May 7, 2013 7:55 pm

University College London axes plan to build £1bn campus

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University College London has axed plans to build a £1bn campus development on the edge of the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, after talks broke down with Newham Council.

The university, based in Bloomsbury, had planned to build a second campus on the 23-acre site known as the Carpenter’s estate as part of an expansion project to regenerate the East end and bolster its own research credentials. But UCL announced on Tuesday that its discussions with the council had collapsed following a failure to reach agreement on the terms of the deal. It will now search for an alternative site in the area.

The design had included plans for a new “university quarter” on the old housing estate, including research facilities and space for about 7,500 students and 2,300 members of staff. Around a fifth of the project was intended to be private housing.

The proposal had attracted significant opposition from those still living on the estate, who wanted the council to refurbish the housing blocks rather than sell them on for demolition and rebuilding.

In a statement, Newham Council said the proposal had been “ambitious and extremely complex”.

“Following intensive and lengthy analysis both parties were unable to agree commercial terms,” the statement read. However, the council stressed it was still supportive of UCL establishing a “major presence” in Stratford.

Professor Malcolm Grant, UCL president and provost, said he regretted the parties’ inability to reach an agreement, but echoed the council’s sentiments.

“We remain confident of the benefits a presence in Stratford would deliver both to UCL and the local community, and we will continue to work closely with Newham Council and other stakeholders to make this ambitious project happen,” Professor Grant said.

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