Planning Application submitted for ARU Peterborough Research and Development Centre

Plans for an innovative Manufacturing and Materials Research & Development Centre on the ARU Peterborough campus have been submitted to Peterborough City Council for planning approval.

The Centre is a £16.47m joint venture between the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and Peterborough-based business Photocentric and will link academia and industry in the second phase of the development of ARU Peterborough.

The proposals being submitted to Peterborough City Council include the new Research & Development Centre, which is immediately adjacent to the approved teaching building, and the construction of a new decked car park on land within Bishop’s Park to the east.

Arranged over three floors the 3,300 sqm centre will provide good quality, efficient and flexible space for research and development and will create a new high-quality space for the city, completing the transformation of the under-utilised Wirrina car park into a green, well landscaped campus, fully accessible to the public.

The building will be designed to both complement and be distinct from the first teaching building and be adaptable and flexible to accommodate future change. The project will promote visibility of research, internally and externally, and will provide inspiring spaces to encourage innovation, collaboration and social interaction.

Research performed within the Centre will create a wide range of technologies, including new energy storage devices, specifically car batteries, manufacture new products using sustainable plastics and print industrial parts as opposed to moulding them. This will define the next generation of manufacturing methods making plastic, ceramic, metal and composite parts.

The new £30m university, which will open its doors to the first students in September 2022, is a partnership between the Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

A decision on the application is expected by the end of June 2021.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said: “This is another important step in our plans to deliver an employment focused university that delivers the skills local employers need to thrive.

“The vision for the innovation centre is to invest in research today to enable net zero manufacturing tomorrow.

“This facility will speed up the design and launch of new products and be invaluable to Peterborough’s innovative manufacturing companies, who are key top driving future growth.

“This centre could be transformational so I am looking forward to seeing planning permission granted and the building work begin.”

Managing Director of Photocentric Paul Holt said: “Photocentric is applying the 3D printing technology we invented here in Peterborough 7 years ago to change the way the world manufactures items. We now have over 30 scientists working in the fields of chemistry, engineering, software, electronics and material science creating plastic, metal and ceramic parts using our novel, patented 3D printing processes.

“Although we are working on numerous applications in a variety of market sectors, we have focussed our primary research on creating new printed batteries. This facility is going to become the centre for 3D printing research and provide benefits to both the local community and the UK.

“We are really excited to be able to partner with the new University here, supporting education is one of our core values and we have a commitment to educate everyone in the new manufacturing techniques we have invented.”

Principal of ARU Peterborough, Ross Renton said: “This new research centre is a critical and exciting step in the next stage of development of the campus at ARU Peterborough.

“Our curriculum will be employer led, and this innovation centre will bring industry to our doorstep, allowing us to collaborate and form new partnerships to the benefit of the city and students.

“It will facilitate the creation of a vibrant environment within Peterborough where industry and the University are able to be at the forefront of some of the latest advancements in technology.”

Leader of Peterborough City Council, John Holdich said: “I’m pleased to see the progress of our city’s university continuing at pace. This innovative new facility will link the present with the city’s future; a project which I am proud to have been involved with since the very beginning.

“High value manufacturing and knowledge intense businesses have traditionally been key to Peterborough’s economic success, and this new centre will help revitalise those sectors which have suffered in recent years, supporting us in our ambition to attract new cutting-edge businesses to our area.

“I look forward to seeing planning permission being granted and work starting on this next phase of the project.”

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