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Housing Minister visits £17.5m National Brownfield Institute


The University of Wolverhampton’s new £17.5m National Brownfield Institute has been praised by the Government’s Housing Minister during a visit to the city.

Christopher Pincher MP was in Wolverhampton today to visit the new research centre, which is currently being built at the University’s £120m Springfield super-campus.

He met with local leaders and project representatives before touring the site of the NBI, which is due to open later this year. The project is a flagship initiative backed by central and local government to transform the construction and housing sectors.

The NBI will be a world-class institute that provides the facility to develop modern methods of building through innovation and partnership with the construction industry, focusing on the practical application of future brownfield regeneration through the work of research teams, leading policy development and commercial services. 

The scheme has benefited from £14.9million of funding from the Government’s Get Building Fund for the West Midlands. City of Wolverhampton Council worked closely with the Black Country LEP and West Midlands Combined Authority to secure the funding. A request for the remainder of the funding required forms part of the city’s bid to the Government’s Towns Fund. 

Plans to set-up a second headquarters for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in the city of Wolverhampton were announced by the Government in February this year.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “As Housing Minister and a Black Country man, I am determined we deliver on the Prime Minister’s ambition to level up in the West Midlands. The National Brownfield Institute will play a key role by supporting housing on brownfield sites across the country, which will help us to build back better from the pandemic.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoff Layer said: “We were delighted to welcome the Housing Minister to Wolverhampton to showcase our £120m Springfield Campus and the work currently underway to create the National Brownfield Institute.

“This is a ground-breaking initiative which will transform the future of sustainable housing and the circular economy, cementing Wolverhampton as a beacon of construction and regeneration excellence.

“The plans to set-up a  second headquarters for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in Wolverhampton are another sign of confidence in the city as a global leader in this sector, delivering opportunities for new skills and job opportunities as we recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “The National Brownfield Institute (NBI) is a game-changing development that will put the City of Wolverhampton on the map - and I was delighted to join city partners at the University’s European-leading Built Environment education Springfield Campus to showcase it to the Housing Minister.

“Once it is fully built, the NBI will enable the City of Wolverhampton to secure its position as a world leader in sustainable construction, circular economy and brownfield development and will deliver new skills, jobs and opportunities for local people in the city.

“Coupled with the creation of a dual headquarters for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government in Wolverhampton and its associated Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Taskforce, the city will be at the forefront of shaping housing policy.

“All this has been achieved while working under Covid-19 restrictions. Our great city continues to deliver and there is confidence in it as a place to invest as our regeneration plans help it recover and relight from the impact of the pandemic.”

The University of Wolverhampton’s £120 million Springfield campus is Europe’s largest university centre of construction excellence and focuses on innovations linked to sustainable housing and the circular economy.

ISG was awarded the contract to build the NBI on the construction super campus, and work got under way in March this year. Today's tour was led by Project Lead Liam Davies, who is a graduate of the University. 

The £17.5million research centre, designed by Birmingham-based Associated Architects, received planning approval in December 2020.

The 12-acre Springfield Campus is already home to the Thomas Telford University Technical College, Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills and the recently opened £45million School of Architecture and Built Environment. 

These facilities, combined with the NBI, will lay the foundation for the delivery of a National Centre for Sustainable Construction and Circular Economy, which will focus on sustainability and the climate change emergency. 

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