Councillors have unanimously approved outline planning permission for the University of Northampton’s new £330 million Waterside campus.
The new campus will replace the university’s existing sites in St George’s Avenue and Boughton Green Road, and will open in autumn 2018.
The application was brought before a meeting of Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee last night, where it was said the development on the 55-acre Avon Nunn Mills site could be a “stepping stone” for the future growth of the town.
A full planning application is expected by spring 2014.
Speaking at the meeting, Professor Nick Petford, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “The university has a critical role to play in Northampton’s success story and contributes significantly to the economy, both for Northampton and the enterprise zone.
“Our plan is not to build an ivory tower, but to be open to the community.
“This marks the next stage of making Northampton a site of world-class learning.”
Councillor Penny Flavell (Con, Rushmills), chair of the planning committee, said: “I think this is an excellent application, and seems to me that it is a stepping stone for the future of the town.”
Councillor David Palethorpe (Lab, Billing), added: “To bring forward a £330 million development in two years is remarkable.”
Plans to move the university to the brownfield site off Bedford Road were first revealed in April last year.
The development will feature new university buildings spread over 430,000 sq ft, as well as new shops, a hotel and sports facilities.
Last week, the Chron revealed the vast majority of the 8,165 students who will use the site will not be able to park there.
Mr Petford also touched on this during the planning meeting, saying the focus would be on “green transport.”