The decision was made following recent advice and recommendations from external consultants on a range of factors, including market conditions in the Canterbury area, as part of the development of the University’s Framework Masterplan and its underlying principles.
The University already has an award-winning conference business which welcomes more than 200,000 people from around the world to its residential provision. However, it is clear that there is an ever-increasing demand for a high-quality conference provision. The proposed location – north of University Road and south of Turing College – would give maximum flexibility both in the size of the footprint of the building and also with regard to the size of conferences that can be held as this location provides easy access to the facilities available in Turing College. The hotel-conference centre would be designed to address a changing higher education landscape offering both facilities and opportunities for the generation of income to help support our teaching and research activities.
University vice-chancellor and president Professor Karen Cox said: ‘I would like to thank all those who engaged with the Masterplan process, including local residents, staff, students and Kent Union, and for the informed discussions which have been held with the Masterplan team over the last eighteen months. The aim of the Masterplan is to provide a framework which will help us make decisions on the future development of the Canterbury campus in the short, medium and long term. The proposed location for the potential development of a hotel-conference centre is just one of the many elements it contains.’
The business generated by the University’s current conference activities creates employment for around 350 full-time members of staff and a further 500 part-time or conference staff. A new conference hotel would significantly increase part-time employment for the University’s students and others as well as providing further opportunities for professional study in the region.
Following the latest round of public consultation, the University is currently working on the Consultation Statement and will be submitting the finished Masterplan to Canterbury City Council for their endorsement in the New Year.