus, were developed some 30 years ago. It is therefore appropriate we should re-examine the physical structure of our campus and think about ways in which the University of Leicester can be developed over the next 30 years.

“The University of Leicester needs to plan boldly for the future to meet the requirements of higher education in the 21st century. This plan provides an integrated approach to meeting and balancing the needs of the University.

“We aim to create an environment suited to the multitude of functions of a university - including research, teaching, learning, recreation, sport, catering, business, conferences and public programmes.

“The interface with the Leicester community is one of the most exciting features of this development as the campus is opened up to provide a more inviting aspect to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire.

“This plan destroys the myth of universities as ivory towers as the University of Leicester affirms it is an integral part of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland – an international institution with strong local roots.

“Our physical environment will provide an ‘open face’ to the community and the physical structure of the University would be changed to provide a gateway to our world-class facilities – an exciting new interface between the worlds of the university and city.”

Steven Pidwill, Director of architectural practice Shepheard Epstein Hunter which produced the plan after a six-month consultation, said: “The University of Leicester has increased its numbers at a much faster rate over the last 10 years than at any other time in its history.

“For the University to continue to thrive, it is essential that its physical estate in maintained, enhanced and developed.

“This plan can be implemented gradually, allowing the University to expand in an ordered, organic way.  The campus – the buildings and, equally important, the spaces between the buildings – form the image of the University and the first impression for prospective staff and students.

“That is why this Development Plan places importance on the creation of pedestrian routes through a sequence of squares and courts, organising the campus around a recognisable heart, which should be a lively and attractive place.”

President of the University of Leicester Students’ Union Pete Lewis said: “This is an exciting and imaginative plan for the University of Leicester. By recognising the need to maintain quality teaching facilities and superior student services, along with the necessity of having a vibrant Students' Union at the heart of the main campus, the University demonstrates that students have been foremost in mind during the planning process. We have helped to shape the project's development by engaging in the consultation process and we welcome the opportunity to continue working with the University."

City Council leader Ross Willmott commented: “Leicester City Council recognises the tremendous contribution made by the University of Leicester to the economy, reputation and to the intellectual and social life of the City, and warmly welcomes the planned investment in the development of the University.  The Council looks forward to working with the University to develop the details of these exciting proposals."

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Information supplied by: Barbara Whiteman
Last updated: September 2002
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