Aberystwyth University submits planning application for new Innovation Campus

A planning application has been submitted for a new £40.5m Innovation and Enterprise Campus at Aberystwyth University (WalesOnline, 2017).

Based on the University’s Gogerddan campus, the Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus (AIEC) development will feature a bio-refining centre, future food centre, analytical science laboratories and a seed processing and biobank facility.

The campus is planned to offer world leading facilities and the expertise to create market focused solutions for the agri-tech industry.

It is intended to provide “a progressive environment to encourage business and academic collaboration to flourish, by offering a range of high quality facilities to support the translation of research and innovation, enabling commercial enterprises to grow, prosper and drive economic growth in Mid Wales and beyond.”

AIEC will also provide formal and informal meeting areas and office and laboratory accommodation for companies. It will build on the existing capabilities in Aberystwyth University’s institutes, working closely with IBERS to enhance and give access to the research capabilities already offered.

The full application comes following a public consultation. Project Director Huw Watkins said “It was essential that the community were given the opportunity to examine the proposals, ask questions and learn more about the vision, impact and timeline. The feedback was extremely positive and most valuable to the project team. It allowed us to progress community benefits such as solutions to address highway concerns. We will be working closely with Ceredigion County Council during the next few months to facilitate a series of improvements that work for all stakeholders.”

One of the existing buildings which will form part of the AIEC on the Gogerddan site has already been refurbished to provide more than 300m2 of rentable office accommodation to the business community. The facility has been modernised to cater specifically for companies wishing to co-locate with leading researchers in the biosciences and agri-tech sectors.

The campus is being funded by the ERDF, BBSRC and Aberystwyth University.

Planning consultant Cushman & Wakefield supported the AIEC project team with the preparation and submission of the planning application.

Andrew Teage, Associate – Planning and Development at Cushman & Wakefield, said “The submission of the planning application is a significant milestone for the AIEC project. It is the result of extensive pre-application engagement and dialogue with Ceredigion County Council and local stakeholders, with the cooperation and collaboration of all parties being the key to its successful submission and validation in line with the critical path project delivery programme.”

A decision on the planning application is expected in the spring. If planning permission is granted, construction is proposed to start mid-2017 and is expected to take two years to complete.

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