Saturday, 6 February 2010

Inverness Campus: a retail park in disguise

aerial view - note buildings falling over bottom left
You know, I'm filled with admiration for the work of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as you know. Their recent work in John O' Groats knocked me for six with its retail driven regeneration plan and circular car parks - fantastic! Now, according to my personal weekly edition of Planning (thanks to the goons at the RTPI for this) they've produced another amazing proposal to create an out of town university near Inverness which has gone in for planning permission.
what a depressing environment
This will be like an enormous retail park for students. That's a big smack in the face for those miserable jimmies who talk about town-and-gown - the silly notion that universities should be in or near town centres because students spend money in shops and cafes and help local businesses by creating a buzzing street life. Well they don't have any money to spend so that's that one put to bed straight away! You just need to look at Stirling University - students just get on the bus for half an hour - so what?
views of the proposed buildings - just daft
HIE have employed an architectural firm called 7N to create the drawings necessary to get planning permission. I must admit that these are very poor but of course all the fancy stuff will be abandoned later on in the process when the hard facts of life dictate that most of the buildings will be sheds. As it is, 7N's drawings show a depressing environment of little interest or quality. Actually I wonder if they are architects so if they are serious about continuing their involvement, they had better start getting real and forgetting about the infantile stuff. But it is a cunning rouse to get planning permission and should be given large tick because of that.
some nice wee wild animals will like it here
Now one of the clever things about this campus is that because it is out of town, it will be dead at night so wildlife will be able to use the facilities when the students leave - a clever bit of box-ticking there for the green agenda. Honestly, it's amazing that people are taken in by this trash but they obviously are - and will be again with these garish proposals.

I've known people in HIE for many years - they may not employ the most attractive women in the world and a lot of them are numpties - but they are really at the top of their game when it comes to getting consent for greenfield developments. Congratulations!


Tim R said...

Incisive comment Mr T. I didn't realise there was so much cynicism around... Creating those wonderful space age designs only to change them to sheds when they get their planning consent?

I would expect the Private Sector to do that. But HIE are part of the Public Sector aren't they? Shocking.

Dave Thompson said...

yes they are Tim but there is very little difference between them these days - Mrs Thatcher's wonderful legacy in Scotland.

thanks for dropping in again

yours in planning Dave T

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