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New £30m library and student accommodation gets council support

Planning permission has been granted for the University of Roehampton’s new £30million landmark library and accommodation buildings, after a unanimous vote in favour by Wandsworth Council’s planning committee last night.

Posted: 16 September 2014

image for news story New £30m library  and student accommodation gets council support
An artist's impression of how the University's brand new landmark library building will look

The work, at the University’s Digby Stuart College site, will be carried out by contractor Osborne. It is the central focus of an £80million masterplan to modernise facilities across the University, confirming Roehampton as one of the most attractive, up-to-date and ‘user-friendly’ campuses in London.

The purpose-built library will provide state-of-the-art facilities inside a visually impressive home which will make clear Roehampton’s commitment to world leading research and learning.

The new student accommodation will see 388 en-suite bedrooms built in clusters around two courtyards in the centre of the University’s Digby Stuart College. A conference suite will also be included to enhance further our academic conferencing and teaching provision.

Speaking at the committee meeting, ward councillor Jeremy Ambache said: “The University is of considerable benefit to the local community and needs to provide more accommodation for first years, we need to support the University in its role in Roehampton.”

A report by council planning officer Fiona Dyson stated: “The design will provide high quality accommodation to attract students, visitors and staff, and will support and enhance their experience of living and working at the University of Roehampton. The University requires a new and improved library provision which provides an environment that is fit for purpose for a 21st century university.”

Her report said the proposals which the committee approved were the outcome of extensive consultation, and confirmed that the Putney Society had given its overall support for both the library and the accommodation building. Both English Heritage and the Environment Agency raised no concerns as long as the conditions listed in the officer’s report were accepted. The University has committed to planting more than 140 young and semi-mature trees to replace a smaller number which would be lost in order for the building work to go ahead.

Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr, Director of Estates and Campus Services at the University of Roehampton, said: “Our students’ surroundings are key to their university experience so we’re planning the biggest regeneration of the heart of our campus for decades. Within three years, we will have attractive, modern, on campus accommodation and a library befitting our status as a growing university with internationally-recognised research.

“This is significant investment which will allow Roehampton to continue to improve and provide a great teaching and learning atmosphere as our reputation continues to grow. That is good news for our students and staff, and for the surrounding neighbourhood where the University plays such a significant role.”

A spokesman for Osborne said: “This is a major milestone in the project, and we are delighted that the planning committee was able to support the scheme. We look forward to working with the University over forthcoming months to deliver their vision in accordance with the Council’s requirements for the benefit of all concerned – the University, its students, and the wider local community.”

Subject to final approval from the Mayor of London due to the size of the development, construction work is due to start in January 2015, with the first buildings completed in July 2016.

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