The loss-making Students’ Union bar at the University of Huddersfield is to close.

The union bar, which has lost more than £100,000 a year since 2008, is expected to shut early next year.

The union, which provides a range of services to the university’s 20,000 students, is moving from its current campus building to the new £22.5m Learning and Leisure Centre.

 

When it moves to the new premises the bar and cafe will close with the loss of 40 part-time student jobs.

A new bar and food outlets will be run from the new centre by the university itself.

Union staff hope students will be found jobs in the new operation.

News of the bar’s closure has left some students upset at the lack of consultation.

An anonymous petition against the changes has been launched on-line, signed by more than 800 people.

A spokesman for the Students’ Union said the decision to close the bar was taken due to a change in student drinking habits.

He said students often “pre-loaded” by drinking at home before going out; more nights out revolved around food not alcohol; more bars were staying open until 3am or 4am and the union felt it would not be responsible to compete; and more students were living at home and commuting to university and thereby socialising elsewhere.

Student Union bar, Huddersfield University
Student Union bar, Huddersfield University
 

Figures showed the bar had lost £122,000 a year since 2008.

In a statement, union president Nosheen Dad said the decision to close the bar and catering service was a “complex one” but the larger centre would better meet the needs of students.

She said: “The Learning and Leisure Centre will include the Students’ Union and provide lots of space for students to meet, relax and host events.

“It represents a university investment of over £22.5m in improving the student experience.

“We are aware that there are concerns about the changes but when the 20,000 plus University of Huddersfield students consider the full facts and indeed get access to the new learning and leisure centre in January we are convinced the majority of students will consider it change for the better.”

Ms Dad said the changes would improve the union’s finances and allow it to focus on representing students and providing sports clubs and societies.

She added: “It is important to remember the Students’ Union is much more than a bar.”

News of the loss of the bar provoked a strong reaction on-line. Here are some of the comments posted on the petition website:

Laura Kavanagh said: “The SU says they are there to make student life better but taking away our bar where we meet up with friends and socialise between lectures is forcing us into high street bars!”

Ben Peel wrote: “If decisions like this are being made without the consent of students then it doesn’t bode well for democracy on campus.

“Also, the SU is a genuinely great place to meet mates and socialise and the alternative doesn’t sound good at all.”

Sophie Glossop said: “Every university needs an SU that has a bar and cafe.

“It’s a popular place for people to meet up and have a catch up or for some a place to sit have a coffee and have some peace and quiet.

“The SU’s bar and catering facilities are loved by all students. I will personally be very upset if the bar and cafe are shut down.”

Tom Chappelow said: “Removing the bar is yet another example of the SU’s short-term, poorly planned approach to student services.

“The bar has always functioned as a hub for student life, and its removal will kill stone dead activity on campus.

“It is a service to students so any losses should be regarded as money well spent, not as evidence of a failure to generate income.”

Jay Brown said: “A Students’ Union without a bar? Ridiculous decision.”

Thomas Wood wrote: “It puts me out of a job come January, and what kind of Students’ Union doesn’t have a bar in it?”