Uni flats plan gets backing from Shapps

WELWYN Hatfield MP Grant Shapps has welcomed plans by the University of Hertfordshire to increase the amount of student accommodation it has on site.

At the beginning of this month, the Hatfield-based uni submitted a planning application to Welwyn Hatfield Council for the erection of five two-storey buildings on the College Lane campus.

If approved by planning officers, the proposals will see the temporary buildings – to accomodate 240 first year and overseas students – constructed by September.

Mr Shapps told the Welwyn Hatfield Times it was a great idea and should help minimise noise disruption to residential areas.

“Yes it sounds good because the University of Hertfordshire clearly needs to take more on-campus responsibility for students’ accommodation,” he said.

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“Residents will welcome the idea of student digs being on site and students might generally like the convenience.”

The proposals come after nearly 300 students were left without somewhere to live in September – most having to stay in hotels – when the university could not accomodate an increase in admissions.

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A university spokesman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “The planning application will hopefully prevent the situation ourselves and many other universities around the country faced, when students had to be accommodated in hotels.

“If agreed [the planning application] work would take place over the summer, ready for students in September.”

The uni spokesman added: “We are looking at other permanent solutions, so in the meantime it makes sense to get something in place, at least for the next year, until we solve the problem long-term.”

The consultation period will end on Wednesday, February 3.

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