A new healthcare campus at Lancaster University will bring up to 2,000 jobs and a £100m economic boost to the area.
The university announced this week that the land for the development at Bailrigg has been acquired from Lancaster City Council, paving the way for the first phase of work to start later this year, with completion expected in 2019.
The site will be developed into an Innovation Campus that will bring together academics, entrepreneurs, the business community and health care providers to make advances in products, services and technologies for the health sector.
Amongst its first challenges will be the pressing need to tackle issues linked to ageing - widely considered to be one of the biggest social and economic challenges of our time.
Planning permission has been granted for a new access road to be formed from the A6 and outline permission has been secured for the development of the site.
The first phase of the work is expected to cost £41m.
Neil Johnson, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University, said: “The Innovation Campus will trigger collaborations between the brightest minds in academia, business and healthcare and also draw in members of the public to help find solutions to some of the most urgent, health-related issues facing society.
“It will drive new innovations, new thinking, new approaches, new services and new products in healthcare, making a significant impact locally, nationally and internationally.”
An independent assessment conducted by consultants EKOSGEN suggests the project will have a significant economic impact, ultimately creating up to 2000 jobs and representing a £100m boost to the regional economy.
Coun Eileen Blamire, Leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “This is excellent news for Lancaster and the long term vitality of the district’s economy.
“The Innovation Campus is an exciting development and will strengthen the district’s attractiveness for investors, further boosting economic growth and creating top-quality jobs.
“The city council has promoted this project for many years and is pleased to now pass on overall lead for developing the Innovation Campus to Lancaster University.
“Transferring ownership of the land from the council to the university is an important milestone and we look forward to continuing to help the university deliver this important scheme in the coming months and years.”