Exeter’s construction of controversial new accommodation is causing distress at Worcester.
Worcester students have complained that Exeter’s building at the Ruskin Development is noisy and disruptive.
JCR President, Alfie Hinchliffe, emailed undergraduates to warn them of “the potential […] disturbances to everyone living in the accommodation on the north (Ruskin Lane, 24, JTM, Worcester Place, Gloucester House) side of college”.
John Bates, Worcester Provost, agreed: “It’s not going to be easy for our students to have a massive demolition operation taking place so close to their rooms”.
However, Bates added “Exeter are now consulting us fully over the logistics of their ambitious project, which is about to begin […] we’re really grateful for the assurances Exeter are giving us that they will take Trinity term exams into account as they timetable the work.”
Bates appears to be more amenable to the project than he was last year when he encouraged Worcester students to complain to Oxford Council in an effort to prevent planning permission on the site.
Exeter’s Rector tried to strike a conciliatory tone, stating: “We are consulting fully with Worcester College on the logistics of our building works on Walton Street. We are fully aware that their students, like our own, will be working for exams in Trinity Term, and we will do what we can to minimise noise and disruption.”
In Trinity Term 2013, Worcester students tried to pass a JCR motion condemning Exeter’s expansion but it fell due to an unwillingness to prevent Exeter making accommodation available to more undergraduates. Worcester was also accused of hypocrisy as it plans on renovating its kitchens and building a new lecture theatre next year which will also cause noise.
Charles Walmsley, a Worcester third year, commented: “‘I think it is important to support the development if it will help fellow students combat the continued rise in rents across the University.”
Walmsley continued: “Hopefully the rights of students to study in Trinity term will be respected by the construction works, and any noise complaints will be addressed immediately. As long as Exeter are considerate of Worcester students then I’m sure there will be no issues.”