Did they ask the students what they wanted? I mean, imho the union could do with a lick of paint, and a lift that you might actually be able to fit a wheelchair in, but it certainly doesn't need glass cladding ala the lego brick. What students really want (as far as I can tell) is practical facilities for Club & Societies and a good social area.
I know the union is a symbol of the students, but I think this has gone too far, and is no longer about the students, but about profit and image, and a student union should be about neither.
The union has become a money making machine. Sabbs have expressed that they support non smoking bars, but because bars make money - they are scared to support the ban across all bars - because it might impact on income.
All union trading outlets should be run on a zero or minimum surplus system (say ?50k max) and any excess profit generated should be put back into reducing prices for students. Have you seen the price of Real Ale in the Union bar!! London Pride is normally more expensive than the Queen's Arms....
Shouldn't student unions be about providing things for students, rather than pricing them out of the market? Also why do we allow members of the public in the union? Outside term time is ok, but during term time we should ensforce "members only" - like the Holland Club does for college staff.
The new building will not benefit the majority of students. Instead it will give the union a nice conference venue that they can make money out of to pay for their increased energy bills for the c**p masterplan design that the architects have come up.
(Note: Still no formal reply to questions asked at Council to the Archeticts about energy reduction).
Basically the Sabbs and Architects cannot be a**ed to stick to one of the key requirements that clearly stated: Students want a low-carbon & low energy building. Part L will change their minds!
Regarding profits from the Union, every penny of profit from the comerical services outlets is plowed back into the Union coffers for use by the students.
The profit levels are set by the student body by way of the Trading Committee. If prices are considered too high it will be because the student committees have requested the profit levels to be set that high, too fund other things, for example higher bar prices off setting lowered catering prices (not to mention covering the expense of the Charring X and Wye bars).
On the matter of members of the public using the bar there are a large number of reciprocal agreements with our neighbours ie: Royal College of Music, Royal College of Art, Royal Albert Hall, and a large number of local overseas exchange programs.
These have been in place for many years and are of great social and financial benefit to the union as a whole. Also we get regular visits from IC alumni, simply because you don't recognise someone as a student does not mean they are not welcome.
Very very rarely do people simply walk in off the street due to our hidden away location.
Not so much short sighted but totally incompetant. I can understand the Sabbs not realising the technicalities of building regulations but the architect they employ shoud have advised them.
To my mind producing a plan that doesn't comply with regulations whether they be current or soon to be current means the architect has not done their job and payment should be held back until such time as they do their job properly.
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