Tuesday, November 20, 2018

News: Bake Off winner backs Primary Engineer campaign

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Rahul Mandal, the Rotherham-based engineer who impressed everyone with his creations to win the recent series of The Great British Bake Off, is helping to inspire the next generation of engineers.

The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has teamed up with Primary Engineer – a national not for profit organisation bridging the gap between industry and education - to develop engineering skills for teachers and inspire children to see themselves as the problem-solvers and innovators of the future by bringing engineering to life in classrooms across the Sheffield city region (SCR).

In the inaugural year of the partnership schools from the city region are taking part in Primary Engineer and Secondary Engineer teacher training programmes where teachers are partnered by "classroom engineers" from the AMRC and trained to deliver whole class engineering activity for pupils.

It was launched at the AMRC Training Centre by Deputy Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Tony Downing, and children from Dinnington Community Primary kick-started the campaign – with the help of AMRC STEM Ambassador and Great British Bake Off winner Rahul Mandal - by using basic engineering skills to build and decorate shoebox cars.

Rahul said: "Programmes like this are incredibly important for empowering teachers with the right skills. They need to bring engineering to life in the classroom in a fun and creative way. We need to make a real impact on young minds to try and inspire more children in the Sheffield city region to consider engineering as a cool career.

"I became a STEM Ambassador, to help inspire young kids to do science and engineering because I think there is a huge need for more engineers. If we want to inspire people, we need to do it from school age level."

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Rahul now works with a variety of light-based measurement technologies including confocal microscopy and interferometry for weld inspection, to ensure that components produced at the Nuclear AMRC meet stringent quality requirements.

He added: "If you can do baking, you can do science and engineering and if you're doing engineering, then you can bake.

"I always like to talk about chocolate tempering – when you temper chocolate, it's a lot like what you do when you temper stainless steel. The principle is the same, and it has science behind it. Physics, chemistry and engineering is what baking is made up of."

The programme culminates in a celebration challenge event at the AMRC where teams from each school will bring along their project entries and compete against fellow schools.

To spark pupils' imagination, engineers from the AMRC will visit schools to talk about engineering and their role within it, they will also give examples of how engineers solve problems. Awards will be presented to the winners at an annual prize-giving event hosted by the AMRC followed by a public exhibition of entries from all participating schools. Staff and students from the AMRC will select and build a prototype of one or more of the shortlisted designs.

Shortlisted designs are judged by a panel of engineers and awards presented at an event hosted by AMRC followed by a public exhibition of entries from all participating schools. The AMRC will also make a prototype of one or more of the winning designs.

Cllr. Gordon Watson, Deputy Leader at Rotherham Council, said: "This scheme inspires children to get involved in science and technology at an early age.

"It gives pupils the opportunity to try something new, get creative and develop their engineering skills in the classroom. The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre also provides teachers with suitable resources and expertise to guide engineers of the future."

AMRC website

Images: AMRC

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News: Finance broker aims to support SCR's SMEs

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A South Yorkshire based finance specialist with 13 years' corporate banking experience has launched his own commercial finance business to deliver a range of business finance services to SMEs across the Sheffield city region.

Jamie Baggaley, based at Waverley in Rotherham, has set up J&J Commercial Finance, with support from the council backed Launchpad project, to help local businesses find the right lending solutions to match their growth objectives.

By advising on financial products such as commercial mortgages, development finance, bridging finance, business loans, and asset and invoice finance, J&J Commercial Finance work with SMEs ranging from start-ups through to established businesses to find them the right lending solutions tailored to their individual requirements.

Jamie Baggaley founder of J&J Commercial Finance, said: "Having worked in banking all my life I've seen how the banks have changed, from the 2008 "credit crunch", through to the ever changing branch network. Through my experience of working with major banks, such as Halifax and Lloyds. I've seen how both sides of the bank works from managing a brand to working in central functions, supporting specialist divisions.

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"This has enabled me to set out our value proposition to managing directors and finance teams who are responsible for performance and insight, as I have seen first hand the challenges they face, and how important it is for them to be able to access the services of a knowledgeable and straight talking commercial finance broker.

"Focusing on the personal interaction with customers holds the key when helping deliver long-term success for our customers, as all parties will have a complete understanding of both the short and long-term objectives they are working to."

The independent commercial finance broker has access to over 250 lenders and offers advice on accessing all types of business funding and also provides support on how to secure funds via the Government Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFGS).

With long-term growth plans of their own, J&J Commercial Finance aim to grow with their client base. Jamie added: "Looking into the future I hope to expand the business and employ more people, meaning that we can continue to support SME business across the Sheffield City Region and continue to provide them with our personal and professional service."

J&J Commercial Finance website

Images: UKSE

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News: Horbury Group secures £4m contract

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Horbury Facades, part of the Rotherham based Horbury Group, has secured a contract with Sir Robert McAlpine worth £4m to deliver a "through-wall" solution on a new multi-occupancy residential development in Manchester.

Forming part of the £80m regeneration of Salford's Chapel Street area, the scheme on Gore Street, Manchester, consists of 375 private rent homes, including 364 apartments and 11 townhouses, split across three blocks that range between 22 and 13 storeys in height.

Working in collaboration with OMI Architects and SRM project delivery team, Horbury Facades is installing a complex horizontal plank rainscreen system, featuring multi-coloured aluminium panels incorporating complex balcony penetration details on the three residential blocks.

Horbury Facades is also installing an SFS substrate utilizing an EOS framing system and non-combustible Siniat weather defence board. The scheme is set to be completed by 2020.

Adrian Storey, general manager at Horbury Facades, said: "We are very excited to have secured the contract to work on the innovative redevelopment of Gore Street, we have extensive experience in delivering external envelope schemes and look forward to working with the team to bring their ideas to life to create vibrant new buildings."

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From its headquarters in the Moorgate area, the Horbury Group combines a number of subsidiaries that specialise in areas including joinery, ceilings, dry lining and health and safety training.

Another subsidiary, Horbury Property Services, has been appointed by Carlisle-based Castles & Coasts Housing Association to provide fire safety services across its housing portfolio.

The contract will see Horbury Property Services providing fire door and fire compartmentation remedials followed detailed fire risk assessments.

Horbury Property Services will be working across 250 different residential schemes on behalf of the housing association, including apartments and houses, as well as supported and sheltered accommodation.

Richard Sutton, general manager at Horbury Property Services, said: "This is the latest in a number of fire safety contract wins with social housing providers. As FIRAS-approved contractors we have the experience and skills to be able to deliver fire safety works to the highest standards to ensure compliance to the regulations."

Horbury Group website

Images: Horbury

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Monday, November 19, 2018

News: Council approves land sales for redevelopment

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Two plots of land on the edge of the town centre are set to be disposed of by Rotherham Council - one to a developer through a procurement exercise and one by private treaty.

Rothbiz reported this time last year on the Council's plan for York Road, Eastwood, where it hopes to see land used for the delivery of new homes.

Rothbiz has also reported on the disposal of a former boys' school at St Ann's that dates back to the 1800s.

The 1.17 acre site at York Road comprises two car parks and a garage site which is largely cleared and almost ready to be redeveloped. Market testing has been carried out regarding a redevelopment opportunity and it is expected that 30 houses could be built on the site.

Cabinet members have now agreed the final terms of the disposal and/or development agreement, with a procurement process to be carried out to sell the land.

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Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, explained: "Part of the reason why we are doing it like this is so we get some control over the development rather than just selling the land off and leaving it open to whatever a private developer might come in. We can't guarantee that it might do all the things that people might like but we are trying, as far as possible, so that the Council has as much control as possible."

Six responses were received during market testing "demonstrating a healthy appetite for the scheme." Bidders will be now given the deadline of the second week in March 2019 to submit proposals.

St Ann's Road Board School opened a new boy's department in 1893 on the corner of St Leonard's Road. Providing accommodation for 244 children, the stone building includes a 45 ft bell tower above the main entrance.

The original boys department became the St Leonard's annexe of the Rotherham College of Arts and Technology in late 1979. The former girls department and infants department building was converted into the Unity Centre in early 2000. This would not form part of the proposed sale.

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, cabinet member for jobs and the local economy at Rotherham Council, explained: "Formerly leased to the Unity Centre it has unfortunately come into disrepair and we decided to take it back and do market testing to see if there were any expressions of interest for this building. It came back, and there were, so it is recommended that the property be sold to one of the parties that put forward an offer.

"A bit like the York Road sale, there will be conditions put on so that it will get redeveloped. We don't want another situation where we've sold a building and then nothing happens."

Potential bidders, or the expected income that the Council could achieve from selling both plots, have not been made public due to commercial sensitivities.

Images: RMBC

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News: Progress at Forge Island as flood defence plans revealed

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Plans are progressing for the multimillion pound flood defences that are key to ensuring that the proposed leisure-led redevelopment scheme can be built on Forge Island in Rotherham town centre.

Newly released details show that new 3.75 metre high retaining walls and a new flood gate are required. A terraced amphitheatre and improved canal path are set to enhance the new waterside destination.

Muse Developments is Rotherham Council's preferred partner for Forge Island with a proposal that includes a cinema, food and drink outlets and a hotel. The leisure facilities will be set within an attractive public space and will include a new pedestrian bridge connecting to the rest of the town centre.

Having secured the land from Tesco, and surrounding land such as the law courts, the authority went out to the market earlier this year in an effort to realise its vision for a £60m leisure-led development on the key town centre site.

As reported previously by Rothbiz, Rotherham Council is estimating that it will need to spend £2.5m - £3m on flood defence work before the redevelopment work can commence.

Now a planning application has been submitted detailing what measures are required to ensure that the flooding of the site seen in 2007 is not repeated.

The plans, drawn up by consultants, Waldeck for Rotherham Council, state: "The proposals comprise of L-Shaped retaining walls aligned approximately 8m adjacent to the western edge of the canal wall and a guillotine flood gate at the entrance of Browns Cut providing flood protection for a 1:100 year plus climate change event.

"The flood defence walls will incorporate landscaping along the canal frontage to create a high quality, modern waterside destination for Forge Island."

A new concrete L shape flood wall will join with Main Street bridge and a new eight metre wide landscape / pedestrian access along the west side of the site, along the canal, will also be created.

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A costly plan to raise the entire site was considered but discounted. The £14m first phase of the Rotherham Flood Alleviation Scheme, aimed at reducing flood risk over a 3.5km (two-mile) stretch of the Don from Templeborough to the town centre, saw construction completed in 2008. It was hoped to continue directly into Phase 2 with further European funding but was hit by funding cut backs.

The proposal also provides the opportunity to create a high quality modern waterside destination and improve the public realm. Where the existing pedestrian bridge links Forge Island to the Magistrate's Courts site, proposals include the creation of a terraced amphitheatre relating to Rotherham Lock.

A separate application has been submitted for a fish pass, enabling fish to travel further up river passing the weir in Rotherham - a relic of the site's industrial past as Rotherham Forge & Rolling Mills. The weir is the one remaining barrier to salmon being able to migrate to spawning grounds in the upper catchment.

The alignment of the existing river walls has been shown on maps since 1850 and may be at least 160 years old. Original features associated with the Canal are set to be retained wherever feasible.

Further details submitted with the application discuss how the new flood defences would look, drawing inspiration from successful waterside regeneration schemes like King's Cross in London (pictured): "The potential for visual intrusion by the solid concrete flood wall is reduced by the dense planting scheme, which will mask this feature; whilst the proposed "amphitheatre" is located in immediate proximity to "Rotherham Lock" providing a viewing platform for activities around this feature.

"Corten steel insets will be added to the flood wall, further reducing its visual impact, providing a reference to the areas iron and steel heritage and creating a themed reference to the "Rotherham Red" masonry."

If approved, the works will be carried out whilst the existing car park and temporary bus station remain operational.

A draft timeline has Muse and the Council working towards a planning application for the leisure scheme being submitted early in 2019 after agreements over the lease are made. Work is set to begin later in 2019 with the first phase opening in 2020.

Images: Muse / RMBC / King's Cross Central Limited Partnership / PWP Design

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