Frequently asked questions
1. Why are we redeveloping St Patrick's Hall?
The University of Reading continues to grow and attract students from the UK and the wider world, and we need to continue to improve our estates and facilities to keep up with the demands that high enrolments bring. It is important to ensure that we are able to provide high-quality accommodation to enhance the University's reputation.
There has been a £100m investment in on-campus accommodation through the University's partnership with University Partnerships Programme (UPP), which has increased overall capacity by 1,500 rooms to 4,982. This is in response to increased demand for high-quality, competitively priced accommodation and to grow our provision of on-campus rooms. St Patrick's Hall is the next site to be redeveloped, expanded and upgraded.
2. How have the plans evolved since the public exhibition in October 2015?
In response to feedback from the community and the Council's local listing of Pearson's Court, we have developed an alternative scheme that retains Pearson's Court, the North, East and West range, in addition to expanding and upgrading the site.
The proposals show that the latest Sets building to the south of the courtyard will be removed and replaced with new, high-quality accommodation that will complement the established courtyard. A new courtyard has been proposed to the north of the site along with new accommodation above the Hub and towards the rear of the site. The Hub will contain a refectory and bar function, and a café has been proposed on the ground floor of the new courtyard in the centre of the site.
In response to concerns raised regarding the proximity of buildings to the house on the southern boundary, we have removed the two low-rise buildings previously proposed. We have also introduced an accommodation block further into the site to reduce the proximity to residential housing. We propose that the rear elevation windows are splayed to direct views away from neighbouring properties, limiting any overlooking.
3. Why is the University no longer planning to demolish Pearson's Court?
In November 2016, Reading Borough Council confirmed that Pearson's Court met the heritage criteria to be locally listed.
4. How many student bedrooms will there be at St Patrick's Hall?
At the public consultation in October 2015, our plans showed an additional 770 student bedrooms. Our latest proposals now aim to provide 702 additional bedrooms.
5. Will the new St Patrick's Halls have affordable accommodation?
The proposed scheme will increase capacity, improve the quality and provide a greater choice of accommodation for undergraduates, postgraduates, and returners. The new proposals provide a good balance of accommodation styles at a variety of rents.
6. With an increase in student numbers, how will student behaviour be managed?
The student contract clearly outlines regulations and expectations for students, including considerate behaviour towards their neighbours. If they do not follow these regulations, they will be subject to disciplinary procedures. Each hall, including St Patrick's Hall, has a Warden, who is a full-time member of University staff with responsibility for pastoral support and discipline within the hall. As with all our halls of residence, St Patrick's Hall is monitored by our in-house Security team using active CCTV across the site. The latest plans include a new on-site security room within the St Patrick's development.
7. How will parking be managed?
Permits are only given to students with mobility issues or in rare circumstances.
Students living in St Patrick's Hall have an approximate 5-minute walk to Whiteknights Campus and a 10-minute walk to London Road campus, or a short cycle ride to both, so should not require the use of a car.
We provide clear and practical information to students on how to get around Reading without using cars, which is made available to students when they first arrive and on the University website. We also run a number of initiatives to encourage sustainable transport, including bike hire, discounted travel on buses around Reading, and car-sharing schemes.
8. When will the plans be submitted to the Council?
Following a review of the feedback from the consultation, we hope to submit the application later in November.
9. How can you view and comment on the proposals?
The proposals will be available to view online from Thursday 26 October until Thursday 9 November at http://www.reading.ac.uk/st-patricks-project including details of how you can submit comments.
The consultation remains ongoing and we would like to thank you for taking an interest in our plans as they develop.