Exclusive: first look at the new East Slope
The Badger has had an exclusive first look at the East Slope show flat on campus, with the finished accommodation opening to students in September 2018. The new development, which has a maximum project value of up to £150 million, comprises both flats and town houses, and is part of the of the University’s £750m campus masterplan.
The show flats are a radical change from the familiar setting of East Slope, which is now furnished with high-end products and greater space. Balfour Beatty, an international infrastructure group appointed as developers of the new accommodation, intends to provide bedrooms for 2,117 students, with each flat consisting of 6-8 people.
The shared space of the flat features two fridges, two tall cupboards, and multiple general use cupboards. The rest of the provided materials are standard, including a microwave, oven, and washing stations. The newly developed East Slope also has a study room available, separate from both the kitchen and bedrooms. The bedrooms at East Slope now have three quarter sized beds, the first non-single beds on campus, as well as en-suites featured in some rooms. This will not be the case in the town house accommodation, however, which will see shared bathrooms between two flatmates. Final adjustments to the current development are still yet to be made, specifically with regards to the colour scheme of the flats.
The transition to the new flats will begin during the 2018 academic year, with students moving in from September. This will initially be at the site where the Mantel building previously stood on campus, as well as the site next to the Brighthelm accommodation. This will allow the rest of the East Slope site to be demolished and rebuilt from the 2018-19 academic year, with the overall completion date being set for 2021. This demolition is set to include East Slope Bar, although a recent petition has been circulating online to keep the much loved bar from closing, currently having over 1,200 signatures. The official plan intends to construct a new bar at East Slope during the final phase of development, with a temporary bar being opened at Northfield for the remainder of construction.
The new development was also set to house the new Students’ Union building, which currently sits at Falmer House. However, at last Monday’s Students’ Union Council, President Frida Gustafsson announced that the Union would not take up residence in the proposed building, instead allowing it to be used by the University for student space.
Whilst details of this new development are still in the planning phase, Ms Gustafsson told the Union Council that it is an opportunity for students to “shape the future of this campus”, calling for contributions from students for how they want to see this space used.