Architect’s impression: aerial view of new campus from south 

The University of Sussex has unveiled plans for a new student village on its campus at Falmer.

The £120 million development will be built on the area currently occupied by the East Slope residences and bar.

The building work will triple the amount of student housing at the East Slope site from around 600 beds to more than 2,000.

The current buildings, including East Slope Bar, will be demolished to make way for the new development.

The council gave outline permission for the development last year however, detailed plans have yet to be submitted.

Balfour Beatty, one of the largest construction companies in the world, will build the new facilities and will also hold the contract to manage the buildings for the next 50 years.

A new Students’ Union building will also be located in the village. The size of the building has been agreed and students will be consulted on the interior once full planning permission has been granted.

It is believed that the Students’ Union is still negotiating around whether or not there will be a Union-run shop or bar in the new building, and it is not clear whether the Union Shop or Falmer Bar will continue trading from their current site in Falmer House.

The plans are the first stage of a £500 million programme of changes to the campus known as the ‘Campus Masterplan’.

Outline permission for the ‘Masterplan’ was originally rejected by the council in December 2014; however, the University was successful in appealing the decision, insisting that student numbers would be increased regardless of whether or not they had permission to build new housing.

Work will begin on the site in January 2017 if full approval is given by the council.

It is hoped that the first phase will then be ready around September or October 2018, with all remaining work scheduled to be completed by 2020.

The University claims that around 2400 new permanent jobs will be created as a result of its campus redevelopment.

John Duffy, the University’s Registrar and Secretary, said: “We want to provide the best facilities for our students and staff so that we can continue to undertake life changing research and bring all the benefits of being an internationally recognised educational institution to the Brighton region.

“Over time, we hope to house more of our students on campus or in University operated accommodation, rather than in the private residential sector in Brighton and Hove. This new development is a key part of that vision.

“The University has been working closely with local residents and businesses, Brighton & Hove City Council, Historic England and other local bodies, as well as our own students, to ensure that we take into account their views.

“We are hosting a number of public information days to give people a chance to look at our plans and discuss their thoughts.”

A £60 million new Life Sciences Building is also being designed and will be situated on what is currently the science car park.

Six companies have bid for the contract to construct the new building; however, only four will make it to the next stage as two companies failed to meet the University’s criteria.

Pete Humphreys

 

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Mark Tovey

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