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Springfield Brewery transformation cost spirals by £500k

By Marion Brennan | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

The construction of a super campus on the site of a historic Black Country brewery will cost an extra £500,000 after structural problems were exposed.

How the new construction hub on the former Springfield Brewery site should look on completion

Work has already begun on building the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills at the former Springfield Brewery in Wolverhampton.

It will provide teaching courses and training facilities for apprenticeships through to degree level and is due to open in September.

But the developer, Aspect Construction, has come across unforeseen problems, despite carrying out surveys before building work started.

The 12-acre site is owned by the University of Wolverhampton, which has applied to the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for more funding.

The Springfield Brewery site before work on the revamp started

Bosses said additional costs had been incurred, which could not be accommodated within the existing budget.

Problems involving the internal structure of the brewery stables and workshop, which are more than 140 years old, have only come to light since work started in February.

The biggest concern is the poor state of the roof and supporting structures and the uneven flooring, only exposed following the removal of the internal walls. The cost of the extra work has been estimated at £506,400.

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The Black Country LEP is already supporting the £12.9 million Elite Centre, which will also see training provided in Tipton, Dudley and West Bromwich.

It is part of a wider hub focused on the building industry at the brewery site, which will also be home to the university’s School of Architecture and Built Environment and the West Midlands Construction University Technical College, which opened in November.

Another artist's impression of the completed construction campus

The LEP board members approved the additional cash, which includes contingency funding, but required any money not spent to be returned to the partnership.

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LEP spokeswoman Angie Took said the extra funding was granted because the partnership was determined to protect the heritage of the building, particularly the historic lantern-style roofing.

She said: “It can be very difficult for a developer to know everything that’s going to hit them on a job, especially with a building this old.

“Part of it is listed and and we are very keen to make sure that the heritage of the building is preserved.” The total investment in the campus is more than £100m.

The project has brought together businesses and the education sector with the aim of creating jobs and providing technical and professional experts required by the industry. The university bought the site in 2014.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan
@Marion_EStar

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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