5plus secures planning approval for world-leading robotics centre

5plus has secured planning approval for its “Centre for Excellence” for robotics, situated at The University of Salford.

The scheme forms part of 5plus’ wider Salford masterplan, which includes the transformation of 99 hectares of central Salford real estate – spanning the University’s estate, Peel Park and the Meadows, several city cultural assets, and local residential neighbourhoods.

The  robotics centre will sit within the university’s new high-tech ‘innovation district’.

Tony Skipper, Director at 5plus, said: “We’re very pleased to see this landmark scheme gain planning approval which involved some incredibly hard work from the 5plus team.

“We have absolute faith in Salford’s potential as a leading global city; it has a long history as a centre of creativity, culture and science, and it will be exciting to help continue its journey – this time around as a major hub for tech, robotics, and engineering.

“We’re looking forward to bringing the project to life in partnership with Salford University and with the support of Salford City Council.”

The robotics centre will provide a facility for SMEs to test and pilot projects, whilst also helping businesses bring the latest technology into their workplaces.

The existing Technology House building will be demolished to make way for a sleek, high-specification replacement.

The centre will include robotics and manufacturing labs – which will house robotics for intelligent infrastructure and digital automation.

When plans were initially submitted, the university stated its hopes that the robotics centre will act as a ‘catalyst project’ for the development zone, attracting other high-tech employers to the area and providing Salford with a ‘competitive advantage over other cities within the region’.

Professor Sheila Pankhurst, Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Environment said: “We are delighted to be working with 5plus architects on our exciting new robotics centre. The University of Salford has an internationally-renowned reputation in robotics and autonomous systems, with a 30-year history in research and innovation.

“We are constantly looking at opportunities to partner with industry to provide a world class learning environment for our students, and to seek practical solutions to today’s business challenges, particularly in the development of affordable automation systems.

“Robotics and autonomous systems have the power to be transformational in so many areas, ranging from healthcare to food production. As the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0, evolves, the new University of Salford robotics centre will position us at the forefront of new technologies and play a central role in our innovation district.”

5plus echoes this sentiment, describing an ambition to create a ‘high-quality knowledge district driven by enterprise, innovation, research and creativity, with the intention of improving graduate retention and encouraging inward investment.’