The feel of a university

Mr Rushforth of the University of the West of England believes that the Oakfield site in Swindon does not feel like a university.

I am not sure that people thinking of sending their sons or daughters to university would think it was appropriate. It does not have the feel of a university campus.

I’m not sure what Mr Rushforth thinks a university campus should feel like: his own Frenchay campus in Bristol is not exactly stunning. Oakfield is mainly flat open fields, much like the site near Coate Water that he would prefer to locate a UWE Swindon branch on. Frenchay is also quite flat, but looks like a factory estate and office park. Neither feel like a university campus to me, but Oakfield does have the benefit that with some good architecture and landscaping — plus a smattering of students, of course — it could be made to look and feel like one. For the Frenchay campus it is already too late.

The fields around Coate don’t feel to me like a housing estate. I doubt that would convince Mr Rushforth’s developer partners. Logically, the planning inspector should find Mr Rushforth’s argument equally unconvincing.

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