A NEW business school at Essex University has been given the go-ahead.

The Essex Business School wants to move into a £21million state-of-the-art building, at the edge of the Knowledge Gateway research park.

Members of Colchester Council’s planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the plans, submitted by Essex University. They did not comment on the application, which had also been recommended for approval by officers.

The business school is the largest faculty on the Wivenhoe Campus and has outgrown its current home.

Professor Michael Sherer, director of Essex Business School, said: “This will be a landmark new building, which will support our aims of establishing ourselves as one of the leading business schools in the UK and attracting outstanding students, particularly at Masters and PhD level. We have seen a rapid rise in student numbers over the past five years and our new building will offer a unique learning environment for our distinctive courses.

“Our new home will be a leading example of sustainable construction through its zero-carbon design, build and management, which supports our mission to be one of the greenest business schools in the UK.

“The new building will also be a catalyst for engaging, even more fully, with the business community and other organisations while also offering a first-class conference venue for the region.”

Cash for the project will come from the Essex Capital Investment Plan and was approved by the university council in July.

The 5,500sqm centre would include a 200-seat lecture theatre and computer facilities, as well as a winter garden, and serve almost 2,000 students and more than 120 staff by 2020.

Building is due to be completed by late 2013.