Monday, August 8, 2011

News: Rolls-Royce submit Rotherham plans

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World-renowned engineers, Rolls-Royce has submitted an outline planning application for new advanced manufacturing facilities in Rotherham that could create 360 jobs.

In 2009, Rolls-Royce announced that it was to make a multi million pound investment in the region as part of the UK Government's civil nuclear package.

Following a nationwide assessment of suitable sites, Rolls-Royce chose the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, as its favoured location for two factories.

The AMP was chosen due to its ethos, available land, proximity to Rolls-Royce's base in Derby, M1 access, nearby labour pool "steeped in engineering traditions and skills", proximity to their supply chain and Rolls-Royce's involvement in the Nuclear AMRC on the park.

Prepared by URS Scott Wilson, the application covers location, scale, floorspace, access, drainage, plus the noise and environmental impacts. The 44,700 sq m of manufacturing space will create 360 jobs initially (180 in each building) on around 13 ha of land that the company is in the process of acquiring from UK Coal.

The "highwalls" created by infilling and restoration of the former Orgreave coking and open cast site constrains the configuration of the units and further material (100,000 cubic m) from the plot is to be moved to the Waverley Community site.

The larger unit facing Highfield Spring is the 21,000 sq m "Project PoWeR" facility for manufacturing and assembling power vessels for the next generation of nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom.

Rolls-Royce considers that its products constitute an advance upon present technology and success here at the AMP may also create opportunities beyond the UK's shores. The building will be irregular in shape to allow for the production of vessels that will weigh 140 tonnes and stand 23 metres high.

The second building in the centre of the AMP is the 14,900 sq m "Advanced Blade Casting" facility. This will be a sister factory to an existing operation in Derby and will manufacture fan blades, principally for the aerospace sector.

A third 8,800 sq m building next the casting facility is planned on residual land that Rolls-Royce is purchasing. The use is not yet known but it could be for another Rolls-Royce facility or for one of their suppliers, creating more jobs on the park.

When the plans were first announced in April, Tim O'Connell, business development manager at Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO), said: "Rotherham has a long, and continuing history of been home to leading advanced manufacturing and engineering companies, and it is great that a world-class company such as Rolls Royce recognises the benefits of locating some of their manufacturing facilities into the borough."

It is expected that detailed proposals will come forward for the Project PoWeR facility in early 2012 with proposals for the casting facility following later in the year. The overall programme for the Project PoWeR building anticipates delivery of the first vessel in 2015.

Last month, the company announced impressive financial figures for the first half of the year with underlying revenues up four per cent to £5.46bn and profit before tax, up 28 per cent to £595m.

Rolls-Royce website
AMP website

Images: rolls-royce.com / URS Scott Wilson

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