Nottingham University

A very impressive hotel!

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We are very lucky in Nottingham to have two first class universities – both very different in terms of their campuses. Nottingham Trent is a city centre university and so visiting people have all the usual city centre facilities. Nottingham University has a wonderful landscaped campus, on the edge of the city. Consequently it has the potential for conferences, but limited local hotel accommodation – until now as a £20m eco-friendly hotel – The Orchard – has opened its doors right next door to the conference centre in the centre of the University main campus.

20121118-140049.jpgDesigned to complement the university-owned De Vere Venues East Midlands Conference Centre, The Orchard features technology to minimise carbon emissions, including a green roof, solar panels and energy-efficient lighting, heating and ventilation systems.

The 202-bedroom hotel also features a roof garden, brasserie and gym. It is also a quite stunning piece of design and is something the University can be justifiably proud of. It is just a shame that we don’t have such ‘interesting’ buildings being built in the city centre.

A challenge for our local architects and developers perhaps?

QMC roundabout ‘improvements’

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Anyone who lives in or around Nottingham will be more than aware of the road works that have been progressing over the last few months at the QMC and Priory roundabout’s. This has caused a certain amount of disruption and minor chaos at times – but it was going to be worth it right?

Well the works were completed approximately a week ago and some changes are obvious – traffic lights on the junction to control the flow around the junction. Now this is a concept that does appear to work on some junctions – the one below the Clifton / Lenton Lane fly over is a classic example. At peak times the lights function, off-peak they don’t.

The big ‘but’ though (and there was always going to be one) is that the lights on the QMC roundabout don’t appear to help – in fact they have made the congestion worse, and more importantly have caused numerous accidents!

Some of this can be put down to poor driving and a lack of awareness, but surely the Highways agency should be managing the situation better? It is also apparent to me that the phasing on the traffic lights is just plain wrong – there are now queues off the ring road in the morning which there never used to be.

I am aware of at least one car that was written off in an accident on the junction on the first Monday morning, and have been told of numerous other accidents. Perhaps the Highways Agency need to manage this a bit better?

Good to see Jesse’s back!

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He’s back

I drive down University Boulevard regularly during term time as my son goes to school in Beeston, so I was aware of the damage to Jesse Boots statue at the gates to the University Park the day it happened.

The memorial to Sir Jesse Boot was pushed over when David Cameron visited the
city’s Boots factory last month when the announcement of the Enterprise Zone was announced. Apparently political leaflets were found nearby – although I am not sure the perpetrators could actually read!

The other day as I drove past again I saw that his bust is back in place, cleaned and impressive. It’s good to see him back, he is one of Nottingham greatest men and did not deserve the attentions of some brainless vandals.

Welcome back Jesse!

And so it starts…..

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I have blogged previously about local proposed wind farms, and in particular the one planned in the area next to Clifton in Nottingham by the University of Nottingham.

Well, Nottingham City Council has granted the university permission to install a 70-metre meteorological mast on the Grove Farm Sports Ground, in Lenton Lane, so it can measure average wind speeds and rainfall over a 12-month period.

 The university wants to install three 125-metre wind turbines on the land it owns at Grove Farm, between Beeston Rylands and Clifton.

The project would cost £10 million and the turbines would produce a third of the electricity that the University Park campus needs.

As expected there are campaigners against the plans (it wouldn’t be the UK without them!).

Expect to see lots on the local news about this next week!

Let’s all keep an open mind though – please?

Wind farms – here we go again!

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Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my views on wind farms (I like them) and my view on Nimbyism (it really annoys me!)

Well, Nottingham University have just stuck their head above the parapet on wind generation as well! They are wanting to erect three turbines to supply a significant element of their electricity needs. Great idea – Now duck!

Artist impression - Oh, the big thing on the left is a pylon.....

The wind turbine towers, which would rise 125 metres are proposed on land between Beeston Rylands and Clifton, and would be visible for miles around, especially from the A453 and A52 roads as drivers approach the city – a good or bad thing?

The details;

The land where the turbines would be built currently consists of arable farming land and about 30 football and rugby pitches, some of the pitches would have to be moved slightly to allow the turbines to be built. The turbine mast is 80m tall with the rotor blades extending its total height to 125m. The closest the rotor blades would come to the ground is 35m.

A full planning application is expected to be submitted in February 2011 and, subject to planning approval, the turbines would be installed in 2012.

The benefits;

The £10 million project could produce a third of the electricity needed by the university campus every year (equivalent to the domestic needs of approximately 5,000 houses), and cut its carbon emissions by 7,000 tonnes every year. The university has identified a blend of projects including the proposed Grove Farm turbines to achieve an internal carbon reduction target of 34% reduction from 2005/6 levels, which takes into account offsetting the growth of the university estate.

The ‘downside’;

But (surprise surprise) concerns have already been raised that the turbines,  will be an eyesore and would create noise.

The university have confirmed that they expected objections to the plans (again no surprise there!)

My view?

The area the farm is proposed to be constructed in is not residential, the turbines would be state of the art and as quiet as is currently possible (Salford University research also indicates that noise is generally not the issue it is believed to be).  The ‘eye sore’ effect is of course totally subjective, personally I like them, also we have lots of pylons in the Trent Valley and no one complains about them!

So, all I would ask, is that in this case let’s be open-minded and go for it.  Allow the University to become greener and hopefully even more of a draw for Nottingham.

Is that really too much to ask?

Nottingham Sustainable Energy Research Centre

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Artists impression of research centre

A £6.5m research centre to develop low carbon technologies is to be built in Nottingham. The building, to be constructed at the University of Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus will include an energy testing facility and a rooftop laboratory. The Energy Technologies Building (ETB) underlines Nottingham’s leading role in global energy research, and its commitment to developing low-carbon technologies

Designers are aiming to make the ETB one of the lowest-carbon buildings in the country. The building will be an exemplar of low-carbon technology through the minimisation of its demands for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation mediums from non-sustainable sources, whilst maximising energy from renewable and ambient sources.

The sustainable design includes innovative earth duct passive cooling which uses the thermal mass of the surrounding earth to provide passive cooling and preheating of ventilation air. The development is targeting a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ accreditation for sustainability. 

Construction is expected to start in early 2011 with completion due in January 2012.

This is yet another example of how forward looking our local Universities are, and how important they are to the continued growth of our local economy.