The green light has been given for work to start on The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) £30million Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC).
Preston City Council has approved the planning application for the state-of-the-art facility following extensive consultations with the community and local stakeholders.
Located in the heart of Preston city centre, the EIC will be an integrated hub for teaching, research and knowledge exchange, bringing together the region’s expertise from within academia and industry.
The flagship project will deliver a range of key objectives, including reclaiming Lancashire’s role as a national centre for advanced manufacturing, ensuring that local skills reflect social and economic needs, and increasing the number of females in engineering careers.
Michael Ahern, chief operating officer at UCLan, said:
The approval for work to begin is an important moment for the University and the future redevelopment of Preston. A true flagship development for the city, the EIC will be a powerful hub for developing and nurturing talent that will help the UK retain its place as a leader in engineering and innovation.
We’ve worked, and will continue to work, in consultation with local stakeholders on transformational plans which will create a world-class campus and a legacy that befits everyone – students, businesses and members of the local community.
The EIC, which is the first major milestone in UCLan’s £200 million Campus Masterplan, has been identified as a signature project within Lancashire’s Strategic Economic Plan and has secured £10.5 million via the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Lancashire ‘Growth Deal’ with Government.
It received a further £5 million cash injection from HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) which will go towards equipping the facility to the highest standard with advanced technology and specialist equipment. An application for European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) capital fund has also been made to support industry engagement.
The University will now focus on the delivery of the first phase of construction which is planned to commence later in the year.
Manchester based SimpsonHaugh and Partners is leading on the design in collaboration with Reiach and Hall Architects. BDP, which also has an office in Manchester and was founded in Preston, has been appointed to provide the engineering expertise for the project.