Planning Permission Granted for £250m New Swansea University Campus
Planning permission for the first phase of a £250m new Science and Innovation Campus has been granted. Known as the Science and Innovation Park, the 69-acre former BP-owned site off Fabian Way at Jersey Marine will eventually house 2,000 staff and 5,100 students at Swansea University. The first phase will include 18 student accommodation blocks built around courtyards plus a stone clad “great hall”. The site, alongside the River Neath estuary, will have its own beach and be next to a marsh protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The project aims to attract Swansea University’s existing “big hitter” research partners such as Tata, IBM, Airbus, BAE Systems and Huawel Technologies Co, with Rolls-Royce already committed to a materials testing lab at the new campus. Built in two phases, the Science and Innovation Park will cost a total of £400m to build.
Neath Port Talbot Council planners have now given approval for the first phase, on which work will begin on site early next year, with the first students arriving in 2015. A £90m funding package for the project, including £60m from the European Investment Bank and £30m from the Wales European Funding Office, was announced by the university in September.
Vice Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies described it as one of the “biggest knowledge economy projects in Europe”. He added “We are delighted to have obtained the green light from Neath Port Talbot council and are most grateful for their support and positive engagement with this major project. In addition to enabling the university to build upon academic strengths, the new campus will be a driver for economic regeneration.
“The campus will be good for the university, good for Neath Port Talbot, and good for the whole region. This ambitious project will enable us to attract inward investment to Wales and promote the growth of high-technology clusters. It will establish the region as a vibrant location for modern, high technology companies, bringing even greater eventual impact.”
Project Director Iwan Davies said “The new campus will deliver a next generation science park, co-locating university and industry researchers, students and academics — not only on the same site, but using the same laboratories and facilities. “This will not only provide knowledge transfer but also ensures that the curriculum followed and skills developed by our students are leading edge and relevant to the future needs of businesses.”
Council Deputy Leader Peter Rees described it as a wonderful project. The Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Ali Thomas, said: ‘‘This project will provide a considerable economic boost not just for Neath Port Talbot but for the wider region.”