Planning permission approved for Smart Innovation Hub

Following approval from Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Planning Committee*, Keele University is delighted that its proposals for a new world-leading Smart Innovation Hub have passed this key milestone.

Subject to funding approval, the project aims to create the first innovation centre in the UK to bring together a university management school and incubation space for innovative new and developing businesses.  The Hub will also create an environment that enables ‘open innovation’ by allowing and facilitating the efficient and effective sharing of ideas, knowledge and expertise between businesses, academic researchers, the public sector and consumers to promote innovations in key areas such as social, environmental, health and medical technology.

At 4,200m2, the iconic three-storey building will be located at the entrance to Keele University as part of the Science and Innovation Park, which is already one of the largest sites of its kind in the UK. 

The new Smart Innovation Hub has been designed by RIBA award-winning and Sterling Prize-nominated architects BDP.  In keeping with Keele University’s green ethos, the facility has been planned with a focus on sustainability, resulting in a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

Speaking about the planning approval, Professor Trevor McMillan, Keele University Vice-Chancellor, said:

“This is a big step in our capacity to support our local economy, local businesses and local community by enabling closer interaction between the businesses and various parts of the University, in particular the Management School which will be housed in the same building.

“Keele University is frequently named amongst the best in the country in a wide range of areas, and it is through developments such as the new Hub that we will be able to increase this standing further and, in turn, allow our staff and students as well as businesses to benefit and thus increase our impact across Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”

The creation of the Smart Innovation Hub will form part of the New Keele Deal – a plan for £70million of investment by Keele University, Staffordshire County Council, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust and the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership to exploit the potential of Keele University’s world-leading research and facilities, resulting in a significant number of higher value jobs being created locally over the next 20 years.

Construction is expected to commence in late 2017, with completion set for Spring 2019.  


*Planning committee has resolved to grant planning permission subject to a Section 106 agreement.