Green light for flagship £30m centre

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A multimillion pound flagship engineering centre for Preston has been given the green light.

Council bosses granted permission for work to start on the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) £30m Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC), hoped to “put Preston on the map”.

CGI of how UCLan's Engineering Innovation Centre is hoped to look

CGI of how UCLan's Engineering Innovation Centre is hoped to look

Bosses say the EIC will be an integrated hub for teaching, research and knowledge exchange, and bring together expertise from across the region.

Lyle Christie, director at Reiach and Hall Architects, said: “The building is designed very deliberately to be transparent because it is to try to encourage innovation and engagement with the public and engagement with the students, and encourage new entrants to engineering.

“The very exciting things going on in this building are very deliberately placed in view of the public - people building Formula One cars or drones.”

Coun Pauline Brown expressed concerns about people crossing Maudland Road, but said: “The whole plan, I think, is superb, it’s one of those buildings that’s going to put Preston on the map.”

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.”

The EIC, will kick-start UCLan’s £200 million Campus Masterplan. The plans were approved unanimously, with the extra condition of a crossing on Maudland Road.