Eastern Gateway Building
The 2015 outline planning permission and illustrative Estate Plan highlighted the opportunity to deliver a major academic building located on the western half of car park 4.
Summary Position Statement (September 2022)
During 2018/19 plans were prepared to develop the site in line with the Estate Plan in order to accommodate a consolidated multi-media and digital arts building. Intended to be submitted as a reserved matters application in 2019/20, the Covid-19 global pandemic halted the project. The university has since made the decision not to progress the development of this site for purposes associated with digital arts, however it is currently considering alternative solutions for this site. The development of this key site for academic purposes is important for three specific reasons:
- The development plot offers considerable capacity to accommodate an academic building of c9,500m2-10,000m2 and therefore represents one of the greatest opportunities to bring forward a landmark building.
- The management of the car parks around the campus, including the future use of the now university-controlled Rusham Park decked car park, provides an opportunity to develop a relatively unconstrained site in a way which will not result in an overall reduction in operational car parking spaces in the long term.
- The development of the site for a major academic building offers the opportunity to decant and consolidate dispersed academic and research activities which would benefit from geographical adjacencies (collaborative working practices) which would then release other retained buildings to be refurbished and repurposed, and/or create new redevelopment plots in line with the principles of the 2015 Estate Plan.
The university will be considering the future of this site as part of its emerging Capital Project Evaluation Framework process.
Link with other Estate projects and plans
The development of this plot is consistent with the 2015 Estate Plan and outline planning permission. Following the acquisition of the Rusham Park site in 2017, the university no longer needs to develop a major multi-storey car park on the eastern half of car park 4: this car park would have been located adjacent to the Eastern Gateway Building. In July 2022, the university prepared and submitted detailed plans under reserved matters for the development of a drone research facility known as Omnidrome on the eastern car park. This modest building is designed to create a space where electric drones and associated equipment can be flown and tested. At the time of writing (September 2022), the council is considering the application and a decision is expected in October 2022.
The opportunity to develop the western half of car park 4 remains. The plot will be located close to Piggery Gate which the university intends to remodel and enable restricted movements to improve access and egress arrangements to serve the campus: Piggery Gate being the closest gate into the campus from Egham town centre.
The north-east quadrant of the campus (around car park 4) is the least constrained part of the main campus with the greatest development potential. The university is currently engaged in a research funding bid which, if successful, will help to deliver the refurbishment of the Handa Noh Theatre as a virtual production studio. A new Open space performance theatre to the north of the A30 secured planning permission in 2020 would be available to help facilitate the relocation of activities currently undertaken within the Handa Noh Theatre.