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Major construction centre at University of Wolverhampton's Springfield Campus backed

By Pete Madeley | Wolverhampton | Property | Published:

A new multi-million pound national centre for construction excellence will be built in the Black Country, bosses have announced.

A section of the University of Wolverhampton's Springfield Brewery site

The centre will be based at the University of Wolverhampton's sprawling Springfield Campus and will be the biggest of its kind in Europe. It is aimed at propelling the region to become the world leader in state-of-the-art construction.

Plans for the National Centre for Construction and Development Excellence were signed off at a meeting of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) yesterday, having been backed by Mayor Andy Street.

Once complete it will incorporate existing sites including the West Midlands Construction University Technical College and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills Hub.

Mr Street said the centre was part of a long term plan to bring disused former industrial sites back into use, with £200 million of funding set aside for the work.

“The Black Country and its coal was at the forefront of the industrial revolution in the 1800s," he said. "Now, in the 21st century, it is time the region reclaimed its place as a world leader in construction.

“In establishing this centre, students will be able to learn state-of-the-art construction techniques and apply them to derelict brownfield sites across the region.

“By regenerating run-down former industrial land using brand new skills and techniques, our workers will become the envy of the world. Soon our experts from across the Black Country will be in demand in China and Dubai, remediating polluted sites and building skyscrapers.”

Sections of the centre are already in place, including the National Brownfield Institute and the School of Architecture and Built Environment.

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WMCA board members have agreed to set up a taskforce to see the work through.

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Wolverhampton Council's Labour leader, said: “The development will make it an internationally significant centre of excellence for the construction industry – and is a major game-changer for our city.

“At a time when the need has never been greater for skilled workers in the construction sector we will have an asset in our city that will boost skills and jobs for people across the city, region and internationally.

“This development takes the city to the next level by making it a UK urban innovation hub.

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“We will become the go-to city for expertise in getting more former industrial land ready for development and raise the skills bar in this sector."

A total of £4.4 billion of investment is on site or planned in Wolverhampton, with funding currently being sought for the Brewers Yard development.

Professor Jackie Dunne, the University of Wolverhampton’s project lead for Springfield, said: "Our vision is for the campus to be home to an unrivalled source of knowledge, research, innovation and expertise for the sector."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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