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So it’s true. For weeks now I’ve been hearing odd whispers and faint rumours of a new food outlet opening on campus and it’s finally happening. Yes that’s right, the university, in what can only be described as a ludicrous and explicit display of double standards, have decided that throwing up a Subway just off Alexandra square is the best idea since sliced hearty Italian bread. Now I know what most of you are thinking – Come on, everyone loves Subway! Now that might be true and I for one am loathed to disagree, our campus is long overdue a major fast food chain and Subway seems a perfectly fitting candidate. However, given the recent controversy over the instability of the college bars and the subsequent reaction to this I see this as nothing more than a money grabbing insult and an epic display of idiocy.
In recent times concerns over the profitability of the university’s bars has led to a huge push on bar food, with colossal efforts from various colleges our campus bars have almost become financially viable and have prevented their extinction (at least for now). I for one am a huge fan of the recent college bar-food venture, bars such as Fylde, County and particularly Bowland are incredibly popular places to eat, drink and relax in a familiar environment, safe in the knowledge that your money being put to decent use. There is now a greater range of food on campus than there has ever been before, the inclusion of decent lunchtime meals has shocked the college bars back to life and given a sorely missed buzz back to the uni, but more importantly has taken our much beloved watering holes out of the red and into the black. So why, for the love of God, why would you put a chain on campus that’s going to mop up trade like a footlong wholemeal on not enough marinara sauce? Well there are two reasons; either the university believes that we aren’t all going to pile in there when it first opens and gorge ourselves on sandwiches and refillable drinks and that the chain will add a further element of diversity to the campus food scene, or, they have been paid a monumental sum of money and they couldn’t care less about the state of the bars. Call me a cynic but I think that maybe, just maybe, it could be the latter.
The build is planned to go ahead just above Alexandra square backing onto Bowland quad, all but killing the college’s pie empire and throwing Bowland bar back to the dark ages of grumpy bar staff and a lack of punters and it would be naïve to think that other bars won’t suffer the same fate. It was the decision of the university management that the bars should push for this profit or face closure and it happens to be the very same number crunching monkeys in suits that have decided put this gigantic obstacle in the way of the small but steady progress our mini gastro pubs were making. This move is nothing more than another profit driven nail into the coffin of the crowning glory of what is, Lancaster’s collegiate system. (But that’s a rant for another day…) It honestly pains me to have seen the effort that Bowland’s staff and JCR have put into their bar