Depot planned for all online student shopping

Stevie Hertz 20 November 2015

As part of development plans for the New Museums site in central Cambridge, it is understood that a centralised delivery point for student parcels will be established. The Cambridge Student understands that the delivery point, which will accept deliveries of parcels from various courier companies, will be established as part of the student services infrastructure which will be based on the New Museums Site. 

This is a reaction to the increasing popularity of online shopping amongst students, which has led to unmanageable numbers of deliveries at porters’ lodges across the university.

One porter commented on the changes to TCS: “It’s a great idea. Colleges aren’t designed to deal with the number of parcels they’re taking. The amount of parcels we receive is only going to go up and up, and none of the colleges have been ready for this – we’ve been taken by storm as this has happened very quickly.”

However, there was some scepticism about the logistics of a depot of this kind, with doubt expressed over the ability of one centre to handle multiple delivery systems and companies, the difficulty posed by duplicated names and the sheer volume of deliveries the depot would have to handle.

Miriam Longman, a second-year student, said to TCS, “As someone with health problems, it would be a nightmare to have to walk into town to get parcels, not to mention carrying them back to Newnham. It’s understandable that Porters Lodges get overwhelmed by deliveries, but in this world of internet shopping, I don’t think a centralised parcel office would help anyone. It would be time-consuming for students and staff, and would disadvantage those with more limited mobility. Things aren’t going to change, so Plodges need to adapt.”

These changes come as part of the more general modifications currently being made to the New Museums site, which include controversial alterations to the historic Cavendish laboratory.

Under current plans, the ground floor of the laboratory will be redesigned to create an access route, removing part of the original facade. The plans also include moving the Departments of Materials Science, and Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology to the New Museums for West Cambridge, while the Departments of Geography and Land Economy will move on to the site.

The Supplementary Planning Document released in June 2015 by Cambridge City Council says that “The New Museums Site will develop as a place for University of Cambridge related uses involving world class teaching, learning and research.”