A PETITION has gathered strength in a bid to reopen a student union bar and kitchen at a Hampshire university.

Solent University Students Union Bar at Southampton Solent University has closed after the union branded the current set up as financially unsustainable after a reduction in footfall from students.

As a replacement, the union turned the bar into a coffee and social space but the move has not been welcomed by students.

Now, a petition set up by Solent University student Hayley Edwards has gained 530 signatures in one week.

Hayley said: “This is making students go elsewhere and helping destroy the community spirit within the uni.”

In response, a statement from Solent Students Union said: “The café bar, in its old format, had become financially unsustainable. People were simply not using it enough and the reduction in income was putting other key services at risk including funding for societies, the Night Bus and our Advice Centre.

“As a charity, we must ensure we use our funding in a way which best meets our charitable objectives and there are often difficult decisions to make in terms of what services we can offer which will benefit the majority of our members.”

“With the increased number of food outlets opened on campus over the last few years, a number of bars in such close proximity to campus alongside the dramatic drop in use of the café bar, the decision was made to secure the future of other services that are not so easily accessible for students.”

The closure follows other similar closures at the University of Huddersfield who closed their Union Bar in 2013 after losing £600,000 in the space of six years and Bristol University which closed its Union bar in 2009 after obtaining losses of £40,000 in one semester.