The university have said they will explore other options after staff complaints about UEA’s long-term plan to reduce the number of car-parking spaces for staff and instead encourage use of new Park and Ride schemes.
A university spokesperson told Concrete: “To create enough space to move staff and students out of the Grade II listed Lasdun Wall to refurbish it a new teaching building is being planned on part of the main car park site (c 2021).” They also said that this construction will mean the loss of around 100 car park spaces.
Concrete understands that whilst a decked car park of 1800 spaces was being considered as a solution to make up for the loss of spaces in the main car park, UEA have decided to consider alternatives.
However, a recent newsletter told staff: “The University currently holds a perpetual planning permission for a decked carpark on the main carpark site and so this will remain a fallback option.” Despite this, a university spokesperson told Concrete that the “principal aims” of the new Transport Policy are “to encourage greater use of public transport and reduce the demand for car parking on campus.”
It is also understood that plans to scrap the system of tiered parking charges were withdrawn following staff discontent at a public forum between UEA chiefs and staff. The university have said they are “exploring charging options which would ensure our lowest paid staff, and students eligible for permits, continue to pay a reduced daily rate.”
A university spokesperson told Concrete that work on the Lasdun wall is planned to start autumn 2023, at an estimated cost of £143 million.The three campus trade unions, Unison, United, and the Universities and College Union (UCU) stated that they were all “concerned” by aspects of the university’s expansion plans.
The unions said they were worried that “issues like parents having to manage the school run have not been adequate consideration. The Costessey Park and Ride can help some people but isn’t a good solution for people living north or east of UEA, and the promised expansions of other Park and Ride options haven’t been agreed as yet with local bus providers.”
The university have said: ““We are looking at September 2017 to introduce the free park & ride, with increased frequency at peak periods. This is within our gift as the service is provided under contract but we are currently negotiating on price. Konect operates the Costessey site under contract to Norfolk County Council who fully support the university’s efforts to deliver sustainable travel solutions.”