Thursday, July 29, 2021

News: New future for demolition-threatened Rotherham grammar school building


Months after plans were submitted to knock it down, new plans have now gone in to save and reuse a historic part of Maltby Old Grammar School.

Rothbiz reported in April that the iconic clock tower, which was saved from demolition when the academy trust revamped the site in 2013, was set to be knocked down.

In those plans, the Trust said that: "The Grammar School is now in an “abandoned” state due to anti-social behaviour, trespass and illegal break ins causing damage to the building internally and externally." It added that the damage to the block, which dates from 1932 but is not a listed building, "is extensive and dangerous."

However, with the hope of new funding, a new planning application has been submitted detailing how the building could be saved.

Rotherham Council is bidding to the Government's Levelling Up fund for a £23m project to kickstart the leisure and visitor economy. It includes £4.5m of Government funding in the £6.3m redevelopment of the former Maltby Grammar School to create an incubator space for training, apprenticeships, and start up support in the leisure and hospitality sectors.

Plans from Maltby Academy show a sixth form centre and a community and enterprise centre.

The plans, drawn up by Derek Cox Architects, state: "The Maltby Learning Trust is seeking planning permission to remodel the old Grammar School Building on the Maltby Academy site. This would involve partial demolition of the single storey wings on the North side of the building adjacent to the quadrangle at the centre of the Academy site.

"The remainder of this building will be re-developed with planned works consisting of overhaul of the roof, restoration of the clock tower, installation of new aluminium windows and doors, repairs to rain water goods, making good brickwork, introduction of a partially glazed roof over the internal courtyard, new M & E services throughout and complete internal refresh.

"This proposal will retain the substantial part of the complex and repurpose the building for mixed use comprising a sixth form centre, accommodation to support acquiring skills and supporting apprenticeships, enterprise and new businesses and provide spaces for community use to support lifelong learning, group meetings and exhibitions.

"The project involves refurbishing the structural fabric of the buildings, reconfiguring the spaces and creation of a ‘heart space’ that would be the focal point of the complex.

"It is recognised that this group of buildings are of historic importance to the Local Community Heritage Asset and provide a catalyst for redefining and reshaping the town centre through creating a civic hub around the existing community services, leisure centre and the new community orientated facility."

David Sutton, CEO of Maltby Learning Trust, said: “Hopefully through retaining the buildings links with Maltby Academy and sharing the facilities and expertise available, young people of Maltby and the broader community can be assisted in the move to employment and apprenticeships and the Trust can encourage start-up initiatives, provide guidance and create new work experience opportunities.

“The Trust is committed to engaging with a number of local community groups, the Town Council and Local Authority to try to access specific funding streams designed to upgrade old buildings, invest in community regeneration and crime reduction and bring safe community spaces into Town Centres.”

Maltby Learning Trust website

Images: Maltby Learning Trust


News: Acquisition concludes merger inquiry


3G Truck and Trailer Parts (3G), based in Rotherham, has been acquired. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered the sale following an inquiry.

The £16m-turnover Hellaby-firm is a commercial vehicle components supplier and initially went through a merger in 2020 with TVS Europe Distribution Limited (TVS).

The CMA concluded that the merger may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the wide range wholesale supply of commercial vehicle and trailer parts to motor factors in the independent aftermarket in the UK. The Group concluded that the sale of the 3G business, to a purchaser approved by the CMA, would be an effective and proportionate remedy.

Following a competitive sale process, a joint venture between John Bruce and Peter Beaumont (original investors), and commercial vehicle brake specialist Thos Winnard & Sons agreed a deal to buy back the company.

John Bruce, Director, said “We look forward to working with the proven management team to continue the growth of the business.”

BHP Corporate Finance, led by Don Gray and Declan Savage, acted as lead advisors to the buyers.

Declan Savage, Assistant Director at BHP Corporate Finance, said “3G has grown significantly over the past two years and we are delighted to have assisted John and Peter to buy back the company they helped to found and grow into the successful business it is today. I have no doubt that under their leadership it will continue to grow further”.

HSBC provided a combined acquisition finance and working capital facility to support the transaction. Chris Alsop, Relationship Director at HSBC, said “This impressive management team have a great opportunity to grow this well-established business even further – I am very confident they will do so and am pleased that HSBC have been able to support them on this journey."

Yorkshire law firm Gordons provided legal advice to the buyer. Gordons corporate partner Jonathan Asquez led on the deal assisted by corporate solicitors Lisa Murphy and Andrew Moore.

Jonathan added: “We were very pleased to provide advice on this deal, particularly as we worked on the sale of 3G to TVS last year.

“This meant we were able to facilitate the transaction quickly thanks to our existing knowledge of both companies.”

HSBC were advised by Richard Goodall of FRP Advisory (financial due diligence) and James Burdekin of Knights plc (legal advice). Schofield Sweeney acted for TVS.

3G Truck and Trailer Parts website

Images: 3G


News: South Yorkshire to pilot new Local Skills Improvement Plan


South Yorkshire’s Chambers of Commerce have come together to lead a successful bid that could transform skills supply, employment prospects, and business productivity across the region.

The South Yorkshire Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) Trailblazer will be led by Doncaster Chamber working alongside Sheffield, and Barnsley and Rotherham Chambers of Commerce and a range of partners including the region’s colleges and Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Training Centre.

The bid was backed by all of the region’s MPs, the Sheffield City Region Mayoral Combined Authority, Local Enterprise Partnership and a range of other strategic partners.

The targeted pilot will work closely with colleges and other provider to provide skills solutions for employers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) related industries. As well as putting businesses in the driving seat when it comes to articulating skills demand, the pilot will also seek to encourage businesses to increase the level of investment in their workforce.

Andrew Denniff, CEO Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, said: “This is excellent news for South Yorkshire. Improving skills supply and encouraging businesses to invest in workforce development are two priorities within the region’s ambitious Strategic Economic Plan. This is an opportunity to put employers at the heart of skills planning in a new and innovative way.”

Dan Fell, CEO Doncaster Chamber, said: “Our bid was backed by a range of STEAM-related employers, including some of the region’s exemplar businesses, who have committed to working with the Chambers and Colleges as early adopters to make this this project a success. The collaborative approach to this bid demonstrates the ability of ‘Team South Yorkshire’ to sing from the same hymn sheet and to create positive outcomes for the region’s businesses and residents.”

Louisa Harrison-Walker, an Executive Director at Sheffield Chamber, said: “Developing a highly skilled workforce is so very important to our Chamber members and the wider business community. This work will be led by businesses for businesses, but it will involve genuine collaboration with all those who care about developing a highly skilled workforce fit for the 21st century.”

Images: Opportunities Doncaster


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

News: Fan zone plans for Guest & Chrimes


Football fans and visitors to Rotherham town centre will have more to cheer if new plans for a micro-brewery and fan zone can be realised at a rejuvenated Guest & Chrimes site.

Rothbiz reported last month that the historic site was in line for a funding boost as the borough had been selected by the Government to receive £31.6m to revamp areas of Rotherham town centre as well as Templeborough and Eastwood.

It was outlined that the site, which suffered a fire in 2018, was set to provide attractive public spaces and leisure facilities.

Now further details of the proposals show that £4.5m has been earmarked from the Towns Fund pot for the saving of the landmark water tower, the development of a new building, and new public spaces on the site. 16,000 sq ft of new commercial space would be created alongside 0.26 hectares of new public realm.

The aim is to create an "enhanced townscape that is more attractive and more accessible to residents, businesses and visitors" and help build an "improved arts, cultural and heritage offer that is more visible and easier for residents/visitors to access."

Investment plans state: "New developments have brought life to the area with the arrival of Rotherham United’s New York Stadium and Riverside House, home to Rotherham Borough Council and currently the Central Library. However, the vacant and semi-derelict buildings at the former Guest and Chrimes factory, which is of significant historical importance to Rotherham, being Grade II listed, remain present and unused. An options appraisal has been completed and a solution which celebrates and retains the building’s heritage, and its surrounding uses has been identified.

"This is a longstanding vacant heritage building complex, desperately in need of regeneration. The new solution has now been developed in partnership with Rotherham United Football Club, creating complimentary leisure uses and outstanding public realm. The key heritage feature of the building is retained and incorporated into a vibrant new leisure-based scheme.

"The project comprises the development of a new building and public realm, providing space for the expansion of successful local businesses into the town centre. There is demand for this space as evidenced by consultation with local businesses, including a micro-brewery, football club fan-zone."

A recent council bid to the Levelling Up Fund includes the provision of a new pedestrian bridge across the river between the new residential development on Sheffield Road and Guest & Chrimes and New York Stadium.

Rothbiz reported in 2019 that Historic England had received an application to remove the building from the listed buildings register. The historic frontage was demolished following the fire.

The new project aims to secure the refurbishment of the landmark water tower and the completion of a "light-box" landmark feature.

Empty since 1999, the site was purchased by Rotherham Council for £2.6m from developers, Evans in 2010 and is now controlled by the football club which has a very long lease from the Council. English Heritage (now Historic England) "strongly objected" to 2012 plans to demolish the former factory.

The company established a manufacturing operation near to Rotherham's Market Place in 1843 with the Chrimes brothers, Peter and Edward, setting up a brass foundry where they invented and produced the high-pressure loose valve screw-down tap.

The firm rapidly expanded into sluice valves, fire hydrants and water meters and John Guest joined the firm in 1847. Following a very large order from Spain, the company moved to the present site in 1857.

The new project wants to tell the international story about Guest & Chrimes through branding and public art to raise ambitions and aspiration of young people. Public realm space would include "interactive New York style Fire Hydrant water features for children’s play - reflecting the product that was designed and manufactured here. This will help to maximise the natural assets of the river and canal."

The plans give an indicative completion date for the project of 2024.

Images: RMBC / Tom Austen


News: South Yorkshire’s SMEs set for £3.3m grant funding boost


A grant scheme which aims to help businesses across South Yorkshire to bridge the productivity gap is set to provide up to £3.3m in grant funding to boost the local economy, after the region was identified as the lowest performing City Region in England and one of the worst performing areas in Europe.

With productivity being closely linked to improving quality of life, the Business Productivity Programme which was launched in October and to date has supported over 100 businesses, will help businesses to overcome barriers to growth and productivity challenges by applying for a match-funded grant.

Projects which include both consultancy services and investment in new equipment or machinery up to a value of £24,999 can apply for up to 50% of the costs to be funded through the new grant scheme. The new scheme is funded through the European Regional Development Fund and will be delivered by Enterprising Barnsley, Business Sheffield, Business Doncaster and Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO).

To qualify for the grant funding, businesses must be based in South Yorkshire and been trading for more than twelve months. As part of the application process businesses must submit a detailed expenditure plan.

According to the latest statistics released by the Office of National Statistics, only Swansea Bay City Region had a lower level of productivity than the Sheffield City Region. Data published by the Sheffield City Region has also suggested that if business productivity levels increased, the size of the local economy would increase from £35bn to £44bn if it matched the UK national average, and £62bn when compared with London.

Anna Smith, Programme Manager, Business Productivity Programme said: “As many businesses turn their attentions to working in a post Covid-19 and post Brexit world, many have been forced to adapt and embrace news ways of running their business. The business productivity programme was developed in a bid to help businesses access the skills, support and capital needed to respond a changing economy.

“Business productivity is an important benchmark and research has consistently showed strong links between economic growth, quality of life and standard of living. Although there have been some signs of increases in productivity in recent years, South Yorkshire has struggled to catch up with other parts of the UK. Instead, the gap appears to widening.

“Historically, the local economy has been dependent upon low-skilled jobs and according to research published by the Sheffield City Region, nearly half of those jobs are at threat of automation within the next two decades. The aim of the business productivity programme is to help equip South Yorkshire businesses with the skills and support needed to innovate, invest in R&D and drive future economic growth within the region.

“The long term aim of the programme is to help attract and retain high skilled jobs within South Yorkshire, by helping businesses to understand and overcome perceived barriers to growth."

RiDO website

Images: RiDO

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