FELIX

"Keep the Cat Free"
22/08/14

Pressure continues over Acton

College say they will answer students’ questions through Felix. To ask: email felix@imperial.ac.uk and the COO and Pro-Rector (Education) will answer you.
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acton drawing.jpg
Credit: Lizzy Griffiths

Imperial College Union have continued the pressure on Imperial College London over the plans for halls in Acton. There has continued to be unease amongst the student body about the plans. The issue has been raised and discussed at numerous meetings, including the Student Welfare Committee, and College Senate (which is a body that is chaired by the President & Rector, and is made up of various academics and management staff). Paul Beaumont, Union President, said that the College’s response has been “seemingly positive”. He said that he is “glad that some academics and staff are as concerned about the site and annoyed at the way in which the whole project was handled as we are.” There has been no word thus far on the future of Garden Hall, which could be turned into office space, or the halls in Evelyn Gardens. The College leases the latter from the Wellcome Trust, and there are 32 years left on the lease. Last week it was reported that the indications are that the Wellcome Trust are not at the moment willing to extend the lease. Felix repeatedly contacted them for comment, but they said that they “don’t comment on individual assets.”

Last week, the Union sent five requests to College. It is understood that College Management are in the process of drafting a response to the Union’s requests. Beaumont said “I have been assured that they’re being considered carefully and we will hear back soon”.

 

As mentioned in the subtitle. Simon Harding-Roots and Professor Debra Humphris will be answering questions put to them through Felix. Email: felix@imperial.ac.uk to get yours answered.

The Union timed the journey to Acton as over 50 minutes during rush hour (door-to-door) to dispel the claim that it is about 30 minutes, which has been mentioned by College. However it has been pointed out that they do top up their Oyster cards en-route. The video is available on STOIC’s YouTube channel. The journey back to College took about 46 minutes.

The Union’s #againstacton page on their website has now garnered over 4,500 unique visits, and a “Pledge Your Support” site was launched on Tuesday, with currently over 400 signatures. Beaumont said that he was “overwhelmed by the support students have shown for the Union’s campaign”, and that he would like to thank those who sent in long pieces detailing their personal experiences.]

 

 

In a quantitative analysis of the participation of students in Clubs, Societies & Projects over the last few years, the Union found that those that live further away in their first year are less likely to get involved. The data also showed that students who did not participate in their first year were less likely to participate later on. The Union also looked at qualitative data from the Student Experience Survey, which it says corroborates the views with regards to a poor student experience.

The College announced the purchase of land and plans to build halls in Acton, currently titled W3, on Monday 18 February. By Tuesday, the Union had launched a website and had provided their stance, which was vehemently against the proposals. The hashtag #againstacton was launched, which has been used many times. Current indications are that most students oppose the move. There was widespread criticism of Simon Harding-Roots, the Chief Operations Officer, saying that students at Imperial needed a “dose of reality” about the halls, with the Union using it in their video of their journey.

The decision to build the halls ignored the advice of the Union President and was not released to students as it was deemed to be commercially sensitive. Students’ opposition has mainly focused on the distance needed to travel everyday, the cost of the halls, especially when factoring in the cost of travel (which goes above the £150 lowest band), the safety of the area, the wardening provisions, as well as the ability to recruit hall seniors in the location. 

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Comments (21 comments)

Thomas Watts

Friday March 01 2013 11:24

From white city the journey time is 40 mins, including RUNNING between platforms at Notting Hill Gate. The main problem is that the circle line is about as likely to run on time as an Edinburgh tram.
This is important, that is why there's so much coverage.
You can arrive at the circle line precisely when you need to be and the gain will then be ten minute late. Add 5 mins due to uncertainty. Then imagine being at the furthest point on the action site, add another ten minutes. There you go, the unions timing is reasonable.

William A L Berg

Monday March 04 2013 22:51

Well, I live in Acton, and also did so for half of my time at university. The fastest journey I could manage (and believe me, I was sure it was the fastest - sometimes I'd have a morning events shift so I'd have to be in before 7am) was a 40 minute journey of walking to East Acton, going to Queensway and walking across Hyde Park. It was a pain in the ass, frankly. I'm not a loner, so living so far away from where my university life was supposedly happening was awful. I came to my senses in 3rd year and moved to Battersea. The 15-minute end-to-end bus commute was very welcome and allowed me to get more easily involved in society activities without wrecking my sleep cycle.

And reality check: Acton is crap. I've lived here all my life (apart from those two years in Battersea) and I can tell you quite reliably that there's sod-all to do here. In my vicinity, the swimming baths and the Morrisons are tied for most interesting day out.

ImpStudent

Friday March 01 2013 02:02

Stop moaning for goodness sake. You guys were walking at a snails pace while constantly trying to crack terrible jokes. IF you actually fully concentrated on the task at hand it could be done in 35 minutes.

boloss

Friday March 01 2013 09:04

Another article and editorial on this subject, on top of all this againstacton campaign. It is starting to be very excessive.

LiveFurtherAwayThanThis

Friday March 01 2013 09:43

Exactly. Also: take 5 minutes off for the fact that most students wont be coming from/to the Union (the furthest point), Also: it won't be half term rush hour where there are huge crowds in the ticket hall preventing quick entry, take off 5 mins.

Garden Defense

Friday March 01 2013 09:44

"ImpStudent", what? I think you are not even a student, otherwise you wouldn't call yourself ImpStudent to prove it...

And now: "terrible jokes?" (what argument is this?). "Aalking at a snail's pace?" "35 minutes?" I'm sorry but these are not arguments either, even from TfL's website this journey would be 40 minutes long, and then add door-to-door walking times... Finally, if you are going to and from halls with friends, you are bound to talk to them while you walk, right?

Anonymous

Friday March 01 2013 10:09

I agree with ImpStudent in that they walked way too slowly. Also, a knowledgeable student wouldn't go to South Ken to get the Circle Line when going towards Notting Hill, but instead they would go to Gloucester Road which is closer. The trip is easily doable in 30-35 mins.

staff member357

Friday March 01 2013 10:30

I have worked at Imperial for 7 years, using 2+ tube lines to get here....

I didn't realise that if I 'concetrated' it will make London Underground faster.

Thanks for the tip...

Codger

Friday March 01 2013 11:13

Halls in Acton? I commuted in to IC from Clayponds (South Ealing) in 91/92. That's further away that Acton. I cycled down the A4 and lived.

concentrating

Sunday March 03 2013 19:28

Thanks for that ImpStudent. I'll try concentrating really hard next time I need to get somewhere quickly.

Ash

Monday March 04 2013 19:56

It seems everyone that everyone apart from those who actually live around Acton/Ealing are complaining. Seriously, I live in West Acton (10 min walking distance from North Acton) and it takes me less than 30 mins to get to South Kensington.

North Acton is a beautiful suburb in the leafy borough of Ealing. Not to mention, the apartment to the station is literally 1 minute walking distance. But sure, thumb me down.

Anonymous

Monday March 04 2013 22:49

Well, I live in Acton, and also did so for half of my time at university. The fastest journey I could manage (and believe me, I was sure it was the fastest - sometimes I'd have a morning events shift so I'd have to be in before 7am) was a 40 minute journey of walking to East Acton, going to Queensway and walking across Hyde Park. It was a pain in the ass, frankly. I'm not a loner, so living so far away from where my university life was supposedly happening was awful. I came to my senses in 3rd year and moved to Battersea. The 15-minute end-to-end bus commute was very welcome and allowed me to get more easily involved in society activities without wrecking my sleep cycle.

And reality check: Acton is crap. I've lived here all my life (apart from those two years in Battersea) and I can tell you quite reliably that there's sod-all to do here. In my vicinity, the swimming baths and the Morrisons are tied for most interesting day out.

Bruce

Tuesday March 05 2013 12:14

I don't quite follow why Evelyn Gardens future is currently in doubt if 32 years still remain on the lease.

Anonymous

Tuesday March 05 2013 12:18

Since when North Acton has become a beautiful suburb? It is packed with warehouses!

Ash

Tuesday March 05 2013 16:53

Sounds like you live near Acton High Street, or possible near the South Acton council estate. That part of Acton is terrible, I agree. I used to live there too.

To come back to the point, STOIC took 20 mins to get from IC to South Ken station. If it takes you that long to walk that short of a distance then I don't think you can complain about journey times.

Knight Frank

Wednesday March 06 2013 22:07

A two bedroom flat in No 45 on a 37 year lease went for £1,350,000 a couple of years ago.

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/property-history/45a-evelyn-gardens/london/sw7-3bh/14427572

Those houses are worth a fortune to a property developer. The college is being disingenuous to say the least to cite the time left on the lease as a reason for getting out. They want to flog them off and release a huge amount of capital to waste on something else.

@Knight Frank

Wednesday March 06 2013 22:35

I bet it would've sold for more if the street wasn't full of noisy students. :-)

Hahahaha.

Wednesday March 06 2013 22:43

The "leafy suburbs" of North Acton... http://goo.gl/maps/ItE0I

Good God!

Thursday March 07 2013 00:23

Enough of this sheep-like stupidity. Imperial do not own the property, they've got nothing to flog off!

The fact of the matter is that Wellcome aren't going to renew Imperial's lease because there's much more money to be made by leasing it to other organisations for different purposes.

It's madness for Imperial to spend millions renovating a property that they're going to lose in 30 years.

People gripe and moan about Imperial's focus on money. It's their prudent financial management that has made Imperial one of the richest universities in the country. It has incredible facilities, world-class researchers and a great student experience for people who don't expect to be spoon-fed.

The only sensible thing that's been said around this entire issue was in this comment )(http://felixonline.co.uk/news/3347/anger-over-new-halls/#comment80033976) from about two weeks ago.

ICU, get constructive!

Anonymous

Thursday March 07 2013 01:35

"It's their prudent financial management that has made Imperial one of the richest universities in the country."

With due respect Imperial is one of the richest universities in the country not because of its "financial management" but because of hard working researchers who bring in money!

You may not know, but Imperial is actually a university!

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/finance/sections/accounting/publications

anon

Thursday March 07 2013 10:07

They're leasehold properties aren't they? Wellcome owns the freehold, the college owns the lease and pays Wellcome a nominal ground rent plus a service charge.

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