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Press Release - 21 November 2007

University to consider future of the Oakfield Campus

Since March 2007, the University of Bath has been reviewing the strategy for its Oakfield Campus in Swindon. The University signed a lease on the Oakfield site in December 2000 as a step towards achieving its vision to develop a major new campus in Swindon. The review has involved discussions with staff and users of the Oakfield Campus as well as other stakeholders.

The Oakfield Campus currently has a widening participation mission and provides a focal point for co-ordinating activities involving the local community, businesses, schools and the public services.

However, the nature of the Oakfield-based projects means that many are supported by funding streams that can only be secured on a fixed term basis, resulting in a lack of guaranteed year on year income to cover the fixed costs of the premises.

As a result, the Review Group has concluded that the site is not financially sustainable in the long term and will recommend to the University’s Senate and Council that the University should withdraw from the Oakfield Campus.

The Chair of the Review Group, Professor George Lunt, explained: “The financial context of the Oakfield Campus is totally different without the prospect of a larger campus to provide economies of scale.

“Much of the activity, currently co-ordinated from Oakfield, is not site-dependent and can be supported more cost effectively from the Claverton Campus, Bath, or alternative premises in Swindon.

“Even if we were to withdraw from Oakfield, the University would continue to work closely with a range of stakeholders, including our partners in Further Education, to develop Higher Education in Swindon and Wiltshire.”

Professor Lunt emphasised that: “The University of Bath has strong links with the education, social and health services in the Swindon area and will continue to develop its links with these public services irrespective of the outcome of the Oakfield review.”

The University Council will meet on Thursday 29 November 2007 to consider the recommendation from the Oakfield Strategy Review Group.

If Council accepts the recommendation, the University will progress to a formal consultation with stakeholders on the proposal to withdraw from the Oakfield Campus.

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