Monday, February 19, 2018

News: Funding secured for new homes in Rotherham but borough misses out on big money

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Government funding has been secured that will enable Rotherham Council to provide around 120 new homes in the borough, but larger developments being promoted by the Council may have to wait.

In the latest round of One Public Estate (OPE) funding, which is being combined with Land Release Fund (LRF) cash to specifically support housing developments, the Sheffield city region (SCR) is set to receive £530,000 to be used to build a range of affordable homes.

Part of the allocation, £450,000, is set to be used on projects that involve demolishing and replacing two former adult care homes, Rothwell Grange in Broom and Copeland Lodge in Thurcroft, as well as Maltby Central Library (pictured), and creating new types of accommodation.

The authority has recently applied for planning permission to demolish a number of properties including Rothwell Grange, Copeland Lodge, Maltby Central Library and the adjacent former fire station, the former schools at Psalters Centre in Kimberworth and Neighbourhood Offices at St Johns Green in Kimberworth Park.

Earlier this month however, the Government announced successful projects benefiting from the first wave of funding from the £5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund. It did not include any Rotherham projects and just two in the SCR.

Minutes of meetings at Rotherham Council from September 2017 show that two Housing Infrastructure Fund bids were made by the Council to bring forward development. The first at Bassingthorpe Farm for £31m would deliver essential transport and drainage infrastructure and the second in Rotherham town centre for £10.6m would enable flood alleviation and ground preparation to for the delivery of around 400 homes.

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The successful projects will include homes for first time buyers, and homes that will allow older people and people with support needs to continue to live independently in vibrant communities.

Work on these projects is expected to start in the coming weeks and will potentially involve using modern technology, including offsite construction, to build the homes faster.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the SCR's Local Enterprise Board, said: "This is a creative way to provide better services and accommodation for older people and those who need support.

"This funding also means that work can start much more quickly than would otherwise have been the case, and I am delighted that we have been able to help support this project.

"Our approach is simple, straightforward and pragmatic. In Sheffield City Region we grab each opportunity and make the most of it."

Cllr. Dominic Beck, Cabinet Member for Housing at Rotherham Council, added: "The link between housing and good health and wellbeing is undeniable so it's crucial that we are working in partnership to provide homes that are affordable and fit for purpose in thriving neighbourhoods.

"As a council we have committed to provide 14,000 new homes that meet the needs of our residents over the next seven years and this funding will help us deliver on this commitment."

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The SCR's Joint Assets Board (JAB) – the first of its kind in the country - won the funding in the latest round of the heavily over-subscribed OPE programme.

The Board includes the nine local authorities of the SCR, central Government departments, the health and care services, police, and rail, and looks at public sector service delivery in the city region from an asset management perspective.

In the previous rounds of OPE funding, cash has been allocated to a range of projects including the Rotherham Town Centre Masterplan which aims to transform Rotherham town centre.

It includes the transformation of Forge Island, the large empty area in the centre of Rotherham, into a major leisure destination including a new cinema, a quality hotel, and food and drink outlets.

It will also provide more than 350 high quality riverside homes, offering buyers spacious, well-designed waterfront living at competitive prices, and open up Rotherham's outdoor market.

SCR website

Images: Google Maps

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News: QSP hails Rotherham bus station tender

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West Yorkshire-based QSP Construction Group has been appointed to build a temporary bus station on Forge Island in Rotherham town centre.

The nearby Rotherham Interchange is undergoing a £12m revamp and bus services will cease to use the current interchange from April 2018 and will move to a temporary bus station on Forge Island (the old Tesco site) for approximately one year whilst Rotherham Interchange is closed for the refurbishment works.

Following a competitive tendering process, QSP Construction Group, will now get to work on the temporary facility that it will provide 12 stands and a covered waiting area for passengers.

Tender documents showed that the cost of the works are in the order of £275,000 to £325,000.

As Rotherham Forge Island is smaller than the current Interchange some services will use new bus stands and shelters located on Corporation Street and Market Place.

Only half of the Forge Island site will be used as a temporary bus station. The car park, which has been operated by Rotherham Council for a number of years, will continue to be open, complete with the "red zone" which offers free parking for two hours.

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Tim Taylor, director of customer services at SYPTE, said: "Rotherham Forge Island – as the temporary site will be known – will provide 12 bus stands with lighting, seating and a covered waiting area for passengers along with timetables at each stand, a PID, CCTV and a staffed customer service desk.

"Opening a temporary facility at Forge Island will minimize customer disruption while essential maintenance work, fire damage repairs and refurbishment works take place on the interchange and car park above."

Gary Broadhead, director at QSP Construction Group, added: "We are delighted to be given the opportunity of working with SYPTE, with whom we have worked with over many years, on the Forge Island Temporary Bus Station project, which when finished will facilitate the commencement of the £12m Interchange re-development."

Planning permission for the Interchange refurbishment was approved at the end of 2017. The plans focus on refreshing the concourses with upgrades to flooring, plinths and glazing. The main pedestrian entrances are also set to be revamped. Changes in the car park include new surfacing, bigger spaces for modern cars, designated walking routes and new cladding.

Work is due to start in the spring and whilst the works take place the car park and bus interchange will be closed but the café, shops in the mall and customer toilets will remain open throughout.

As for Forge Island, Rotherham Council has officially launched its search for a development partner. Proposals for the key regeneration project in the Rotherham town centre masterplan. It is anticipated that the site could accommodate a cinema, hotel, restaurants and bars, town centre parking, as well as high quality business space and modern residential opportunities.

QSP Construction
SYPTE website

Images: SYPTE

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News: 2018 Barnsley and Rotherham Business Awards announced

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Businesses based throughout South Yorkshire are being encouraged to shout about their success stories over the past twelve months at the 2018 Barnsley and Rotherham Business Awards, which have been officially launched this month.

Now in its eighth year, the business awards will return to Magna, Rotherham on Friday October 19 and is considered to be one of the most important events in the regions business calendar.

This year will see a number of new awards up for grabs, including Marketing Campaign of the Year, Innovation in Manufacturing as well as seeing businesses throughout the region compete for the titles of Most Promising New Business and Business of the Year, with 13 awards in total.

A limited number of sponsorship opportunities are currently available. Confirmed sponsors for the 2018 business awards include Fortem, Gibson Booth Business Solutions & Insolvency, Finance For Enterprise and Steelphalt (Harsco), along with past award winners – Enzygo and Russell Richardson. During the evening, guests will be treated to a pre-dinner drinks reception which has been supported by Julie Kenny CBE, DL.

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Ahead of the formal launch of the business awards, the Chamber is also calling on businesses who will celebrate a significant anniversary in 2018, particularly those companies who are celebrating 25, 50, 75 or even 100 year anniversaries to get in touch, as they may be eligible to receive a Salute to Business, sponsored by XPO Logistics, in recognition of the longstanding contribution they have made to the local economy.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, said: "Once again we start planning for our major showpiece event of the year and this time we have had a really positive, early response from a number of key sponsors. Their commitment at this stage means we can focus on preparing and putting in place an evening we can all be really proud of."

Barnsley and Rotherham Business Awards website

Images: BR Chamber / Fortay Media

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Friday, February 16, 2018

News: Royal visit as Rotherham furnace reignited

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Two and a half years after being mothballed by the previous owners, the iconic N-Furnace at Aldwarke in Rotherham is being given the Royal treatment as it is reignited by Liberty Speciality Steel.

His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales will visit the site today to mark a new era for steel production in the town.

The move is part of a multi-million-pound investment by the Liberty House Group – a member of the GFG Alliance - that is creating 300 new jobs at Rotherham and its sister plant in Stocksbridge.

Liberty formally completed a £100m deal to acquire the Speciality Steels division of Tata Steel UK last year. The "small bloom" caster at Aldwarke was officially reactivated shortly afterwards.

The first electric arc furnace (EAF) casts at Aldwarke were produced in 1964. The N-Furnace, which was installed in 1993, is the larger of the Rotherham plant's two EAFs and was mothballed in 2015 at the height of the global steel crisis.

The 800,000-tonne-a-year N-Furnace, which turns scrap metal into specialised steels for uses such as vehicle gearboxes or aircraft landing gear, will now play a pivotal role in Liberty's overall GREENSTEEL strategy, designed to usher in a cleaner and more competitive era for the industry in the UK.

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Prince Charles will be briefed by GFG executive chairman, Sanjeev Gupta, on progress towards the Alliance's vision for an industrial revival based on renewable energy, metal recycling and integration of the supply chain.

The Royal visitor will also meet several young people who will form part of a new generation of skilled workers for the steel sector and wider industry.

These include Liberty apprentices and graduate recruits as well as Industrial Cadets from local schools whom the company supports to develop their knowledge and experience of industry, with a view to building careers in metals, manufacturing or engineering. The Prince of Wales inspired the establishment of the nationwide Industrial Cadet programme seven years ago, following a visit to see the steel industry on Teesside.

The Liberty Group has a strong commitment to developing young people's skills. Its Speciality Steels business alone is recruiting a dozen graduates and 20 apprentices this year to train in engineering, technical and support roles. The company delivers bespoke training at the dedicated apprentice centre it runs in collaboration with Sheffield College on its Stocksbridge site.

The switch-on marks the culmination of five months engineering work by a team of 35 people to repair and upgrade the equipment. It will triple Liberty's capacity to melt scrap into liquid steel at Rotherham, making the company the largest steel recycler in the UK, with a capability to melt over 1.2m tonnes a year.

It also moves the business closer to its target of installing 5m tonnes of GREENSTEEL production capacity within five years. In addition, restarting N-Furnace will enable the Rotherham plant to double production on its adjacent bar mill to over 400,000 tonnes a year.

After reigniting the furnace, the Prince will move on to the adjacent general office at the plant, which has just been extensively renovated and re-opened as the new HQ for Liberty Steel UK, having previously lain empty for eight years. There, His Royal Highness will meet several young people who have recently joined the company as apprentices or graduate trainees.

He will also speak to teenagers from Bradfield School and Rotherham College who are taking part in the highly-respected Industrial Cadets programme. Since Prince Charles prompted the creation of the scheme in the North East, it has grown to become a flagship nationwide programme. Liberty Steel UK chief executive Jon Bolton is one of the founding directors and official ambassadors for Industrial Cadets. Liberty actively supports Industrial Cadets through a partnership between the GFG Foundation and the Engineering Development Trust. The GFG Foundation, a registered charity, was established by Mr Gupta and his wife Nicola.

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Sanjeev Gupta, founder and executive chairman of Liberty House Group, said: "Switching this furnace back on today, after it had lain idle for more than two years, is a pivotal moment in the revival of UK steelmaking and we are very pleased His Royal Highness is able to share this hugely symbolic milestone with us. The occasion makes a very powerful statement that steel does have a future in Britain and that is very good news for the whole of our manufacturing and engineering sector."

Liberty Speciality Steel website

Images: Liberty House

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

News: Bromley brothers back at Winter Olympics

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Bromley Sports, which has a facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, is again hoping to have a big influence at the Winter Olympics.

Founded as an indirect spin out from a BAE Systems sports technology initiative, Bromley Sports specialises in athlete-focused engineering technology, with a state-of-the-art test facility that helps finesse sporting talent.

This year, British number one, Dom Parsons will take to the Pyeongchang track using a world-leading Bromley sled. And former skeleton World Champion Kristan Bromley is using his considerable Olympic experience to coach Dutch debutante, Kimberley Bos.

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"Dr Ice" (so-called due to his PhD in Materials Engineering) decided to learn to ride Skeleton sleds to create more testing opportunities and efficiency for the sled R&D.

The winner of the World Cup title twice, in 2004 and 2008, also featured at four Olympic Games, in Salt Lake City in 2002, Turin in 2006, Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014. His partner Shelley Rudman also competed at Turin and Vancouver.



Co-founding the business with his brother, Richard, Bromley Sports is based inside the AMP Technology Centre and supplies sleds and equipment to around 50% of skeleton World Cup sliders. It can count over 150 medal successes to its product/customer's names.

Richard will also be in Pyeongchang. He is working with South Korea's Sungbin Yun, who has emerged as a favourite to claim the host nation's first Winter Olympic medal in sliding sports.

With Bromley as his coach, Sungbin Yun won the overall 2017/2018 BMW IBSF World Cup in the men's skeleton with five wins and two silver medals, giving him enough to top the overall season standings.

Richard Bromley (pictured top, encouraging Sungbin Yun) told Press Association Sport: "After the Sochi Oympics had finished and Kristan and Shelley were due to retire, I was open to working with any nation and I have asked to take a look over Sungbin's set-up.

"Sungbin won a couple of medals straight away and the South Koreans came up with an offer to make me their head World Cup coach all the way to the Olympics.

"Sungbin had only been sliding for two years before Sochi, but there was something about him. He could push and he could drive and you don't often see diamonds like him who really understand the sport and have such a good feeling.

"He's a young and good-looking lad and a rising star for sure. He's bringing a lot of attention to the sport in South Korea and that is great because it will bring more athletes through the grass-roots and up to World Cup level."

The men's event gets underway tomorrow, with the women set to start sliding on Friday.

Bromley Sports website

Images: IBSF

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