Highways work on the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) £200m Masterplan is supporting local SMEs around Preston and the North West.

Every penny spent on the supply chain by main highways contractor Balfour Beatty has been awarded to companies based within 40 miles of the construction site in the centre of the University’s Preston Campus, with 96p of every pound spent with small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Work around the new Student Centre and Masterplan has included replacing the old Adelphi roundabout with a safer link road between Fylde Road and Friargate, in addition to installing new footpaths and trees to create a greener environment around the campus.

The highways work is procured through SCAPE, the UK’s leading public procurement authority.

The SCAPE | Civil Engineering framework accelerates infrastructure project delivery, allows for more considered project planning through early contractor engagement, as well as creating better value for the taxpayer and measurable local economic benefits.

Balfour Beatty Operations Manager, Graeme Moffat, said: “We are deeply committed to delivering significant benefit to the communities in which we operate. In addition to spending over £4 million with local SMEs since 2019, we have hired nine graduates and apprentices across the highways improvements project, created twelve new jobs and provided seventy weeks of paid work experience to local people, as well as working with over 2,500 local students via virtual events and participating in twelve volunteer days around the city.”

UCLan’s Michael Ahern, Chief Information and Infrastructure Officer, said: “As a University, we are always keen to make sure that we support the local economy around Preston, and in hiring our contractors for the Masterplan we were keen that they held the same local values. Balfour Beatty, along with Student Centre contractor Bowmer + Kirkland, have embraced this and made sure that the entire city can benefit out of the Masterplan, from students to local businesses, neighbours and residents.

Mark Robinson, group chief executive at SCAPE, added: “SMEs are the backbone of our industry and form the foundations of local communities. In a year where small businesses across the supply chain have felt unprecedented pressures, the highways work at UCLan will preserve and prioritise local spend across its contractors – which is a real testament to the ethos of the University and Balfour Beatty.

“We’re proud of the role our framework has played in enabling the University and the wider Preston community to benefit from these significantly improved highways.”

The University would like to remind motorists that all of UCLan’s Preston car parks will be available free of charge for general public use from 7 December to 3 January.

To keep informed of any travel updates and for more detail about current highways information and diversions, visit www.uclanmasterplan.co.uk  or follow @uclanmasterplan on Twitter. Alternatively, you can email the Masterplan team at uclanmasterplan@uclan.ac.uk