Residents ‘stressed’ by UCL Stratford campus decision delay
The University College London (UCL) has postponed its decision on whether to build a new campus in Stratford until after the Olympics.
Bosses signed a six-month agreement with Newham Council in November last year to develop proposals for a new facility in the Carpenters Estate. That has since expired.
The campus plans met fierce resistance from residents opposed to the break-up of their community and the loss of their homes. Campaigners staged protests and have marched on Stratford.
The UCL has promised to use the extra time to hold meetings and drop-in sessions to keep residents up-to-date with their plans.
Carpenters Estate resident Mary Finch, of Gibbons Road, said the extension, to the end of September, had left people in limbo.
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She said: “This doesn’t lessen the pressure on us at all. They have gone from May to June to July and now to September.
“It’s like they are playing cat and mouse and it makes you think ‘what is going on, why are they doing this?’
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“They are just stressing us out.”
The Carpenters Estate, which is in the shadow of the Olympic Park, has been earmarked for regeneration by Newham Council since 2010.
More than half of residents have since been rehoused.
Joseph Alexander, vice-chairman of Carpenters Against Regeneration Plans (CARP), said he had been unimpressed with previous drop-in sessions hosted by UCL.
He said: “It wasn’t as if they were actually engaging with us, it was more like they were just advertising who great they would be.
“We want to speak to the corporate people at the university, but it is as if they are hiding behind the council.”
A UCL spokesman said: “During this period UCL will continue to engage with residents, businesses and other key stakeholders, both in Newham and within UCL, on what form our activities in Stratford might take.
“It is too early given that these discussions are on-going to offer a firm timescale for any development that might result from this initial work.
UCL is clear that any proposals developed will take into account existing commitments made by the council to those people affected, particularly in terms of re-housing and the residents charter.”