EXCERPT FROM THE CANTERBURY DISTRICT PLAN 2014 (DRAFT) ON HIGHER EDUCATION IN CANTERBURY; FOLLOWED BY SPECIFIC OPINION ON THE TWO UNIVERSITIES AND LINK TO QUALITY OF LIFE CHAPTER.
Education as a sector is very important to the area. As well as the District being an important centre of culture and learning, its education sector is a significant economic contributor in its own right. It is a major employer in the public and private sectors and continued to perform well through the recession. Despite ongoing economic uncertainty between 2008 and 2010 the sector had created 1,500 more jobs (+13% growth) so that by 2010 it provided a total of 13,100 local jobs (Source: ONS, 2011). One in five of all local jobs are now in education.
Elsewhere the sector has important multiplier effects on other sectors of the local economy such as the construction, business services, retail and hospitality industries. A recent study estimated the annual local economic impact of the three principal universities at almost £153 million in 2009/2010 with over 3,200 district jobs (in addition to those already employed by the institutions) dependent on the spending of the universities and their students (Source: Canterbury City Council, 2011).
The education sector attracts talented and creative economic migrants from across the UK and beyond and provides a lucrative business development opportunity for potential suppliers and other procurement based partners and stakeholders. Elements of the sector also help to directly and indirectly generate new visitor trips through conferencing and student related tourism. In this sense the global nature and market of education helps to showcase Canterbury’s profile across the world.
In the context of this development plan the education sector maintains a significant physical presence in the area particularly with regards to the Universities and Colleges. This is essential in three key respects.
Firstly, they are considerable users and occupiers of office and other accommodation notably in Canterbury and this development plan seeks to support their strategic and operational requirements. Secondly, these institutions can act as drivers of physical regeneration and renewal both through their own investment but also in their ability to act as magnets for other commercial investment which otherwise may not have been attracted to the area. Their role in this regard needs to be highlighted and encouraged wherever possible.
Thirdly, education and the area’s Universities and Colleges specifically remain a central element of the Council’s vision and strategy to diversify the local economy and support the development of knowledge-based business in the area.
The Council recognizes that the fiscal environment for further and tertiary education is also changing rapidly, and that long-term planning may be complicated. It therefore seeks to continue to support the Universities and Colleges in the improvement, diversification and development of their educational offer, but also the development of business ideas stemming from innovative research and other University core business. The Universities differ in location and built form, and this requires different policy approaches. The University of Kent is located on the edge of the City in a largely self-contained campus; Canterbury Christ Church University is located in a “ribbon” form around the edge of the city Centre, utilizing a number of sites.
The Council therefore supports the preparation of long-term strategies for the University sites, and will work with the Universities to facilitate their preparation. The Council will also support and work to promote links between the Universities and local businesses, and also the development of new business ideas emerging from the Universities. Policy HD7 requires all future increases in academic or administrative floorspace resulting in an increase in student numbers to be matched by a corresponding increase in purpose-built student accommodation.
Policy EMP7 University of Kent
Within the campus of the University of Kent identified on the proposals map, the Council will support development of educational buildings for teaching and office space; student accommodation; business accommodation (compatible with the University’s role in research and development and business innovation); sports facilities and other facilities directly related to the University’s core business.
The Council will expect a masterplan to be prepared for the whole identified campus site, prior to any significant development within the site. Such a masterplan should maintain the campus character of the university; respect the setting of the site in the wider countryside; identify the key uses and their disposition within the site and any relocation of uses within the wider campus area. It should also set out a landscape and biodiversity strategy for the whole site.
Significant development proposals at the University will also be subject to updating of the University’s Transport Impact Assessment, and a review of the University Travel Plan.
The Council will also grant planning permission for educational and ancillary uses on those sites identified within the campus boundary; subject to design, siting and access considerations.
Policy EMP8 Canterbury Christ Church University
Land is identified at North Holmes Road to permit the intensification or redevelopment of the main site for higher education purposes. The Council will also support the development of new facilities for Canterbury Christ Church University in suitable locations within the urban area of the city, for managed student accommodation and for teaching and general office accommodation. Any new proposals for the main site, or other larger sites in the City should be accompanied by a development strategy to support the proposals and a Transport Plan to demonstrate how any additional activity can be catered for in transport terms.