THE PUBLIC now get to have their say on plans for a multi-million pound University Innovation Campus in Wellesbourne.
A public consultation is being officially launched at the ‘Driving Innovation & Growth’ Summit at the Wellesbourne University Campus Conference Centre today (Friday) and will last six weeks.
Members of Stratford District Council’s Cabinet approved the draft Wellesbourne University Innovation Campus Framework, put forward by Warwick University, when they met earlier this month.
Plans for an innovation centre on the Wellesbourne University Campus site have been in the pipeline since 2017.
The campus has had a long history of research relating to agriculture. It become the Horticultural Research International in 1990. Then, in 2004, the University of Warwick became associated with the site and in 2010 the School of Life Sciences was formed following the merger of Warwick HRI and the Department of Biological Sciences.
The campus is also home to some automotive research activity from Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Warwick University is now keen to strengthen the existing academic activity on site.
Plans for the new Innovation Campus cover three main sectors – crop science agri-tech and life sciences, automotive and autonomous vehicles, and medical research.
The 450 acre development area will be divided into five district character areas or ‘neighbourhoods’.
These are a ‘Community’ area including relocated playing fields, a relocated children’s nursery and replacement residential accommodation, a North Campus, a Central/Southern Campus and an East Campus which will comprise new buildings for research and development, as well as new parking facilities, and a ‘Village Centre’ including agricultural barns from the original farm holding – re-purposed for a wide range of uses – as well as the construction of new community facilities and a mobility hub.
The Campus should also have benefits for the wider area. Stratford district, the council say, will benefit from being a more inclusive and thriving place with an international reputation for innovation and for being among the strongest respondents to the climate emergency with the businesses that it supports. Such a facility would respond directly to the West Midlands region’s drive towards improved economic regeneration and resilience and support the local economy.
Once the public consultation has been completed, comments made will be assessed and presented to the Cabinet along with a final draft for approval in the summer.
SDC will also be hosting two drop-in events to answer questions and provide more information. Details of where and when these events will take place are listed on the council’s website.
SDC Deputy Leader Coun Daren Pemberton said: “This draft masterplan outlines a clear strategic policy framework for the development of University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus as a key innovation and economic growth site for Stratford district and the wider south Warwickshire economy.
“This work alongside that to see an employment and aviation re-development of the adjoining Wellesbourne Mountfield aerodrome will create the capacity for the University’s near market and research activity to grow substantially in line with SDC’s emerging economic strategy.”
Last year the owners of Wellesbourne airfield submitted plans to the Civil Aviation Authority to build a new runway to replace the old ones, to improve the airfield’s “viability”.