District 9

Photo: Jack Western

Plans for the creation of a ninth college at York are underway. The new accommodation blocks will become the third college on Heslington East and will house up to 650 students, with work due to be completed by October 2014.

The plans are due to be debated and potentially passed at University Council this week.

The proposals have already seen some opposition, with YUSU president Kallum Taylor claiming he had “strong reservations” about the move.

Taylor told Vision: “It’ll be unacceptable to build another 650 rooms, take all the rent from students, and continue to drag our heels in addressing Hes East’s needs.

“We need guarantees of decent student services and infrastructure to make the campus feel a more homely, yet vibrant place to live, study and work.

“We’re talking the bare necessities; decent lighting, clear signage and security as well as bolder items such as some cutting edge, multi-purpose and attractive social, retail and catered provisions. Our students shouldn’t have to plan when they’re going to buy a pint of milk and cross that dual carriage way – it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Taylor also cited concerns about whether the extra accommodation was even necessary, given the national trend in falling application numbers.
“We took a small, but no doubt costly, hit this year in terms of intake, and the near future’s looking unpredictable. Combining this with the additional private sector accommodation competition off campus, a lot of reassurances need giving.

“We hope our stance is now on the University’s radar and they take our concerns, as well as our ideas, very seriously.”

However, York Registrar David Duncan has insisted that the University is doing everything to uphold their obligations to the residents already on Hes East.

“Heslington East already has a cafe serving hot meals in the evening, three food outlets, a bar, a free bus service, a gym, a swimming pool, all-weather football pitches, common rooms, study space and a book drop-off point.

“By early next term we will have a retail outlet and, at last, an ATM on Heslington East. We are in discussion with YUSU about what additional facilities would be helpful. These are not dependent on building college 9 – we will continue to develop the facilities for the students and staff who live and work on Heslington East.”

Despite these assurances, it seems feelings on the continued emphasis on Hes East are mixed.

Second year student, Rosie Litterick told Vision: “I have never once been over to Heslington East, and I don’t really think there is a sense of unity over there. I don’t think we are ready for a ninth college away from the central campus and would prefer the money to be spent elsewhere.”

History of Art student Rose Basista stated: “It feels like a post apocalyptic wasteland over there. Until that changes, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live in Heslington East no matter how snazzy it is.”

5 Comments

  1. Anon101(right article this time)
    20 November 2012 - 17:25 GMT

    There are already huge infrastructural and crowding issues as the university has rapidly expanded not to mention housing issues causing problems in the city . Expanding the university will exacerbate these issues and make students feel even more like a cash cow when the university should be providing value for money

  2. 741
    21 November 2012 - 08:42 GMT

    http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/400x/30564231.jpg

    ATMs and shops aside, I love Hes East very relaxing and easy to study here (for this is indeed the opinion of a resident). “decent lighting, clear signage and security” are all already in place. It’s also worth pointing out that at least 4 academic departments are based here.

  3. Jack Baker
    23 November 2012 - 10:25 GMT

    @Anon101

    Whilst the University does indeed need to make sure students don’t feel like ‘cash cows’ I feel like I should point out the HUGE surplus of houses in York for students. There are far more bedrooms/houses than there are students. The estate agents like to trick the students into thinking this isn’t the case but nobody need worry.

    The main issue, though, is that the University simply CANNOT expand to a ninth college without catering for the needs to the current students on Hes East (and even on Hes West, with refurbishments). The lack of ATM (promised for the start of the academic year), shop (1,000 student in Halifax have a CostCutter but 1,200 students+ on Hes East do not), and social space (now to a lesser extent with the introduction of The Glasshouse), mean that Hes East is certainly less amenable than Hes West. The students here are disgruntled and deserve better for £9,000 a year.

    The University keeps saying that they’ll have in place these facilities by the time the ninth college is built but that means 2+ years of NOTHING for the current students and staff that have to function on Hes East! The University needs to pull their socks up, pull their fingers out and start providing decent services.

  4. E
    23 November 2012 - 13:44 GMT

    The sport village is as far again from HesEast-proper as HesEast is from HesWest, with no disabled accessible walking route. And the gym is £29/month, with no pay as you go access.

    If the University genuinely sees the lack of an ATM as a problem, it should put its money where its mouth is and waive all minimum card charges across the campus.

  5. Matt Cooke
    24 November 2012 - 22:02 GMT

    What hasn’t been mentioned yet is the Article 4 thing introduced by York CC. Simply put this will result in more difficulty for students who want to live off campus as they will have to pay more or travel further than they currently do. Increasing the amount on-campus accommodation seems to be a good way forward.

    I do have to say however that I am surprised by the lack of a cash point on Hes East so far, Goodricke JCRC and YUSU have been campaigning for one since 2009.

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