University reviews future of planning courses

The future of Kingston University's planning courses is currently being reviewed following 'poor recruitment figures', the university has announced.

School of Surveying and Planning is part of university's Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, based at the university's Knights Park Campus (picture: Pablo Ferreira)
School of Surveying and Planning is part of university's Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, based at the university's Knights Park Campus (picture: Pablo Ferreira)

Kingston University is holding a 30-day consultation with staff and trade unions on the future of its School of Surveying and Planning.

One of the proposals is the closure of its planning courses at the start of the new academic year – a move that would affect 12 current first year students. The university cited "poor recruitment figures" as a factor behind the plan.  

Julius Weinberg, vice-chancellor professor at Kingston University, said: "The university will do everything it can to ensure these students can complete their studies, either on a similar alternative course at Kingston or at another university.

"The proposal will not affect final year students or the six planning students currently in their second year who will be able continue their courses at Kingston."

The university's postgraduate courses in planning and sustainability, and sustainable place making and urban design are accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The university also runs an undergraduate course in property planning and development.

Kingston University is also looking at whether to move its surveying courses to its School of Civil Engineering and Construction. Real estate would relocate to Kingston’s Law School to help form an Institute of Property.

It added that the MA in Art Market Appraisal and Foundation Degrees in Historic Building Conservation and Architectural Stonework would remain based in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture.
Weinberg conceded that the proposals may result in staff redundancies. A local newspaper recently reported that a university lecturer had been suspended after "trying to rally" students against the proposals.

Weinberg said: "We understand this is an unsettling time for staff and students who might be affected by these proposals and are committed to ensuring they are fully supported throughout the consultation process and when any final decisions are made.

"We are in discussions with the Students’ Union, professional bodies and the relevant sections of the university to ensure all students currently based with the school continue to have a positive experience on the courses they are studying."

At the time of this article's publication, an online petition to save the School of Surveying and Planning had nearly 1,000 signatures.

The consultation began on 19 February 2014. No decisions have yet been taken on the proposals, the university said.

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