The expansion of Techniquest’s science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay has been given the go ahead by Cardiff Council.

Planning permission has been granted to extend the educational charity’s current building on Stuart Street to create an additional 900m2 of exhibition floor space.

The extension will help to radically transform the UK’s longest running science centre, increasing its footprint by 60% to house brand new innovative content related to, and developed with, Welsh STEM innovators, academics and communities.

The scheme will also include a new vibrant public entrance, café and shop, in addition to a designated community space and roof terrace.

The decision is another positive outcome for Techniquest’s Science Capital project as it looks to diversify its audiences and increase visitor numbers in a bid to make science more accessible to the people of Wales.

It is anticipated that work will start on the extension in Spring 2019 and it will be open to the public by Summer 2020.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “For the last two years we have been working really hard behind the scenes on the next phase in our evolution and we are delighted that planning has been granted for this exciting transformation.

“It means that our aspirations to extend and diversify our audiences, making science accessible to all, can progress in earnest.

“The approved design will give our much-loved facility a contemporary look and dynamic welcome to our loyal and new visitors. It’ll give our charity a new lease of life, while ensuring a sustainable and long-term future in Wales.”

Local architects HLM put together the approved plans, working alongside planning consultants Wardell Armstrong, project managers Lee Wakemans, mechanical & electrical engineers Hydrock, and Bureau Veritas.

Patrick Arends, leisure and culture sector lead at HLM said: “We are very proud of our design for the new extension and thrilled that it has been approved. The new extension will create a dynamic space that will complement and enhance Techniquest’s current building, enabling it to expand its offer to visitors of this much-loved facility.”

Techniquest’s £5.7m Science Capital project is being funded by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Wellcome Trust’s Inspiring Science Fund Moondance Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Welsh Government’s ‘Invest to Save’ fund, and Proton Partners International.