Monday, December 11, 2017

News: Plans approved for new AMP units

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Planning approval has been secured for the next commercial development on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham.

Put forward by Harworth Group, the brownfield regeneration and property investment specialist that owns the Waverley site and has its headquarters nearby, the plans are for a further 55,735 sq ft of prime space where occupiers can join the likes of McLaren and Rolls-Royce.

The AMP is part of the wider Waverley development being brought forward over the next 20 years where there is the potential for over 2,000 new jobs to be created through further development.

The first phase of the R-evolution development saw 52,000 sq ft of space built in 2014. It is fully occupied, with key occupiers including X-Cel Superturn and Metalysis. A second phase, also 52,000 sq ft, was completed earlier this year and has attracted a lot of interest. Knight Frank and Gent Visick are joint agents on the scheme.

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The latest plans for two separate buildings on plots 5 and 6 were unanimously approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council this week.

Outline consent had already been approved and the units will be able to be used for a range of industrial uses, (B1 (a, b & c), B2 and B8). An element of B1(a) office use is proposed as part of the application, however this will not exceed 10% of the total floorspace for each unit.

The units have been designed to reflect the recently constructed Units 7 and 8 and will adopt the same design principles in terms of layout. The exterior will again involve metal cladding panels in metallic silver with the main glazed entrances positioned in the corners of each unit.

The application notes that the proposals will trigger a condition of the overall Waverley planning application and require delivery of specified highway improvements. It adds however that: "Harworth Estates have recently completed these works, accordingly the necessary works are completed and the imposition of the condition is therefore unnecessary in this instance."

Planners were also satisfied with the transport assessment that traffic can be accommodated.

Nigel Hancock, assistant planning manager at Rotherham Council, said: "The plans follow on from recent proposals that we have had down there on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, notably plots 2,3 and 4 directly to the North of the application site, and plots 7 and 8, immediately to the West. We recently approved a large industrial building to be occupied by McLaren, the supercar manufacturer, and that is currently being built on site and is nearly completed [pictured above].

"As an industrial building, as you go on site, they look quite nice really. The Advanced Manufacturing Park is coming on quite well. Landscaping is starting to mature. It still looks a bit bare in areas but the buildings are going up.

"As it is the Advanced Manufacturing Park, the principle of theses types of units is already well established. There is sufficient capacity on the highway network to accommodate these levels of industrial development and we see it as a very successful, and very well engineered, type of development.

"It is the continuation of a very successful site."

Plans for an additional 3.6 hectares (8.9 acres) of land to be used for employment on the AMP were approved last year and more detailed plans are expected to be submitted soon. They will set out the level of development following engineering works to level an artificial valley between the Sheffield Parkway embankments and the embankments associated with existing development platforms in the AMP.

Harworth Group website

Images: Harworth Group

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News: Business awards for exporting experts

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Pricecheck and Macalloy, two Rotherham-based companies, have been recognised at the recent Sheffield Business Awards.

The presitigious awards are free to enter and open to any Sheffield Chamber member or business based within a "S" postcode. The award ceremony took place last week at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, with the room packed full of the region's most inspirational business leaders and hosted by Harry Gration MBE.

International wholesale and distribution business, Pricecheck, was named winner of the High Growth Business of the Year Award.

Pricecheck is a leading supplier of international branded consumer goods and specialises in excess inventory and fast-moving consumer goods.

The firm won the Queen's Award for International Trade 2015 for continuous and cumulative overseas export earnings growth of 283% over six years. In 2016, it officially opened new 115,000 sq ft premises at Beighton Link Business Park in Rotherham.

The recent award win recognises Pricecheck's exceptional growth in sales from £40m to £55m in the last two years. During this period staff numbers grew from 80 to 130 and export sales increased by 69%.

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Mark Lythe, joint managing director at Pricecheck, said: "We are very proud of our recent performance and the success continues. Sales are 35% up this year and our aim is to reach £200m by 2025."

Debbie Harrison, joint managing director at Pricecheck, added: "We're absolutely delighted to receive this recognition from the Sheffield Business Awards.

"To be part of such a prestigious event among some other great finalists was an honour in itself and a fitting tribute to the hard work of our excellent team. Our congratulations also go to our fellow winners on the night!"

Pricecheck was shortlisted for the Exporter of the Year Award at the 2017 Lloyd's Bank National Business Awards, as well as being finalists for the award of Export Champion of the Year at the Amazon Growing Business Awards last month.

Also at the Sheffield Business Awards, the Excellence in International Trade Award was won by Macalloy, the world leaders in design, manufacture and supply of threaded bar and cable systems to engineering and construction projects across the globe.

Macalloy is headquartered in Dinnington, Rotherham, having outgrown its Sheffield base and moved to purpose built facilities on the former colliery site in 2006. Macalloy products are used throughout the construction industry and have been featured in many prestigious global projects including five of the upcoming Russian World Cup Stadiums, the Burj Al-Arab Hotel in Dubai, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and Jubilee Bridge in London.

Pricecheck website
Macalloy website

Images: Pricecheck

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News: O&P Construction bags council contract

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Local contractors O&P Construction will build twenty new build bungalows that will be added to Rotherham Council's housing stock to meet the growing need for single storey, accessible properties.

The authority recognises three groups of people that often struggle to find a suitable home: single people in need of a one bedroom property; older people in need of level access accommodation; and households with a disabled family member.

The Council has started the first phase of constructing new bungalows which will be built over the next three years in various locations across the borough. There will be a combination of bungalows for those over 55 years and some larger bungalows for families with a disabled family member.

The bungalows are jointly funded by the Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and have been built by Wath-based O&P Construction. The firm is an appointed framework contractor for Yorbuild2.

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The first phase of building the bungalows begins over two sites in the borough; Catherine Avenue, Swallownest which will see the development of two, two bedroomed bungalows and two, one bedroomed properties. St Marys Drive, Catcliffe, will see the development of two, two bedroomed bungalows.

Stuart Oxley, managing director at O&P Construction, said: "We are proud at O&P Construction to be chosen as the main contractor to build these bungalows which are the first for a long time and hopefully the beginning of a new era of new council housing in the borough."

Rothbiz reported last month on the wider scheme put together by the Council after it was awarded £6.81m of grant funding through the HCA's Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP). Approved the Council's cabinet this week, it includes 113 homes planned for sites in Ravenfield, Treeton, Brampton Bierlow, Rawmarsh and Broom.

The authority also successfully secured £25,000 of Government funding towards the cost of remodelling some of its existing large three bedroom flats and adapting them to make smaller homes. At Grange Road in Swinton, three bedroomed flats have been converted to five one bedroom properties and one two bedroom property, all which are now let.

O&P Construction

Images: O&P Construction

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Friday, December 8, 2017

News: Rotherham Council shocked at INEOS tactics

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Planners and councillors in Rotherham are shocked, disappointed, disgusted and upset at fracking firm INEOS sidestepping the local planning authority.

Rothbiz reported last month that the oil and gas exploration and production business was appealing to the Government's Planning Inspectorate for a decision on its proposed test well at Harthill.

Having been given the "hurry-up" by Government, INEOS said that it had encountered "unreasonable delays" in dealing with Rotherham Council on its plans for a drilling rig on Greenbelt land between the villages of Harthill and Thorpe Salvin.

Cllr. Atkin, chair of the planning board at Rotherham Council, said at a meeting this week: "Many of you will have picked up that INEOS has upset us. They have said that we have not determined the planning application at Harthill in time, even though they asked for an extension.

"We were going to determine it in November and, because it was looking as though we were going to reject it, they asked for an extension in time so that they could overcome our objections. And then they've banged in a request for it to go to the national inspectorate and that has kiboshed us a bit."

The application was due to be discussed at a special meeting of the planning board that was pencilled in for November 23 and was heading refusal after the Council's transport planners raised concerns over road safety. The meeting was put back to early 2018.

The application has attracted over 1,000 representations. 1,129 are against the proposals and 0 are for the proposals.

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With INEOS submitting an appeal, it essentially means that the application is refused. It looks as though officers would still recommend that the plans be refused and the planning board in Rotherham will still need to determine its reasons for refusal. The Council will need to establish its position before any inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate and defend it in the same way it would at a standard planning appeal.

The board is set to meet on January 25 to discuss the proposals.

Cllr Tweed, a member of the planning board, said: "I am a little bit disgusted with INEOS on this. This is a planning board that is the best planning board throughout the country, number one for determining major decisions. And I think it is a smack in the mouth for the officers and for the members of this planning board."

He added that the situation was a disgrace.

Rotherham Council has written to the Government's Department for Communities and Local Government and the issue has been raised in Parliament with Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State, by Rother Valley MP, Kevin Barron.

Nigel Hancock, assistant planning manager at Rotherham Council, said: "We were very, very disappointed in their [INEOS'] tactics, in a way. We were actively discussing with them, as we always are - we are open and honest and transparent - we don't hide behind anything. If we think that we have got concerns about an application, we try to get those concerns out to the applicant as early as possible in the application process, to see if there is anything that can be done to work through them.

"People object to applications but that doesn't necessarily mean that as officers we are just going to refuse it. We are very pro development in Rotherham, everybody knows that, and we try to get these things working. If issues can't be overcome, and we didn't think that the issues at Harthill couldn't be overcome and we were relaying that back to the applicant, we still try to work to a level where we say: "we have resolved everything else other than this and if you wish to go to appeal then these are the only outstanding matters" rather than just refusing it.

"We were actually engaged in those discussions with them and having meetings with them. And only a couple of days before they actually submitted the appeal they sent us further information to consider. It was a shock. We would normally expect applicants to tell us that they were considering appealing non-determination, and realistically it should only be a last resort where they think that the council has been unable to progress matters and that wasn't the case here."

Hancock told the board that a public inquiry might have been the eventual outcome given the recommendation for refusal but said that the highway concerns were still being worked on.

He concluded: "Nobody knew the outcome of that planning board because we never had an opportunity to have it, and members of the public haven't had their opportunity to express their concerns, so it did seem to override that democratic process."

INEOS Shale website

Images: INEOS / Turley

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News: Award success for Signs Express

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Rotherham-based sign specialists, Signs Express, has won an exceptional three awards at the company's national sign awards recently.

Signs Express, the UK's largest sign and graphics company, recognised the incredible work the Rotherham based sign company produces. The brand has over 65 centres across the UK and Steve and Carol Morris, owners of the Rotherham based Signs Express, were the big winners of the night, walking away with three awards whilst also being named as finalists for Best Sign Project, Best Vehicle Graphic and Most Striking Design.

Based at Templeborough, Signs Express (Sheffield) pride themselves on their expertise and innovative solutions to help businesses come up with perfect signage solutions, tailored specifically to their requirements. In February 2004, Steve and Carol Morris opened their fully equipped sign making centre in Rotherham, since then, they have expanded their territory to include all of Sheffield.

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The long-established centre won Best Interior Sign for their incredible work within the Fluoroscopy Department at Sheffield Children's hospital.

The centre has completed a great deal of work with The Children's Hospital Charity, Artfelt, who works with local artists to transform the walls and spaces with bright art to provide distraction during anxious moments and to help children recover in an environment tailored to them.

Steve Morris (pictured, left) said: "Our surroundings can have a powerful effect on how we feel, which is especially important in a hospital where the environment can influence well-being and comfort for patients. The fluoroscope itself can be very intimidating which can add to the anxiety of seriously ill or injured children and their parents, so it was a great pleasure for us to be able to transform this space with colourful wall graphics."

The pair were also presented with the Best Exterior Sign award for an impressive installation on behalf of Bombardier at Biggin Hill. The new signage comprised of built-up powder coated aluminium letters with white LED halo illumination.

Plus, their sign maker James Stuchbury, was named as Employee of the Year. Signs Express employs in excess of 400 people across the country. The win comes after James was recently named as a finalist in the British Sign & Graphics Association Young Sign Maker of the Year award.

Signs Express (Sheffield) website

Images: Signs Express

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