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An impression of how the new accommodation will look
An impression of how the new accommodation will look

Press Release - 21 December 2006

New R5 student development gets go-ahead from planners

The University’s proposal to build 355 new student bedrooms on land between Marlborough Court and the eastern campus boundary has been granted planning consent by Bath and North East Somerset Council.

Work will begin on the extension to the Eastwood student housing village, also known as R5, in March 2007 and is expected to be ready for use by October 2008. It will cost around £21 million.

The Council’s decision follows several months of discussion to ensure that the new development will look attractive to people seeing it from the east of the campus, which is part of the Cotswold Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

To do this the University and its architects, Architects Design Partnership, have made a number of amendments to the design since consultation on the planning application began in February 2006.

These include providing an extended belt of trees that will serve as a break between the campus and the National Trust land to the east, reducing the amount of artificial light from the building, and also adding balconies on the eastern fringe of the building to make it appear less blocky.

The building’s design has been assessed as reaching the Ecohomes ‘Excellent’ standard by the Building Research Establishment.

The building will be in an E shape, forming a three sided courtyard open to the east to create space for students to study and socialise out of doors.

In designing the bedrooms, the University took into account feedback from people using its Marlborough and Solsbury Court accommodation. It also wanted to create accommodation suitable for people on conferences during academic breaks.

Patrick Finch, Director of Estates, said: “We are delighted to have achieved this planning consent, which will enable the University to progress its plans for this much needed development.

“Throughout the planning process we have been keen to ensure that the building’s environmental impact is kept to a minimum, both by carefully designing the boundary interface and by ensuring that the construction process itself is as sustainable as possible.

“I can now confirm that the building design has been assessed as reaching the Ecohomes ‘Excellent’ standard by the Building Research Establishment.

“The University has selected a main contractor, HBG Construction, to build the new residences. HBG have a major presence in higher education construction and are themselves committed to achieving high standards in sustainability. We now need to work with HBG to translate the Ecohomes designation from design to construction excellence.”

Jane Loveys, Head of Accommodation and Hospitality, said: “It is great news to achieve planning consent as it gives us the opportunity to build accommodation that will not only allow more undergraduates to live on campus but is also of a quality that meets the expectations of the conference market.

“The design team have incorporated feedback from the Post Occupancy Forum of Marlborough and Solsbury Courts and the additional specification to create first class accommodation. We are very pleased that HBG have been awarded the contract as the department had a very successful working relationship with them during the construction of Marlborough and Solsbury. We look forward to R5 being complete for 2008!”

As well as Architects Design Partnership, Northcroft, Halcrow Yolles and Martin Stockley Associates make up the project management and design team. Landscape advice has been provided by Grant Associates.

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. View a full list of the University's press releases: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/