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The Masterplan

A key supporting strategy for the future vision of the University is the Campus Masterplan. It draws on the founding principles of the University from 1964, which foresaw a flexible plan to allow for growth and changing requirements, and was based on the fundamental decision to plan the University on a united basis – bringing humanities and sciences together.

    Masterplan in detail

    Key issues

      The 2007 Masterplan has 8 overall project objectives:

      • to plan for sustainable long term growth of the University to meet its strategic goals and Government objectives for higher education
      • to plan for an integrated University optimising the use of its established successful campus
      • to foster a ‘campus community’ where staff, students and those external to the University can come together to learn, study, research and interact to further human knowledge and understanding
      • to provide a robust and flexible framework for development of the campus to meet current and future needs
      • to provide residential accommodation on or near campus for a high proportion of students and an increasing number of staff to maximise their contribution to campus life
      • to manage travel demand through a sustainable transport strategy to maximise accessibility of the University whilst mitigating the impact of traffic congestion on the area
      • to pursue a sustainable future for the University and demonstrate long term stewardship of the environment by protecting and enhancing landscape character
      • to develop further as a social and economic asset to the local community and the region, in broad accordance with government policy objectives

      It is a central aspiration of the University to provide a mix of activities in all parts of the campus to create a vibrant sustainable community, where active interaction between students and staff allows ideas to be easily exchanged. Buildings of the future will include interdisciplinary research centres and doctoral training centres, flexible-use accommodation to respond quickly to commercial opportunities, interactive and collaborative space making research available to the public including through the learning grid, more living accommodation on campus for staff, students and visitors.

      The need to build on its existing campus rather than set up a satellite site elsewhere is integral to its future success. If the campus were to operate from separate sites, this would have a detrimental effect on interdisciplinary research, it would significantly increase management and administration costs, result in the duplication of key support facilities, and lead to a substantial increase in travel overall both to and between campuses.

      The Warwick campus is a vital element in symbolising what the University stands for – in 2005 it was voted the best campus in the UK in a THES student poll. However, it is also criticised for being rather sterile, lacking social opportunities, having a non-descript and low-key design, and failing both to create a sense of place and to declare its presence, particularly in the form of entrances.

      The University therefore wishes to consolidate what is good about the campus and create a better place to live, study and work: a genuine campus community. Warwick is also a socially responsible institution and wishes to take an environmental lead by creating a “green” campus through policy, physical expression and influencing behaviour.

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      How much Development is needed?

      The need for flexibility in responding to the competing demands and needs across the full range of University activities – research, teaching and commercial, as well as the appropriate levels of residential accommodation and support facilities – means that over the next ten years Warwick must make full use of the campus, as originally defined in 1965.

      Based on its vision and overall project objectives, a series of ‘targets’ were determined by the University Buildings Committee and in turn endorsed by the Council of the University. Essentially, over the 10 year period of the Masterplan (2008-18), these can be summarised as:

      • doubling of research activity
      • a modest increase in student numbers, principally postgraduates
      • expansion of ‘third leg’ and commercial activities
      • a proportional growth in support facilities

      It is estimated that these forecasts will result in an extra 4000 staff and students, requiring an additional 171,000 sq m over what exists today. This is a 40% increase in the overall campus footprint and, over the Masterplan period, mirrors the historic growth rate. It is also consistent with space planning standards in the HE sector.

      Options for expansion

      In developing the Masterplan proposals, the University has considered a number of alternatives for accommodating this amount of development:

      zero growth – would mean Warwick falling behind its competitors, and is simply not an option

      limited growth contained within non-Green Belt land – would accommodate less than half the anticipated development and would be much less flexible, as non-Green Belt land has fewer spare sites

      full growth at higher densities on non-Green Belt land – would create a much more urban campus and would be out of scale with existing buildings which are largely fit-for-purpose and not suitable for redevelopment

      growth through development of a satellite campus – would require a single site of between 6.6-17ha to provide the critical mass for a sustainable campus community. No such site exists, other than Ansty to the NE of Coventry where the landowners AWM have aspirations for other major inward investors and a technology park, in broad accordance with its planning designation.

      growth through exporting the Warwick ‘brand’ – would not fulfil the development requirements of the vision (even though regional and international ventures may form part of the wider University strategy to enhance its global standing).

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      Masterplan in Detail

      The Masterplan sets out how this 171,000 sq m of additional development can be accommodated on the existing University campus by providing a framework for the location of future buildings, key routes, squares and landscape to create a coherent environment, whilst being flexible enough to allow phased expansion and respond to changing needs and opportunities.

      Two key ideas underpin the Masterplan: the first is to reinforce the main routes formed by previous development plans, in particular the main two axes (University Road and Library Road), extending them to unite the four campus areas. The second is to extend the existing network of nodes, or centres of activity, to promote a lively academic and social character across the estate.

      In the first 5 year phase of development, a number of projects have come forward including:

      • relocation of the Estates Office to a site close to University House
      • development of an indoor tennis centre at Westwood
      • further phases of the Business School, the Medical School and Mathematics & Statistics
      • the completion of Academic Square with a new Digital Laboratory
      • a new Olympic sized swimming pool
      • a new social facility to serve existing residences on Central Campus West.

      At least 2000 additional student bedrooms are planned on campus but further accommodation will be required off-campus to meet the expected demand. Staff housing is also likely to be built on campus.

      An indicative Masterplan shows how this development might look, but as no buildings are being designed at this stage, the planning application includes a “parameters plan” which sets out the scale of new development within each of a series of zones, providing maximum building heights and car parking provision levels.

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      Find out where to view the planning documents and submit your comments.