As students return to UCLan in September they will notice that Fylde Building has been demolished to mark the beginning of the University’s £200 million campus development plan.
The removal of Fylde Building over the summer will be an important step in the University’s plans to open up the campus and integrate it seamlessly with the rest of the city. The building has been unoccupied for more than 12 months already and green space will initially replace this area until future developments begin.
UCLan has consulted extensively with local residents, businesses, event organisers, young people and University staff and students to gather views on the overall development proposals which span a 10-year period. In particular the proposed new square, which will replace the existing Adelphi Roundabout and create of an iconic gateway to the University, has captured the public’s attention with more than 100 people attending workshops to advise on what the new square could look like and how it could be used.
The key theme highlighted in all the workshops was that the area should be a flexible space that could be used in many different ways for people of all ages. Workshop participants said it should offer comfortable and safe places for people to socialise in all seasons and somewhere that local, independent businesses can flourish. In terms of the physical appearance, some people suggested it should be made up of different elevation levels while some even suggested the area could be hollowed out and sunken into the ground.
Charles Quick, Professor in Art in Public Places at UCLan, organised the workshops. He said:
All of the feedback has been constructive. Each workshop has of course thrown up different ideas while some themes have shone through in all sessions; free wi-fi is something that was frequently mentioned.
The idea that the square needs to be versatile so that it can be used for a wide variety of events and accessible to all was something that many people felt strongly about.
In the final workshop sixth form pupils from Hutton Grammar School came to the University to share their ideas.
Geography student 17-year-old Jonathan Cowburn said:
I think the new square has lots of potential and it’s exciting to be involved in what it could become. I think the main thing is that it has a strong sense of purpose to draw people over from the other side of the ring road and into this part of the City.
Students can expect to see another significant stage in the development when the construction of the £30 million-plus Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) begins in 2016. The state-of-the art building, which will sit along the new square, will establish UCLan as a leading university for engineering innovation and will lead to an increase of 500 locally trained graduates per year.
In all, more than 900 people have attended a series of consultation sessions, in both the University and the City centre, to share their views on the overall development proposals. Visitors, including local residents and businesses, spoke to representatives from the University at four public and community engagement events to allow people to examine the plans so that all views can be taken into consideration.
UCLan Director of Facilities Management Paul Morris said:
UCLan’s vision over the next 10 years is to create a unified, sustainable and welcoming campus to enhance the experience for all those visiting the University.
The community engagement events attracted a lot of interest from local residents and businesses who were all keen to learn more about our exciting development plans. The majority of the feedback has been really positive and we are continuing to work with stakeholders on any outstanding issues.