More than 200 residents attended St Mary’s University drop-in on Monday (April 24) to view and discuss their proposals to develop the Strawberry Hill Campus.

Vice Chancellor Francis Campbell’s ‘Masterplan Vision 2025’ has set out plans for £100 million of investment, including building a number of accommodation halls on campus.

St Mary’s currently has approximately 6,000 students, with the number set to rise to 9,000 if the Masterplan is put into action.

The plans also involve moving the athletics track, recently named after alumnus and quadruple Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, to the Teddington Lock site.

The Strawberry Hill campus is built on Metropolitan Open Land, which can only be built on under ‘exceptional circumstances’.

Residents groups stated their opposition to any building on the Strawberry Hill campus.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Comedian and actor Rob Brydon, who lives nearby, attended the drop-in

Neighbours of St Mary’s University founder member Jonathan Whines said: “We already have numerous problems including parking issues and anti-social behaviour. This is a densely populated residential area.

“It is quite inappropriate for such a large scale urban-type development to be supported, particularly in the historic setting of Grade 1 listed Strawberry Hill House. In addition the Council should not be encouraging the breach of regulations regarding Metropolitan Open Land. There is no ‘exceptional case’.”

Strawberry Hill Residents Committee member Michael Allsop said: “Strawberry Hill Residents' Association is opposed to St Mary's University's expansion plans and its proposed further building on Metropolitan Open Land on its small, attractive campus in the middle of our village.

“The campus is surrounded by residential streets and the University had agreed in a formal deed signed in 2010 that it would not build further on Metropolitan Open Land. We are dismayed that the University is now seeking to dishonour this formal commitment, which was entered into for the benefit of residents.”

A spokesperson for St Mary’s said: "St Mary’s University already makes a major contribution to the local area. We are currently consulting on a long-term plan to develop our campuses at Strawberry Hill and Teddington Lock to enhance that contribution and ensure that we remain competitive.

“Our masterplan will provide improved first-class sports facilities for the community, reduce our environmental impact and ensure the campus remains open to the local community. Speaking with our neighbours and the community is an important part of this process.”

Residents can get another chance to view and comment on the plans at a further public consultation planned for May 6 as well as on St Mary’s website.

Got a story? Call the newsdesk on 0208 722 6315 or email