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An impression of R5
An impression of R5

Internal News - 19 March 2007

Building work on new student flats begins on Monday

Construction work on the new 355-bed student accommodation on campus begins on Monday (26 March).

Work will begin on putting in the foundations for the building, an extension to the Eastwood student housing village known as R5. The project’s target date for completion is 21 July 2008 and it will cost around £21 million.

A presentation for staff today was told that flats for 7, 9, 12 and 15 people would be built, each with a communal kitchen. Also a reception area, launderettes, linen stores and disabled access bedrooms would be built.

The construction will be in line with the University’s policy to house all its first-year students and some final-year and postgraduates on campus. It would mean fewer students having to live in the city centre and commute to the University.

Tony Richards, Project Manager for HBG Construction, which is carrying out the work, told the audience of 25 staff that construction would take place between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, except during exam time.

The University’s plans to build the new student bedrooms, on land between Marlborough Court and the eastern campus boundary, were granted planning consent by Bath and North East Somerset Council in December.

The Council’s decision followed several months of discussion to ensure that the new development would 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, 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 plan has been assessed as reaching the Ecohomes ‘Excellent’ standard by the Building Research Establishment. Its low running costs will be part of this.

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 and for use in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.