Plans to build Lincoln’s new University Technical College at Greestone Centre have been approved by councillors on August 14.
At the City of Lincoln Council Planning Committee, councillors approved the new college to be installed into the existing building, plus a new building to the back of the premises.
As part of a £7.5 million investment, the new building would be connected to Greestone Centre, formerly occupied by the University of Lincoln’s art department, by a glassed corridor.
The new two and three-storey building will replace the current workshop on site, which will add more tuition rooms and accommodation.
The lower floor of the new building will be partially dug into the hill, while Greestone Centre will be altered externally slightly, including a glazed screen to the south of the building.
There will be extremely limited extra parking added on site (not for student use) and extra landscaping.
To help protect students from traffic on Lindum Hill, barriers will be installed along the pavement.
The new college would serve students aged 14-19 with an interest in engineering and science, offering full courses and apprenticeships at local businesses.
The courses are developed through a partnership of Lincoln College, University of Lincoln and Siemens Lincoln.
However, the UTC plans have been faced with strong opposition from local residents, who believe the site is not fit for purpose.
They feel the design is not in keeping with the historical area, and the new building will block out views from the hill for some residents.
Additionally, residents argue the site is of archaeological importance, and the building site will be both disruptive and potentially dangerous.
They also had a number of concerns regarding student safety around Lindum Hill and the back of the building around Greestone Steps.
Work on the site will commence shortly, in time for the college’s first 260 students in September 2014.
Rona Mackenzie, Principal of the upcoming UTC, said: “We are absolutely delighted, it’s fantastic news for the UTC.
“It means we can move forward on the project — we’re really keen to get started ready for out first set of students next September.
“First thing now is to raise awareness across Lincolnshire and the region, going out to all the hubs and nodal points. There will be a number of events happening in September, and the first student event happening next Wednesday at the University of Lincoln.
“We’ll raise awareness with those students and parents, make contact with businesses and develop our relationships because we have a curriculum to enhance, and many more steps.
“There’s lots to do, but it’s really exciting.”
Speaking on behalf of local residents, Simon Whitton said: “We all fully expected it to be approved this evening, so no major shock there at all.
“There are a number of issues that we can’t come back on from the meeting, and the Environmental Impact Assessment is still ongoing. They indicated it’s been satisfied, but it’s not, it’s still in the hands of lawyers.”
He added that residents will “absolutely” continue fighting the proposal.