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University of Leeds' £96m engineering campus set for green light

The University of Leeds is set for the go-ahead on its integrated engineering and physical sciences campus, described as “the most complex building it has ever developed”.

The university submitted plans to build a six-storey teaching and research facility, along with a full refurbishment of its listed Old Mining Building, to house engineering, computing and physical sciences as part of its main campus on Woodhouse Lane.

The scheme, worth an estimated £96m, has now been recommended for approval by city planning officers when the council planning committee meets tomorrow.

As part of the project, the Grade-II listed Old Mining Building will be extended by one storey through a rooftop extension, while all existing services in the building will be stripped out and replaced.

The university also plans to restore a number of the building’s original features, including the floors, wall coverings and decorative mouldings.

A new six-storey building, which will link to other campus buildings via glazed bridges, will house teaching, office and research space, including a deep basement containing specialist laboratory and research spaces.

It will also include an adjacent service tower housing a lift, which will need to be separated from the main building due to electromagnetic interference.

Designed by architects ADP, the project has been described by city planning officers as “the most complex building the University of Leeds has ever developed”.

Demolition of the Estates Building, plumbers’ and locksmiths’ workshops, and a former boilerhouse has already taken place to clear the site for a start date of February 2018.

A contractor is expected to be appointed in November this year.

In their report, city planners concluded: “It is considered that the public benefits of the development, in enabling the university to deliver a step-change in achieving the university’s ambitions of world-class research and student education, outweigh the minor harm to the heritage significance of the building and its surroundings whilst alternative forms of development would be more harmful.”

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