Tuesday, November 15, 2016

News: Rotherham Council's potential purchase of AMP Technology Centre

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Rotherham Council is preparing a bid to purchase the AMP Technology Centre, the building that provides incubation space on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

Recently celebrating its tenth anniversary since opening, the centre has attracted companies and organisations who saw strategic value in locating in close proximity to other companies and research organisations at the AMP as a mechanism for encouraging and promoting collaboration. Larger UK and overseas owned companies have also been attracted, looking to work with AMP-based partners, prior to fully committing towards a presence on the park.

An array of products and technological developments have being developed here; from ground-breaking liquid cooling systems for IT data centres, and the latest high-end audio hi-fi equipment, to parts for concept cars shown by leading car manufacturers, and winter sports equipment, used by numerous nation's athletes in international competitions and the Winter Olympics.

A key decision on a potential purchase has been added to the Council's forward plan. No figures for the acquisition are discussed but it is expected that funding via the Sheffield city region would be used.

The Sheffield City Region Combined Authority (CA) has been warned that over £27m of funding for projects could be lost due to current projects underspending. After initial concerns were raised, an early call was made for schemes to come forward that were "shovel ready" and able to progress significant amounts of spend in this financial year.

The Council has said that it has put forward six development projects in a bid to secure funding.

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Initially developed by Yorkshire Forward, the AMP Technology Centre is now operated by Creative Space Management on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency. It includes an £8.7m extension, previously know as the Environmental Energy Technology Centre (EETC), which opened in 2009 and the third building that is filling up with expanding firms - a new £4.5m incubator for high tech businesses.

Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO), the regeneration arm of Rotherham Council has over 30 years' experience of providing business incubation services in the Rotherham area, since the opening of its first dedicated business centre in 1986. RiDO now operate four modern business incubation centres across the borough offering support and assistance to local and international businesses.

In 2009, RiDO put forward a bid to Yorkshire Forward for the management of the AMP Technology Centre.

In last year's update of the borough's Growth Plan, the economic plan to help deliver 10,000 new private sector jobs in Rotherham over the next ten years, a potential new incubation centre was identified as a priority project for business growth.

The authority has previously forward-funded commercial property on the AMP. A £4.3m forward-purchase agreement with Rotherham Council enabled the developer, Harworth Estates to unlock a £2.7m loan from the Sheffield City Region JESSICA Fund, which led to the R-evolution scheme, a 117,000 sq ft speculative industrial development, which then lead to a second phase.

A Council decision for approval to purchase the AMP Technology Centre is expected to be made early in 2017.

AMP Technology centre website
RiDO website

Images: Harworth Estates


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