College Hall reborn: conference centre plan for former hall of residence
College Hall is a quartet of Grade II-listed, brick, two/three-storey buildings about a mile from the main campus. It was designed by Trevor Dannatt and Leslie Martin in 1957 and was for many years one of the University’s main halls of residence. In his book Trevor Dannatt: Works and Words, Roger Stonehouse called it “an unemotional brick building with surprisingly rich dining and common room facilities for low-budget university accommodation.”
For the last few years College Hall has lain empty but plans have now been announced to convert the complex into a state-of-the-art conference centre.
We already have some excellent conference facilities of course but they can only be used during vacations because of the need to use student accommodation. College Hall will have 117 en suite bedrooms as well as dining facilities, meeting rooms and a 150-seat lecture theatre.
Two additional, slightly older buildings on the site are Latimer House, a three-storey Edwardian property, and The Grove, which dates from the 17th century. The Grove will be refurbished to provide high-quality, short-term accommodation for visiting academics.
The site proposal incorporates parking for 124 cars as well as bicycle parking and open courtyards. College Hall is next door to the Attenborough Arboretum which will provide for some lovely photographs when the venue is used for weddings.
The planning proposal will be submitted to Leicester City Council this month; if approved, the project is expected to take about a year to complete.