New campus plans start to look healthy

The land previously set aside for the Science Park.
The land previously set aside for the Science Park.

Ambitious plans for a new ‘health innovation campus’ at Lancaster University are beginning to take shape after Lancaster City Council agreed to transfer a 24 acre site as part of the scheme.

The city council acquired the land in Bailrigg Lane in 2009 with funding provided by the North West Development Agency, in order to facilitate the development of the land as a specialist Science Park – now known as the Health Innovation Campus.

To enable the university to make progress on the project by approaching investors and developers, the council has agreed to transfer the land.

The Health Innovation Campus is a project designed to help people live longer and healthier lives and also to:

* Capitalise on the research profile, collaborative strengths and business linkages of the university.

* Provide research and development activities and raise the profile of Lancaster University as an excellent partner for collaborative research.

* Improve graduate retention in the area.

* Mutually enhance the image and reputation of Lancaster, the region, the university and businesses.

Outline planning permission for the Science Park was renewed in 2013.

This included full planning permission for an infrastructure platform to open up the site, which takes access from the A6, and includes a spine road through the land which has now been transferred, to link the A6 with the top of Bailrigg Lane.

An independent economic impact assessment has found that when the campus is fully operational the project will have the capability to create more than 2,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of £99.8m.

Prof Andrew Atherton, deputy vice-chancellor of Lancaster University, said: “The development builds on Lancaster University’s strong reputation for research into health and ageing and will significantly help us to bring about advances in technology and care programmes through research, working alongside healthcare and commercial partners.”

It is hoped the new health innovation campus will be operational by 2018.