Wednesday, March 21, 2018

News: Funding to boost realisation of AMID vision

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A funding pot is being set aside to continue the work on the Sheffield-Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) where the aim is to develop Europe's largest research-led advanced manufacturing cluster.

Recognising that high value manufacturing can be key to driving innovation, productivity and exports, civic leaders have committed to the idea of "supercharging" the areas of advanced manufacturing in the Sheffield-Rotherham Economic Corridor. It is based around the expanding Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, and surrounding Enterprise Zone, where industry and academia are co-located in a new form of business park.

The AMID is on the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) Northern Powerhouse Investment Opportunities Register of nationally important economic growth and investment opportunity areas.

Now the city region is set to reinvest income in progressing the development.

Funding is set to come from the surplus generated from running the AMP technology centre, which the combined authority recently purchased.

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A report to the SCR combined authority states: "Discussions have been ongoing with local authority partners and the AMID Project Board to put in place dedicated resources to accelerate the development of AMID and ensure that it realises its full economic growth potential in support of both the SCR and wider Northern Powerhouse economies; as also recognised by the DTI.

"The ownership of the AMP facility within AMID and the income being generated, presents an economically linked opportunity to fund additional resources to accelerate the next stages in the development of the AMP and wider AMID Major Growth Area."

The report adds that if progress and activity is not accelerated, it could restrict the major economic contribution that AMID could play within the city region.

The technology centre provides incubation space on the AMP and is designed to accommodate a range of manufacturing-related activities, from fledgling engineering and technology companies, to University spin-offs and subsidiaries of established companies.

A property deal, worth around £7m, saw ownership move over from the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA).

Creative Space Management Ltd are being reappointed to continue operating the centre, which underwent a significant expansion in 2016, for five years, with an option to extend for a further two years subject to performance.

Over recent years, the successful operation of the centre has generated an annual net income of over £400,000 per annum. The authority is proposing to use £135,000 for each of the next three years to advance the AMID.

The income will be used to fund both a AMID programme director and a project budget until April 2021.

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The AMID idea was centre stage at the Sheffield city region's (SCR's) recent delegation at the MIPIM real estate event where it was described as "a 2,000-acre centre of excellence for innovation-led research and industrial collaboration, it boasts exemplar models of university and industry collaboration in metals, materials, health technology and wellness."

McLaren, Boeing and Rolls-Royce, are located within the AMID, alongside multimillion pound facilities from the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).

Rothbiz recently reported that Harworth Group has submitted plans for the next phase of development on the AMP. The landowner and developer is actively preparing further land parcels for release to the development market, with a timescale for total development of around 15-20 years.

Work is ongoing on to address transport issues in the area and consultants from the global design, architecture and planning firm, IBI Group have carried out visioning work.

Harworth website

Images: AHR Global

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