Plans for the Castle Meadow site are in the early stages, but we know our community will have lots of questions about the campus. Have a look at the FAQs below, we will update them as more information becomes available and contact us if you can’t see the answer you’re looking for.
Where is the Castle Meadow site?
Formerly occupied by HMRC, Castle Meadow is on the south side of the city centre, close to the train station, the iconic Nottingham Castle, and a short walk from Lenton. The site was originally designed by award-winning architect Sir Michael Hopkins.
It extends to 3.75 hectares, housing accommodation of approximately 32,500m square comprised of seven buildings including a health and wellbeing facility which could be retained for staff and student use.
How will the development of the site be managed?
This is a substantial programme of activity and will be overseen by a group chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Long. This group will ensure that Castle Meadow enables us to better deliver on the aims and objectives of our University strategy.
A programme of engagement and consultation with staff and students is planned as the project progresses. Sign up to receive updates and invitations to share your thoughts on the future of the site.
Will the development be sustainable?
The University strategy places a special emphasis on environmental sustainability and supporting the city’s ambitions to be net zero carbon by 2028. Making use of existing buildings rather than creating new buildings is a significantly more sustainable solution to support the University’s expansion plans.
The Castle Meadow development was ahead of its time when it was constructed in the early 1990s as it integrated a wide range of sustainable measures that were innovative for the period. Reusing these buildings, even after adaptation, means that the CO2 expended will be a fraction of that from a new build and significantly below the targets now set by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The Castle Meadow site itself is an attractive green space, with easy access to the train station and the cycle paths of the Nottingham Canal, offering sustainable, accessible and safe transport routes for staff, students and visitors.
Finance and investment
Does investment in Castle Meadow mean that other estates maintenance and capital project works get de-prioritised?
No, the University has spent £40m in the past three years on essential building maintenance and the team and budget for carrying on this work for the next five years is ring fenced. A new project team for Castle Meadow will be put in place so that existing teams and projects can continue.
How can the University afford this given we had to make 15% savings last year?
In making the 15% savings we were able to mitigate the financial losses we experienced because of the Covid pandemic. This meant that we did not have to use important reserves and can continue to
build and invest in the University, including in capital projects, throughout the duration of the medium-term financial plan.
A new building for the Business School along with Digital Nottingham were already included in this plan. The opportunity to purchase the Castle Meadow site allows us to do this more quickly, at less cost and in a more sustainable way.
What does this mean for the ‘levelling up’ of other campuses such as Sutton Bonington?
The process of planning the detail of the Estates Development Framework will be elongated by a few months to take account of Castle Meadow and ensure that it can be accommodated without affecting other projects. These projects will include improvements to our existing campuses such as Sutton Bonington.
Will there be investment in Castle Meadow to make it fit for the purposes we may have as a University?
The infrastructure of the buildings at Castle Meadow are very good. The spaces within the buildings are very flexible, which will enable us to purpose them in whichever way we need to meet the needs of teaching, research and student and staff experience.
The site is currently being considered for listing by Historic England. The Estates team are working with the original architects Historic England to support the process and understand the likely implications on any plans we develop for refurbishment.
It’s unlikely that Castle Meadow will impact me or my team, so what is the wider benefit?
The campus will act as a city centre base for all staff. Services could range from bookable work, teaching, research and meeting spaces to bigger, more versatile events spaces. Castle Meadow campus facilities will be available for all colleagues. We look forward to hearing colleagues' ideas on how the space could be used.
The purchase of Castle Meadow and locating the Business School and Digital Nottingham there creates a saving for the University as these two projects were already in plan but at a greater cost. This saving can therefore be used elsewhere in the University. Both of these activities will be income generating and an important source of financial sustainability for the whole of the University in the future.
It is also a more environmentally sustainable option than building new buildings in the city or on Jubilee and this is important to us as a university and our strategy and matters to many in our University community.
The relocation of the Business School to Castle Meadow would create a great opportunity for us to reimagine our existing campuses. Staff and students will have the opportunity to offer feedback and engage in the consultation process as we best decide the future of our estate and the experience we offer to those who use it.
What other opportunities are there for the new campus to generate income?
We have already had interest from some external companies about being housed on this campus, as well as current occupants Browne Jacobson LLP, which would generate significant annual rental income and open up exciting new opportunities in both teaching and research.
However, though commercial opportunities will be explored where appropriate, the primary development of the campus will be around improving teaching and learning, research opportunities, working environments and the student experience.