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Gloucestershire Business News

RAU invites locals to learn more about £100m plans

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is inviting local people to find out more about its plans to develop a sustainable, carbon neutral, Innovation Village next week.

The proposed £100m development is set to be built on a 29-acre site at the university's Cirencester campus.

The university initially unveiled its plans for the development, which will be home to a community of entrepreneurs, policymakers, practitioners and researchers committed to addressing major global challenges, in January and is now inviting the public see the plans for themselves.

Professor Peter McCaffery, RAU vice-chancellor, said: "Ever since we first discussed this concept, we have always felt that it is vitally important to engage with local people, as well as other stakeholders and businesses, not only to keep them abreast of our plans but also to make sure they are able to ask us any questions they may have.

"Although the RAU is a global university, our home town of Cirencester will always be very special to us. While we know we need to grow and develop, it is vital that we take the town with us on this journey and that we help the people of the town to understand what we are doing and why and give them to opportunity to have their say."

The RAU is holding two open sessions on Tuesday June 27 for local people to find out more. There will be a 20-minute presentation from RAU staff and the Innovation Village architects, followed by time for guests to ask questions or raise any concerns they may have.

As well as the two public sessions, the university is also holding separate meetings with local businesses and organisations, as well as community groups, councils and charities, to give them the opportunity to feedback on the plans.

The RAU hopes to submit a planning application to Cotswold District Council later this year, with a view to gaining full planning consent by next spring.

Professor McCaffery continued: "The Innovation Village, which will comprise a number of integrated areas, including a research and innovation centre, live/ work residential units, business start-up and support spaces, as well as business and conferencing hospitality facilities, is central to the RAU's vision. It aims to support industry, food producers, farmers and landowners in developing sustainable solutions to food production, while maintaining soil health and building resilience in rural communities.

"Our location in Cirencester is important to us and we are committed to ensuring that the Innovation Village will push the boundaries of sustainable design to ensure a development that is beautiful, carbon neutral, rich in nature and inspires innovation through its environment."

The community engagement sessions will take place at the university's Alliston Centre, which houses the Cirencester Growth Hub and the RAU's agritech incubator Farm491, on Tuesday June 27.

There will be a session taking place between 08.00 and 09.30 and a session which will run from 18.00 until 19.30.

Spaces are limited and anyone who would like to attend will need to register for a free ticket.

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