University of Hertfordshire plans for 2,500 room blocks backed ahead of crunch meeting

PLANS to build 21 new accommodation blocks at the University of Hertfordshire have been recommended by Welwyn Hatfield council ahead of planning meeting tomorrow (January 3).

If the plans are passed, the five blocks currently on campus – Coales Hall, Broad Hall, Chapman Hall, Fern Hall and Butler Hall and 72 houses in Roberts Way, Hatfield – will be torn down to make way for new modern living spaces.

The proposals, submitted last year, seek to more than double the amount of bedrooms for students from 1,059 to 2,511 who could live on campus.

The new accommodation would be predominantly arranged in three different types of building: cluster flats, town house and studios.

Cluster flats would be laid out on a single level and shared by eight students who would share bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Town houses would be shared by 12 students over four floors with a living space, kitchen and bathroom on the ground floor.

Studios would be accessed via a common corridor from a shared stair or lift core.

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CCTV will be provided at the main entrances to the site and there will be a 24-hour security presence on site.

The new designs also include an energy centre, car parking spaces, a social space and gym, reception, refuse and recycling stores and several common rooms.

The number of residences to be built has been determined on the basis of student applications for accommodation at the university and the number that most other British universities provide.

On average most provide around 25 per cent.

In the past Hatfield residents have often complained that too many students currently live in the town, and the report notes that if the accommodation blocks are built more students may live on site rather than in the town – although this cannot be guaranteed.

A decision will be made at a planning meeting at Campus West, in Welwyn Garden City, on Thursday, January 3.

If approved by councillors, the work would start later this year and be completed in three phases, ending in 2016.