The University of Northampton has moved a step closer to building a new campus after gaining approval for a vital compulsory purchase order (CPO) of the site.

Ministers have given the go-ahead to the £330 million development and has allowed plans to be accelerated with an application expected to be submitted in the summer. If all goes well, then officials are hoping to have construction underway by 2015 with a completion date earmarked for 2018.

It marks a major point in a lengthy process that began in November 2012 when the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) agreed a deal with landowners and the university. The move will see the site next to the River Nene transformed from brownfield land, containing a disused Avon Cosmetics factory and a former power station, into a vibrant university campus able to attract students from all over the UK.

The CPO relates to land earmarked for a road through Avon Nunn Mills which is currently the largest site within the Northampton Enterprise Zone. Plans for the campus will include a new one mile spine road that will connect the buildings.

Professor Nick Petford, vice-chancellor at the University of Northampton, said: "We are delighted that the secretary of state has approved the compulsory purchase order which will allow full development of the Avon Nunn Mills site.

"This compulsory purchase order places the university one step closer to realising our plans to create a state-of-the-art Waterside Campus; placing the university in the heart of the community."

Northampton University is currently split into two different campuses with Avenue Campus and Park Campus sitting two miles apart in the Midlands town. The new facility would allow the institute to attract the very best in research academics to the university while more and more students could be enticed to choose the facility to study at.

It will also allow it to compete with other nearby universities in Warwickshire and the plethora of institutes in the Birmingham area.

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