New University College London site branded ‘land grab’
11:51 18 October 2012
Plans for a £1billion university site which has been branded a “land grab” have been unveiled.
Controversial plans for the Stratford university site were shown to Carpenters Estate at a public meeting where University College London (UCL) Vice Provost Rex Knight gave a presentation in which he outlined plans for the mixed-use development.
A total of 32 per cent of the site will be used for research facilities, 12 per cent will be teaching and learning space, and 14 per cent for support such as offices and catering.
Some 21 per cent is set aside for accommodation and 21 per cent will be left over for non-UCL use including residential properties.
The proposals are due to go before Newham Council’s cabinet on October 25 while campaign group Carpenters Against Regeneration (CARP) are still opposed to the plans.
CARP has accused UCL of only including “token housing” in the plan, displacing their community, with any promised jobs not accessible to local people unless they are in menial roles.
Joe Alexander, vice chairman of CARP, said: “Why not use some of the £1bn to set up a partnership with our local universities like UEL to upgrade some of our existing facilities?
“They seem as if they want to tell the world that UCL’s idea of Olympic legacy is opportunistic land-grabbing by the wealthy at the expense of poor East End communities.”
UCL said they would continue to work with Carpenters Estate residents, businesses and other key stakeholders in Stratford on the final design.
They have sent outline proposals via a mail drop, and they recently hosted an exhibition of plans.
On the subject of local employment, the University of London (UCL) said an independent analysis by Oxford Economics put job creation in Newham from the UCL scheme at around 3,300 – as well as 1,100 jobs created by construction work – but plans and discussions are still ongoing with the council at this stage.
A spokesman for UCL said: “We have always been clear that our involvement in the project depends on Newham’s long-standing commitment to re-house the residents affected within the borough as set out in the Resident’s Charter.
“Under the council’s Stratford Metropolitan Masterplan, the Carpenters Estate has been earmarked for development since 2010, so the decision to redevelop the site in question was taken long before UCL became involved.”
The full plan and more can be found on Newham Council’s website www.newham.gov.uk.