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New technology hub in Ipswich moves step closer

PUBLISHED: 19:00 06 February 2019

Suffolk New College has had planning permission approved for a new technology hub as part of the Eastern Institute of Technology. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk New College has had planning permission approved for a new technology hub as part of the Eastern Institute of Technology. Picture: GREGG BROWN

An innovative multi-million pound technology teaching hub featuring a tie-up of colleges across Suffolk have moved a step closer.

Carole Jones said she hoped it would trigger interest in the rest of the education quarter. Picture: SU ANDERSONCarole Jones said she hoped it would trigger interest in the rest of the education quarter. Picture: SU ANDERSON

A partnership between five colleges, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and other colleges and businesses, was announced in late 2017 with the aim of establishing an Eastern Institute of Technology in Suffolk.

The plans would create a hub for teaching STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) and provide courses which are not currently taught. It comes amid demand from businesses for more highly skilled people in STEM subjects.

While the funding bids remain ongoing, the project moved a step closer on Wednesday when Ipswich Borough Council’s planning committee approved permission for a hub to be built in Ipswich for Suffolk New College.

Craig Shimmon, marketing manager at Suffolk New College, said: “We are pleased that Ipswich Borough Council has backed plans for the college to widen our curriculum in a number of areas thanks to the possible creation of a new education hub that will be run in partnership with the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIOT).

“We are very excited at the prospect of extending our curriculum offer to people of all ages in this region in a number of technology based subjects.

“There are still a number of processes to go through before this project becomes a reality and we are looking forward to finding out about the next stage of the funding process.

“If all goes to plan though, the proposed building will be a great addition to our expanding facilities and it will be based in an area that is benefitting from ongoing regeneration right in the heart of Ipswich’s expanding education quarter.”

The scheme is looking to operate from hubs created at the five host college sites – West Suffolk College, Easton and Otley College, College of West Anglia, East Coast College and Suffolk New College.

The eastern hub was one of just 16 projects nationally to progress to the second stage of bidding last summer, out of more than 100 that applied.

The Ipswich building is set to be built on the former social club car park off Rope Walk and Dove Street, adjacent to a development of 12 houses, two flats and four offices which has already secured permission.

Carole Jones, portfolio holder for development and museums at Ipswich Borough Council, said: “I think this is really excellent news. Not only for the college is it great to see it’s going to expand its offer in STEM subjects, but also for this site.

“It’s a site really of some concern – it’s been empty for a long time, there has been anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.

“It should hopefully trigger interest in the redevelopment of the rest of the site, it’s fantastic news,”

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