Tuesday, September 19, 2017

News: £40m Rotherham motorway service area plans submitted


Outline plans have been revealed for a new motorway service area (MSA) in Rotherham that would create 300 jobs.

Rothbiz revealed first that landowners and developers believe that their site at Junction 33 of the M1 at Catcliffe in Rotherham is preferable to the site at Junction 35 at Smithy Wood in Sheffield where a long-running planning battle continues.

Applegreen plc, a major petrol forecourt retailer in the Republic of Ireland with a significant and growing presence in the UK, has now submitted plans to Rotherham Council having undertaken public consultations earlier this year.


Currently scrub land on either side of the motorway, the plans, produced by Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson, are for HGV parking and amenities to the north of the M1 with customer parking and amenities for other motorway users to the south of the M1, via an underpass. The site is zoned for mixed use and previous plans for a hotel and pub were approved but never implemented.

Access to the site is set to be via a new entrance on the Rotherham side of the roundabout passing through an area of Greenbelt. The exit is via a proposed connecting slip road to the south of the site, which leads back to the Sheffield side of the roundabout. A second option for access from slip lanes on the M1 is also included.

A detailed transport assessment has been submitted with the plans which concludes that, with the new lanes and junction improvements, there would not be an exacerbation of current traffic conditions at Junction 33.

The Parkway from Rotherham to Sheffield is one of the most congested routes in the UK. £1.4m was secured from the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop plans for the area. Work has taken place to widen exit slip roads and roundabouts at Junction 33 and Rotherham's capital strategy includes a £45m plan to widen the Parkway to three lanes between the M1 and Catcliffe.

Buildings would be one and two storey and include filling stations and amenity buildings. Parking for 454 cars and 67 HGVs is included. In light of controversies seen at the Smithy Wood site, where ancient woodland would be lost, the Applegreen plans also include proposals to enhance eight hectares of woodland to the north of the site.


The plans show that, when operational, "the MSA would employ circa 300 staff and represent a circa £40m investment." At peak time during the nine month construction phase, some 200 construction related workers could be on-site.

An assessment of the economic impact of the scheme by Axis consultants states that it would add an estimated £4.75m to the economy of the local area each year and concludes that: "The effects of the Proposed Development would be major, beneficial and significant and would make an important contribution towards overarching policy targets to increase employment levels."

A comparative assessment has been carried out between the Extra development at junction 35 and the Rotherham MSA development at junction 33. It concludes that the Applegreen proposal is "materially preferable in terms of all of the key planning, environmental and technical evaluation criteria."

The assessment shows that the Junction 35 site is less appropriate as it is all in the Green Belt. It adds that the Applegreen plans undermine the Extra plans, which have been undetermined for over three years, by offering a deliverable alternative site.

Applegreen website

Images: Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson


News: SCR denied devolution deal


A lack of consensus from the leaders of South Yorkshire's four councils has denied the Sheffield city region (SCR) the chance to conclude a devolution deal with the Government that promised £900m and extra powers.

The leaders met this week and were recommended to approve work to continue to see through the devolution deal with the Government, but based on South Yorkshire only.

However, this option could only be taken forward with the approval of all South Yorkshire councils, and when Barnsley and Doncaster confirmed that they don't wish to proceed, it left the prospect of an election for a city region mayor that would have relatively few new powers.

Barnsley and Doncaster Council leaders said in a joint statement that a lot had changed since 2015 and that the Sheffield City Region deal without all the original nine local authorities was too small. The leaders said they would instead work on a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal, something that the Government has not yet committed too.

A statement yesterday from the Sheffield city region said: "At a meeting of the Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority this morning, the leaders of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield councils could not reach agreement on the recommendation put before the meeting, which was to initiate public consultation on mayoral powers relating to devolution.

"However, as things stand, a mayoral election is still set to go ahead in May 2018, to elect a mayor for the SCR Combined Authority.

"This mayor will chair the Combined Authority, have equivalent voting rights to existing local authorities at its meetings, and also have some powers relating to bus franchising."


The deal, signed in 2015, included control over adult skills budgets and £30m a year for 30 years. The city region warned at the start of the year that it would need to scale back activity due to the delays.

The Government made it clear that in return for the powers, a directly elected mayor would be needed and the order for the election, which was delayed by legal action, has already gone through Parliament. A mayor would chair the combined authority and have a vote equal to the local authority leaders.

Following the meeting, Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: "Today's failure to reach agreement to progress with consultation on devolution to Sheffield city region is just the latest failure of councils across our region to grasp the funding and opportunities that already enjoyed by other parts of the country. Two years after signing the agreement in good faith, our inability to make progress will almost inevitably mean fewer resources to bring more jobs to our economy.

"However, we should also be clear what today's decision does not mean. It does not mean that there will be no mayoral election in South Yorkshire next year. unless the government chooses to change course, the order for that election is already laid. The election itself is expected to cost £1m to run. It simply means that wen the million pound mayor is elected they will have no formal powers and no budget.

"Neither does it mean that Sheffield city region ceases to exist. For now we will continue as we have been doing for the last few years, with the same responsibilities.

"It is especially disappointing that the failure comes just days after the start of two major projects in our area that are directly linked to funding secured through the city region: building the new Boeing factory off the Parkway, and the University Centre Rotherham in the town centre. For all the imperfections of our current arrangements, we have been making them work for the benefit of Rotherham residents.

"For now we remain committed to trying to break this latest impasse in order to secure the funding and opportunities that Rotherham residents deserve."

Sheffield City Region website

Images: SCR


News: Tram train officially launched


Transport Minister Paul Maynard MP witnessed the introduction of the first Citylink Tram Train into passenger service on the Supertram network in Sheffield.

The innovative vehicles will eventually run as tram trains between Sheffield city centre and Parkgate via Meadowhall South and Rotherham town centre in 2018. For now, they are being used on the existing Supertram network in Sheffield.

With funding from the Government, the £100m scheme is set to run for two years with a view to permanent operation. It is the first of its kind in the UK and if it is successful, it opens the way for tram trains to be introduced in other parts of the country.

Transport Minister Paul Maynard (pictured, second right) said: "South Yorkshire's Tram Train project is the first of its kind in the country and will transform services for passengers, enabling quick and easy movement across the region, reducing journey times and boosting the economy.

"The first passenger service is a significant milestone for this scheme which remains on track to be completed next year and will improve journeys between Sheffield and Rotherham."


Martin McKervey, board member of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "Launching this new tram is a crucial step in the tram train project, which is set to improve connectivity within Sheffield city region and make it easier for residents, visitors and business people to move around our urban centres quickly and easily.

"I'm proud that we are the first region in the country to pioneer this innovative technology. Improving transport links is also a key priority in our new Inclusive Industrial Strategy, as we drive forward our aims in ensuring everyone across the city region is able to benefit from, and be a part of, our economic growth."

Rotherham Council expects that the improved connectivity from next year will support the local economy and the new leisure and housing developments proposed for the town centre.

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, said: "It is incredibly exciting to be travelling on this innovative tram vehicle on its inaugural journey across the Supertram network, ahead of the new tram train route to Rotherham being opened in 2018."

South Yorkshire's new Citylink vehicles, which have been designed and produced by Stadler, will be used in the regular Supertram timetable from October to support the existing tram service across the network until the new tram train route from Sheffield to Rotherham is opened in 2018, once rail infrastructure work, testing and driver training is complete.

The first vehicle in service has been named Theo after the mascot of the Children's Hospital Charity.

SYPTE website

Images: DFT


Monday, September 18, 2017

News: Chamber business awards shortlist announced


The shortlist has been announced for the 2017 Barnsley and Rotherham Business Awards which showcases the region's leading businesses and individuals.

This year a record number of entries were received, with 128 submissions across all categories, with just 60 being shortlisted for the 12 categories on offer. In addition to this, the Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award recipient will be announced on the evening, all applicants are welcome to attend.

The 12 awards, in association with RNN Group, will be presented at the awards evening which will again be held at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham on Friday, October 13.

The shortlisted applicants in all business award categories have been automatically entered into the much sought-after Universal Components Business of the Year Award, which will recognise one outstanding organisation across all aspects of business.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said: "We'd like thank everyone who submitted entries this year, the standard was particularly high and the judges were faced with some very difficult decisions. Everyone who has secured a place on the shortlist should be proud of their achievements over the past twelve months.

"This year saw a high number of entries submitted, reflecting the sheer the diversity of the local business economy and we look forward to welcoming all the finalists to our celebration evening which takes place at Magna in October."

The ceremony will also include the annual Salute to Business presentations which celebrate the achievements of our regions long-standing businesses, a special Charity of the Year Award which will see one charity receive £3,000, becoming the Chamber's Charity of the Year, and the addition of the new Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.


The nominated finalists:

Source Academy Apprentice of the Year Award
Jacob Fox of Berneslai Homes
Liam Benton of Morrison Mears
Liam White of Code Green
Louie Vint of Universal Components UK Ltd
Lucy Cowley of Enzygo Limited

SteelPhalt Harsco Business Community Impact Award
Barnsley College: Raising Aspirations Project
Hallam FM's Cash for Kids
Newlife, the charity for disabled children
Rotherham United Community Sports Trust
XPO Logistics

Brook Corporate Developments Business Growth Award
Azzure IT
Bob's Business Ltd
Enzygo Limited
Impelling Solutions Ltd
Whitshaw Builders Ltd

Impelling Solutions Business Person of the Year Award
Allan Ogle of Hallam FM's Cash for Kids
Craig Such of Azzure IT
Dean Arnold of Universal Components UK Ltd
Hayley Koseoglu of Crystal Clean Service
Steve Jones of Gala Tent, Gala-Performance & Gala Technology (SOTpay)

Rotherham College Digital and Creative Award
Active Response Security Services
Euroglaze Ltd
Hydra Creative SUM.AGENCY

Enzygo Environmental Commitment Award
MGB Plastics
Naylor Industries Plc
Russell Richardson & Sons Ltd
SME Environmental Services
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust

SOTpay Excellence in Customer Service Award
Angel Couture by Kay Heeley
Bella Eve Boutique
Pookie Womenswear
Pyronix Ltd
Two for Joy Introductions Ltd

Made in Sheffield Manufacturing Excellence Award
MGB Plastics
Pro Display TM Ltd
RTN Clayton Vallely
S3 ID Ltd

Enterprising Barnsley Most Promising New Business Award
Bliss Internet (Treeton) Ltd
Luminous Solutions Ltd
Totally Runable Ltd

Rotherham Together Partnership Skills Development Award
Bob's Business Ltd
Crystal Clean Service Ltd
Morrison Mears
Tankersley Manor – QHotels
XPO Logistics

Airmaster and Mitsubishi Electric Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Award
Cannon Hall Farm
Chilli and Grille
Museum Sheffield
Smallshaw Cottages & Spa
Wortley Hall

Chamber's Charity of the Year – In association with Fortem
Barnsley Hospice
City Hearts UK
Grimm & Co
Newlife, the charity for disabled children
Support Dogs

Barnsley and Rotherham Business Awards website

Images: BR Chamber


News: Xeros signs agreement with washing machine manufacturer


Innovative Rotherham company, Xeros, has signed its first development agreement for its "Symphony Project" with a leading manufacturer of commercial washing machines.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), Xeros is a Leeds University spin-out that has developed a patented system using a unique method of special polymer beads rather than the usual large amounts of fresh water to clean clothes.

The Symphony Project involves a simple retrofit pedestal that integrates the polymer bead cleaning system into conventional machinery, enabling its revolution in laundry to be brought to market by leading manufacturers.

The first signing has not been named but Xeros said that the manufacturer "is a leader in commercial laundry machines with a significant presence in many major markets across the world."

Under the terms of the development agreement, Xeros will incorporate its open source technology in the OEM's machine for the purposes of technical validation and testing. Following the testing phase the parties anticipate the commencement of commercial negotiations.

With minimal disruption to the manufacturing process, the pedestal, which is compatible with nearly any size or brand of conventional commercial washing machine, can be integrated through a relatively simple process at the end of a manufacturer's production line.


Mark Nichols, chief executive of Xeros, said: "This represents a significant milestone for our cleaning technologies business. The scale and market presence of our OEM partner demonstrates the industry's increasing understanding and acceptance of our technology.

"With a proven technology, and growing demand for the sustainability, performance and economic benefits our technology delivers, Symphony Project will enable us to significantly accelerate the commercialisation of our technology."

Unveiling the first working prototype of its retrofit pedestal at The Clean Show in Las Vegas this summer, Xeros said it was in discussions with a number of potential partners.

A fourth prototype is in development which targets simple changes for the incorporation of Xeros' technology within any domestic washing machine.

Half year results for the AIM-listed group are due to be published next week.

Xeros plc website

Images: Xeros

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