​Plans for phase three of ARU Peterborough have been approved by Peterborough City Council.

A second teaching building at the new university will incorporate a ‘living lab’ public science centre, situated on the north of the Embankment site off Bishop’s Road.

Phase three will be on the site of the Regional Pool car park, next to the first teaching building, University House, which opened to students in September.

The second campus building, the Innovation and Research Centre, is currently planned to open this summer.

The living lab will be an interactive science centre and education space aimed at engaging and inspiring residents and visitors to the city in science and technology.

It will be open to the community and will be able to host a variety of events, exhibitions, immersive displays, talks, forums and evening classes.

The living lab will help realise the ambition of the campus as a new cultural attraction for Peterborough, with a University Quarter which is publicly accessible and attractively designed.

The second teaching building is currently planned to cater to students studying mainly in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields.

Construction on the third phase is planned to begin next year and is scheduled to open to students and the public in autumn 2024.

The living lab and second teaching building represent another £28 million of investment into Peterborough, including £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

Peterborough City Council has contributed land for the project to an investment value of £2 million, Anglia Ruskin University is investing £4 million and the Combined Authority’s Business Board is contributing £2 million.

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

Deputy Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and chair of the skills committee, Cllr Lucy Nethsingha, said: “This is another welcome step forward in the development of a university campus which aims to be freely accessible and embedded within the local community. In order to help drive levels of skills and higher education in Peterborough upwards, we need inspire and engage people of all ages in learning, and that’s exactly what the Living Lab has the potential to do. And in a city which is behind the national average for people entering higher education, the second teaching building will help give the capacity needed.

“The Combined Authority and its partners in the City Council and at ARU are now determined to keep pushing this third phase forward so it can be ready for use in autumn 2024.”

Professor Ross Renton, principal of ARU Peterborough, said: “Receiving this planning approval is fantastic news for the city and the wider region. We’ve been clear from the very beginning that ARU Peterborough is here to serve the whole community, not just those studying with us. As well as state-of-the-art teaching facilities, phase 3 will include the Living Lab, which will be a wonderful asset for Peterborough. The city’s new university is already helping to transform lives and we’re excited about bringing to life this next phase of ARU Peterborough.”

Alex Plant, chair of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Business Board, said: “This is another milestone in the development of this fantastic ARU Peterborough campus and it is great to see the momentum continue.

“The Business Board is a major investor in the university, including in this exciting third phase which will help further embed the campus in the local community and further expand its potential to provide a major uplift in skills levels in the city and region.”

Image source: ARU Peterborough

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