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Live! - News

Monstrous Marquee Attracts Ire of Students

Apr 09 2008 21:41
Ashley Brown
Those seeking to revise on the Queen's Lawn as spring stutters into life have been faced with a white monstrosity once again - without planning permission, of course.
It's either a marquee, or the aliens have landed...
All that is left of the lawn

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.

Well, there is this bit - but it's fenced off

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.

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Discussion about “Monstrous Marquee Attracts Ire of Students”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
1. Nice   
Apr 09 2008 22:13

Ahhhh, so that's where my huge tuition fees are going, I was wondering, cos it sure as hell isn't getting spent on quality teaching.

2. sad   
Apr 09 2008 22:27
Apr 09 2008 23:01

What the H E L L ???

Apr 09 2008 23:35

Ashley did they really spend ?40,000 re-turfing?? If so college have gone MAD - what a waste of flipping money!! What are the intended plans for this latest hardy marquee contraption then?

Apr 10 2008 00:13

It's okay, the pound has been devalued to its lowest against the Euro today so ?40,000 isn't that much. Assuming that they paid today. S**t. Oh wait, I see the flaw now.

Apr 10 2008 09:36

I've updated the article - last paragraph has some more information.

Apr 10 2008 09:59

So do we think the grass underneath will still be alive after wedensday? If they returf it again in b/w wednesday and the PG commem then college are BANANAS!

Apr 10 2008 10:04

They'd only just taken the fence down (which was protecting the new turf while it rooted), but I would be surprised if it doesn't survive a week. Of course, how it survives the trauma of construction and teardown is another matter...

They certainly won't be re-turfing it again.

Apr 10 2008 10:21

As it's the holidays, could college have not used the great hall as a function room? Or even the MDH? They might not be as "glamorous" as a temporary marquee, but at least it does not ruin the grass.

Apr 10 2008 10:39

It was only ?30,000 for the turf - but still a significant investment.

The marquee is on plate risers - it sits about 1 inch above the ground so that the air can get to the grass. The lack of sunlight for a week will probably turn it a horrible shade of bile for a while, but I suspect the grass will be okay afterwards.

Apr 10 2008 10:40

The event (Charing Cross Symposium) for which the Marquee is for shall already be using the GH, most of SAF, and pretty much most of campus if previous years are any indicator...

12. Chris   
Apr 10 2008 11:08

Why not build a bungalow on queens "lawn" and put a roof garden on top? - that would at least save the hassle of not knowing whats going on =D.

Apr 10 2008 12:56

or put the marquee outside the faculty building ...

It would draw attention away from those ghastly pink things they put up

Apr 10 2008 13:11

Maybe college should stop trying to put on such big events when they clearly do not have the space for it. When the next major building project is done a defined function space should be included in the plans.

15. lol   
Apr 10 2008 14:29

college raped us with the "erect first, ask permission later". sorry, terrible joke.

Apr 11 2008 14:22

Aesthetically it's pretty appalling, but the grass will survive a week if it's taken root properly.

It's five minutes walk to one of the biggest parks in Europe in any case. So this is a bit of a non-story in terms of putting people out.

17. NoNo   
Apr 11 2008 15:12

Why don't we get rid of the lawn completely then?

Apr 11 2008 15:39

This isnt just a case of taking over the Queens Lawn (which is appalling). Today the MDH and ante room is out of bounds, the Sherfield Building is swamped with people in Rugby Shirts putting up giant display boards and telling you that if you aren't staff you aren't allowed access! Heaven forbid you should want to walk from one end of campus to the other without having to take a mile detour! Today I really felt like I was getting in the way being a student on my own campus. And I couldn't get a hot meal anywhere at 13:00pm because the SCR was only serving fish, which I don't eat, and everywhere else was shut.

This is the time College decides to provide 24hr libraries? While every other action they take screams "Students, stay away!"

Apr 11 2008 16:08

It's true, I've been here 4 years now and this year has been the absolute worst in terms of campus quality - Queen's Lawn covered in marquees and the rest of the place a noisy building site.

On the plus side, we do get a very plush gym and swim facility for free, but I'd rather have a pleasant campus to walk around.

Bottom line: Imperial College does not care about its students any more. They disregard any appreciation for history, tradition or even basic aesthetics that we may have.

20. hmmm   
Apr 11 2008 16:34

The lawn is a nice little resource, but yeah, I don't think it's the end of the world bearing in mind the proximity of Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park. They're so close that they may as well be on campus.

Have to agree with the comments about the College's commercial activities though. If they could knock down the tower they probably would and the lawn would come up too. If current students feel that they are not valued then why not organise a boycott of the College's commercial services? Stop using shops & cafes. It's not as if they're particularly competitively priced anyway.

Apr 11 2008 17:03

I agree completely with regards to what we pay through the nose for using the shops! It's high time that the College put the opinions of the students (who keep this place running) on the map.

Apr 11 2008 17:04

The place would run perfectly well without (undergraduate) students.

Apr 11 2008 17:14

Considering the general apathy of most students at Imperial, and the fact that most are loaded I'm sure a boycott is useless. I'm sure if they ask nicely Mummy or Daddy will buy them their own turf, to go with the maturing Trust Fund.

Apr 14 2008 18:08

ooh baby, i love the marquee, ooooh

its HOTT

Apr 15 2008 20:18

How the f**k are you going to get a boycott of the college commercial services - why not organise it here on Live! for its 8 readers!


26. AGHAST   
Apr 16 2008 16:16

they are taking down the marquee... and worst yet the grass is fine. what will i have to rant mindlessly about now?

27. Poo   
Apr 17 2008 11:24

Why don't you have a rant about Madeline McCann or Lady Diana? They're hot topics that need further discussion.

28. wow   
Apr 17 2008 13:06

guess what al-fayed told me at harrods.

the marquee is used to hide workers from sight while they build a tunnel towards diana's grave. imperial is going to steal her body and then sell to terrorists in saudi arabia through their links with uni's there. the terrorists will then use diana's body to trade with the kidnappers who stole madeleine. once they have madeleine, they are going to strap her to a jumbo jet and fly her into the queens tower.

apparently there's going to be an inquest...

May 11 2008 16:26


another one is being put up as i write!!!!

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