GUESTS at an red-carpet dinner were treated to an exclusive glimpse of how Preston could be transformed over the next 10 years.
The prestigious ‘Best of UCLan’ event held by the University of Central Lancashire last night, saw an audience of honorary fellows, students and representatives from business and the community treated to a CGI ‘flythrough’ video showing how the campus will evolve throughout different stages of the university’s £200 million campus masterplan.
Earlier this year UCLan launched a dedicated Masterplan website and held public engagement events together with workshops involving local people and community groups of all ages so they could see for themselves, and comment on, the long term proposals.
Proposals include adaptations the road network, landscape and new buildings linking the university campus to the city centre. Work has already started with the demolition of the Fylde Building.
The plans have been brought to life digitally, demonstrating how the redevelopment will integrate with the city of Preston as the early stages of the project start to take shape.
The Best of UCLan event was a showcase of the work taking place at the university – of which the masterplan will play a key role – as well as areas of teaching and research, business interaction and the creative endeavours of UCLan students.
Pro chancellor and chair of the University Board David Taylor said: “The event provided a real flavour of the university’s innovation, and the Campus Masterplan is perhaps our most exciting and transformative development ye
“Along with our development partners at Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council our aim is to integrate the development seamlessly with the rest of the City, boosting inward investment to benefit current and future generations of students, staff, visitors and the wider community.
“Through our various public engagement initiatives well over a thousand people have taken the time to give us their views and suggestions on the Masterplan; information which has been hugely useful and used to inform our plans. As the plans become a reality we remain committed to engaging with neighbours and the wider stakeholder community, listening to and acting upon any concerns
He added: “The project is so complex and far-reaching that at present it’s difficult to visualise the finished scheme and the way it will enhance the city. That’s why we were so excited to be able to bring it to life through our Masterplan flythrough video.”
Interim vice-chancellor, Professor Mike Thomas, added: “The wonderful research, teaching, business and community initiatives demonstrated at The Best of UCLan are proof that the University has all the ingredients in place to realise the challenging targets we’ve set ourselves over the next five years.
“At the heart of our new strategy is a commitment to retain our reputation as a beacon for access into quality higher education, enabling people, irrespective of their backgrounds, to fulfil their potential, meet their life and career goals and help support our communities.”
One of the main elements of the masterplan is the construction of a £30 million-plus Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) due to be completed in the spring of 2018.
This has been identified as a signature project within the Government’s Growth Deal programme and was awarded £10.5 million via the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to help achieve the scale and quality required for a nationally significant centre of excellence.
The video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/UKfHXsHo6Tc