Plans for Langwith bar to be redeveloped as a Student Union venue have been given the final go-ahead from the University, Nouse can exclusively reveal.
The bar will be officially re-launched as a YUSU bar by the start of the next academic year.
YUSU Services and Finance Officer, Matt Burton, who has seen the project through from its conception, was delighted at the result. “It’s fantastic news for York students and the Students’ Union to be given the go-ahead from the University to redevelop the space in Langwith into a Student’s Union run Cafe Bar,” Burton revealed in an exclusive statement.
“It shows us that the University have confidence in our ability to understand the student market and in delivering results for our members. For the Students’ Union, this is an important step in the build up to the proposed development on Heslington East,” he added.
The official green light will be given by Vice-Chancellor Brian Cantor, though it is not expected that he will step in at the last moment to veto the plans which have been approved by his subordinates.
Burton hopes to see a successful handover of the college space early this summer, so that an opening to coincide with next year’s Fresher’s Week will be possible.
Recently revealed plans for the new venue show a complete renovation, with the bar area extending from its current location into the lower Langwith JCR. An extensive outdoor development, with space for extra seating, also features in the designs which were met with enthusiasm by students earlier this term, including members of the current Langwith Bar Rep team.
Following asbestos scares in Langwith bar earlier this year, Burton’s plans appeared to be under threat, and the University were forced to conduct an asbestos survey in the area over Easter.
“We received the results of the asbestos survey and there is, as predicted, asbestos in various areas that would need to be handled during the refurbishment project,” Burton revealed. “This is why we are so keen to gain access to the space as soon as possible and work with the University estates department to transform the space during the summer months.
Campus bars have been suffering from a decline in student patronage – Langwith among them – as students increasingly chose to visit establishments in town on a night out. Burton has expressed hopes that the new bar will help to keep students on campus and provide a positive space for socialising within the university community.
However, concerns have been raised that with the development of new student venues on the Heslington East campus, the redevelopment of Langwith bar will suffer only short-term success, with students choosing to frequent newer establishments over those on Heslington West. Burton, however, was keen to dismiss such fears, “When Heslington East is built,” he said, “we are still going to have the same number of students on this (side of) campus, and so I think providing a provision to both sides is really essential. There will be a large amount of people who will not want to travel 20 minutes from this side to east side of campus in order to get a coffee, food or a drink.
This development shows YUSU’s commitment to serving both sides of campus. With this in mind, I think the future success of our project is likely to be longer term and will bring a great benefit to the University campus.”