Higher education institutions are incredibly important for regional and national economic growth. They’re attracting record numbers of overseas students, delivering better and more advanced education than ever before, and creating the skilled workers of tomorrow. The estates play an instrumental part of that – with facilities and accommodation being key to attract new students to the area. In the North West one of those looking to create an estates masterplan is The University of Salford who are set to speak at the North West Universities Development Plans Conference on the 21st March. So where are they at with their masterplan?

The University’s Estates department are currently developing a masterplan in conjunction with the local authority – Salford City Council. The process is currently at the consultation phase, which is set to involve all departments from across both the University and the City Council. The main objectives of the masterplan are to:

  • Establish the Principles & Drivers for the masterplan – which will underpin the University’s Development Framework and Corporate Plan
  • Interpret the Academic Vision and the ICZ’s through the transformation of the physical estate
  • Embed projects and investment within a robust development framework

Two of the call out highlights from the University’s plan sit around improving the student experience, and placemaking to create a great environment to live, work and play.

In terms of the student experience the University is keen to maximise the campus assets of some key areas including ‘Rail Connectivity’, ‘Peel Park and Meadows’ and ‘Heritage Buildings’. Improvements would be made to facilities across the campus to transform amenities with investment across areas such as sport, social and student learning buildings. The placemaking plan would see the University look to establish ways to create a new city and academic district that links with the wider community with easy connectivity, as well as investment into delivery high quality property through regeneration and new builds – which would also integrate into the wider city vision for residential, schools, sports and health. According to the University’s website the next steps include:

  • Completing the consultation process
  • Option workshops
  • Develop emerging opportunities
  • Obtain feedback from stakeholders
  • Develop preferred options
  • Deliver the final masterplan

We’re certainly looking forward to hear from the University at the North West Universities Development Plans Conference – so join us there! We’ll also be hearing from Manchester Metropolitan University and Lancaster University at the event.