Wellesbourne Innovation Centre given the green light - The Leamington Observer

Wellesbourne Innovation Centre given the green light

PLANS for a multi-million pound University Innovation Campus in Wellesbourne have been given the green light by council chiefs.

Members of Stratford District Council’s Cabinet approved the final draft of the Wellesbourne University Innovation Campus Framework, put forward by Warwick University, when they met on Monday (July 3).

Plans for an innovation centre on the Wellesbourne University Campus site have been in the pipeline since 2017.

The campus has had a long history of research relating to agriculture. It become the Horticultural Research International in 1990. Then, in 2004, the University of Warwick became associated with the site and in 2010 the School of Life Sciences was formed following the merger of Warwick HRI and the Department of Biological Sciences.

The campus is also home to some automotive research activity from Warwick Manufacturing Group.

Warwick University is now keen to strengthen the existing academic activity on site.

Plans for the new Innovation Campus cover three main sectors – crop science agri-tech and life sciences, automotive and autonomous vehicles, and medical research.

The 450 acre development area will be divided into five district character areas or ‘neighbourhoods’.

These are a ‘Community’ area including relocated playing fields, a relocated children’s nursery and replacement residential accommodation, a North Campus, a Central/Southern Campus and an East Campus which will comprise new buildings for research and development, as well as new parking facilities, and a ‘Village Centre’ including agricultural barns from the original farm holding – re-purposed for a wide range of uses – as well as the construction of new community facilities and a mobility hub.

The Campus could create thousands of highly skilled jobs and attract cutting-edge and high growth businesses. It has the potential to be a keystone of Stratford – and Warwickshire’s – economic growth for decades to come, in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, life sciences, automotive, and digital.

The Innovation Campus has already attracted global brands, including Lotus Engineering and Rimac.

With the principle of the Innovation Campus now agreed, the University of Warwick will begin to prepare more detailed proposals.

An outline planning application will be submitted by the university in due course, following detailed discussions with SDC and consultation with the community. At this stage, there is no agreed timetable for this process.

SDC Leader Coun Susan Juned said: “The Innovation Campus Stratford-upon-Avon is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create an environment centred on collaboration between industry and academia. We are taking the initiative to shape the growth of the Campus, so it delivers for Stratford.

“We’ve worked closely with the University of Warwick to develop a joint approach and there are exciting opportunities ahead. Today, we are pleased to approve a framework and long-term approach for the Campus.

“The Campus will become a place to solve real-world problems and fundamental challenges such as climate change, environmental damage, and health inequalities. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the University to deliver.”

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