Wednesday, August 24, 2016

News: Maltby restoration plans recommended for approval


New plans that involve the importation of 1.32 million tonnes of material for the restoration of Maltby Colliery in Rotherham are being recommended for approval.

The 500 acre colliery was mined for over 100 years until geological conditions could not be overcome and underground operations ceased in 2013.

It had been expected to continue coal production until 2025 but the winding tower was brought down in 2014 and the mine shafts have been filled and capped. With the sudden closure, the future restoration scheme, included in the planning permission for the mine's operation, is being re-examined.

On behalf of Hargreaves Maltby Limited, consultants at Signet Planning submitted new detailed planning documents to Rotherham Council outlining the scheme.

The plans, which involve cut and fill operations, the import of 1.32 million tonnes of suitable fill material and 150,000 tonnes of soil making materials, are going before the council's planning board this week and planners are being recommended to approve the plans, subject to a number of conditions.


A previous application involving the importation of 450,000 tonnes of mine runoff fines, known as MRF, to be transported each year from nearby Hatfield Colliery and deposited in the current lagoon at Maltby were refused by the planing board in 2014, despite the council's planning officers recommending that the plans be approved.

Regarding the latest restoration, which is estimated to take six years and six months, planners have assessed impacts such as noise, traffic and landscape and made comparisons to the previous scheme approved in 2010.

The site sits within the borough's Green Belt and the restoration is set to include 19.8 hectares of new native broadleaved woodland and scrub; 23.1 hectares of neutral grassland with wildflowers; 47.2 hectares of amenity grassland and/or biomass; and 3.6 kilometres of new public access routes linking with the wider rights of way network.
2014 plans were refused by the members of the planning board who felt that the importation of material represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt, as it does not relate to the material produced from the Maltby Colliery, and that the HGV vehicle movements resulting from the development are detrimental.

In this case the planners agree that the restoration will bring many positive benefits and that "very special circumstances" exist to warrant the grant of planning permission for this development in the Green Belt in this instance.

The plans envisage a worst case of five to six HGV arrivals per hour (or ten to 12 HGV movements) whilst material is being imported. The planners state that this is "very similar to the traffic movements generated by the colliery when it was operational." A contribution of £6,000 for additional road improvements is being made a condition of planning permission.

The report to the planning board concludes: "While there are some negative impact of the proposal, mainly the importation of material by HGVs, the positive impact of the environmentally acceptable restoration scheme to secure the reclamation of the site clearly outweigh the impacts."

Images: Hargreaves Services


News: New Costa proposals to perk up Parkgate


As fit out work continues for a new Costa unit in Rotherham town centre, another is being planned for Parkgate Shopping.

Rothbiz reported first that "The Nation's Favourite Coffee Shop" was taking on the empty unit on Corporation Street that was vacated by fast food chain KFC last year.

Now a planning application has been submitted for a 1,800 sq ft standalone drive-thru unit to be occupied by Costa between Wilko's and Morrison's supermarket in the existing car park at Parkgate.

Part of Whitbread plc, Costa was founded in London in 1971 by Italian brothers, Sergio and Bruno. With over 2,000 coffee shops in the UK and more than 1,240 in 31 overseas markets, Costa is the fastest growing coffee shop business in the UK and is aiming to create 5,000 new UK jobs by 2020. It already operates in Rotherham at a 2,000 sq ft unit at Parkgate Shopping and the Waterfront development in Manvers.

Drive thru stores are operated by the company and by franchisees. Costa's turnover grew by 15.9% to £1.1 billion for the year to March 3 2016. Underlying operating profit was up 15.8% to £153.5m.


The proposed development, which would take up 45 parking spaces, would be single storey and include feature glazing, and red and grey render and include a drive thru, not currently available at the existing Costa on the park.

The owners of the park, together with potential operators and visitors have all shown an interest in an improved food and drink offer at Parkgate. A 4,000 sq ft Frankie & Benny's restaurant opened in 2012 to complement to the existing instore caf├ęs and fast food outlets. A similar size Nando's opened at the end of 2015, a new development replacing the former Pizza Hut restaurant.

In 2016, an in-house coffee shop and eatery, UK Coffee Shop, opened within the 45,000 sq ft UK Outdoor Clearance site.

McDonald's opened a 24-hour restaurant and drive thru on the edge of Parkgate Shopping in 2014 and plans for a 2,000 sq ft Starbucks drive thru coffee shop at nearby Foundry Retail Park were approved in 2015.
Due to the small size of the proposed Costa unit, there is no requirement to undertake an impact assessment. On previous restaurant developments, Rotherham planners stated that "no evidence exists to demonstrate that the proposed development would have a significant adverse effect on the town centre."

Sequential tests ensure that development is located in the most sustainable location first (usually in town centres), before other, less sustainable locations are chosen. In this case, the applicants have discounted a number of sites in the town centre.


Parkgate ranks in the top ten of British retail parks ranked by the total retail spend attracted to each centre. Attracting over nine million visitors a year, the 575,000 sq ft retail destination is one of the largest retail parks in the UK. Home to over 40 shops, the park is anchored by the likes of M&S, Outfit, Next, Boots and H&M.

Recent opening include The Works and Smyth's Toys. A tenant is close to moving into the empty unit vacated by BHS, the national retailer that went into liquidation.

In a transaction worth around £175m, BMO Real Estate Partners (BMO) acquired Parkgate Shopping in September 2015 from the Hercules Unit Trust (HUT), which is advised by British Land and managed by Schroders.

The latest application shows that Interest Trustees Ltd and Spread Trustee Company Ltd are now trustees of the Rotherham Unit Trust.

Costa website
Parkgate Shopping website

Images: Whitbread plc


News: Eadon's MULE does the heavy lifting


Design engineers from Eadon Consulting have played a key role in a £9m coastal defence scheme by designing a clever machine to lay 780 metres of concrete-stepped revetments.

Rapidly expanding engineering design consultancy, Eadon Consulting works across a number of sectors, with expertise in mechanical, control, hydraulic and structural design and has moved office four times in six years within the AMP Technology Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham due to the growing nature of the business.

The experts were approached by Balfour Beatty in the autumn of 2014 to design a vehicle that could be used to transport and lay precast units weighing 14 tonnes that are used as part of a coastal defence project in Sandsend, North Yorkshire.

Worn-out coastal defences have been replaced along a 1km stretch of the A174 where it runs close to the shoreline. The road had a history of landslips and had required the County Council to undertake costly repairs over the years.


The mobile unit lifting equipment vehicle (MULE) carried revetment units 800 metres along a pre-built track at around 2km/h and layed them into the correct position using the machines' three adjustable legs to ensure accuracy. Each of the legs was able to vary its height and angle with the aid of hydraulic cylinders.

Working at the foot of a cliff and between a busy road and the sea, the MULE meant that contractors didn't have to use heavy lifting to move the units in to place.

The machine, which consists of a main frame on which the revetment is loaded, has a counterweight section at the back on which the hydraulic power pack and generator can be loaded, and it is moved by a separate unit attached to the frame via a specially designed coupling. The drive unit uses two hydraulic motors to drive the drive wheels sitting in the same guide channels and also has additional ballast which is required to meet the units traction requirements.
Eadon, who were the mechanical and structural designers on the project, carried out all of the calculations and the development of the concept. The project also saw engineers continue through to the detailed design and 3D model and manufacturing drawings.

A spokesperson for Eadon said: "The project presented several challenges during the process and were required to make significant changes to the mechanism and strengthening concepts to ensure the Mule functioned correctly. Environmental factors also had to be taken into account as the machine is required to work in a hostile, coastal environment. The design team also had to bear in mind that the client ultimately wanted a cost effective solution."

An opening ceremony has recently been performed for the scheme which saw 360 revetments successfully laid into place.

Eadon Consulting website

Images: Balfour Beatty


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

News: Housing plan for empty call centre


A Rotherham building designed especially for a call centre operation could finally get tenants after being vacant for ten years.

At the centre of the Dearne Valley Enterprise Zone, Callflex Business Park includes a 35,000 sq ft office and four smaller buildings developed by development and finance company, Cannock Developments in 2002. It is now home to the Department for Work and Pensions, Keepmoat Regeneration, a G4S contact centre and South Yorkshire Police's Training Centre, but one unit, unit 7, has never been occupied.

Building 7 is a modern purpose built office / call centre building comprising 53,665 sq ft of Grade A offices, arranged over three floors. With little prospect of securing a contact centre operation, a planning application has now been submitted to assess if it would be permitted to convert the use from employment to residential use.

Applicants Castan Ltd are proposing that the building be subdivided into 62 separate dwellings.


The plans state: "The unit was constructed to be a 53,000 sq ft call centre but was never occupied due to lack of demand.

"Callflex Business Park sits in the heart of a regenerated area. The location benefits from good transport links and integrated bus and rail networks. The local area provides significant amenities to the workforce with pubs, restaurants and nearby Cortonwood Retail Park.

"Unit 7 has been vacant for ten years and is ideal for subdivision into residential units in an attractive landscape setting. The unit is in the far corner of the site and noise and traffic is minimal in this location."

In 1995 the area was designated a ten year Enterprise Zone, offering employers and investors significant financial incentives to help rejuvenate the area. Since then, more than £200m of private funding has been invested in offices, light industrial and distribution schemes. It is estimated that around 10,000 jobs had been created in the area by 2002.

Images: Knight Frank / Jones Lang LaSalle


News: GameBird takes flight


A spectacular aerobatic aircraft, which passed airworthiness tests at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, has been put through its paces at the world's largest recreational aviation, experimental aircraft and aeronautics airshow.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham and a partner in the HVM Catapult (the government's strategic initiative that aims to revitalise the manufacturing industry), the AMRC focuses on advanced machining and materials research for aerospace and other high-value manufacturing sectors.

It houses an Advanced Structural Testing Centre (ASTC) which provides state-of-the-art means, methods and skills to validate engineering materials, components, assemblies and full products.

Lincolnshire-based Game Composites utilised the centre when it needed testing for a new aerobatics aircraft. The company was founded with the aim of creating an easy handling two seater aircraft that would be recognised as the most fun to fly aircraft in the world.


The GB1 GameBird was the first fixed wing, light aircraft to undergo a full airworthiness test in the UK for more than 30 years.

Now it has taken to the air in the skies above Wisconsin, in the USA, at the EAA AirVenture annual airshow, which is attended by more than 550,000 enthusiasts from 80 countries.

The first public display at Airventure in Oshkosh, WI, saw co-founder Philipp Steinbach take the controls. Philipp is a former German national freestyle aerobatic champion and aircraft designer.

Engineers at the ASTC designed a bespoke test rig to apply forces up to ten times those exerted by gravity, simulating the forces the aircraft will have to cope with as it carries out high speed manoeuvres.

Following the ASTC's work and further tests on seats, harnesses, the GB1's fuel tank and baggage compartment, the aircraft completed European Aviation Safety Agency flight tests ahead of its debut at the EAA AirVenture airshow.

Phil Spiers, head of the ASTC, said: "It's been a privilege to be involved in proving the safety, security and integrity of this aircraft and fantastic to see the GB1 up in the air.

"This is the first, fixed wing, independently designed and built light aircraft to be certified in the UK for 30 years. Now that we have re-established this country's capability to carry out the full range of airworthiness tests we hope other designers will chose to have their testing done here."

Game Composites website
AMRC website

Images: Game Composites / Jean-Marie Urlacher

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