Skip to main contentCambridge University Reporter

No 6493

Wednesday 31 January 2018

Vol cxlviii No 17

pp. 353–376

Report of Discussion: Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Discussion was held in the Senate-House. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoffrey Ward was presiding, with the Registrary’s deputy, the Senior Proctor, the Senior Pro‑Proctor, and seven other persons present.

The following Reports were discussed:

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 5 December 2017 and 29 November 2017, on the definition of student used in certain procedures applicable to students and in committee membership

(Reporter, 6487, 2017–18, p. 164)

Dr J. S. Myers (Trinity College), read by the Senior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the anomalies associated with the existence of students not in statu pupillari were raised in my speech at the Discussion of 27 April 2010.1 The particular example I gave there, of the Ordinances for the Graduate Union, was addressed by Grace 7 of 7 July 2010 but, as I noted in my speech, a more general review of this area was still appropriate. I should like to thank the Council and the General Board for having now carried out the review I suggested and having made sensible proposals to address the problems identified.

Mr C. H. G. Allen (Department of Chemistry, and King’s College), read by the Senior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, while these remarks are made in a personal capacity, for transparency’s sake I should declare that I previously participated in some of the earlier meetings which lead up to the publication of this Report.

I welcome the introduction of the ‘registered student’ definition. While the classification ‘in statu pupillari’ is coherent and (in some limited circumstances) useful, its major flaw is that it does not mean what it is widely assumed to mean. It is commonly used as a synonym for student, but in fact it has a very peculiar definition that manages to include some people who are clearly not students and exclude some people who definitely are. These problems make ‘person in statu pupillari’ unsuitable as a working definition of student for use in University policies and procedures, and I am very happy to endorse its replacement for this purpose.

My remarks on this report, therefore, concern matters of detail and wording, and are mainly related to the consequences of the Report’s recommendations on student representation. I am aware that this results in my remarks comprising pedantic hair-splitting which is of little general interest to the broader University community. However, my understanding is that this does not necessarily render them unsuitable for contribution towards a Discussion.

Membership of University bodies

My first comment concerns the eligibility of sabbatical officers for membership of University bodies. At present, most sabbatical officers of the students’ unions are (or are at least deemed to be) in statu pupillari. However, as the Report notes, they will not be covered by the definition of ‘registered student’. This means that in simply replacing one form of words for the other, the consequence may be the accidental exclusion of sabbatical officers from bodies on which they presently serve. While in practice I’m sure that this would not be enforced, it would be better to prevent the issue occurring. As it stands, Amendment 11 of the Annex restricts the membership of several University bodies (among them the Information Services Committee and the Library Syndicate) to registered students, meaning that sabbatical officers would no longer be eligible for membership.

There are two options for addressing this issue: either the relevant provisions in Amendment 11 of the Annex could be altered to utilize a similar form of words to that used in Amendments 15 and 16, which would explicitly permit sabbatical officers to serve on these specific bodies; or else a more general provision could be inserted into a suitable place in the Ordinances permitting sabbatical officers to serve on University bodies as if they were registered students (unless their exclusion is explicitly denoted). Personally, I would recommend the second option, under which a bona fide registered student could always be appointed to a body over a sabbatical officer where this is desirable, but the risk of an elected student representative being excluded from a University body by accident is removed.

Signature of reserved Reports

Recommendation I(b) would alter Statute A X 4, which concerns the signature of Reports. The amended wording would provide

that no registered student shall sign a Report if he or she has been excluded, under the provisions of any Statute or Ordinance for reserved business, from any part of the discussion of the Report.

However, registered students are not the only class of person who might be excluded from reserved business – various Ordinances make provision extending this exclusion. As the purpose of this provision is to ensure that those who have been legitimately excluded from the discussion of a reserved Report do not sign it, no matter why they were excluded, I suggest that the amendment to Statute A X 4 be altered so as to simply propose the deletion of the words ‘in statu pupillari’ leaving behind a generally-applicable provision that ‘no person shall sign a Report if he or she has been excluded’, etc.

Student fly-sheets

The third item of Amendment 11 of the Annex (‘Paragraph 8 and heading, Notice by the Council: Discussions and fly-sheets’) concerns fly-sheets issued by students. The amendment as it stands would transfer the authority to issue and sign fly-sheets from members of the University in statu pupillari to registered students. However, to be valid such fly-sheets need to be signed by at least five out of a list of student representatives, and of these representatives the sabbatical officers of CUSU, the Graduate Union, and the Homerton Union of Students would not be registered students. While it’s reasonably clear from the context that these signatures should be acceptable, I think it would be helpful for the amendment’s wording to be altered so as to remove the implication that only registered students can issue or sign student fly-sheets.

Incidental corrections

The Report’s recommendations would amend two provisions which would benefit from incidental correction to the current language. The opportunity might be taken to incorporate these corrections.

The Report recommends amendment of the regulations governing the reserved business of the Council.1 At present and as amended, it provides that only the specific matters it lists (and not the matters which are generally defined as reserved by Special Ordinance)2 are to be reserved for sabbatical officers. The opportunity might be taken to correct this, by more closely imitating the language of the equivalent regulation for the General Board.3

The Report recommends amendment of the regulations governing the membership of the Societies Syndicate.4 At present and as amended, these regulations specify that the CUSU Services Officer is a member of the Syndicate and its Technical Committee; however, this officer no longer exists. The opportunity might be taken to remove this obsolete specification, and provide instead that the two unions may nominate one of their officers to serve on these bodies.

Opportunity for simplification of reserved business provisions

As amended, the regulations for the Councils of the Schools, the Faculty Boards (and various other bodies under the supervision of the General Board) would include several repetitive provisions5 which explicitly apply the regulations for reserved business to their student members, to cover the eventuality that students who are not registered students (previously, not in statu pupillari) might be elected to these bodies. I would suggest that the new definition affords an opportunity to dispense with these repetitive provisions, by instead amending the regulations such that only registered students be eligible for election to these bodies in the first place. The definition of registered student appears to be sufficiently inclusive so as to cover any students who might wish to be elected.

A similar simplification could be achieved by consolidating the provisions excluding sabbatical officers from reserved business from the regulations of the Council and the General Board; these could be replaced by a general provision in an appropriate place in the Ordinances to the effect that, for the purposes of reserved business, sabbatical officers of the students’ unions are deemed to be registered students. This would also have the advantage of applying the reserved business regulations to any sabbatical officers serving on any University body, and not solely those sabbatical officers acting in their capacities as members of the Council or the General Board.

Regulations for motor cars

I now come to the only part of my remarks not concerned with student representation. At present, older postgraduate students (i.e. those with a Cambridge Master’s degree, or who possess M.A. status by virtue of their age) are exempted from the University regulations for keeping motor cars. The proposed amendments would remove this exemption, by transferring the applicability of the regulations from persons in statu pupillari to registered students.

Older postgraduate students are more likely to have children or other family responsibilities; they are less likely to be able to receive assistance from parents or others when moving between accommodation; they are more likely to have a longer commute to their department; and they are more likely to need to travel regularly as part of their course. For these reasons, among others, it was a useful and much-appreciated feature (or perhaps bug) of the system that older postgraduate students were permitted to use their cars in Cambridge.

I therefore regret that the proposed amendment would remove this exemption. My guess is that the proposed amendment is not a conscious attempt to remove the right of older postgraduate students to keep cars, but merely a consequential effect of replacing ‘in statu pupillari’ wherever it appears in the University’s student policies. In this case, I would argue that this is one occasion where ‘in statu pupillari’ might usefully be retained.

If, however, it is the conscious intention of the Council and General Board to make this change of policy, I would appreciate their providing an argument as to why the change is desirable. In addition, I would note that the regulations for the status of Master of Arts6 presently grant to the holders of M.A. status a general immunity from the regulations for motor vehicles, which would continue to apply under the proposed amendments; if the change to policy is indeed to be made, I would recommend removing this exemption, in order to keep the rules consistent across postgraduate students with and without a Cambridge Master’s degree.


I would like to conclude my remarks by reiterating that, notwithstanding my comments above, I very much welcome the introduction of the new definition of ‘registered student’ as a clear improvement on the status quo. I therefore wholeheartedly endorse the purpose of the Report. I’d also like to express my appreciation for the painstaking work that has gone into the preparation of this Report, and in particular for the drafting of so extensive and intricate a series of proposed amendments. I hope that my suggestions prove helpful in refining these amendments, and in making the implementation of the new definition as painless as possible.


Report of the General Board, dated 29 November 2017, on the establishment and re-establishment of certain Professorships

(Reporter, 6487, 2017–18, p. 168)

No remarks were made on this Report.

Joint Report of the Council and the General Board, dated 11 December 2017 and 29 November 2017, on the governance of the Careers Service

(Reporter, 6488, 2017–18, p. 179)

Mr G. Chesterman (Director of the Careers Service, Secretary of the Careers Service Syndicate, Deputy Senior Proctor, and St Edmund’s College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Chair of the Careers Service Syndicate, my Careers Service colleagues, and I, the Director of the Careers Service, all welcome the recommendations made in the recent Joint Report of the Council and the General Board on the governance of the Careers Service. The attention to detail, thorough approach, and wide consultation left no stone unturned and we wish to thank Professor Martin Millett and all fourteen panel members for devoting their time and expertise.

We were heartened to see the review acknowledge that the Careers Service team work collectively to deliver an excellent service to students, postdoctoral staff, employers, and alumni and that the dedication and commitment of our team was commended in Professor Millett’s report. The activities and successes of the Careers Service are documented in our Annual Report, available from the Careers Service website.1

The recommendations strengthen our governance arrangements. The Service’s reshaped management committee and Syndicate are brought closer to the University’s education, learning, and teaching decision-makers, whilst still protecting our all-important working-relationship with external employers, Colleges, and our students, graduate students, postdoc researchers, and alumni.

Once the modest changes are accepted and implemented, we will still have a Careers Service in a strong position to meet the demands of a rapidly changing employment market. The employment outcomes of our students are of growing importance as a measure of success for this University. We will need to consider more provision of skills training and relevant work experience for our students, and students, rightly so, expect a ‘good return’ on their investment in higher education, especially our international students. The Careers Service cannot work alone on these, and many other issues, without continuing to collaborate and co-operate with all those across the University with a part to play – too long a list to include here. The changes allow us to continue to do so by maintaining our nimble stance with a very wide range of crucial networks and we therefore welcome this report.

Mr J. S. Laing (Chair of the Careers Service Syndicate, and Master of Corpus Christi College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I share the views of the Director of the Careers Service in welcoming the recommendations made in the recent Joint Report of the Council and General Board on the governance of the Careers Service. I add my thanks to Professor Martin Millett and the panel members.

Alumni of Cambridge University have an extraordinarily strong record of gaining useful employment after graduation. We are naturally extremely proud of what our students achieve after leaving Cambridge. Their success is their own; but much credit is due to the Director and the staff of the Careers Service. I am nearing the end of my time as Chair of the Careers Service Syndicate, and over my period of office I have been privileged to observe the high level of competence and devotion which the Service’s staff bring to their tasks. We owe them thanks, appreciation, and admiration.

I am confident that the new structure proposed in this Joint Report will be appropriate for the Careers Service, and will assist and strengthen the Service in carrying out its duties over the coming years.

Annual Report of the Council for the academical year 2016–17, dated 20 November 2017

(Reporter, 6489, 2017–18, p. 197)

Mr T. N. Milner (Chair of the Board of Scrutiny 2017–18, Senior Proctor, and Darwin College):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Board of Scrutiny examines, on behalf of the Regent House, the Annual Report of the Council, the Report of the General Board to the Council, the Reports and Financial Statements, and the annual Report of the Council on the financial position and budget of the University recommending allocations from the Chest. Under its regulations in Ordinances, the Board also has the right to examine the policies of the University and the arrangements made for the implementation of those policies, and to report thereon to the Regent House.

The Board expects to report later in the year, as has been customary. As well as commenting on these items at Discussions, members of the Regent House can contact the Board about them at or on paper to the Chair of the Board at Darwin College.

Professor R. J. Anderson (University Council, Department of Computer Science and Technology, and Churchill College), read by the Senior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I am a member of the Council and signed the Annual Report of the Council. I did so after serious reflection because of a matter which I now wish to place on record.

On 5 December I remarked here in the divestment debate1 that despite being on Council I was as surprised as anyone by the Paradise Papers’ disclosure that we were investing in Shell via offshore vehicles.

I immediately requested details of the University’s investment portfolio, as our rules allow Council members to see any University papers. However, the papers I demanded have still not been provided. I understand that the Investment Office has decided that it wishes to keep secret the choice of fund managers with whom they invest our money.

It is a critical part of our governance arrangements that the actions of administrative staff are not just subject to scrutiny by the often friendly members of the committees, syndicates, or boards set up to advise them. They must also be subject to vigorous and sceptical scrutiny by members of Council. Regents may recall the report I made to this house on an investigation Dr Charles and I conducted after the North West Cambridge project ran three years late and £100m over budget; see the Discussion of 3 November 2015.2 Had we not been able to demand, and get, full access to all the papers of the North West Cambridge Syndicate (as was), we would never have found out what really went on.

Now there may or may not be a case for the Investment Office keeping portfolio information confidential from their competitors in Oxford’s investment office but I can conceive of no valid reason for keeping it confidential from the trustees of this University. We are responsible, after all.

I have been reassured by the Chief Financial Officer and the Vice-Chancellor at yesterday’s meeting of Council that they have full access to details of the portfolio, and that they will raise the issue of access by members of the Council firmly at the February meeting of the Investment Board. On that basis I am prepared to support the 2017 Annual Report but if the University’s trustees continue to be unable to find out where our money is invested then I cannot imagine being able, as a trustee, to sign the Report again in 2018.

Professor G. R. Evans (Emeritus Professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History), read by the Senior Pro‑Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Annual Report of the Council this year has a great deal to say on the activities of Human Resources. There is a new People Strategy.1 This includes arrangements for the induction of new members of staff through a ‘new induction website for the University’ launched in July 2016. That:

includes comprehensive information for new starters to the University and materials to support Faculties and Departments in delivering effective induction activities.

However, this ‘induction’ provision appears to offer almost no information about the University’s constitution.2 So these newcomers, if they are members of the Regent House, will be lucky to learn much about the University’s governance. They are certainly unlikely to be made aware of their own role as voters in the University’s ‘decision-making’.

Induction: Online3 promises ‘to help you to understand how the University operates and what it’s like to work here’. However, ‘to access this resource you will need a Raven password’ and moreover you will need to ‘book a place’. Before you can book a place you must agree to the following ‘Terms and Conditions’. These seem to go to extremes of top-down management:

I agree to book in advance for any session that I wish to attend, unless stated otherwise in the event details.

I have read the eligibility requirements and will only book on to events for which I am eligible. I understand that the provider reserves the right to cancel any ineligible bookings made.

I agree that it is my responsibility to gain clearance to attend from my department or manager where applicable.

I have read the event outline and where there are pre-requisites specified, I understand that it is my responsibility to ensure that I meet these pre-requisites prior to attending the event. I understand that if, in the opinion of the trainer, participants are not able to demonstrate these pre-requisites, they may not be allowed to participate, as this could affect the rest of the participants on the event. If this is the case, the participant will be charged the full attendance (if applicable).

I agree to cancel my booking in advance of an event, if I will no longer be able to attend. The provider reserves the right to charge for repeat late cancellers and non-attendees at the provider’s discretion.

I agree to respond to a waiting list offer within one day of receiving the offer. I understand that if offers are not responded to within this timeframe the provider reserves the right to offer the place to the next person on the waiting list.

I agree to arrive 15 minutes prior to the advertised start time, as doing so will ensure that the event may commence promptly. I understand that any participant who arrives 10 or more minutes late to an event may be prevented from attending.

The provider reserves the right to make changes to these terms and conditions as and when appropriate.

You are invited to ‘contact’ the relevant provider with any queries regarding these terms and conditions, but it is not made clear who will be ‘providing’.

This seems rather draconian as a means of determining how a newcomer may access online the HR-provided ‘People Strategy’ information about how the University works.

Should you be persuaded to tackle this assault course you will discover that after you have found a way to access and complete this ‘online’ programme you will be offered a Second Stage, a morning long, held three times a year. In late December 2017, this was already fully booked for 8 February 2018. Places were available, however, for 4 July 2018.

But once more first the new member of staff will need to check the ‘Eligibility Criteria’:4

If you are a member of one of the specific groups below and it is not listed in the ‘Target Audience’ for a course, you are not eligible to attend.

We reserve the right to cancel any ineligible bookings made. You will be informed by email if any of your bookings are cancelled for this reason.

A downloadable list of ‘Exhibitors’ at this event is supplied, none of them offering any information about the University’s constitution as far as I can see.

Perhaps the newcomer takes a short-cut via Google and discovers independently the website called ‘About the University: Governance’. That explains briefly that:

the Regent House is the governing body and principal electoral constituency of the University. It has more than 3,800 members, including University Officers, and Heads and Fellows of Colleges. It makes and amends the regulations that govern the University,5

There is a link in the margin which will take the explorer to the excellent and still quite new and increasingly comprehensive University Governance website.6 Here is a section on ‘University decision-making’. There is a ‘step-by-step guide to the decision-making process’ and, drilling down further, the enquirer may learn in detail about Notices, Reports, and Graces.7 In another margin is a link to ‘How to…Discussions’ including the useful information that the Senate-House Keeper ‘has a small number of spare gowns available for use if needed’, so that one may be correctly dressed to make a speech. And what could be more useful to the timid beginner in the exercise of a line-management-free collegiality than the:

Guide to making remarks at a Discussion:

Speakers should prepare their remarks in advance to read out on the day. Remarks should not normally take longer than fifteen minutes each to deliver and discussants may only contribute one set of remarks per Report/topic. Discussants should ensure their remarks address the subject at hand and are not defamatory. The Presiding officer – the Deputy Vice-Chancellor – has the power to rule out any remarks deemed defamatory or off-topic.

If you wish to speak on a particular topic, raise your hand when the Deputy Vice-Chancellor announces the Report you would like to speak on, or when the previous speaker has concluded their remarks on that topic. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor will invite you forward to deliver your remarks at the lectern; before you start your speech, it is helpful if you identify who you are and which department, faculty, or institution you are from for the benefit of others present.8

This invaluable clarification is not provided by HR and it is not entirely obvious that HR is even aware that it is there for the finding, and moreover without a Raven password, an ‘eligibility’ check, and a requirement to gain line-management approval before reading it.

But in this Annual Report of the Council and its remarks on that People Strategy I find myself in another universe, a world of ‘talent management’, ‘leadership essentials’ and ‘managing your team through change’, ‘an alternative progression model’, ‘reward topics including pay positioning, external benchmarking, contribution-related pay, gender pay, reward and benefits strategy’, ‘well-being initiatives’ – all the apparatus of a well-meaning but essentially top-down approach to the induction and subsequent ‘management’ of that newcomer.

The People Strategy’s own Annual Review may be read online.9 It was announced in the Reporter on 4 October 2017 that the Council and the General Board had approved it.10 That was not, it seems, one of the ‘decisions’ to be made by the Regent House or even Discussed as likely to prove ‘controversial’. Yet surely it is? It sets up assumptions likely further to widen the gap between that line-management-mad People Strategy and the historic collegiality of equals of which members of the Regent House ought surely to be made fully aware when they become the University’s employees.

Annual Report of the General Board to the Council for the academical year 2016–17, dated 1 November 2017

(Reporter, 6489, 2017–18, p. 212)

No remarks were made on this Report.

Reports and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 July 2017

(Reporter, 6489, 2017–18, p. 218)

Dr M. J. Rutter (Department of Physics), read by the Senior Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I speak today not just as a member of Regent House, but also as the President of the local branch of the University and College Union.

The annual Financial Statement makes for quite rosy reading. My eye was drawn to the statements of comprehensive income, in which I read that University income has risen from £1,643m last year to £1,714m this year, a rise of 4.3%, which, in the current climate, seems very commendable.

Staff costs have risen by an almost identical amount, and the surplus of income over expenditure, before counting gains on investments, stands at just over £70m, very similar to last year’s figure. The Notes to the Accounts show that the total wage and salary cost, excluding the employer’s pension and National Insurance contributions, was £555m; including such costs it was £748m.

The University is asked annually by the UCEA,1 the national body representing all Universities, how much extra it can afford to pay its staff as part of the annual round of negotiations for the increase in the national payscale in response to inflation. Recently it has been asked by UUK,2 the national body representing the major USS3 employers, how much extra it can afford to pay into the USS pensions scheme.

We are repeatedly told that the University highly values its staff. It would seem reasonable to assume, therefore, based on the figures presented, that its responses were somewhere in the region of 9% to UCEA, and around 12% of salary to UUK. Can we be assured that these were the responses offered, and, if not, what were the figures given and the reasoning behind them?


Second-stage Report of the Council, dated 9 January 2018, on the construction of a new Cavendish Laboratory in West Cambridge

(Reporter, 6490, 2017–18, p. 289)

Professor M. A. Parker (Head of the Department of Physics, and Peterhouse):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, as Head of the Cavendish Laboratory, I am naturally fully in support of the recommendations in the Second-stage Report of the Council on the construction of a new Cavendish Laboratory in West Cambridge. The new facility will replace buildings dating from 1974 which are now well beyond their design lifetime and are no longer able to provide a suitable environment for our teaching and research. In addition, the buildings incur large running costs because of their old-fashioned design, which falls well below modern environmental standards. The presence of asbestos in the construction makes routine maintenance time-consuming and expensive.

As has been announced, the family of the late Ray Dolby has made a donation of £75m towards the construction costs. The Laboratory is extremely grateful to the Dolby family for their generosity and commitment to the future of Physics in Cambridge. Ray Dolby was one of our most successful alumni, performing ground-breaking research during his Ph.D. and founding the high technology business which has made him a household name. We will be proud to acknowledge his legacy by naming the building the ‘Ray Dolby Centre’, whilst maintaining the overarching Cavendish Laboratory brand.

I should also record my thanks to the dedicated team inside the Department which has developed the building design up to this point, and the support we have received from CUDAR and others in our fundraising efforts.

The new building has been designed to be a centrepiece of the West Cambridge site, in accordance with the strategy to create a world leading physical sciences campus. It will consolidate many facilities which are currently scattered across the existing site, greatly improving the effectiveness of their usage.

The government has identified the Cavendish Laboratory as a national asset for Physics and a £75m grant has been released, via EPSRC,1 to help deliver the new building, and the National Facility which it will house. This will ensure that the capital invested in the infrastructure in Cambridge will deliver more outputs for the benefit of scientific research and of society, by supporting physics research across the UK.


Dr D. R. Thomas (Department of Computer Science and Technology, the West Cambridge Active Travel Group, and Peterhouse):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I mentioned problems with the design of the new Cavendish Laboratory in my remarks at the Discussion of the Twenty-second Report of the Board of Scrutiny.1 At that time I said I had found ‘significant problems with [these plans] that can now be addressed before the documents are submitted for planning’; unfortunately, I was unaware that the plans had already been submitted.

These significant problems mostly concerned the proposed design of JJ Thompson Avenue and its junctions and crossings, which did not meet the University’s own standards or make provisions for the high volumes of cycling and walking traffic on the site. The Council disagreed with my suggestion at that Discussion that individual Regents should be able to review draft planning applications before they are submitted and noted that there is an existing process for these plans to be reviewed by various groups.2 However, the plans for the Cavendish Laboratory, as submitted to planning, included totally inadequate plans for JJ Thomson Avenue. The Council said that the First-stage Report provides Regents with an opportunity to review proposals. However, there was nothing in the First-stage Report about the plans for JJ Thomson Avenue (though the drawings associated with the First-stage Report are no longer available, raising questions about the validity of the Reporter as a historical record). Significant flaws in the designs for buildings may only be noticed by review of the detailed design that is put forward for planning. Yes, various committees may get to review a more detailed design, but clearly in this case, as in other cases, they did not spot serious flaws with the detailed design.

As a consequence, various members of the University submitted formal objections to the planning application for Cavendish III.3 Before and after these objections were filed, members of the Estate Management team engaged constructively with the West Cambridge Active Travel Group to develop an amended design that addresses our main concerns. This design includes a segregated 3.5m cycle path and 2m footpath along the east side of JJ Thomson Avenue from the junction with Madingley Road as far as the Maxwell Centre. We look forward to continuing to engage with them on the details of the final design.

I hope that the University will learn from this experience (as indeed it does appear to be learning) and in future engage at an earlier stage so that problems can be addressed before they reach planning. In particular, there are substantial problems with the master plan for the West Cambridge site, as described in our detailed objections to that planning application.4

Second-stage Report of the Council, dated 9 January 2018, on the construction of a new Shared Facilities Hub building in West Cambridge

(Reporter, 6490, 2017–18, p. 291)

Professor A. D. Neely (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations, and Sidney Sussex College), read by the Senior Pro-Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I make the following remarks as Chair of the West and North West Cambridge Academic Board. This board has been established to provide strategic direction for academic and other operational developments at West and North West Cambridge and to oversee, co-ordinate, and prioritize academic development on these sites.

The Shared Facilities Hub building is an important part of the strategy to expand the operational (and non-operational) estate at West Cambridge. By providing a centrally located facility which offers catering, library, teaching, meeting, and social facilities all in one place, the Hub building will be an important new resource for students, staff, and visitors at West Cambridge. It will help to change the character of the site by encouraging people out of departmental buildings into shared spaces which promote collaboration and interaction. As a long-time occupant of West Cambridge myself, I welcome the significant investment in the infrastructure and amenity of the site that this project represents.

Professor C. J. Young (Chair of the Shared Facilities Hub Project Board, and Pembroke College), read by the Senior Pro-Proctor:

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I make the following remarks as Chair of the Shared Facilities Hub Project Board. The rationale for this building is very clear. It aims to address the widely perceived, and actual, need for amenities on the West Cambridge site; it will re-provide capacity lost through the closure of the existing Cavendish canteen; it will enhance this with much needed further catering options; it will provide learning and study space, and underpin the cohesion of library provision in the Schools of Technology and Physical Sciences; and – above all – in encouraging students and staff out of their departments, it will foster an interdisciplinary ethos on the site. Teaching spaces have been designed flexibly. These will facilitate Engineering’s move west (as well as provide decant options for future developments in our academic and estate planning) and foster connections with external partners, be it through the Knowledge Transfer Facilitators, who are keen to use the building, or through the organization of workshops and conferences.

Aside from these advantages, there are two imperatives to consider. The first is the City Council: should we not proceed with this building, there will almost certainly be a demand for other sorts of amenity in order to unlock planning permission for the rest of the site. The second is the proximity to the adjacent Cavendish III: should the building not be delivered contemporaneously with the new laboratory, a later construction would result in added costs and significant risk to the vibration sensitive equipment and research in the Cavendish III building.

Since its inception, the Project Board has been assiduous in its scrutiny of the scope and costs of the building. It has been supported by a broad and active Representative User Group, which has met at regular intervals – and I would like in particular to thank its Chair, Tom Walston, for the patience, dedication, and imagination he has brought to the task. And it has been well served by the architects, Jestico + Whiles, who have proved to be thoughtful and reliable partners throughout the process as it evolved.

This Shared Facilities Hub is the first of three similar facilities envisaged in the West Cambridge Master Plan. It is well conceived, has been executed to date with great thoroughness, and will provide a first-rate and much needed facility for the University.

Dr D. R. Thomas (Department of Computer Science and Technology, the West Cambridge Active Travel Group, and Peterhouse):

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I spoke at the Discussion of the First-stage Report on the Shared Facilities Hub building,1 and while my concerns and those of others were mostly ignored in the Council’s response,2 I was appointed as the Computer Laboratory’s representative on the Shared Facilities Hub Representative User group.

As a member of the Shared Facilities Hub Representative User Group I have reviewed the detailed plans for the building summarized in this Second-stage Report and I commend the design to the Regent House. It should substantially improve the quality of the provision on the site for those who live and work there.

One of the concerns that I raised at the Discussion of the First-stage Report was that there were only 280 cycle parking spaces proposed for a building with a capacity for 900 people. When I raised this at the Representative User Group I found that despite these concerns being raised, the number of cycle parking spaces had been reduced to 56 for a building with a capacity for 900 people. After raising this concern repeatedly, at length, and pointing out that due to the lecture theatres seating 280 people, 200 people might be expected to arrive by cycle for lectures, the plans were amended to allow for three phases of cycle parking provision with the final phase bringing the total up to 320 spaces. Since the plans as submitted called for only 56 visitor cycle parking spaces in the initial condition, several members of the University submitted objections to the planning application. Subsequently, staff within Estate Management engaged constructively with the West Cambridge Active Travel Group and agreed that Phase 2 would be built as part of the initial condition, providing 176 cycle parking spaces, and that they would ask the City Council to impose a condition that would require monitoring of cycle parking capacity and additional provision as necessary.

It was only through University staff volunteering several days of their lives to the cause of sufficient cycle parking at the Shared Facilities Hub that even vaguely plausible quantities of cycle parking are now being proposed. It should not require this much effort. The University should be well aware of the need to provide sufficient cycle parking for new buildings.

As I noted in my comments on the First-stage Report, the human architecture to make this building live still needs to be developed. It is important that the procurement process for the café and the shop reaches out beyond the usual suspects to successful small businesses around Cambridge so that there is a possibility of innovative and responsive provision.

Second-stage Report of the Council, dated 9 January 2018, on the provision of additional hockey and changing facilities at the Wilberforce Road Sports Ground

(Reporter, 6490, 2017–18, p. 293)

No remarks were made on this Report.