As part of readying the site of UEA’s new £65m teaching building for construction the university plans to remove 300 parking spaces from the main car park on campus.
The university hopes to begin removing the parking spaces later this year to make room for the Sky House, which will house the Arts and Humanities and a number of Social Sciences schools from 2022.
Removing the parking spaces will help fulfil the university’s aims of its Travel Plan. In a statement the university said: “As part of lowering UEA’s carbon footprint, our Travel Plan aims to encourage people not to drive to campus but to use more environmentally sustainable types of travel”.
It added: “More staff than ever before are also taking more environmentally-friendly options like walking, cycling, using the park and stride, or the free park & ride bus service to UEA from Costessey.”
However, many staff and students rely on the university’s car parking spaces.
Simone Chalkley is a mature English literature with creative writing student.
She thinks it is “awful” the university is taking away the 300 parking spaces, and that often it is “a battle between being good for the planet and being good for my mental health”.
“They shouldn’t take the parking away unless they have better transport links in place to the surrounding areas as it will be detrimental to students,” she said.
She added: “If the transport links were better I wouldn’t have to drive but because they aren’t good, I wouldn’t be able to come or I’d have to move house to have the same opportunity.
“If other people also need to drive in for the same reasons, such as bad transport then it is really going to cause a lot of problems and it seems unfair to discriminate.”
Jake Morris is a second year student who lives outside of Norwich. Although he uses the park and ride during the week, he often drives onto campus by car on weekends and when the park and ride is unavailable. “Parking can be limited at the best of times, so with the removal of 300 spaces, I think it’s going to become difficult for me to access university facilities,” he said.
A spokesperson for UEA said: “The 300 car parking spaces are not being replaced. However, UEA campus currently has enough parking spaces to ensure capacity for all current car users regardless of this reduction in the main car park.
“This may mean the car parks on campus fill up more quickly though, so car users are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.”
A public consultation for the Sky House proposals will be held at UEA on 6 June in the Council Chamber on campus from 4-7pm.