Holloway Road businesses back £125m London Metropolitan University campus overhaul but safety concerns remain

A digital impression of what the Holloway Road plaza and teaching and learning building will look li

A digital impression of what the Holloway Road plaza and teaching and learning building will look like. - Credit: Archant

A pair of Holloway Road businesses have backed the £125m overhaul of London Metropolitan University, but a consultation has revealed that safety concerns remain over campus security.

London Metropolitan University campus redesign masterplan.

London Metropolitan University campus redesign masterplan. - Credit: Archant

The project will see the Islington campus expanded and the university’s buildings in Aldgate and Moorgate closed down.

As part of the Holloway Road “redesign”, the university’s tower building will be refurbished and a gallery, theatre and cafe will be created for use of the community.

There will also a central plaza for a variety of uses, with those responding to the consultation coming up with ideas including an open air cinema, an ice-skating rink and an area for yoga classes.

Jose Torres, from the family-run El Rincon Quiteno restaurant on Holloway Road, said: “I think these plans will be really good for business, but will also be good for students too, especially as they’ll have more social space with the open courtyard.

One of the proposals for the Tower Building recladding.

One of the proposals for the Tower Building recladding. - Credit: Archant

“We’ve been here for 20 years and have noticed that the area has got quieter in recent years, and I think this will really give the area a boost.”

Fellow Holloway Road businessman Mohamed Elzahry, who runs Moma’s Healthy Foods, said: “I think the changes will make the area better. I think more young people and students in the area will be good. And, of course, it will be great for business.”

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The university says the feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive”, but some participants registered safety concerns about the campus being opened up to the public.

London Met director of engagement Phil Chapman said: “It is quite understandable as we move to open-up the campus and engage the public that some people might want reassurance on public access and safety issues, and this is something we are already looking at.

“It is important to remember, though, that most of the teaching and learning spaces on our campus will be accessible only for students and staff.

“The spirit of the masterplan is to make the campus more welcoming, and we’re sure we can achieve that while keeping the campus secure and our learning community safe.”

Prof John Raftery, London Met vice-chancellor, said: “I’d like to thank our local neighbours and friends for sharing their thoughts about our plans and taking part in the consultation.

“It’s really important for us to know that our ideas are supported by the local community, especially as they will be key beneficiaries of this project alongside our students.

“We are excited about the positive impact we can make in Holloway and for the people of Islington.”

What do you think about the campus plans? To find out more visit londonmet.ac.uk/onecampus and e-mail education editor james.scott@archant.co.uk with your thoughts.