Monday, June 14, 2021

News: New 150-bed Rotherham hotel planned

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A 150 bedroom hotel operated by a leading name is being proposed at a regeneration scheme in Rotherham.

Essex-based developer, Stapleford Ventures Ltd, has submitted a planning application for a six storey, 150 bedroom hotel on land off Highfield Spring and Poplar Way where the Waverley development meets the Morrisons roundabout at Catcliffe.

The hotel operator would be Courtyard by Marriott.

Waverley is Yorkshire’s largest brownfield redevelopment, where Harworth Group plc secured outline planning consent for 3,890 homes and 2 million sq ft of commercial space.

With a pub on site, and plans due this summer for a new mixed-use scheme, the latest plans state that the proposal "represents an exciting opportunity to bring forward a hotel development to support the neighbouring mixed-use proposals at Waverley to provide much needed facilities to the growing business community and the surrounding area."

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The application, drawn up by Barton Willmore, adds: "The hotel operator will be Courtyard by Marriott who provide 4* business orientated hotels. The proposals has been developed closely with the hotel chain and the locality has been chosen to complement the AMP, Sheffield Business Park and surrounding residential uses and business operators. This includes the provision of a high-quality food and beverage offer whilst providing comfortable accommodation for occupants. This flagship name will provide a raft of social and economic benefits for the area as well as Rotherham as a whole."

Developers see the large restaurant / bar offer to be one of the key attractions of building a hotel in the area. Business facilities and a Fitness Centre are also proposed.

A 147 space car park is also in the plans, along with landscaped space between to hotel building and the roundabout.

The plot is considered a "landmark corner" and the design takes into account a sloping site. Architects, S R Davis, have been keen to ensure that the hotel would not imitate a commercial block, nor a block of apartments, and have designed a high quality landmark building.

The site, which is next to the Poplars Business Park and Whitbys Fish and Chip restaurant, forms part of Mixed Use Area 21 "Highfield Commercial" which includes hotels as being acceptable in principle. This means that, although hotels are typically town centre uses, a sequential test and retail impact assessment are unlikely to be required.

If approved, the development would support the creation of a permanent mix of jobs at the hotel (over 34 full time equivalent positions) and the creation of significant number of construction jobs.

To date at Waverley, over 1,000 homes have been built by Barratt Homes, Harron, Taylor Wimpey, Avant and Skyhouse, alongside 1.5 million sq. ft of commercial space predominantly for advanced manufacturing. Other local facilities have also been developed on-site, including a new primary school that opened in September 2020.

Images: S R Davis

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News: AMRC gives legs to ambitious exercise concept

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Design and prototyping expertise from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) helped a former GP to prove out an ambitious idea for a new way of exercising that maintains leg and hip mobility, turning it into a feasible design concept.

For many years, Bill Morrison worked as a GP and in that time became aware of a mobility threshold that he, and many of his patients, encountered when reaching a certain age. This spurred Bill on to explore new ways of exercising and led to him developing an idea for a device that could help prevent immobility.

“The impact on the body of sitting down for long periods of time throughout our lives is huge; it’s not something we’re biomechanically meant to do,” said Bill. “When we lose our mobility, it impacts on everything in our lives and I had an idea for how to reverse this problem, a way of exercising which would prevent people becoming immobile.

“My work with the AMRC was about exploring whether it was possible to turn this idea into a reality. They’ve shown me what is physically possible to achieve and brought the idea to the point that I now know the engineering works. I am a one-man business and could not have achieved progress like this without the support from the AMRC.”

The AMRC is part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult and the project was paid for using funds from the HVM Catapult as part of a commitment to working with small and medium-sized enterprises.

On the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, a dedicated medical workshop is housed within the AMRC Design Prototyping and Testing Centre.

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Marcus Crossley, Senior Project Manager in the AMRC’s Design and Prototyping Group, said: “Bill is an entrepreneur with ambitions to develop a new way of exercising the legs and hips, for everything from rehabilitation to supporting elite level performance.

“He worked first with our colleagues at AMRC North West, looking at a proof of concept for an innovative mechanism that enables an alternative body motion during exercising than what is currently available using equipment in gyms or hospitals. This work proved the concept was feasible, and Bill then came to work with us here at the AMRC in Sheffield to take the design forward.

“We worked with him to produce a CAD model and prototype of the mechanism which enabled us to prove out the principles and understand how it behaved. An important part of the work we did here was to simplify the original complex ideas behind the mechanism.

“This was a design which for a long time only existed in one person’s head. We were able to make it real and along the way suggest alternative ideas for how the same outcomes could be achieved using a more straightforward method. We also explored the potential for integrating digital technology into the device.

“The next stage was to produce a functioning 3D printed and laser cut plastic version of the mechanism so we could prove, as quickly and cheaply as possible, that it worked as intended. We were also able to recommend modifications which mean the device will be easier to manufacture and assemble. The next stage will be to design and prototype the device in its entirety and conduct trials with people using it to test its performance.

“We have worked with Bill through several stages of this process. Ultimately, this project has been about taking an ambitious and creative idea in one person’s head and working through the different stages needed to turn this into a practical, working version. At the AMRC we are able, relatively quickly and cost effectively, to work with a small business like this to explore such an idea and make it a reality.”

Bill added: “The next step for me is to try out the mechanism with people and see if it performs in the way I expect it to. I would recommend working with the AMRC to any small business with big ambitions to explore what might be possible.”

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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Friday, June 11, 2021

News: Plans in for Wentworth's Camelia House

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A planning application has been submitted to bring back to life the derelict Camellia House in the grounds of Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham.

Rothbiz has reported previoulsy that redeveloping the Grade II* listed Camellia House into a daytime cafe and evening events venue is Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust’s first major project to bring a derelict building back into use.

The application also includes plans to demolish a 1970s teaching accommodation block and a create a new car park.

The Camellia House, which is on Historic England’s At Risk Register, was an orangery with a tea room created in 1738 for Lady Rockingham, wife of the 1st Marquess, to entertain her guests.

The structure of the Camellia House as it stands today dates principally to 1812, although it also incorporates an earlier structure dating to 1732 which itself reused elements of a 17th century follie which was originally located elsewhere with the grounds.

The plans for the building, from Donald Insall Associates, involve a new kitchen, plant room and WC facilities located within the flanking wings within the tea room, a new glazed roof and gutters, the creation of level access into the building, the restoration of the painted timber panelling, a new underfloor heating system and a new ground source heat pump, repairs to the pool and fountain and new landscaping and pathways.

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The the current camellias will remain in place and a careful plan for their protection has been developed by head gardener, Scott Jamieson.

The application states: "The interventions proposed are limited to those considered absolutely necessary to help create an accessible building and ensure its future sustainable public use, to enable visitor access into the restored historic spaces and to give it a new vital purpose ensuring its principal special interest is preserved, accessed and understood.

"The works of repair and restoration proposed will enable its removal from the ‘At Risk’ register whilst the scheme as a whole will secure the conservation of the building in the longterm. Furthermore the role of the Camellia House in the wider proposals (including the demolition of the 1970s Teaching Accomodation and the provision of a main visitor car park) in order to bring the Estate into public use, will have an exceptional impact on local character and distinctiveness, allowing people to experience and engage with one of the foremost historic country estates in England in a manner previously unknown.

"Introducing a viable and sustainable use into this very important listed building, and ensuring this is to a standard of design and quality worthy of its status both internally and externally, is essential. Without a sustainable and economically viable use, the other alternative is to allow the building to further deteriorate over time."

The 1970s teaching accommodation block is located immediately to the west of the stables and is at odds with the historic character of the other buildings on site.

Demolition would enable the creation of a new 205 space car park to meet the capacity required for the visitor attraction which is seen as integral to the Trust’s ambitions to turn the Estate into a thriving visitor attraction, to the economic benefit of the borough more widely.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: Damian Griffiths / Donald Insall Associates

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News: MTL Advanced investing in Rotherham facility

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MTL Advanced, a division of one of the largest engineering groups in Europe, has made a further investment in its Rotherham facility.

It is also on a recruitment drive for new apprentices.

Since being taking over by the WEC Group, the contract manufacturing specialist has gone from strength to strength - winning orders and taking on new staff. It processes in the region of 25,000 tonnes of material annually and are capable of handling all sizes and types of work from carbon steel to aluminium.

MTL Advanced has made further investments in the latest machining technology and purchased an additional state-of-the-art Machining Centre. This will run alongside a Double Column Vertical Machining Centre which was commissioned in November 2020.

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MTL said that the investment has come off the back of an extremely successful Q1 in 2021, despite the challenging industrial conditions over the past 12 months. It is the second investment to increase machining capacity in seven months and the new Machining Centre arrived at the Brinsworth site in early May.

The new 2m x 0.8m 3 AXIS Machining Centre will provide an increase in machining capacity and better lead times for our customers. The additional demand for machining services has also created new job opportunities, as well as four CNC Machining Apprenticeship positions to join in the firm's September 2021 intake.

MTL currently has over 40 job opportunities available including 18 Apprenticeships.

Karl Stewart, general manager at MTL Advanced said: "After a successful Q1, we continued investing in the latest technology to add value to our customer’s supply chain. The addition of the new Machine is part of our ongoing investment plan and is strengthening our position as one of the UK’s leading contract manufacturers."

MTL Advanced website

Images: MTL Advanced

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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

News: First look at latest Rotherham regen projects

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The Rotherham Town Deal Board has released new cgi images of how some of the proposed multimillion projects could look.

Rothbiz reported this week that the borough had been selected by the Government to recieve £31.6m to revamp areas of Rotherham town centre as well as Templeborough and Eastwood.

The Town Investment Plan focuses on a number of schemes deliverable within five years. These include creating a Riverside Residential Quarter and better access to enjoy the waterfront; regenerating the Guest & Chrimes heritage site (cgi, top) to provide attractive public spaces and leisure facilities.

Proposals outlined last year stated that, building on current Rotherham Council residential developments in the area, "a number of other residential sites along Sheffield Road and also the Guest & Chrimes site across the river" could be brought forward.

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It added: "The full development of this area will take many years but ideas at present formed through Town Deal include supporting the delivery of 350 new homes, community facilities which could also include local shopping and also a bridge over the River Don linking Sheffield Road to Guest & Chrimes."

This funding will also enable work to go ahead to create attractive public spaces and transform derelict heritage buildings on High Street and Corporation Street - creating a gateway from the Minster Gardens across to the new Forge Island leisure development (cgi below).

At Eastwood, potential interventions include new family housing on underused land on York Road, on the site of the closed Netherfield Court care home and on Erskine Road. Some existing residential properties in the area could be refurbished and transformed (cgi, below).

Other potential interventions around improving connectivity at Eastwood include replacing the two bridges over the rail line and canal to better connect Parkgate's retail centre, and tram-train stop, with Eastwood Village. At St Ann's, filling in the underpass is proposed with the creation of better, at grade, connections for pedestrians and cyclists.

Money is also set to help create a new heart for the business community in Templeborough by making under-used sites productive again, improving travel connections and creating new spaces for hospitality and meetings.

Through this investment the Council will also be able to support development of a new mainline station for Rotherham, which is expected to be in the Parkgate area.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Cllr Denise Lelliott, said: “A huge amount of hard work has gone in to securing this investment over the past 18 months and I’m really pleased to see that effort rewarded with funding which will complement other schemes already underway to regenerate our town and create jobs.

“It is testament to the quality and vision of those plans that Rotherham’s bid has not only been successful, but secured a higher-level investment than many other places.

“We’re excited to now begin working with our partners and stakeholders to deliver these projects, which form a central plank of our plans to build a better borough for all of Rotherham’s residents.”

Rotherham Council brought in consultants, ARUP and WYG, to work on the bid and Rotherham Town Deal Board, which is private sector chaired and brings together the public and private sectors, produced a "locally-owned" Town Investment Plan which was submitted at the end of January 2021 to the government to assess for investment from the £3.6bn fund.

Images: RMBC

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