TWI welcomes the recent announcement by South Cambridgeshire District Council to grant outline planning permission for a major expansion programme at the company’s Granta Park headquarters.
Go-ahead from South Cambs for TWI expansion at Granta Park
In a letter to the firm from South Cambridgeshire District Council ahead of a visit by Business Secretary Vince Cable MP to Granta Park last Monday, South Cambridgeshire District Council confirmed the go-ahead on the principle of a major expansion that will provide 25,000 square metres of new laboratories.
Detailed plans are now underway on the scheme which will restore adjacent Abington Hall parkland and establish a new suite of state-of-the-art laboratories linked to TWI’s main building.
The full development programme at TWI will take two years to complete and will see a number of smaller engineering halls built in the early 1950s demolished with the new laboratories being up and running in the early part of 2015.
Three new laboratory buildings have been designed to join with the existing building at TWI to form a hub of materials joining and engineering activity, and include provision for a postgraduate research and teaching establishment – the National Structural Integrity Research Centre. TWI Training and Examinations Services, TWI Certification Ltd, The Welding Institute (the professional arm of TWI) and Abington Hall Conferencing services will also be housed in the new development.
The completed research and development complex at TWI will cover 36,000 square metres approx. and contain laboratories dedicated to the study and performance of materials and the impact of welding and joining techniques as applied in industry.
The laboratories will be supported by a full range of information services and amenities, including the TWI library – the world’s most comprehensive library of welding and joining related publications – together with meeting and conference rooms, and restaurants.
The expansion programme is being driven by an overall increase in demand from industry for the company’s expertise. As a world-renowned centre of excellence for research and technology with expertise in applying engineering, materials, and joining technologies across all industry sectors, the organisation will be ideally placed to expand its products, services and industry programmes and, at the same time, to successfully mentor industry specialists of the future.
Official confirmation of the outline planning permission is expected to be given next month after legal agreements are completed.
Christoph Wiesner, TWI’s Chief Executive, said: “Our global achievements have increased the demand for our services at our Granta Park headquarters and this extension will lay the foundations for our continued success and growth. One of the new buildings will contain an advanced engineering hall with the capacity to house large-scale components such as aircraft sections or offshore pipework for fabrication trials or structural integrity testing. We have been very grateful for the support of the local councils and planning teams who have helped bring these plans forward quickly and look forward submitting detailed plans shortly.”
Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “South Cambridgeshire is open for business and this development is excellent news for local employment and the economy. The Council is fully supportive of making the area attractive for existing and new firms and we look forward to working with TWI and local people as these plans progress.”
TWI has been supported by Great and Little Abington Parish Councils, South Cambridgeshire District Council, its industry sponsors, the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills through its Regional Growth Fund, The Higher Education Funding Council for England, and Barclays Bank plc.
TWI is a world leading research and technology organisation with a focus on materials, engineering and manufacturing.