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Plans put in for second teaching building featuring the ‘Living Lab’ at Peterborough’s new university


Plans put in for second teaching building featuring the ‘Living Lab’ at Peterborough’s new university

Plans have been put in for a second teaching building featuring a ‘Living Lab’ public science centre at Peterborough’s new university.

The planning application, submitted to Peterborough City Council, is for the third phase of the ARU Peterborough university campus on the north of the Embankment site, off Bishop’s Road.

The second teaching building is proposed on the site of the Regional Pool car park and next to first teaching building, University House, which opened to students this month. The second building on the developing campus, the Innovation and Research Centre, is under construction.

Alongside additional teaching space for ARU Peterborough, the Living Lab part of the proposed building will offer an open, interactive science centre and education space to creatively engage people in science and technology. It will be open to the community, as part of a pedestrian friendly campus, and can play host of a range of potential events, exhibitions, immersive displays, talks, forums and evening classes.

The Living Lab will aim to add a new cultural attraction to the city for both local people and visitors as part of a University Quarter which is publicly accessible, welcoming and attractively designed. The university forms part of the Embankment Masterplan being developed by the City Council, which aims to maximise the potential of the area for leisure and culture.

The proposed building will be lower in height and smaller in size than the newly opened University House building. It is planned to meet the requirements of an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating, which is an industry-standard benchmark of a building’s sustainability, including aspects like energy efficiency.

The new building will be designed to complement the rest of the campus, encouraging walking and cycling and providing areas to socialise.

The planning application has included an assessment of any impact on the many heritage buildings in the area, including the Grade I Listed Peterborough Cathedral. It is anticipated that no harm to the heritage of the area will be caused by the proposals.

The third phase is currently aiming to cater to students studying mainly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields. ARU Peterborough’s curriculum is being co-created with local employers, to help deliver courses and skills needed in the local economy.

ARU Peterborough is a partnership between the Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “With the university now open, the momentum in building a fantastic campus for the city does not stop. As well as this new extra teaching space, this Living Lab will be a fantastic attraction for the whole city, hosting a whole range of potential events, and further enabling the whole community engage and be inspired by ARU Peterborough.”

Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said: “These are exciting and innovative plans that support the development of a vibrant campus for the city. Our local community is at the heart of what we do. We already have developed an open campus, open to everyone to come and explore.

“Phase 3 of ARU Peterborough will develop this ethos even further with the Living Lab, which will be a hub for people from across the local region, and beyond, to engage with cutting-edge science and engineering, whether through talks, classes or exciting hands-on exhibitions.”

Should planning permission be approved, the project is planned to be completed in autumn 2024. Peterborough City Council will decide whether to approve planning permission at a date to be confirmed.

The public were given a preview of the plans for the Living Lab and second teaching building in August in an online and in-person consultation, where they could share their views.

Funding is in place for the Living Lab and second teaching building, including through £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.