The University of Gloucestershire has unveiled the designs for its landmark new Business School and Growth Hub building at the Oxstalls campus in Gloucester. The designs can be seen on the growing the university in Gloucester webpage.
This marks the next major step for the University towards realising its ambitious vision to develop new facilities for teaching, business services, sports and student accommodation in Gloucester. The Oxstalls development plans are being developed in partnership with the City and County Councils, Aspire Sports & Cultural Trust, the Local Enterprise Partnership, and a range of local and national sports governing bodies.
The flagship building will be the new home for the University’s Business School, currently located in Cheltenham, and will provide expanded space and facilities for the Growth Hub which is already based at Oxstalls. The goal is to bring business education, applied research, economic development, and business support services all together under one roof, with benefits for students, businesses and the wider community in Gloucestershire and beyond.
The building will host the University Business School’s innovative ‘Make It’ programme, which guarantees all business students the opportunity to work with different types of businesses, in the UK and overseas, as part of their undergraduate degree. This is part of the University’s wider commitment to equip all of its students with the skills, experience and capability that will prepare them for rewarding future careers. The building will also provide space to build on and extend the success of the University’s Growth Hub, established with support from the Higher Education Funding Council and in partnership with gfirst LEP. Since its opening in October 2014, the Growth Hub has welcomed 7,000 visitors, and is working with over 500 high growth/high value businesses.
The University’s Masterplan for the development of the Oxstalls and Plock Court site received outline planning permission in March. Since then, the University has been working with partners to develop the detail of all the designs. The design for the Business School and Growth Hub building forms part of a “Reserved Matters” planning application recently submitted to Gloucester City Council. It includes additional car parking, landscaping and a redesign of the Cheltenham Road/Oxstalls Lane junction as well as full detail of the interior and exterior of the new building.
Over the past six months, extensive consultation has taken place with local residents and key stakeholders. Early designs of the proposed new building were on show throughout August online and at Oxstalls campus, culminating in a public exhibition on 6 September. The final designs submitted to the City Council for approval have been substantially modified in response to the public consultation, with changes in the colour of the cladding, the layout of the windows, and the treatment of the roofline. The building height will be lower than the existing hockey pitch floodlights, and landscaping will provide a buffer so the building is screened from local residential properties.
Significant work has also been done on the design of the access road to the new building where it crosses the Public Right of Way. This is to ensure sufficient visibility, reduced traffic speeds, and priority for pedestrians and cyclists. Flood risk in the area will be reduced by surfacing areas of the new car park with permeable material, whilst ponds created as part of the new landscaping will divert any remaining surface water to the brook.
The full application documents are available to view on the planning link on the City Council’s website (www.gloucester.gov.uk) using the application reference 16/01241/REM. The City Council will undertake a period of statutory public consultation to give the public a further opportunity to comment on the plans.
The University has also submitted a “Reserved Matters” planning application to the City Council for consent for the detailed designs for the two new all-weather sports pitches, the new sports hall, and a new cricket pavilion at Plock Court. Complementing the existing tennis centre and all weather pitch at Plock Court, these new facilities will create a major hub for sports in Gloucester. The Plock Court facilities are being developed and run jointly between the University, the City Council and Aspire Trust, and will be for dual University and community use. They will benefit a wide range of sports teams, and public health, as well as University students and staff. The Reserved Matters applications for the new Sports Facilities were approved by the Gloucester City Council Planning Committee on Tuesday 1 November.
Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Marston, said: “The University is committed to playing an active part in promoting the economic, sporting, cultural and social wellbeing of the City and the County. These plans enable us to achieve a step change in the contribution we can make for the benefit of the City, as well as providing an excellent education for our students.
“By allowing the University to integrate the Business School with the Growth Hub at Oxstalls, we can provide a wider range of services to support business and economic development in the county. Future growth and prosperity, both in Gloucestershire and nationally, depend on promoting high skills, innovation, enterprise and making the most of our talented young people. That is what the Business School will do, giving our students real world experience of business. The University is delighted with the designs for the new building, which we believe will create a fantastic environment for our students, staff, LEP colleagues and business partners. The new building will allow us to extend the success of the University’s Growth Hub, working with gfirst LEP to support businesses to innovate, create jobs, and grow.
“By bringing the Business School to Gloucester, we will be able to expand student numbers, bringing talented young people to the City. That will also support the City Council’s ambitions to regenerate the Blackfriars area of Gloucester City Centre, with benefits for the economy, culture, nightlife, and the overall quality of life in the City.
“The University of Gloucestershire is already a leading university for sport. The substantial investment we are making in improving our sports facilities will allow us to stay ahead of the competition, while also working in partnership with the City Council and Aspire Trust to promote sport, exercise and wellbeing for the wider community. We were delighted that the City Council Planning Committee approved at their meeting on 1 November our detailed planning applications for the Sports Hall, the cricket pavilion and the two new all-weather pitches. That means we can now go full steam ahead to start building an outstanding sports hub in Gloucester, in partnership with the City and Aspire, for the benefit of the community and the University.”