"GOOD progress" is being made on proposals for a university education centre outside in the borough, planners say.

Last year Bury Council announced it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Bolton to create “substantial” university provision and “state-of-the-art” infrastructure for education, industrial development and economic regeneration in Bury, over the next two years.

Finalisation of plans for an initial building site for a University Centre of Excellence (UCoE) in Bury is now underway, the council has confirmed.

It is expected the site could be open and operational by the end of this year, and around 300 students could be studying university courses in Bury by September 2020.

A Bury Council spokesman said: "Bury Council is working in a strategic partnership with the University of Bolton to establish a substantive University presence in Bury by 2020.

“This UCoE will be based in the town centre and will focus primarily on delivering degree programmes and apprenticeships in the areas of Health, Digital Technologies and Intelligent Construction Engineering.

"We have made good progress on these ambitious plans."

Planners added that progress is also being made in establishing a permanent state-of-the-art building and technology infrastructure for a "Bury Innovation Zone", within the next two years.

In the meantime the university and Bury Council are collaborating to develop "working groups" with stakeholders, such as businesses and the NHS Trust, to facilitate the implementation of these proposals.

The two organisations are further working together with Barclays bank to help boost the boroughs' economies and work out areas for crossover and collaboration between the UCoE scheme and the lender's own initiatives.

The council spokesman added: "In the long-term, the Bury UCoE aims to provide a wide range of higher education, research and enterprise programmes including undergraduate degrees, postgraduate and research degrees, degree apprenticeships, applied research projects and associate enterprise activities with industry."