Sheffield, London

This week, the University is announcing one of the most significant strategic developments in its history, a development which will be transformational for the University and the communities with which it works. We are announcing the opening of our new campus in London. Over the next decade, the Hallam London campus will become an integral part of the University, growing to some 5000 students and expanding the university’s influence, provision and impact. It is the result of three years’ hard work. Almost all of that has been undertaken discreetly with all the complexities involved in a new development with commercial partners and a committed and engaged local authority, and with the full support of Hallam’s Board of Governors. So it is very exciting to be able to bring the planning phase into the public domain, and to be able to talk about the potential and opportunities which our London campus opens up.

The Sheffield Hallam London campus is an anchor component of a major new urban development in Brent Cross. In essence, Brent Cross Town is an entirely new town, nestled in a corner of the London Borough of Barnet. It is a major regeneration project in its own right. When completed, it will house 50,000 people in a large-scale net zero development providing housing, health, retail and leisure facilities. Sheffield Hallam will provide the higher education presence. The University was approached by the developers, Related Argent, and over the last three years we have worked closely with them and Barnet Council to map out our plans. The new town will be served by its own new mainline railway station – if you look out of the window from trains out of St Pancras, some ten minutes after you leave central London you can see the platforms and rail infrastructure taking shape. Hallam will occupy a building which fronts the railway station. It will be a striking new presence in a new urban community.

Of course, several universities have London campuses, and we have studied them carefully, looking hard at the conditions for success. Different universities have chosen different priorities for their London-based work. Our engagement with Brent Cross Town reflects our mission, strategy and values: the opportunity here is to engage in active community building as an entire new urban entity is created. That is fabulously exciting in itself and allows us to play a convening role in all sorts of ways. We are committed to being a good neighbour in our new home, working with the local authority, local communities, employers, further education providers and other universities in London just as we do in Sheffield. Our local authority partners in Sheffield are hugely supportive of the new development.

The London Campus will allow us to do some important things. Most importantly, it will allow us to take our distinctive approach to curriculum and to applied research to a new community and find ways to meet local needs with the same imagination, drive and commitment we have in Sheffield. The London campus will also provide a base for us to expand opportunities for Sheffield-based students to undertake placements and work-related learning, opening up relationships with new employer partners. It will allow us to widen the range of private and public sector partners we work with on applied research and innovation. It will allow us to work in new and innovative ways in a new location, and to showcase our city and region more widely. It will further diversify, and thus broaden our provision, strengthening our resilience.

There is – of course – a lot to be done now. Whilst the announcement today is the culmination of a lot of hard work, we are, so to speak, passing the starting line today. There are detailed business and financial plans, but these will need to be translated into full operational delivery arrangements. Our new campus will become operational during 2025-26, and over the next three years our new provision will be formally shaped.

This is, of course, another major milestone in making the University fit for the future. The University is changing and building on the extra-ordinary progress we have already made on delivering on the University’s transforming lives vision. Looking ahead, our leading role nationally in shaping the civic engagement agenda for higher education, the portfolio and curriculum reshaping now well under way to respond to a post-pandemic world, the major campus development on Howard Street which will give us a new heart to the Sheffield city campus and now, the London campus mean that the University is set up further to extend its influence and its success.

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