LUSU Trustee Board moves to temporarily close campus store Central

University management has rejected calls for a rent reduction

Lancaster University Students’ Union is taking the decision to close the Union’s on-campus convenience store, Central.

In a statement made on the LUSU website, the Union acknowledges the Trustee Board’s decision to shut the store from September 1st through to the 13th, in order to carry out a “comprehensive review” into whether any more can be done to cut costs and make the store more financially sustainable.

This comes after LUSU’s Full-Time Officer (FTO) team sent an open letter to university management calling for the store’s rent to be reduced or waived until later on this year, in order to allow the store to enter a point of “breaking even.”

The FTOs stated on 10th August that without the rent reduction, the university would be “forcing [them] into the position where [their] only option is to shut Central” – however, in their latest statement the FTOs appear to have U-turned on this: “Whatever the outcome, your Students’ Union will re-open the store as we know it’s a crucial service for students in the new academic year. The Trustee Board will continue to monitor the situation closely and see if the financial position has improved by December.”

University management has “categorically” ruled out any rent reduction, as Andrew Burgess (Director of Estates, Facilities and Commercial Services) says “Based on recent interest from retailers in gaining a presence on campus, I have every confidence we would continue to be able to offer the services you describe to students from this location.”

Burgess continued his response, telling the FTO team “You are therefore free to close the operation with no obligation to the university to continue.”

LUSU added this note to the end of Burgess’ response to their open letter: “The Trustee Board holds the authority to close Central, which is in contrary to the email from the University which is factually incorrect.”

Lancaster University Students’ Union’s full update can be found here.