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Public hears about RVC's expansion plans

The RVC site
Part of the recent development at the RVC site, constructed since the successful 2000 planning application
  Camera courtesy of Fujifilm

Around twenty local residents turned up at the Royal Veterinary College's Hawkshead campus on Thursday night to give their views on plans for expansion on the site.

Professor Lance Lanyon, the Principal, outlined the history of the RVC and spoke about the increasing need for people qualified in veterinary science.

Since the RVC purchased the Hawkshead site in 1955, long term planning had been essential, the meeting was told.

In the last 15 years, the number of students had risen from 80 to 200, but these students will be catered for by the current building works first planned in outline over 30 years ago. According to Professor Lanyon, now was the time to plan for the next twenty years.

John Fisher, the Estates Manager, explained the proposals by reference to the diagram submitted with the outline planning application.

The RVC has also published a brochure, giving reasons for its needs to expand.

The diagram shows that the size of the designated major development site would just about double. Broadly, the site would expand northwards, with student accommodation to the west, teaching and administration in the centre and clinical facilities on the east side.

Some residents of nearby Hawkshead Lane, more than half of the residents at the meeting, were vociferous in their opinion that even the development works currently underway were not to their liking.

In particular, landscaping and traffic management were not what had been expected. Mr Fisher explained the difficulties the RVC had encountered and said that the remedial action should soon be apparent.

Causing most concern for the future was the proposal for a sports hall and all-weather surface to the south of Hawkshead Lane. In preference, residents were unanimous in their opinion that the site of the existing pavilion should be used for a new sports hall.

Residents were also concerned as to when the expansion would take place, with its consequent increase in traffic.

The RVC could not give firm dates. This was a long-term outline plan, the individual elements of which would each have to receive detailed planning consent when the time came.

On being pressed for dates, the RVC said that even the currently planned extension to the Queen Mother hospital would probably not start before 2007 and they would probably not start to implement the new proposals within ten years.

The public has until 25 April to send written observations to the Chief Planning Officer at Welwyn Hatfield District Council (WHDC).

WHDC posted a note in this site’s forum announcing that a master planning brief and outline planning application had been submitted by the RVC proposing new educational, clinical and residential facilities at the Hawkshead Lane campus.

WHDC has extended the consultation period for the proposal beyond the normal 21 days. The authority says the plans can be viewed at the WHDC offices in Welwyn Garden City between 9am and 5.15pm Monday to Thursday and between 9am and 4.45pm on Fridays.

Click here to read the RVC brochure, setting out its plans for the future and click here to view a drawing of the extent of the latest development plans.

You can discuss this issue in this site's forum.

21 March 2003

Related News
Public meeting on RVC's future - 20 March 2003
Seminar on RVC future plans - 14 March 2003
Diagram of RVC Hawkshead proposals - 14 March 2003
RVC Hawkshead - planning for the future - 14 March 2003
New RVC plans ready for inspection - 14 March 2003
Vet college plans approved - 5 July 2000
Bridge repairs completed - 2 April 2000
Bridge: No weight restriction needed - 3 March 2000
Hawkshead Lane bridge begins to crack - 27 February 2000
Vet college: assurances demanded - 14 February 2000
Bypass: society urged to think again - 6 February 2000
E-mail opposing bypass plan - 6 February 2000
Green Belt Committee e-mail - 5 February 2000
Green Belt Society backs bypass - 5 February 2000
Anger over bypass plan - 30 January 2000
Hawkshead Lane bypass bid - 26 January 2000
Vet college expansion plans submitted - 26 January 2000
Green belt vets expansion plans - 10 December 1999
Vet College expansion opposed - 13 November 1999
Green belt letter opposing expansion - 13 November 1999
Vet College plans to expand - 29 September 1999

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