Plans to convert Scunthorpe’s Grade-II listed Civic Centre, and council headquarters, into a new university campus have been given top marks.
Dubbed the The University Campus North Lincolnshire, the scheme would deliver 1,500 university-level places in Scunthorpe.
A range of programmes would be offered, including post-graduate and undergraduate studies.
Councillor Tony Gosling, who called in the decision, asked for the plans to include a safe walkway to protect students travelling between the campuses as well as work to be done on the shared car parking with the nearby Pods leisure centre.
Following the meeting he said: “I’m saddened to see it lost as a civic facility and the wonderful council chamber and its links to the town and steel industry but I think that keeping it as a future learning campus for a university is absolutely fantastic.
“We had some concerns as ward councillors because we could not see it being used in many different ways but that’s probably the most obvious and best way and protects it to some extent for future generations of Scunthonians and North Lincolnshire People.”
Under the plans, the main council chamber would be converted into a lecture theatre while offices would be changed to create classrooms and IT laboratories.
Two external staircases would be also be built in line with the increased capacity of the building.
Following the meeting Council Leader Rob Waltham said: “These are really exciting times, the fact this has been a public building and has been for 10 years it will continue as such, but it will have a new life and new heart and soul on the edge of the town centre.
He said it was an opportunity to attract students from both within North Lincolnshire to continue their studies and those from outside the area.
“I just see it as, how absolutely special its been for Lincoln, so we’re hoping we’ll see a similar bounce here in Scunthorpe where the University of North Lincolnshire will be sitting at the heart of it.”
North Lincolnshire announced it would be leaving The Civic Centre, in Ashby Road, in January 2016 and it was put up for sale in September 2017.
The building has been exclusively used as head offices by Scunthorpe Borough Council, later North Lincolnshire Council, since 1962 and had previously been tipped to be converted for hotel, leisure or residential use.
The council will move its operations to Church Square as part of a previously announced £60 million regeneration programme.
Council bosses have previously said the move will save the authority around £375,000 a year.
£5.7 million has been spent on extending Church Square House in order to accommodate council employees.
Meanwhile, the authority has since won £2.3 million worth of funding from the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership to go towards the higher education project.
SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from coverage every week, as well as insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.