New Peterborough university campus receives go-ahead

The campus for the new university in Peterborough has been given the go-ahead.

By Joel Lamy
Friday, 13th November 2020, 10:22 am
Updated Friday, 13th November 2020, 1:46 pm

Peterborough City Council’s planning department has approved the new three-storey building for ARU Peterborough which will be built largely on the Wirrina Car Park in Bishop’s Road.

It will, according to the plans, be a “state-of-the-art learning, teaching, administration and support building”.

The Peterborough Telegraph understands a sod cutting ceremony will take place later this month, while the car park has already closed to allow for works to begin.

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The planned Peterborough university campus on the Embankment.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “This is a special day. It marks a tremendous moment and a huge step forward on our journey to deliver a new university in Peterborough which will be transformative for the city and the surrounding area.  

“The university will help to empower people with the skills and training they need to find jobs and careers that will be fulfilling and rewarding and, in turn, create a new generation of and pipeline for highly-skilled workers to meet the needs of emerging markets so that businesses in Peterborough can truly flourish. 

Cllr John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “I am delighted that the ambition to build a university for Peterborough has taken another important step forward. Establishing a university in the city will bring immeasurable benefits for our residents, for people across the wider region, for our businesses and for Peterborough as a whole – both now and for generations to come.  

“Crucially, it will help stop our talented young people from leaving the city to learn and set up life elsewhere, as well as helping Peterborough attract new talent.”

An artist's impression of the new ARU Peterborough campus

The new technical university will be run by Anglia Ruskin and is due to open in 2022, initially for 2,000 students, although a significant proportion are expected to study off-campus.

The new campus will include a 140 seat, two-storey high lecture hall at the entrance and specialist ‘wet lab’ skills spaces for science, arts and health arranged around a shared informal study space.

There will be also be a small café opposite the entrance, according to the plans, as well as classrooms, work spaces, meeting and faith rooms, computer based specialist skills laboratories, an electronics laboratory, a library and a roof terrace facing the cathedral.

The ‘eco-friendly’ building has been designed to accommodate a maximum of 915 people, comprising 100 staff and 815 students, but there will be no student accommodation at the site.

Plans for the new campus

The initial cost to build the infrastructure for the new university is expected to be £30.47 million.

Of that, £12.3 million is coming from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, £1.87 million from the city council through land contribution, £12.5 million from the Local Growth Fund and a predicted £3.8 million from Anglia Ruskin.

The delivery of the new campus will be managed by a body jointly owned by the combined authority, city council and Anglia Ruskin.

It will then leased by the joint body to Anglia Ruskin to take over responsibility of its running, although the joint body retains the right to terminate the lease if “insufficient progress” is being made.

The university’s first four faculties will be:

. The Faculty of Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

. The Faculty of Creative and Digital Arts and Sciences

. The Faculty of Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability

. The Faculty of Health and Education.

Phase 2 of the university project will be an ‘Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Research Centre/Innovation Hub’ used for educational research and development (with no teaching taking place), and Phase 3 will be an expansion of the campus.

The Phase 2 building is due to be run by city-based 3D printing company Photocentric and is expected to be completed by 2022.

Phase 3 of the university will see the campus expanded to help grow student numbers to 10,000 by 2029/30. It will comprise of two further teaching focused buildings, opening in 2025 and 2028. It is expected that works on Phase 3 will begin late next year.

Phases two and three of the project are projected to cost between £68 million and £98 million, although the Government has agreed to offer £14.6 million of funding for the new hub.

The university will not become fully independent until at least 2032. Students will register with Anglia Ruskin and receive a degree from it until at least 2030 as the centre will not have its own degree awarding powers before then.