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23 February 2024
Green Economy

Ministers and Partners Break Ground on North Wales Growth Deal’s Innovative Development

An official Turf Cutting, to celebrate the start of the North Wales Growth Deal’s first construction project, has seen ministers and partners come together at Wrexham University.

Fay Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales and Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government were joined on site at Wrexham University’s Plas Coch Campus in Wrexham by representatives from the University, Ambition North Wales and Wynne Construction. Together they marked the occasion of construction commencing on the site of the new Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre (EEOC).

The development is a pioneering build, which will deliver a specialist centre for research and development, business collaboration and skills development in optics, photonics and composites as lightweight alternatives for manufacturing, offering regional manufacturing businesses support in reducing the environmental impact of their products and processes.

Green hydrogen will also be developed on-site as part of the project, thanks to the installation of a hydrogen electrolyser as part of the build, which will contribute to sustainable practices in industry.

Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, Lead Member for the Innovation in High Value Manufacturing programme and Chair of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, said:

“This is a huge milestone for the North Wales Growth Deal. It is our first construction project and has been designed as a low-carbon, nature-positive building, the first that will deliver against our sustainability targets. It demonstrates that by working collaboratively across the public and private sectors we can achieve great things – economic development, investment, jobs and training – all supporting our vision for a smart, connected, resilient and sustainable region.”

Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor at Wrexham University, said:

“The breaking of the ground to mark the start of work on our pioneering Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre is an incredibly proud day for all at the University – and I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues for their hard work in getting the project to this point.

“This milestone development would not be possible without investment from the North Wales Growth Deal.

“We are also delighted that Wynne Construction will be delivering this build. We are confident that the Centre will be of a high-standard in terms of design, functionality and also, in demonstrating significant carbon emissions reductions, all while delivering vast social value to North Wales.”

Richard Day, Professor of Composites Engineering and Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at Wrexham University, said:

“The Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre will provide our students, staff, as well as industry partners, with access to cutting-edge research, business collaboration and skills development in optics, photonics and composites as lightweight alternatives for manufacturing.

“It will serve as a specialist centre, which will help us to develop and enhance the future curriculum of engineering, here at Wrexham.

“It’s also incredibly exciting to announce that we will also be developing green hydrogen on-site, thanks to the installation of a hydrogen electrolyser as part of the new building. This will support vital research and help us to support industry partners work towards a low carbon future.”

Chris Wynne, managing director, Wynne Construction, said:

“We are thrilled to be part of this transformative development for Wrexham University. We look forward to bringing our expertise, and working together with the University team and partners, to create a first-class building that leaves a lasting legacy for Wrexham and the North Wales region.

“As with all our quality builds, social value is at the heart of our work; we look forward to delivering transparent communication and community involvement as we deliver a facility that reflects the aspirations of an innovative regional economy. Extending beyond job creation and development opportunities with our supply chain, we will work to ensure environmental sustainability and support initiatives that preserve and celebrate the ambition behind this project.”

Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:

“I am pleased to be here in Wrexham to see the start of construction on this exciting project which is part of the North Wales Growth Deal. Based on two sites it will bring benefits across North Wales. It is good news for training and skills, as well as helping businesses reduce their impact on the environment. The development will play an important part in our aims to reach net-zero.”

Fay Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, said:

“I was delighted to be in Wrexham to see the start of the delivery of this fantastic project. The new Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre promises to be a brilliant facility for Wrexham University and their industry colleagues.

“The UK Government is proud to invest in the North Wales Growth Deal, helping to bring about real change in North Wales by creating jobs and spreading prosperity through projects just like this.”

The EEOC project will be delivered across two of the university sites – the Plas Coch campus in Wrexham and the OpTIC Technology Centre at the St Asaph campus. Growth Deal funding, through Ambition North Wales, will provide £11.55m of the total value of the project.

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