In the recent online public conversation hosted by Wera Hobhouse, guest Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor of Bath Spa University, confirms that they have no intention of expanding.
Following questions on student housing, Professor Rigby said: “Both the University of Bath and ourselves have worked very hard to reinforce the understanding that we are not growing, and that means that an awful lot of this speculative student development is going to be wasted, because there aren’t going to be more students.”
She also spoke about the fact that the university works with developers to create a high standard of living accommodation, and works with the Council to ensure that this accommodation is suitably located.
Wera Hobhouse said: “We have such restrictions on building in Bath that speculative student housing simply serves to damage the relationship between students and the city. How can we improve things?” Professor Rigby replied: “We need to minimise the negative impact of students and maximise the positive impact they have in terms of their liveliness, their employability, their money, and their sense of being creators and makers. Bath needs a talent pool and can’t rely on just pulling people in mid or late career.”
“Students really want to come to Bath. Perhaps by being kinder to those individuals who are studying, and looking for ways to bring them together with older members of the community, everyone will benefit. We held 'Digital Drop-ins' for the residents of Newton St Loe, so that residents and students could get to know each other. It was very successful.”
Responding to an audience question about Edinburgh’s pride in its learned institutions, Professor Rigby replied: “Bath sees itself as a Regency pleasure space, yet through that connection has links with the intellectual and artistic development of the UK. If we can pull all that together…then I think it gives us a shared identity that means that the universities can be seen as participants in a great city.”
To watch the event, please visit www.werahobhouse.co.uk/werameetssuerigby
WATCH: Wera Meets...Professor Sue Rigby: