Engineering a bright future

By April 4, 2016Media

The University of Central Lancashire’s ambitious £200 million Preston campus masterplan continues to gather pace – as does Portergate’s nearby Friargate regeneration.

Plans have been submitted by UCLan for its impressive £30 million Engineering Innovation Centre. And if it gets the go-ahead the building work will be completed in the spring of 2018.

The news comes as work continues to deliver Portergate’s £18 million mixed-use development on nearby Friargate, close to the city’s university quarter.

Portergate’s 1.5 acre Friargate site will bring three new retail premises and the creation of a 244 bedroomed building aimed at providing Portergate’s brand of hotel-style accommodation to students at UCLan.

Part of that high-quality accommodation on offer is also aimed at post graduate students at the university and apprentices and key workers in Preston’s high-tech manufacturing sector and new Enterprise Zone. The development is scheduled for completion later this year.

UCLan’s integrated engineering hub for teaching, research and knowledge exchange will bring together the region’s expertise from within academia and industry – and deliver

The university says 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.

UCLan’s Rob Wallace, Dean at the School of Engineering, said: “This outline planning application sets out the university’s ambitious and exciting vision to boost levels of innovation through increased knowledge and industry partnerships, both nationally and internationally.”

UCLan says it aims to close the skills gap by inspiring and shaping the next generation of engineering leaders, producing an extra 500 locally trained graduates a year.”

A Lancashire Enterprise Partnership spokesman has welcomed the move, telling the university’s own website: “Lancashire is a national centre of excellence in the advanced manufacturing and aerospace sectors and we are home to many world-class companies such as BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and PACCAR (Leyland Trucks), to name just a few. Lancashire also has top-class universities.

“Through our Innovation Excellence Programme, the LEP is building on these strengths by bringing our academic talent together with business and industry to create the innovation and skills solutions needed to maintain and develop our number one position for advanced manufacturing and aerospace.

“The LEP has supported the new Engineering Centre at UCLan as part of that programme.

“This flagship project will help produce the engineers our advanced manufacturing and aerospace sectors need to thrive and support businesses and industry to achieve even higher levels of excellence.”

UCLan’s £200 million campus masterplan will be delivered in Preston over the next 10 years.

The first major project in the programme has been the demolition of the 1960s Fylde Building, nearby to Portergate’s development site, to make way for a multi-million pound student support facility, forming part of a new gateway to the university.


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