DUDLEY councillors have given Dudley College a “pat on the back” after approving plans for its third education centre in the town centre.

Members of the Development Control Committee unanimously approved plans for Dudley Advance, which will house manufacturing and engineering technology courses.

The £6.6m four storey building will be built adjacent to Dudley Sixth on the Priory Road car park and forms the third phase of the Dudley Learning Quarter.

The complex, which will include specialist workshops, classrooms and resource centres has been part funded with £2.2m government cash, which was personally announced by Business Secretary, Vince Cable when he stopped off at the college’s Tower Street campus to officially open Dudley Evolve.

Committee member, councillor Qadar Zada, said: “I’m delighted to see this application. I think Dudley College has done the town centre proud. They have already provided two excellent buildings and I think this will also be great asset. They certainly deserve a pat on the back.”

Work is set to start in autumn, with a planned opening for next year.

The centre’s curriculum will be developed in partnership with Aston University, together with Black Country businesses Thomas Dudley Ltd and Hadley Industries and will support up to 150 14 to 16-year-olds and 500 16 to 19- year-olds on full and part-time programmes and 600 apprentices on day release programmes.