Parking concern over new £65m building at UEA - which will see 240 spaces lost
PUBLISHED: 15:26 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:38 12 September 2019
Questions have been asked over a university's decision to sacrifice almost 250 car parking spaces to make way for a £65m teaching building.
In a bid to unlock further growth on campus, the University of East Anglia (UEA) is preparing a planning bid for a major new facility known as the Sky House.
The new building would provide decant space for an existing part of the campus - the Lasdun Teaching Wall - paving the way for that building to be fully refurbished as the university prepares for future expansion.
However, it would come at a loss of around 240 car parking spaces, which was questioned by councillors being given a sneak peak at the plans before a formal application is submitted.
Roger Ryan, Labour city councillor for the University ward, said: "I do have concerns about transport, particularly the loss of the parking spaces.
"I have heard from quite a few members of staff that are worried about how they are going to get to work."
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However, Andrew Burbridge, head of projects and estates development at the UEA, said the university was focused on promoting more sustainable modes of transport than driving.
He said: "We are trying to actively encourage public transport as best we can - particularly through the Costessey and airport park and rides.
"We also anticipate that over time people's habits are generally changing, therefore we feel comfortable we can release them [the parking spaces]."
Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for the Eaton ward, however, said she feared the loss of spaces would result in staff and students parking in residential streets in her ward.
Meanwhile, Mirja Mainwaring, of LSI Architects, said the new building would be built to Passivhaus efficiency standard and that the loss of 83 trees would be mitigated for by planting.
The university is set to submit a formal planning application for the new building in October, with hopes of getting a decision from the city council in the new year.
Should all go smoothly with the planning bid, it is hoping the project will be completed by September 2022.