Preston College’s £90m campus plans approved

Planning advisors at GVA Grimley have secured planning permission on behalf of Preston College to redevelop the main campus in the Fulwood district of the city.

The 22,000-student college has outgrown its current accommodation and requires substantial investment to improve and replace the outdated and deteriorating buildings with more efficient premises.

The £90m modernisation project, if delivered, will create a 300,000 sq ft building, featuring a cylindrical Learning Resource Centre and central atrium, uniting a variety of departments currently on different sites.

Consultation with Preston council and other parties in the area has been ongoing since late 2007. The planning application was submitted in January 2009 and permission was granted on 30 March.

Andrew Thompson from GVA Grimley said: "To support the Learning & Skills Council's aspiration of 'world class buildings', the new campus will be built to a high level of sustainability, BREEAM 'excellent', and will be the first scheme in Preston to achieve this status. The college already has a high level of academic achievement but this will be improved still further through the new facilities, ultimately benefiting the local economy.

"The college needs to remain operating throughout construction, so the buildings have been carefully sited so that they can be built with the minimum of disruption to teaching. GVA Grimley has worked very closely with the City Council and the community to address other key issues on this sensitive site and we are delighted that planning permission has been achieved.

"We are hopeful that the Learning and Skills Council will now approve the funding to allow construction to start."

The LSC is currently under intense pressure to find more funds after its £2bn college renewal programme stalled. Around 150 colleges have seen campus work stop after the LSC said it had run out of money, threatening thousands of construction jobs.

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