- What are the proposals?
- What is a Masterplan Outline Planning Application?
- Have you discussed these proposals with the local planning authorities?
- Who are you consulting with, and what arrangements have you put in place for local people to make their views known?
- What comments have you received so far?
- Why should the University be allowed to build in the Green Belt?
- Why don’t you just continue to develop the campus on the Coventry land rather than build in the Green Belt?
- Your draft plan only shows zones of development – why is this, and when will you tell local people what actual buildings are planned?
- Will proposed developments on the Warwickshire land be kept within the area already developed, or are you now starting to encroach towards Kenilworth?
- What is the environmental impact of these proposals?
- Expansion of the University will obviously lead to an increase in student numbers – where will these students be accommodated?
- Will your proposed developments increase traffic on the local roads?
- What will be done to alleviate congestion on the local roads?
- What will the Travel Plan include?
- What about improving public transport?
- What are the plans for the Bus Rapid Transit?
The University intends to submit an outline planning application to the relevant authorities, setting out the University’s vision for the future and its plans for development of its campus over the next 10 years.
The planning application will seek endorsement of a ‘Masterplan’ which will provide a framework for the scale and location of future development.
Since the University was established in 1964, its development has been guided by a succession of Masterplans. The last one covered the period 1994-2004, so we now need a new up-to-date version. Find out more about why the University needs to expand.
The Masterplan will provide a broad framework for the future physical development of the University campus – including provision for teaching, research, academic, support services and social facilities. Whilst it does not include designs for individual buildings, it does seek to define plots where new development might be best located and to establish the maximum scale, massing and height for each of these locations.
New planting, landscaping, access and other infrastructure proposals are also incorporated in the Masterplan to help ensure any future development integrates well with its setting and has a positive impact on the environment.
The Masterplan will form the main document submitted to the local authorities, seeking outline planning permission.
Yes – they have been closely involved from the outset and their feedback has informed the University’s overriding strategy as well as the more detailed matters in relation to the design of the Masterplan and its related provisions. Our local authorities are members of the Steering Group which is guiding the proposals.
Our consultation has been based on the principle of ‘front-loading’ – which means that everyone has a chance to give us their comments on our draft plans before an outline planning application is submitted to the relevant authorities. This is very much in keeping with the new planning legislation.
In November 2005, a special issue of our ‘CommUnity’ newsletter - outlining the University’s vision for the future, explaining why it needed to expand and the potential development areas – was sent out to more than 4000 local residents and hundreds of other interested parties.
These local ‘stakeholders’ were invited to record and submit their comments using a reply slip attached to the newsletter and were also invited to attend ‘drop-in sessions’ on campus to find out more about the plans. A press release was issued to the local media, announcing the plans and advertising the drop-in sessions.
The drop-in sessions were held at Warwick Arts Centre where the plans were on display, and university representatives were on hand to answer any questions. These took place on; Tuesday 29th November, Wednesday 30th November and Thursday 1st December 2005.
Since then, there have also been a number of meetings with local authority groups, including senior members and officers of the local councils, as well as community and residents’ groups to discuss the plans more thoroughly.
See the consultation page for more details.
Three particular issues have emerged during the consultation.
Firstly, we have received many favourable comments about the reputation of the University, the way the campus has been managed in the past, and the positive benefits which the University brings to the local and regional community.
Secondly, the feedback shows that the environmental issues - including building in the Green Belt - are important to some local people, and should be dealt with sensitively by the University as it moves forward.
Finally, many local people and organisations are concerned about peak hour traffic congestion on the roads near to the University and worried that our development plans will make things worse (it is worth pointing out that only 50-60% of the traffic on Gibbet Hill Road in peak times is University traffic).
With our specialist consultants, we have spent a lot of time sifting through the comments received, and we are taking all the feedback into account whilst refining our proposals.
The land which the University now owns was donated by Warwickshire County Council and Coventry City Council in the 1960s for the purposes of establishing the university. The Warwickshire land was already in the Green Belt at the time (dating from 1960). Development in the Green Belt started in 1972 with the Cryfield Residences and continued through the 1980s and 90s, with the most recent development being the Heronbank Residences completed in 2004.
The University’s most recent Development Plan (1994-2004) was approved as supplementary planning guidance by both Coventry and Warwick Councils, and all proposals for development have been judged against this document. Applications for building in the Green Belt also have to be referred to the Secretary of State. To date, none has been refused permission.
Not all the land identified for development in the 1994 Plan has been built on and Warwick District Council has recently designated the area as a Major Developed Site in the Green Belt. The current proposals for expansion of the University are largely contained within these boundaries.
The University’s current plans are also no more intrusive into the Green Belt than the approved 1964 and 1966 development plans. View the previous development plans.
We do intend to make as much use of the land to the east of the Gibbet Hill Road (the Coventry land) as possible, but at full capacity it could only accommodate half of the proposed development. The University Masterplan Outline Planning Application therefore earmarks land on the west side of the Gibbet Hill Road (the Warwickshire land) which is in the Green Belt.
The Development Plan provides a framework for the future development of the University’s Estate. It includes proposals for the location of future buildings, key paths and roads, squares and landscape and zoning of academic departments and other activities.
It does not include designs for individual buildings, although it does seek to promote a visual and social character for the University through design guidelines for building heights and massing, and strategies for landscape, ecology, art and archaeology.
Designs for individual buildings are not included because they will be developed over a period of 10 years, and the University cannot predict exactly what will be needed at this stage. As the funding becomes available for each new building, a design will be developed and submitted for planning approval in the usual way.
None of the proposed development areas are any nearer to the town of Kenilworth than existing University developments, the closest being the existing sports pavilion.
The University is carrying out a full Environmental Impact Assessment which will accompany the Masterplan Outline Planning Application. It will look at such things as noise, water, ecology, archaeology and visual impact.
The University’s aspirations are to increase capacity for research at the University rather than significantly expand undergraduate teaching. This would predominantly lead to an increase in staff numbers and postgraduates. There is a need for further student accommodation on campus, particularly to reduce the need for students to travel, and the proposals do envisage new halls of residence built on or near the university campus.
The expansion of the University over the development period will inevitably lead to an increase in travel demand.
This increased travel demand will need to be managed to ensure that local roads do not become unacceptably congested as a result of University traffic. To this end the University of Warwick and their technical representatives are working closely with the highway authorities at Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and the Highways Agency to develop a strategy which is acceptable to all. Whilst this is an ongoing process the aim is to create a balanced strategy which promotes the more sustainable transport options; reduces the numbers of students travelling by road to campus (by providing more accommodation on or near campus); manages car parking on campus; and improves key junctions and infrastructure.
The travel strategy will be set out in accompanying documents to the Outline Planning Application and will be subject to post-submission discussions and agreements. It will need to be flexible enough to respond to the changing transport environment.
Our aim is to create a balanced strategy which improves key road junctions and infrastructure; reduces the number of students and staff driving to campus; restricts car parking on campus; and promotes more sustainable transport options.
Proposals under discussion include:
- The amount of car parking for the new development will be severely limited and significantly below that allowable under national planning policy, in order to reduce the amount of traffic generated.
- Supporting sustainable travel modes through a Travel Plan (see question 14).
- To alleviate congestion along Gibbet Hill Road on the Central Campus section, the Library Road exit onto Gibbet Hill Road will be closed except to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport with the creation of a shared use pedestrian friendly environment for Library Road. The existing University Road ‘exit only’ junction near the Arts Centre is to be replaced by an all movement roundabout junction allowing vehicles to enter Central Campus at this end of University Road – thus reducing traffic movements along the Central Campus section of Gibbet Hill Road.
- We also have plans to open out Gibbet Hill Road in the Central Campus area, providing wider crossings, better lighting and other pedestrian safety features. Signal timings at crossings will be reviewed to balance the needs of pedestrians and vehicular traffic.
- Provision of a public transport route from Lynchgate Road into the back of the University in support of the Bus Rapid Transit scheme/improved bus provision. This route could also be made available for University traffic in order to reduce traffic on the northern section of Gibbet Hill Road. This route would not be made available for general road traffic.
- The University is in discussions with Coventry City Council in respect of improvements to the Kenilworth Road/Gibbet Hill Road junction. This requires careful consideration because it is an environmentally sensitive location. Discussions are currently centred on increasing the capacity of the junction with alterations within the existing highway boundary.
- The use of footbridges/subways for pedestrian movements across Gibbet Hill Road – which could separate pedestrians and motor traffic – has been considered. However, this would not solve the problem because of the number and complexity of movements, and the length of ramps required for footbridges/subways which would make it very difficult to cater for the majority of movements – and therefore the need for crossings would remain.
- Suggestions have been made that a new road from the A46 to the Westwood Business Park area should be provided. This road would run to the south and west of the University allowing through traffic to by-pass the Kenilworth Road/Gibbet Hill Road junction and the University. A new road such as this would need to be progressed by Warwickshire County Council, the Highways Agency and Coventry City Council. The authorities do not currently have policies supporting this proposal.
A Travel Plan will promote alternatives to single occupancy car trips to the University, in line with national and local transport policy, and in support of the University's carbon management programme. The Travel Plan will identify a number of initiatives and measures to be introduced to meet the targets set by the Highway Authorities. The Travel Plan is likely to include the following:
- A Travel Co-ordinator to develop the Travel Plan and long term strategy.
- Support for a high quality pedestrian/cycle environment with good links to the surrounding areas.
- A Car Park Management Strategy will be phased in to encourage car sharing and a shift to more sustainable modes.
- The development plan will increase the proportion of students living on or near Campus, enabling them to walk or cycle to lectures etc.
- The University will work with the authorities to improve public transport provision.
- Other initiatives which may be developed include: park and ride; provision of online real time bus and rail information/short message service to allow passengers to check punctuality; provision of personalised timetables for individual journeys to work/college; provision of discounted season tickets; staggered arrival times, increased home working and improved tele-conferencing facilities.
The strategy set out in the Travel Plan will have a framework of targets relating to: (a) car parking, (b) proportions of staff travelling by different modes and (c) University generated traffic. Regular surveys and monitoring over the development period will be carried out to measure the performance of the Travel Plan against the targets. Failure to meet the targets would ultimately trigger further measures to assist the Travel Plan objectives; these would be agreed in discussion with the highway authorities.
The University is committed to the improvement of public transport serving the University, and will discuss this with the authorities during the course of the planning process. In addition to the Bus Rapid Transit proposal, which is a medium term scheme, a direct bus service between the University, Coventry Park and Ride South and the Coventry rail station/city centre will be considered. Other service improvements which will be considered are to Canley and between Leamington and the University.
The Bus Rapid Transit system is a joint project led by Coventry City Council, in conjunction with Centro and Warwickshire County Council. A bid for funding from Central Government is being progressed for a route ultimately running from Nuneaton to Coventry City Centre and then via Coventry Rail Station to the University, and then on to Kenilworth. It will provide a high quality, high frequency, limited stop, bus service which will generally operate on its own dedicated route, separate from that of the surrounding traffic, thereby resembling a tram. The idea is that it combines the quality of a tram/metro and the flexibility of buses. It can operate on exclusive transit-ways, high occupancy vehicle lanes, expressways or ordinary roads.
The University is in discussion with Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council about running the route through the University and has agreed a route through the Central Campus area.
There are two possible options for the Bus Rapid Transit system south of the University. One option runs from the University along Gibbet Hill Road and via the Kenilworth Road to Kenilworth. The other option provides a route from the University via the University estate to the A429 between the residential areas of Kenilworth and Coventry. This route would be subject to the planning process and would be promoted by the Local Highways Authorities. This latter route across the open space would not be designed as a road but would be a single track busway suitable only for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.
No detailed route has been defined but any route would be very carefully linked to the local landscape and would include planting and landscaping options. Detailed proposals would be discussed locally long before any planning application was made.
The University is supportive of the Bus Rapid Transit scheme, given the sustainable transport benefits it would bring.