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University to buy former city brewery site

The University of Wolverhampton has unveiled multi million pound plans to transform the site of a former brewery in the city to create a new hub for construction education.

Reviewing the development proposals are Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Prosperity Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton University Vice Chancellor Geoff Layer and West Midlands Construction UTC  Principal Designate Tom Macdonald
Peter Bilson, Geoff Layer, Tom Macdonald reviewing the proposals

A deal has been agreed by the University to buy the former Springfield Brewery site in Wolverhampton City Centre.

There are plans to redevelop the site to become the home of the new West Midlands Construction UTC (University Technical College), which the University is sponsoring along with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

The University also has plans to relocate its own School of Architecture and the Built Environment to the site making it a local, regional, national and international centre of excellence.

An agreement to buy the 12 acre brownfield site, which has been vacant since 1991 when the brewery closed, has been reached and the aim is to finalise the deal in the next few months.

The UTC will provide education for 14 to 19 year olds specialising in construction and the application of IT in the built environment. The UTC will prepare students for professional and technical careers in construction. Led by the CITB and co-sponsored by the University, it will open in September 2015 on a temporary site before moving into the new build at Springfield in September 2016.

The University's School of Architecture and the Built Environment, which is currently based within the City Campus, provides courses in construction management, civil engineering, quantity surveying, architecture and environmental management. The UTC's unique curriculum will prepare students to follow these courses, and more, at the university.

Councillor Peter Bilson, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Prosperity, said: "This is a very exciting proposal that aims to breathe new life into a vacant site and bring more jobs and opportunity to our city.

"The construction sector has a major role to play in the overall regeneration and long term prosperity of Wolverhampton.

"It is therefore important that a skilled workforce is developed to take advantage of career opportunities that will arise over the next few years and this development can help us achieve that."

Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton, Professor Geoff Layer, said: "This will provide a centre of excellence with the most comprehensive construction education and training not only in the country but in Europe.

"We are delighted to be working with the CITB in bringing this project together. This is hugely positive news for the construction industry and for Wolverhampton and the Black Country.

"The development will put the area on the map in terms of construction education and training and will mean that we can provide skills and education from the age of 14, right through to senior professionals wanting to improve their own development.

"It is also exciting for the City of Wolverhampton. It was a key factor for us to have this new centre here in the city to support economic development by regenerating a brownfield site and creating jobs and providing the right skills needed by industry.

"This area has a history of manufacturing and once up and running the centre will provide future opportunities for people to continue adding to that heritage."

Tom Macdonald, Principal Designate of West Midlands Construction UTC, added: "Being able to build the WMCUTC on the Springfield Brewery site is great news. A formerly derelict site will now become the home of a world beating, state of the art UTC offering opportunities and high quality education for talented students from across the West Midlands.

"Uniquely the first group of students to join us in September 2015 will also get to work on the design and planning for the new build. In the years to come, the West Midlands Construction UTC will transform not only the career prospects of its students but the economy of a once derelict area of the city."

  • released: Wednesday 3 September, 2014