UCLan plans second square and new step-free walkway through city campus

A second square is being planned for the University of Central Lancashire as part of a major reconfiguration of the city campus in Preston.

With the new University Square - the Adelphi Roundabout revamp - already taking shape, UCLan has launched another scheme to create an attractive area in the midst of its key buildings where students and staff can spend time and also attend pop-up events.

The project is intended to give it a "sense of place that generates activity and vibrancy," according to a planning report submitted to the city council.

As part of the project, a new "public realm" walkway will also be built to link many of the major blocks within the central campus.

A new square is planned in front of the former St Peter's Church, now UCLan's Arts Centre.

The plans are part of UCLan's £200m Masterplan to rebuild the core of the university, including the creation of a £60m student centre and a £35m Engineering Innovation Centre, both facing onto University Square.

"The scheme is centred around the creation of an ‘active campus’ and provides new and enhanced links through the the UCLan campus, promoting sustainable travel among students and other users," says the report.

"The public realm experience is generally poor with a disjointed range of levels and materials, including a sunken basin in the area of public realm immediately to the north of the St. Peter’s Arts Centre.

"Inclusive access is considered in all aspects of the public realm to enable people with disabilities, both visual and physical, to use the streets and spaces easily.

The new square and campus walkway will be all-but step free.

"The detailed design ensures that key routes in the development are easy to navigate and street furniture will be positioned within recognisable zones to avoid creating hazards for users.

"The streetscape will be clutter-free, with clear walking zones within the footways. All access routes, from principle to alternative accessible entrances, will be surfaces so that people are able to travel along them easily, without excessive effort and without risk of tripping and falling.

"The public realm design will be step-free as far as is possible and the public realm is designed to compliant gradient standards, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity for all."

The new square will be situated on the central spine between the Arts Centre and the Students' Union buildings. The walkway will connect it with a number of other key buildings including the UCLan Library and the Victoria Buildings.

UCLan hopes the square will be used for pop-up events.