Council chiefs have welcomed plans for a new £10.1 million centre providing high specification laboratory and workshop space for science and engineering businesses in Wolverhampton.

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The proposed Science, Technology and Prototyping Centre will be built on land at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park.

The 3 storey development will offer 4,000 square metres of space and feature high quality offices, labs and workshops, as well as a café and space for parking.

The project has been funded through a £4.8 million grant from the Growth Deal to the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership, with the remaining £5.3 million coming from the University of Wolverhampton.

Designed by Fairhursts, the new centre will offer unrivalled specialist space to scientific based businesses wanting to develop and enhance their research and development activities.

It will also allow businesses to access support channels on the Science Park such as the Business Solutions Centre.

The planning application has now been submitted and Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: "This is a hugely exciting proposal which will have an important role to play in helping local science and engineering businesses to thrive, as well as supporting our ongoing work to improve the skills of Wolverhampton's residents."

The University's Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Oakes, said: "This exciting new development will be the only facility of its type in the Black Country and will build on the University's investment in science and engineering in the last 2 years.

"It comes at a time when the University has recently completed an investment of some £22 million in a new Science Centre on the Wolverhampton Campus, which provides students with world class teaching and research facilities.

"The new Science, Technology and Prototyping Centre will attract new businesses to the region involved in Science and Technology research and development as well as retaining STEM based graduates in the region who will help these businesses grow.

"Such a development will have a major impact on our local economy through improved competitiveness and new job creation."

Stewart Towe, Chairman of the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership said: "This project demonstrates confidence in the Black Country's bright economic future. By providing support for businesses and equipping the next generation with the skills they need, we are confident that projects like this will increase our competitive ability and increase products that are made in the Black Country and sold around the world"

Pending approval of the plans, it is hoped work can get underway on the development by February 2016, with a planned 12 month build period.

It follows significant investment by the University in recent years in science and engineering including the new state of the art Rosalind Franklin Building, the £12 million investment into developing engineering at the Telford Innovation Campus and the proposed redevelopment of the former Springfield Brewery site.

  • released: Friday 21 August, 2015