Extra funding for the Anglia Ruskin University Peterborough campus is being sought, with Peterborough City council putting in a new £20 million bid to the new Government Levelling Up fund scheme.

If successful, the bid would enable the combination of additional teaching facilities at the campus, with the development of a new University Quarter Cultural Hub, and now awaits a decision after consideration from the government.

At the centre of the bid is a landmark asset called The Living Lab, which would be located in the second teaching building at the new university. It would be an innovative university-managed space that would combine learning with an interactive public science facility, forming part of the new University Quarter Cultural Hub, turning the area into a destination.

The new building would be able to hold thousands of students, mainly from the local area, allowing them to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), helping Peterborough as a whole overcome its skills deficit.

On top of the £28 million government funding, Peterborough City Council would contribute land to an investment value of £2 million, Anglia Ruskin University would invest £4 million, and the Combined Authority’s business board would invest a further £2 million.

The Levelling Up Fund seeks to invest a total of £4.8 billion in local infrastructure projects helping to regenerate cities across the UK which are identified as being most in need of the support.

At present, Peterborough has above average unemployment and child poverty, as well as having a low level of people educated to degree level at 32 per cent, with the national average being 43 per cent, with the development of ARU Peterborough aiming to help combat these issues, with construction already underway, hoping to open to students in September 2022.

Phase two of the university development, comprised of a £16.7 million research and development centre specialising in new manufacturing and materials technologies, was recently given planning permission.

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council said “The ARU Peterborough scheme was chosen as our preferred bid due to the positive long-term effect we know this will have on the city as a whole. By investing in education for our residents and developing the skills we know are needed by local businesses and the businesses of the future, we are investing in the long-term development of our city and the prosperity of coming generations.”

Paul Bristow, MP for Peterborough said ““This bid is one that would benefit the whole city. The culture hub would drive tourism, bringing extra revenue. The new teaching building will assist in upskilling our residents, helping the long-term economic prosperity of both individuals and Peterborough as a whole.  A successful Levelling Up Fund bid will turbo boost the investments of the Government’s Towns Fund and the new ARU Peterborough campus – further securing our aims of becoming one of the most important cities in the UK.”

Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined authority said “There has been a good, collaborative effort across local leaders to arrive at this bid to Government, which is another exciting step forward for ARU Peterborough.

“We know Peterborough is a cold spot for skills at higher levels, which only increases the transformative impact this university will have on the city, the wider region and its people. This phase three building will significantly increase the capacity and scope of what ARU Peterborough can deliver for the region as well add a new, exciting dimension to the city’s cultural offer.

Equipping people with the skills they need to secure rewarding careers matched to the needs of the local economy will reduce inequality and allow more people to share in opportunity and prosperity. These benefits are, to me, what levelling up is all about, and why I think we have made a strong case to Government.”

Professor Ross Renton, principal of ARU Peterborough said “We are delighted that plans for additional teaching facilities, combined with much-needed public cultural spaces, have been chosen by Peterborough City Council to go forward for Levelling Up funding. We are now one step closer to securing this money for the people of Peterborough, allowing us to ‘level up’ the educational outcomes for young people in this region.

We are already working closely with more than 100 businesses so that the curriculum for ARU Peterborough meets their needs, ensuring we will be educating students who find employment with local companies upon graduation. If selected by the Government, this funding will allow us to increase the number of students we teach each year, which in turn will further raise skill levels and provide a significant boost to the local economy.

Image source- ARU Peterborough

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