Clarice Cliff car park improvements



The shortage of car parking spaces at Stoke means many more staff and students are now parking on Clarice Cliff. Since the clocks went back in October it has become apparent how poorly lit the pathway is leading along the river from the Leek Road to Clarice Cliff car park and student accommodation, which is essentially an extension of the Stoke campus .

While the main road provides an alternative, students and staff are still faced with an uneasy walk up a poorly lit sideroad. As the contractors responsible for the campus remodelling are still on-site would the University consider making safer this increasingly used pedestrian route – for the benefit and wellbeing of both its students and staff!

During the summer months the walk over from Clarice Cliff Court was lovely but as the nights have drawn in I’ve realised how poor the lighting is, its all low level and very dim.
I haven’t walked over on my own yet but I don’t really fancy it. If I were a student walking back home on my own after a night out I think I would feel really vulnerable.
Any pennies left in the kitty to bring this path out of the dark ages?
Many thanks

Two of our trainees reported last week that they had seen a man acting suspiciously in the bushes near to the Clarice Cliff car park as they walked from the car park to the Science Centre. I believe this has already been reported to Estates. Since then, students have asked whether lighting can be improved along the path and bridge in that area – especially with the dark nights. A colleague told me that she thought there were plans for improvements by September 2013 but there doesn’t seem to have been anything done. Do you have any information that I could take to the students about this? I walked along that path last night at 5pm and it was very dark. The small lights only really mark the pathway.



The proposed upgrade to Lordship Lane, which included some improvement of the route up to Clarice Cliff Court, was intended to complete by September 2013 but is on hold whilst we await the outcome of the current work on the development of a new estates masterplan.

We are aware of concerns about security and low lighting levels on the footpath leading to Clarice Cliff Court and its car parks and now intend to carry out some localised improvements along this stretch which will consist of cutting back hedging and plant growth adjacent to the path and maintenance to the existing low level bollards including replacing the existing translucent light covers with clear covers to increase light levels.

We are exploring the introduction of taller lighting columns along the route to provide better visibility and we are in discussion with the Council’s Planning Department, Ecologist (due to the environmental status of the nature reserve) and our Police Liaison Officer to progress this as soon as possible.

Duncan White
Director of Estates

Does the University have a policy for taking leave during strike action?

Does the University have a Policy about people wanting to book annual leave on a day that has been declared a Unison National Day for Strike Action?


The University needs to take steps to plan for industrial action to ensure that the impact upon students and visitors to the University is minimised. In doing this, managers are asked to review the activities in their area and make plans to ensure that the impact of the industrial action is mitigated as far as possible. This includes such steps as not approving any annual leave for the day of industrial action where this is a single day’s leave and where this is more than one day then this should only be approved if it will not impact on services.

The Annual Leave Policy (Section 6) advises that a line manager has the right to refuse annual leave, in some circumstances, due to the exigencies of the service. This would apply in the case of industrial action.


When will December pay day be?


Please could you confirm the date of pay-day in December. Will it be the 18th Dec (the last working Wednesday of the month) or some other date (which reduces the day time gap between December and January pay days)?


Staff would normally be paid on the last Wednesday of the month, however, as this would fall on Christmas Day itself, the University has decided to bring this forward to Friday 20 December.

Who is responsible for lighting Leek Road walkways?

Just want to ask about the lighting in between The Science Centre and the Sixth Form College and who is responsible for putting them on.

When I walked down that way last night at 4.45pm it was rather dark.
The lighting between the Science Centre and the Sixth form are owned by the University and controlled by a photocell to bring the lights on at dusk and off at dawn and thus save energy.

The lighting controls are working correctly but some bulbs require replacement and the estates department are replacing these ASAP.

Why are Flaxman and Winton Chambers so cold?


Why are Flaxman and Winton Chambers so poorly heated this term?



The estates department have installed new boilers and a building management system to control the heating in the Flaxman building over the summer and are now commissioning the system to deal with the winter heating demand. The engineers need to take into account various factors when setting up the system such as external temperature, the desired internal temperature, the amount of time the system takes to reach that desired temperature and the length of time that the heating is on for during the day against the challenge of reducing our carbon footprint. The engineers have thus adopted an approach of steadily increasing temperatures and time schedules and are confident that the changes they are making shall make the building as efficient as possible and that building occupants should experience levels of comfort that are acceptable to all.

The Estates help desk have received no complaints about the heating in Winton chambers but shall contact the landlord to ensure that the heating is switched on throughout the day.


Will the University be supporting Remembrance Day?


As an ex member of the Armed Forces and a supportive member of staff of all things Equal and Diverse, can I expect to at least see poppies on sale in University outlets, this year? Perhaps it would be an idea – given the number of young people who might not know anything about Armistice Day – to bring to their attention the sacrifice our countrymen and women made and continue to make? Perhaps with films, presentations etc.?

Somehow it seems that simply advertising a Remembrance Service at church does not quite hit the mark at this most important of occasions in British history? I look forward to the panel’s comments.

I would even volunteer my services in bringing this important event to the attention of those who, perhaps, have not really thought about the subject?



Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Gunn and representatives from the University and Students’ Union will attending as part of the official party for both the Stafford Borough Council and Stoke City Council commemorative services on Sunday.

Due to a previous Ask Executive suggestion, Armed Forces Day was also on the university homepage as the first feature on 24 June with a themed image featuring as the impact panel.

This was accompanied by the following text:
We have worked in partnership with the Ministry of Defence since 2004, developing flexible programmes for service personnel. Providing flexible study routes which recognise prior learning, we also enable conversion of military training into Higher Education credits.

A news story was also produced to highlight the retraining of troops as teachers which was used as part of the promotion process:

This year, to mark Remembrance Day across the University, Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Gunn will be highlighting the events in his weekly blog and encouraging staff to respect the two minutes silence which is at 11am on Monday 11 November.

Should you wish to discuss future events or awareness campaigns on campus in more detail, please contact Head of Corporate Relations Diane Crook on 4442 or

Are there any plans to upgrade the Beaconside pitch?


As someone who plays a lot of football in Stafford in my spare time, the general consensus amongst many local footballers is that the large astroturf pitch at Beaconside is long due an upgrade to a 4G astroturf surface.

The current surface is lethal when wet and/or icy and an updated 4g surface would be much safer, would better justify the costs charge (in the face of competition from Rowley Park’s new 4G surface) and better serve students use of the facilities.

Are there any plans to get this pitch upgraded?



The University works closely with Stafford Borough Council who are our partner in the Astroturf at Beaconside.  We also work with local sports clubs, the Students’ Union and Sport England, representatives of which are involved in meetings of the University Sports Management Board.  We are in the process of reviewing our longer term Sports Strategy in conjunction with development of the Estates Strategy and this includes investigating the feasibility of a 4G pitch.


Why does the University not sell oatcakes?

Given that they’re tasty and healthy and probably popular with a lot of our staff and students, why are oatcakes not available from any of the University’s catering outlets? It would also be a small but visible way of supporting some unique local businesses.


We have tried selling oatcakes on several occasions with differing fillings, mainly in a pre-packaged format which are made on site and sold in the Pavilion, Bush House, DolcheVita Brindley and the Terrace at Stafford.

Despite several efforts to promote them, they just did not sell so we made the decision to remove them from sale.