Campus Spine Road landscape improvements
Introduction / summary
The 2015 Estate Plan highlighted an important pedestrian route between the Moore Building and the International Building, through the heart of the campus towards Piggery Gate, and vice versa.
This route generally follows the internal road which currently takes drivers from the Founders Gatehouse to the main Car Park 4 in the east. The road surface is in a poor state of repair. The opportunity exists to undertake landscape improvements along this road with better connections into the paths leading to academic buildings and social venues such as the Boilerhouse Café and Student Union.
When the new Piggery Gate junction becomes operational – planned around Summer 2021 – the number of vehicles using this route will be significantly reduced, creating a strong pedestrian feel through the heart of the campus.
Relevance to the Estate Plan
The Estate Plan identified a new internal access and movement strategy across the campus. This included the removal of vehicles (parking) within the immediate setting of Founders, and the proposed remodelling of a new Piggery Gate junction to serve a multi-storey car park. The expansion of Car Park 14 (to that which one sees today) was complemented by new landscaping and paths towards Founders. The campus Spine Road supports the move towards a less car/vehicle dominant campus, improving accessibility and the appearance of routes to various academic buildings along its length, and supplementing the landscape works already delivered in the Founders Plaza.
The project is at an early stage, with concept options presented in a Feasibility Study which will be tested and refined by a design team to be appointed by the university. Key areas of interest are those around the setting of the Students Union, the open area in front of Tolansky and the creation of new seating areas around Moore and McCrea. Adding visual interest through evergreen planting, sculptures and winter species is proposed as part of a hard and soft landscaping strategy.
Planning Application / Reserved Matters Submission
At the current time, the detailed scope of the proposed works has not been confirmed. The majority, if not all of the proposed landscaping may not fall within the definition of development and therefore may not require planning permission. Planting and street furniture, and works to repair the road surface are considered minor interventions. The scope of the works will be monitored, with Runnymede Borough Council being made aware of the proposed works in advance of implementation.
The Campus Spine Road landscape improvements are intended to be delivered over the course of next year, coordinated to minimise disruption to campus activity.
Link with other Estate Plan Projects
As described above, the campus Spine Road improvements between the Moore and International Buildings are considered to be a natural extension of the landscape works in and around, and leading to Founders undertaken in recent years. The works seek to improve accessibility, legibility and add visual interest along an important pedestrian route.
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