The new £17.5 million National Brownfield Institute (NBI) in Wolverhampton has moved one step closer to being built after a planning application was submitted for it on the University of Wolverhampton’s Springfield Campus.
The City of Wolverhampton Council has supported the University with its plans and final evaluation, and, subject to planning approval being granted, it is hoped that work will start on site later this year (2020).
This comes just two months after the announcement that the scheme is to receive £14.9 million in funding from the UK Government’s Get Building Fund for the West Midlands.
The city council has worked closely with the Black Country LEP and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to secure funding for what will be the flagship of the University of Wolverhampton’s ongoing £120 million Springfield Campus development.
The NBI is being designed by Associated Architects and will be used to research and develop new construction methods and ways of regenerating contaminated land. A request for the remainder of the funding required forms part of the city’s bid to the Government’s Towns Fund.
The 12-acre Springfield Campus is already home to the Thomas Telford University Technical Centre for Sustainable Construction and Circular Economy, which will focus on sustainability and the climate change emergency.
The NBI will be a world-class institute that can drive the development of advanced skills, technologies and methodologies through innovation and partnership with the construction industry; focuses on the practical application of future brownfield regeneration through the work of research teams; and leads policy development, research and innovation, and commercial services for brownfield regeneration.
Cllr Stephen Simkins, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “It is great to see things moving at pace to bring forward this game-changing scheme for the City of Wolverhampton.
“We have seen the University’s Springfield Campus blossom into the reality of a European-leading Built Environment education campus.
“The addition of the National Brownfield Institute will make Wolverhampton a world leader in construction, regeneration and built environment, offering teaching and skills development, cutting-edge research and innovation, and enterprise and business engagement through multi-sector partnerships.
“Most importantly it will deliver new skills, jobs and opportunities for local people in the city.
“It is all part of the multi-billion-pound investment on site or planned in our city – a city of opportunity – as we look to bounce back from the impact of COVID-19.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands and Chair of the WMCA, added: “The National Brownfield Institute is all about establishing the West Midlands as a global leader in the development and use of state-of-the-art construction techniques and in the clean-up and regeneration of derelict land.
“The NBI will be critical to the region’s economic recovery because, not only will it help us transform old industrial sites with new homes and modern business premises, it will also help give local people the modern construction skills they will need to gain employment and build these new schemes.
“This scheme is a key part of both our wider brownfield-first housing plan to continue our record house building whilst protecting the greenbelt, and our plan to get the West Midlands economy back on track by securing a green and inclusive recovery that offers local people the opportunity for a decent, affordable home, and a well-paid job in the industries of the future.”
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