The library at Lucy Cavendish CollegeLucy Web Editor / Wikimedia Commons

Lucy Cavendish has announced that preparatory work for a new eco-friendly development will begin towards the end of January.

The development will be constructed in line with a widely accepted standard for sustainable housing known as Passivhaus, and is projected to be completed by the start of Michaelmas Term 2022.

The building will house both undergraduates and postgraduates and is “as much an interactive learning space as a living space”, according to Jenny Ridge, Head of Marketing and Communications at the College.

The new accommodation will help to accommodate the growing intake of the College after its decision in 2019 to diversify the student body to include undergraduates of all ages.

Ridge told Varsity: “The design eliminates the use of fossil fuels by utilising Air Source Heat Pump technology to provide space heating and hot water.”

The developers will also reduce carbon emissions associated with making construction materials by using “low embodied carbon materials” and “low embodied carbon cement replacements”, Ridge said.

Lucy Cavendish is committed to widening access, with a view to making its cohort “broadly representative of UK society by 2025-26.”

The building will have “72 modern en-suite study-bedrooms” with areas for social interaction and self catering, including “learning spaces” and a “large café/bar”, according to a College press release.

The surrounding grounds will be relandscaped to include areas for events, a sensory garden and a new courtyard. The description of the development notes that “wellbeing has been an important design principle” and that “all study bedrooms, for example, will have views of the gardens”.

The building will be “future proofed” with a variety of “personal, transformational, assistive technologies”, allowing it to accommodate “a broad spectrum of different cognitive and learning styles”.


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The Leonard Cheshire Charity has provided the College with advice on “different learning styles and physical disabilities” to help make the building “co-accessible”, said Ridge. She added that “four bedrooms will be fully accessible” and there will be “two with carer accommodation alongside”. In addition, “some shared kitchens will have height-adjustable surfaces”.

The University as a whole has taken several measures to widen access, such as the introduction of a Foundation Year for disadvantaged students.

The University has also made a commitment to fully divest from all fossil fuels by 2030, and several Colleges have announced similar plans.

Lucy Cavendish’s Governing Body committed to partial divestment from fossil fuels in October 2020.

Ridge, however, explained that the College has now “completely divested from fossil fuels in its direct holdings” and now has “less than 1% fossil fuel exposure in its indirect holdings”. It has also reinvested in “various funds which address environmental sustainability”.