Plans for further expansion at the University of Huddersfield have been given the go-ahead.
A new building on a 2.26 hectare brown field site on Queen Street South, formerly occupied by centrifuge engineers Thomas Broadbent & Sons, was described as “absolutely fantastic” by councillors.
And an existing listed bathhouse, built in the organic style of revered American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is to be retained and refurbished, further adding to the project’s appeal.
Plans for the new education block – which will also house an architectural element – were passed unanimously. It was said that it would complement the £27.5m Oastler Building, which opened this summer.
Clr Andrew Pinnock said: “I like the reference to Frank Lloyd Wright. It is entirely appropriate in a building that is housing architecture.”
Planning officers consider that the proposal will continue to boost the growth and investment of the university to the benefit of Huddersfield as a whole.
Colin Blair, director of estates and facilities at the university, said it was imperative for the building to go ahead in order that Huddersfield could compete with its academic rivals.
“We are in a competitive market. If we lose the edge people will go to Manchester or Leeds, which have got new buildings and facilities for art and design. We are trying to retain the numbers that we have got and retain prosperity in the town,” he said.
In response to members’ concerns about increased student numbers and the loss of 25 parking spaces Mr Blair pointed out that the new block was a research facility and not geared towards “straight teaching.” He said the 25 spaces would be replaced in and around the campus, allowing numbers of spaces to be kept at 690 across the university site.
Councillors were also assured that improvements would be made to the canalside area close to assuage security concerns, and that there had been support from the nearby Drill Hall, which recognised an improvement to security as cars would not be parked adjacent to it.
Building work will generate around 150 construction jobs to be sourced from local firms, with material sourced from local suppliers.
Experts working at Broadbent’s Sovereign Works site helped design and build a series of miniature submarines – known as X-Craft – during the Second World War.
The midget subs were created in secret and took part in several daring raids. Some were used to attack the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway on September 22, 1943.