Wednesday, May 12, 2021

News: Fast-growing food firm looks to have doner deal for new Rotherham outlet

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Signs are that fast-growing, fast-casual brand, German Doner Kebab (GDK), has wrapped up a deal to take on a vacant retail unit in Rotherham.

Established in Germany over 30 years ago, the brand has built up to 76 restaurants in UK, Europe and Middle East, all selling high quality doner kebabs. The chain serves 100% lean succulent meat in handmade breads and crisp salad, with a choice of three signature sauces.

An ambitious UK expansion plan looks to include opening a new outlet in Rotherham and a planning application shows that GDK is hoping to open at Parkgate.

Scottish company, United Brands, took over the worldwide GDK brand and recently announced plans to open 47 new restaurants in the UK during 2021, bringing in the region of 1,800 new jobs throughout the country. It operates a franchise model.

In Rotherham, plans have been submitted for Unit 30 at Parkgate Shopping Centre, where the centre's owners are applying to operate the former Carphone Warehouse store as a restaurant. Change of use plans are no longer required due to an update in national policy, but planning and advertisement consent is required for extraction equipment, shopfront alterations and new signage.

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Rr Planning, consultants submitting the plans on behalf of RSGD (Rotherham) Limited, said: "The proposed scheme will be a positive addition in the street scene and will result in investment and job creation at a time when the high street is suffering."

GDK opened 12 more restaurants during 2020 and delivered a significant rise in UK total sales, up 81% from the previous 12 months. Same-store sales for 2020 were also up 51% on 2019.

Imran Sayeed, CEO of GDK, said: "We have been extremely agile during the Pandemic and there continues to be a huge demand for our game-changing kebabs.

"It is therefore very exciting to be announcing these latest growth plans for the next 12 months as we build on the great momentum we delivered during 2020.

"Our plans will almost double our portfolio and create in the region of 1800 jobs as we continue to disrupt the market space and maintain our mission of building the fast-casual brand of the future."

German Doner Kebab website

Images: GDK

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News: EDF and Nuclear AMRC to deepen collaboration

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EDF has signed a new membership agreement with the Nuclear AMRC to drive innovation in low-carbon power generation and support UK manufacturers.

EDF, Britain’s biggest generator of zero carbon electricity, has supported the Nuclear AMRC’s development over the past decade, and the new tier one membership strengthens and deepens the relationship between the two organisations.

With state of the art facilities on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) is a joint initiative with industry and part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult that is designed to help build and enhance the UK's civil nuclear new build industry.

Collaboration will focus on research and development to deliver the UK’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, and the goal of the Nuclear Sector Deal to reduce the cost of nuclear new build by 30%.

“With COP26 being hosted in the UK later this year, climate change and reducing our carbon emissions is at the forefront of the social and political agenda,” says Dr Ionel Nistor, head of nuclear R&D at EDF. “Nuclear is essential to successfully decarbonise our electricity system as it’s a reliable low-carbon source that can support increased renewables in our energy mix. We look forward to furthering our collaboration with the Nuclear AMRC to ensure the sector continues to innovate and support our efforts to achieve a Net Zero Britain.”

EDF and the Nuclear AMRC will work together in technology areas – including digital twin development, modularisation, and process modelling and simulation – which can reduce costs and improve quality and safety in the construction and operation of nuclear power plant.

“This long-term agreement with EDF will allow us to work together more strategically than before,” says Sean Murphy, Nuclear AMRC strategic relationship manager. “We believe that access to our research and engineering expertise, as well as the wider Nuclear AMRC research network, will be of strong benefit to EDF. Similarly, EDF’s deep industry and R&D knowledge will be extremely valuable to our mission of helping UK manufacturers win work in the nuclear sector.”

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The two organisations will also work together to increase the competitiveness and productivity of the UK nuclear supply chain, and develop strong regional supply chains for Hinkley Point and Sizewell. EDF will continue to support the Nuclear AMRC’s supplier development initiatives, including the Fit For Nuclear (F4N) programme which helps manufacturers meet nuclear customer requirements.

Many F4N-granted companies across the UK have already won significant work packages at Hinkley Point C, including Vessco Engineering (based in South Wales), Capula (Staffordshire), Exyte Hargreaves (Lancashire), and Hardstaff Barriers (Nottingham).

“As part of our community of more than 150 member and F4N companies, EDF can help develop and support deeper supply chain collaborations and partnerships,” Murphy says. “Together we can maximise the opportunities for hundreds of UK manufacturers, including many SMEs, during the building of new low-carbon power plants at Hinkley Point and Sizewell.”

EDF is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, and is Britain’s biggest generator of low-carbon electricity. It operates eight nuclear power stations around the UK, and is constructing the new Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset.

Based around two Framatome EPR reactors generating 3.2GW of electricity, Hinkley Point C will produce around seven per cent of the UK’s electricity when it opens in the middle of this decade. EDF is also now in formal discussions with government on building another two EPRs at Sizewell C in Suffolk.

As a tier one member, EDF will have a seat on the Nuclear AMRC’s programme board and research board to help ensure that the centre’s activities are meeting industry needs. The collaboration will also consider work to support the life extension and eventual decommissioning of EDF’s current fleet of advanced gas-cooled reactors.

Nuclear AMRC website

Images: EDF

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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

News: Tinsley rail yard back on track

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South Yorkshire's largest privately owned and most successful haulage contractors, Newell & Wright Group, has reopened an unused rail terminal in Rotherham.

Rothbiz revealed in February that plans had been submitted that would enable the use of land forming the eastern part of Tinsley Rail Freight Yard off Europa Way / Wood Lane as a rail freight terminal.

Having gained approval from Rotherham Council, Newell & Wright Group, which has its main depot on Sheffield Road, have been working night and day to reopen Tinsley Marshalling Yard, once the rail hub of the borough.

The yard was constructed by British Rail around 1961 ‐ 65, primarily to consolidate the activities of several smaller yards in Sheffield and the wider South Yorkshire region. It had capacity for almost 4,000 railway wagons at any one time and incorporated a locomotive maintenance depot.

Much of the main body of the yard was sold for redevelopment to become Sheffield International Rail Freight Terminal (SIRFT) and two large rail‐connected warehouses now stand on the land formerly occupied by about 40 sidings over the Sheffield border.

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Due to its decline in the early 80's, most of the site had become wasteland and unused, until two months of intense manual labour from Newell & Wruight staff, resurfacing, inserting new rail tracks and working on the roads which enter the site.

The first train entered the yard this month from Maersk (the largest container shipping line and vessel operator in the world) via Felixstowe. The aim is to have five trains each way every day (at around 50‐55 containers per train) once fully operational.

Stephen Newell, operations director at Newell & Wright, said: "This is another step towards cutting our carbon footprint and increasing the rail freight services we provide, it will also reduce the distance our trucks have to travel and provide more rail freight options for businesses.

Company founder Frank Newell, added: "This is just the start of a huge investment into rail freight, we plan to start phase 2 of the development, increasing capacity and job opportunities in the area. The government have asked businesses to reduce emissions, reduce traffic and make changes to support environmental initiatives and that’s exactly what we have done."

GB Railfreight (GBRf) has recently signed a new two-year deal with the Danish company A.P. Moller-Maersk - the first rail collaboration between the two companies. The agreement sees GBRf operating from Tinsley, but is a continuation of a longstanding relationship with Newell & Wright, whom GBRf have long worked with.

In 2016, Newell & Wright installed sidings at the DB Cargo site at Templeborough in Rotherham to enable a new GBRf freightline to launch between Rotherham and the Port of Felixstowe.

Newell & Wright website

Images: Newell & Wright / VisualisedIt

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News: Rotherham firm sold to employee-owned trust

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Build-Lite (UK) Ltd, a Rotherham-based supplier to the construction industry, has sold the shares in the holding company to an employee-owned trust formed for the benefit of the company's 15 strong workforce.

The company, which was incorporated in 2012 and is based at Thurcroft, develops, manufactures and supplies a range of innovative building products and creative architectural mouldings. In March 2019, Build-Lite (UK) Ltd was awarded the British Board of Agrément (BBA) certificate for Future Found – its UK-manufactured revolutionary insulated foundation system.

The company’s construction materials significantly reduce build-time, improve the carbon footprint and reduce handling and storage costs. They also offer a range of fast-track building products to provide cost-effective solutions to many of the commercial, financial and environmental challenges encountered by architects and developers in their construction projects.

Build-Lite (UK) Ltd used Sheffield-based firm Mackenzie Spencer, who offer a complete transaction service which incorporates both corporate finance and corporate legal advice and is led by Chris Sellars and Samantha Sellars.

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Paul Goodlad, Director and former majority shareholder of Build-Lite (UK) Ltd and Architectural Decorative Facades Ltd, said: “Following a recommendation from our existing accountant, using Mackenzie Spencer to cover all the financial and legal matters ensured the transaction was completed quickly with all appropriate advice provided by one company. This was extremely helpful when you are busy trying to keep the day-to-day business going through the sale process.”

Paul remains a director of the companies and has also become a director of the newly formed trustee company to assist the new employee group and provide support to the new Managing Director that Build-Lite are looking to appoint.

Paul added: “The success and growth of Build-Lite (UK) Ltd and Architectural Decorative Facades Ltd would have been impossible without the contribution of our employees. Succession planning is always at the forefront of our thinking and we felt confident that this was the right step for us. We are now looking to build a new management team to drive forward the business whilst rewarding all employees for all their efforts in getting the company to this stage.”

Chris Sellars, Managing Director of Mackenzie Spencer, said: “Following getting to know both Paul and Trevor throughout this process, we are delighted to have assisted them in their exit. Whilst not appropriate for all companies, the desire that Paul and Trevor had to reward and empower the staff that have helped them grow Build-Lite meant it ticked a lot of boxes for them. We are sure that under the new ownership, the company will continue to thrive with a truly engaged, motivated and collective workforce all reaping the benefits of that success.”

The trust was advised by the Leonard Curtis legal team, led by Jonathan Roberts and Jennifer Moore.

Build-Lite (UK) Ltd website

Images: Build Lite

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Friday, May 7, 2021

News: Rotherham bingo hall's number is up

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There will be no full houses at a Rotherham bingo hall anytime soon after operators announced that it will not be re-opening.

Mecca Bingo has confirmed that its venue on Corporation Street in Rotherham town centre is closing permanently.

It is thought that the lease on 26,000 sq ft property was due to expire this year.

The Rank Group, which owns Mecca, has seen venues closed during the Covid pandemic as a result of lockdowns, tiering closures and curfew, with revenues halved and losses incurred. Mecca's like-for-like revenue comparison for between the six months ended 31 December 2020 and the same period in the previous year was down 56%.

Just last month, John O'Reilly, CEO of Rank, said: "Our business has inevitably been heavily impacted by the pandemic but, with the strong support and dedication of our colleagues, we are now very much looking forward to reopening our casino and bingo venues, welcoming back our customers and providing the great entertainment and omni-channel service in a COVID safe environment we know they enjoy."

However, a statement on the Mecca website this week , said: "It's with a very heavy heart we have to announce that Mecca Bingo Rotherham will be closing permanently.

"We want to take the opportunity to thank you, our wonderful customers, and our team for the MECCA-tastic years! Thank you for your loyalty and all the great memories we've made together.

"Our closest club Sheffield Flat Street opens from 17th May, and we hope to welcome you all there to keep making great memories and to bring you the usual Mecca fun."

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The building, which was previously a cinema was due to go up for auction twice in 2018 with a guide price of £875,000 - £925,000 and then £800,000 but the lots were withdrawn twice.

UPDATE - The property did sell at auction in 2019 for £575,000.

The substantial building, currently set out as a bingo hall, includes a reception area, gaming hall and ancillary and office accommodation over lower ground, ground, first and mezzanine floors.

Auction documents showed that the property is entirely let to Mecca Bingo Limited until 2021 at a current rent of £125,950 per annum. The tenant had an option to extend the lease.

The property previously sold in 2014, when it went for £880,000, also at auction.

The building, which auctioneers said "may lend itself to a variety of uses and redevelopment subject to obtaining all the necessary consents," is situated alongside the key regeneration site in the town centre - Forge Island.

Originally opened in December 1934 as the Regal Cinema the building was commissioned by Thomas Wade Cinemas Ltd of Wath-upon-Dearne, and designed by Messrs Blackmore and Sykes, Architects, of Hull. It had seating for 1,825, and was fully equipped for stage performances with three dressing rooms, and a theatre organ.

The site became the Odeon in 1946 and the café was turned into a Victor Sylvester ballroom in the 1960s. The cinema was taken over by Rank in 1975 and renamed La Scala. It showed its last film in 1983. It opened up for bingo as the Ritz, but was then taken over by Mecca Bingo.

Mecca website

Images: Google Maps

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