Plans approved for 2.5m research lab

Plans to build a £2.5m research and development facility created for Preston’s Sika Liquid Plastics by Lancashire architecture practice Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP) have been given the go-ahead.

Construction work at Sika’s Miller Street headquarters is due to start in September, with a projected completion date of October 2013.

The building has been designed to pay tribute to the site’s historic importance to Preston’s manufacturing heritage – from its Victorian days as Fishwick Cotton Mill to Sika’s present day operation.

Sika Liquid Plastics is the leader in its field, producing an extensive range of high performance, technologically advanced roofing systems which are used across the world.

High-profile projects include Selfridges, the Tate Britain art gallery in London, the NEC Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, Royal Preston Hospital and East Midlands Airport.

The state-of-the-art 12,500 sq ft laboratories designed by FWP will become a European centre of excellence for new technologies.

Preston-based FWP was commissioned last year to design the facility, which is set to give the local economy and its manufacturing sector a major Guild Year boost.

Declan Carroll, Business Unit Manager for Sika Roofing in the UK, said: “Sika sees its Liquid Plastics business in Preston as a Centre of Excellence worldwide for liquid waterproofing.”

Martin Whittle, partner at FWP, added: “We are delighted that planners have given permission for the creation of a building that is contemporary, innovative and striking. The development brings all the site’s research R&D operations together, in a modern purpose-built facility.”