College's latest marquee is the biggest yet, completely engulfing the Queen's Lawn and rendering the whole lot unusable. Students who were hoping to use the newly-turfed grass during the recent sunshine have been disappointed, with the other options being the building site that is Prince's Gardens or a walk into Hyde Park.
The presence of the latest monstrosity, barely four months after the last one came down, has led to a number of complaints to Live!, from students and staff alike. Many are asking why College bothered spending £40,000 on re-turfing the lawn, only to kill the grass straight away. College's "erect first, ask permission later" procedure for marquees is also in effect, with no planning permission having been sought or granted. Rumours are circulating that the timespan of the marquee is limited, as the council is not inclined to grant permission for it after previous abuses of the planning system.
A combination of barriers and the new path across the lawn has rendered the whole area unusable, save for a very narrow strip alongside the path. There will certainly be no respite from the climbing temperatures in the library by sitting outside on a nice patch of grass. Although the battle to keep portacabins off the lawn was won, a marquee has been present for almost ten months of the twenty-four since the plan was proposed. This year the marquee will be up for just 29 days. However, as a marquee is required for postgraduate commemoration day (late May) and the Summer Ball (mid June), some form of marquee will be up and down for the next three months.
Plans to repeat last year's form and keep a marquee up for six months were blocked by the Rector, who expressed his surprise when the last one went up.
UPDATE: The present monster - erected for the Charing Cross symposium - will be taken down on Wednesday, before another marquee returns in preparation for postgraduate commemoration day on 14th May. More dates to follow.