As UK universities respond to the competitive nature of higher education and globalisation, it is essential they have a range of modern accommodation not only to attract students but also to attract the best academic staff.
This extends to considering how best to leverage their wider property holdings as at times the vision for growth does not correspond to the University’s estate portfolio or funding available. It is vital universities understand their assets, how they are utilised and their constraints (e.g. building lifespan). Whether they are campus or city-based, such information can inform an estate strategy or masterplan helping to achieve a vision for growth.
In devising future plans, internal communication between University departments is an important upfront consideration to inform the function of the current estate space. An in-depth understanding of any site constraints and opportunities is required to create a form of development which is acceptable to the university, the community and external stakeholders. Finally, an understanding of the end user is vital to delivering a place that people will use and enjoy.
At Pegasus Group, our Education team have worked with a range of universities delivering advice on planning and masterplanning to formulise estate strategies and campus masterplans creating attractive environments for study, socialising and living. We have advised universities on how best to capitalise their estate and maximise the overall environment for students and staff. In addition, through our landscaping practice, which conceptualises outdoor space producing detailed design and management plans, or heritage colleagues advising on how to balance the preservation and enhancement of a listed building with refurbishment and development opportunities, we can offer a range of services to support the strategic estate needs of any university.
With the pound remaining at its lowest rate for a generation, the teaching and research quality delivered by UK universities means they will continue to be an attractive place to learn. Now more than ever, universities need to make sure they are getting the most out of their available space to ensure the UK continues its reputation as the gold standard in higher education across the world.
Hannah Trubshaw is an Associate Planner at Pegasus Group