Students under one roof

First published in News by

Further plans are afoot to turn Hendon into a major educational hub for students by 2012.

Middlesex University has submitted an application to build a two- to five-storey “academic teaching building” on the town hall car park site in The Burroughs and adjacent land in St Joseph’s Grove.

The development would signal the start of moves to close the Cat Hill campus in Chase Side, Southgate and relocate 1,600 students and nearly 200 staff to the Hendon site.

This could push the student population in the area up to 11,400 after 3,000 students were moved last summer to the campus in The Burroughs, following the closure of the Ponders End campus, in Enfield.

The latest proposal further reinforces the university’s corporate plan, which aims to achieve the “consolidation of nearly all its London-based teaching at Hendon”.

A spokeswoman for the university said it was keen to make Hendon its “flagship campus” incorporating the art and design courses from Cat Hill.

“We are waiting on planning permission, but it will take a couple of years to develop if all goes according to plan,” she added.

“Like almost every university in the country, we feel it is more efficient for staff and students to be working from one campus.

“It is more cost-effective to have just one campus, and we want to make it the intellectual centre for the university.

“The plan is to consolidate on one site, and Hendon seems to be the one for us.”

But the plans have already met with objections and concerns from residents and politicians, with Barnet Council already receiving 37 representations against the application.

The influx of students last summer caused parking chaos for many residents in Hendon as the university does not provide onsite parking and students’ cars clogged up the streets.

Peter Greenhill, director of Barnet Liberal Democrats Community Respect Initiative said: “There is a need to seriously discuss a way of properly integrating the students into the community.

“At the moment the parking provisions are not in place and any development needs to make residents feel it is improving rather than degenerating their environment.

“We are fully in support of a university town if the right transport network is in place, but obviously residents were here first and they need to be taken into account when deciding what effect this move could have on the area.”

Enfield Council rejected at least two planning proposals to develop the university’s Trent Park campus in 2006 on the grounds it could be detrimental to the surrounding environment.

But Barnet Council sees the university as a key partner in developing “higher educational attainment, a more skilled workforce and creating local opportunities” across the borough, according to a draft masterplan announced at cabinet in December.

The council is due to discuss the university planning application on February 20.

m Barnet Council announces the closure of its Montagu Road campus in West Hendon. Turn to page 19 for full story.

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