Future of Caerleon campus uncertain

South Wales Argus: Future of Caerleon campus uncertain Future of Caerleon campus uncertain

THE future of Caerleon's university campus hangs in the balance as education chiefs reveal the scope of a review into the university's estates.

The Argus understands that the University of South Wales (USW) Caerleon campus - which includes the iconic 100-year-old former Monmouthshire Training College - needs around £20 million investment to bring ageing accommodation blocks and other buildings up to scratch.

Its future is being considered by USW executives, along with four other USW campuses across South Wales.

This includes the Newport city centre campus, which could be developed into a "university quarter" of the city.

Around 7,000 students are taking full and part-time courses at the Newport and Caerleon campuses, with part-time students studying degrees over six years potentially directly affected by any changes at Caerleon.

The Newport institutions were brought under the USW banner when Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport, merged in April 2013 to form the new institution.

Following a recent meeting of the university governors, options are being considered for the future of Treforest, Glyntaff, Cardiff, Newport and Caerleon campuses including operating Treforest and Glyntaff as a single Pontypridd campus "as soon as reasonably practicable".

The Argus understands the Cardiff campus - the five-storey £35 million ATRiuM - will remain largely untouched due to higher numbers of pupils using the facilities.

University chiefs must provide higher education in some form at Caerleon until 2018 as part of the merger agreement, but the Argus understands this could involve a mixture of further and higher education being provided on the site, and plans for the rest of South Wales could move at a faster rate so they are ready before 2018.

A spokeswoman for USW said the organisation inherited a mix of modern campuses and "older, obsolete buildings needing substantial investment to make them fit for purpose", with their competitors also looking into cost-cutting and boosting their ratings in student satisfaction surveys.

Work commissioned by the governors will look at "concentrating investment strategically on growth areas", including "high-level plans" for future expansion of the Newport city campus.

"This will include looking at options for resulting changes in use of the campus at Caerleon," she said.

The work is currently internal and not yet open to consultation among students, although the Argus understands all students - and staff - will be made aware of the money-saving exercise, and options for the future will be published in September.

It is not yet clear how jobs will be affected although Caerleon courses, if moved, are expected to stay within the Newport area.

The Argus recently reported how English and history courses will finish at Caerleon this year as not enough people have signed up, although some courses have moved to Caerleon and the university has doubled its marketing budget to promote the campus.

Possible changes to part-time learning in the community supplied by USW could also see such courses leave Gwent.

Comments (16)

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8:25am Thu 10 Jul 14

welsh_n_proud says...

Not a huge issue, but they merged in April 2013 not 2012.
Not a huge issue, but they merged in April 2013 not 2012. welsh_n_proud
  • Score: 2

9:52am Thu 10 Jul 14

IluvNewport says...

A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run.
A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run. IluvNewport
  • Score: 15

10:00am Thu 10 Jul 14

PaulHalliday says...

This was always going to be the outcome when the University was taken over by Glamorgan. It is important that we keep access to education within the area and the last paragraph of this report is quite worrying in that regard. Sign the Petition to help us save the campus

www.savecaerleoncamp
us.org.uk
This was always going to be the outcome when the University was taken over by Glamorgan. It is important that we keep access to education within the area and the last paragraph of this report is quite worrying in that regard. Sign the Petition to help us save the campus www.savecaerleoncamp us.org.uk PaulHalliday
  • Score: 10

10:27am Thu 10 Jul 14

Hammond2 says...

One of the reasons why the numbers of students are reducing in Caerleon is because some of the biggest courses were moved to the Newport City Campus. Caerleon was a thriving campus until this happenned some. Also since the merger in 2013 (note not 2012) USW has been systematically stripping the campus of many of its facilities...key departments have been centralised at Treforest with staff attending Caerleon only intermittedly. The view of Caerleon then is from Treforest and guess what that view then is Treforest centric. The only investment Caerleon is getting is a car part to replace a building that has just been demolished...oh and some very nice new signage. Come on USW invest in Caerleon and make a noise about it and you will see students queuing up up to get in again. Announce a review and you get the South Wales Argus coming out with a headline like "Future of Caerleon Campus Uncertain". How about getting the headline "Caerleon sees Major Investment for the Future"
One of the reasons why the numbers of students are reducing in Caerleon is because some of the biggest courses were moved to the Newport City Campus. Caerleon was a thriving campus until this happenned some. Also since the merger in 2013 (note not 2012) USW has been systematically stripping the campus of many of its facilities...key departments have been centralised at Treforest with staff attending Caerleon only intermittedly. The view of Caerleon then is from Treforest and guess what that view then is Treforest centric. The only investment Caerleon is getting is a car part to replace a building that has just been demolished...oh and some very nice new signage. Come on USW invest in Caerleon and make a noise about it and you will see students queuing up up to get in again. Announce a review and you get the South Wales Argus coming out with a headline like "Future of Caerleon Campus Uncertain". How about getting the headline "Caerleon sees Major Investment for the Future" Hammond2
  • Score: 18

10:31am Thu 10 Jul 14

Good Job No Kids says...

IluvNewport wrote:
A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run.
I would hardly call one bus from the city centre "difficult to get to"

makes sense to centralise the campus' though.
[quote][p][bold]IluvNewport[/bold] wrote: A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run.[/p][/quote]I would hardly call one bus from the city centre "difficult to get to" makes sense to centralise the campus' though. Good Job No Kids
  • Score: 2

12:43pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Floppy backed says...

IluvNewport wrote:
A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run.
I agree I used to get the bus from the other end of Gwent and walk up to Allt y rn. It was a fantastic college and excellent qualifications. Had excellent tuition in Building subjects too. The problem IMO is offering rubbish pointless quals instead of concentrating on top notch courses. Endless naff subjects. Streamline all the courses that offer real jobs at the end.
[quote][p][bold]IluvNewport[/bold] wrote: A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run.[/p][/quote]I agree I used to get the bus from the other end of Gwent and walk up to Allt y rn. It was a fantastic college and excellent qualifications. Had excellent tuition in Building subjects too. The problem IMO is offering rubbish pointless quals instead of concentrating on top notch courses. Endless naff subjects. Streamline all the courses that offer real jobs at the end. Floppy backed
  • Score: 6

12:51pm Thu 10 Jul 14

displayed says...

The writing is on the wall for this antiquated learning establishment.

The councils got plans for it..........
The writing is on the wall for this antiquated learning establishment. The councils got plans for it.......... displayed
  • Score: -4

2:16pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Abertillery29 says...

Prime commercial value for housing etc. Did anyone think that Caerleon would get a fair crack of the whip. Look at what happened in my area regarding local government when Ebbw Vale was made the centre of the universe. As someone said earlier all these colleges must start proving meaningful qualifications other that media etc.
Prime commercial value for housing etc. Did anyone think that Caerleon would get a fair crack of the whip. Look at what happened in my area regarding local government when Ebbw Vale was made the centre of the universe. As someone said earlier all these colleges must start proving meaningful qualifications other that media etc. Abertillery29
  • Score: 8

2:59pm Thu 10 Jul 14

KarloMarko says...

Well I expect Sir Terence Hedley Matthews, Lord of the Manor, is already avidly eyeing it up as a future "Celtic Tennis Academy" or similar to partner his eyesore golf empire on the hill. I seem to remember Tel's indication of interest for vast swathes of Cearleon a year or so back. Think of all the jobs for ball boys.....
Well I expect Sir Terence Hedley Matthews, Lord of the Manor, is already avidly eyeing it up as a future "Celtic Tennis Academy" or similar to partner his eyesore golf empire on the hill. I seem to remember Tel's indication of interest for vast swathes of Cearleon a year or so back. Think of all the jobs for ball boys..... KarloMarko
  • Score: -7

5:53pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Dave on his Soapbox says...

....while the takeover has resulted in courses being moved to Treforest....under the rationalisation of courses the Leighton Edwards.....former WAG Education Minister wanted....
The current Vice Chancellor....is just following the grand plan that was partly funded by them.....in £24m grant....which partly funded all the redundancies.....in furtherance of her alleged long term political goals....

The review and any consultation....like those government and local councils hold....will come to the desired outcome...what ever the objects / logic against them are....

Therefore at some point after 2018....Caerleon will close after a lingering death.....to be sold off...with the proceeds paying for Phase 2 & 3 of the city centre expansion into the 'University Quarter'..... and the rest going to the expansion of Treforest.......

Some displaced local students will have to travel or move to Pontypridd for some courses and vice versa for those whose course is currently there or in the Atrium.....

As with the current proposal to central hospitals at few sites......the affects it has on staff or those who use the service provided.....is not at the top of the agenda to 'make efficiencies' which is what every public body has to do to survive......

Particularly when the lucrative foreign students revenue stream has been dramatically reduced due to draconian limits on non-EU residents coming into the UK.
....while the takeover has resulted in courses being moved to Treforest....under the rationalisation of courses the Leighton Edwards.....former WAG Education Minister wanted.... The current Vice Chancellor....is just following the grand plan that was partly funded by them.....in £24m grant....which partly funded all the redundancies.....in furtherance of her alleged long term political goals.... The review and any consultation....like those government and local councils hold....will come to the desired outcome...what ever the objects / logic against them are.... Therefore at some point after 2018....Caerleon will close after a lingering death.....to be sold off...with the proceeds paying for Phase 2 & 3 of the city centre expansion into the 'University Quarter'..... and the rest going to the expansion of Treforest....... Some displaced local students will have to travel or move to Pontypridd for some courses and vice versa for those whose course is currently there or in the Atrium..... As with the current proposal to central hospitals at few sites......the affects it has on staff or those who use the service provided.....is not at the top of the agenda to 'make efficiencies' which is what every public body has to do to survive...... Particularly when the lucrative foreign students revenue stream has been dramatically reduced due to draconian limits on non-EU residents coming into the UK. Dave on his Soapbox
  • Score: 10

6:10pm Thu 10 Jul 14

KarloMarko says...

That's a interesting point as I live in Caerleon and don't seem to have seen as many overseas students on the bus etc as I used to. Caerleon and its local attractiveness/histo
ry was used as a key selling point for just those. Particularly US students doing a European placement or credit. If that stream is drying up, and God knows they also ripped off enough EU funding for cut and paste courses in the past decade, then Caerleon's HE days are indeed up.
That's a interesting point as I live in Caerleon and don't seem to have seen as many overseas students on the bus etc as I used to. Caerleon and its local attractiveness/histo ry was used as a key selling point for just those. Particularly US students doing a European placement or credit. If that stream is drying up, and God knows they also ripped off enough EU funding for cut and paste courses in the past decade, then Caerleon's HE days are indeed up. KarloMarko
  • Score: 8

7:20pm Thu 10 Jul 14

hiwsnpt says...

This was always the plan by Principles and an executive who can't budget and use land to pay off debts making them look successful . The executive have no affiliation to Caerleon and they know full well the land is worth a fortune and will bail them out at least for the lifetime of their jobs. Caerleon means nothing to them and the significance of the town being a university town will be lost forever to some modern monster in a dirty suburb of a run down valley town or city suburb. Coleg Glan for instance in Cardiff sold off its st melons campus to build a modern campus but the finances remain so bad they won't have a new building and will have lost their old one. A great example of unification and bad management using asset sales to gain nothing.......
This was always the plan by Principles and an executive who can't budget and use land to pay off debts making them look successful . The executive have no affiliation to Caerleon and they know full well the land is worth a fortune and will bail them out at least for the lifetime of their jobs. Caerleon means nothing to them and the significance of the town being a university town will be lost forever to some modern monster in a dirty suburb of a run down valley town or city suburb. Coleg Glan for instance in Cardiff sold off its st melons campus to build a modern campus but the finances remain so bad they won't have a new building and will have lost their old one. A great example of unification and bad management using asset sales to gain nothing....... hiwsnpt
  • Score: 6

8:54pm Thu 10 Jul 14

newport15 says...

KarloMarko wrote:
Well I expect Sir Terence Hedley Matthews, Lord of the Manor, is already avidly eyeing it up as a future "Celtic Tennis Academy" or similar to partner his eyesore golf empire on the hill. I seem to remember Tel's indication of interest for vast swathes of Cearleon a year or so back. Think of all the jobs for ball boys.....
read my comment on the conference item you sad man
[quote][p][bold]KarloMarko[/bold] wrote: Well I expect Sir Terence Hedley Matthews, Lord of the Manor, is already avidly eyeing it up as a future "Celtic Tennis Academy" or similar to partner his eyesore golf empire on the hill. I seem to remember Tel's indication of interest for vast swathes of Cearleon a year or so back. Think of all the jobs for ball boys.....[/p][/quote]read my comment on the conference item you sad man newport15
  • Score: -3

8:57pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Sully34 says...

Finding excuses to close the campus, which would have been in their plans when they merged.
Finding excuses to close the campus, which would have been in their plans when they merged. Sully34
  • Score: 4

11:16am Fri 11 Jul 14

mkaibear1 says...

IluvNewport wrote:
A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run.
There was no room for expansion on the AYY campus without building over the car park or demolishing an existing building. The IT infrastructure in AYY was not in a state where it could be re-worked, it would have required a total rip out and replace of basically all services (with huge disruption to students as this wasn't a "summertime" job this was a "shut the campus for a year" job). It would have been a hugely expensive job to replace the infrastructure. The physical plant was well constructed, although the heating wasn't brilliant, and could have been brought up to scratch quite easily but it's not just about what you can see it's about the bits you can't see as well.

Caerleon had infinitely more space for expansion with possibilities for extending the Kegie building and replacing the IB John building without affecting teaching - plus the central site was designed with decent access for services so replacing the IT and telecoms infrastructure was relatively easy (certainly compared to AYY).

Caerleon was more expensive to run because it was significantly bigger, it had student accommodation onsite, it had large grounds including sports fields and extensive carparking, and it was generally in a much better condition than AYY as a whole.

Basically the University had a choice: Mortgage itself to the hilt to do a full rebuild of AYY or spend some money to build a new campus and then sell off the AYY campus for housing and recoup some of their costs. They chose the latter because it was significantly more cost effective.

As for transport links, it was a 20 minute walk to AYY straight up a hill from the train station or 25 from the bus station with very little public transport links (or as you say a 5 minute drive from the M4) - well Caerleon is a 20 minute bus ride from the train station or bus station and 10 minutes from the M4 so I'm not entirely sure your comments on accessibility are well-founded. Caerleon also has a *lot* more car parking space.

TL;DR - AYY had no room for expansion, needed a significantly expensive refresh and wasn't any easier to get to than Caerleon, it was also a lot more valuable to developers than the Caerleon site. Easy decision to let it go.
[quote][p][bold]IluvNewport[/bold] wrote: A few years ago a very bad business decision was made and they closed, sold off and demolished Allt yr yn Campus when it should have been Caerleon campus that went. AYY needed hardly any money spent on it to bring it up to scratch, was cheaper to run, had space for expansion, 5 minutes walk from the City centre and just on the junction of the M4. The staff and board of governors were fed spade loads of bullsh*t about AYY by the then Directorate - thankfully they're now all gone and good riddance. However, USW has lost a good, solid campus and has been left with Caerleon which is difficult to get to and is lumbered with dilapidated, inefficient buildings that cost a fortune to run.[/p][/quote]There was no room for expansion on the AYY campus without building over the car park or demolishing an existing building. The IT infrastructure in AYY was not in a state where it could be re-worked, it would have required a total rip out and replace of basically all services (with huge disruption to students as this wasn't a "summertime" job this was a "shut the campus for a year" job). It would have been a hugely expensive job to replace the infrastructure. The physical plant was well constructed, although the heating wasn't brilliant, and could have been brought up to scratch quite easily but it's not just about what you can see it's about the bits you can't see as well. Caerleon had infinitely more space for expansion with possibilities for extending the Kegie building and replacing the IB John building without affecting teaching - plus the central site was designed with decent access for services so replacing the IT and telecoms infrastructure was relatively easy (certainly compared to AYY). Caerleon was more expensive to run because it was significantly bigger, it had student accommodation onsite, it had large grounds including sports fields and extensive carparking, and it was generally in a much better condition than AYY as a whole. Basically the University had a choice: Mortgage itself to the hilt to do a full rebuild of AYY or spend some money to build a new campus and then sell off the AYY campus for housing and recoup some of their costs. They chose the latter because it was significantly more cost effective. As for transport links, it was a 20 minute walk to AYY straight up a hill from the train station or 25 from the bus station with very little public transport links (or as you say a 5 minute drive from the M4) - well Caerleon is a 20 minute bus ride from the train station or bus station and 10 minutes from the M4 so I'm not entirely sure your comments on accessibility are well-founded. Caerleon also has a *lot* more car parking space. TL;DR - AYY had no room for expansion, needed a significantly expensive refresh and wasn't any easier to get to than Caerleon, it was also a lot more valuable to developers than the Caerleon site. Easy decision to let it go. mkaibear1
  • Score: 4

6:56pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Bing-Smith says...

What a great success the merger (sorry takeover Crimea style) has been. Student applications plummet, a once thriving University is asset stripped by its new greedy masters and slowly but surely the whole debacle sinks down and down along with Leighton Andrews slowly deflating career. Meanwhile the fiercely resistant Cardiff Metropolitan has seen its student numbers, research and student satisfaction go up and up.
What a great success the merger (sorry takeover Crimea style) has been. Student applications plummet, a once thriving University is asset stripped by its new greedy masters and slowly but surely the whole debacle sinks down and down along with Leighton Andrews slowly deflating career. Meanwhile the fiercely resistant Cardiff Metropolitan has seen its student numbers, research and student satisfaction go up and up. Bing-Smith
  • Score: 3
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