Heslington East: The enquiry in context

Following the results of the public inquiry, the final verdict on the future of the Heslington East project will be received from Communities and Local Government Secretary Ruth Kelly in January 2007.

The need for a public inquiry emerged after numerous expressions of disagreement local people who signed petitions and established action groups, and along with members of the University gathered evidence against the expansion.

As a part of Heslington East Campaign launched by Nouse in May 2005, a dossier of such complaints, statements from University academics and other investigations was compiled and presented to the Vice-Chancellor Brian Cantor and four Government ministers by Nouse journalists in June 2005, seeking their support in fighting the controversial expansion plans.

In response, YUSU passed a policy expressing their position on the matter. The policy states support for the expansion as long as it “favours student interests.”

The University expansion would double the number of students on campus, whereas staff members would grow by 436% The new campus would include four new colleges residing 3,300 students as well as six academic departments introducing new subjects such as Law, Dentistry and Drama. The Computer Science department, along with a part of Electronics and several others, would be transferred.

Students are promised a modern sports centre with a stadium and swimming pool along with a central student venue which would host.

However, plans of the expansion are not consistently concentrated on student needs, as more than a third of the new campus territory would be dedicated to non-academic activities. In cooperation with companies such as ‘Yorkshire Forward’, who describe themselves as a “business led organisation that aims to help improve the region’s relative economic performance”, the University plans to establish projects simillar to York Science Park.

Much attention is also paid to expansion of research-related activities and establishment of spin-off companies on campus.

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