Tuesday, October 16, 2018

News: Profound transformation of Orgreave site

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There are now more people currently working at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham than at the height of employment when the site was home to the Orgreave colliery and coking plant.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry MP was at the AMRC's Factory 2050, over the border on Sheffield Business Park recently to officially open the University of Sheffield's three new multi-million-pound engineering research centres which aim to boost the Sheffield city region's (SCR's) reputation as a hub for advanced engineering and industrial digital technologies.

Berry told the audience gathered on the gleaming factory floor that he had looked at aerial photographs from 30 years ago which show a derelict and decaying coking plant amid a bleak wasteland. "The transformation has been profound," he said.

Recognised as the UK's premier advanced technology park, the AMP is home to the likes of Rolls-Royce and McLaren, leading names who have been attracted by the state of the art research institutions created at the site by the university.

Previously the site of the Orgreave coking works and opencast mining, the site has recently been restored and engineered by landowner and developer, Harworth Group plc. Consent has been given for 2.1m sq ft of commercial space and 1.3m sq ft has been built.

Around 1,500 jobs have been created on the Waverley site, more than the 1,000 jobs during the mining heyday.

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Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, executive dean of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), joined with Rotherham-born businessman Adrian Allen OBE, commercial director at the AMRC, to launch the centre with Boeing in 2001 on derelict wasteland at Waverley in Rotherham. In 2004, the AMRC moved into a purpose-built facility as the anchor tenant for the AMP.

The AMP is key to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) where the aim is to develop Europe's largest research-led advanced manufacturing cluster in the SCR. It is 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."

Berry added: "This is what can be achieved by government, business, research and higher education working closely together at a local level. The former site of the battle of Orgreave in 1984, a symbol of confrontation is now being recognised as an example of collaboration."

"This site demonstrates the Northern Powerhouse in action. When I go to London I am the voice of the North and it is the AMRC I point our Business Secretary, our Chancellor and our Prime Minister to when I talk about what the North can and will achieve if the government gives us the tools to control our own future. And on this historic site, we are ushering in the brightest of futures."

The launch event was for the £47m Royce@Sheffield, Laboratory for Verification and Validation and Integrated Civil and Infrastructure Research Centre (ICAIR)

Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority told the audience that this "is a city region that is experiencing a renaissance in advanced manufacturing and engineering – for the first time in a generation we have seen a growth in high value manufacturing and engineering roles. This renaissance is evident in the performance and capabilities of businesses such as Nikken, Metalysis, PES, Magnomatics, Metlase and Iceotope, to name but a few.

"We should be confident about our future. This is a region with its best days in front of it – rather than behind.

"We're putting in place the right assets, developing the right people and growing and attracting the right businesses. And we're doing it by focusing on what we're good at – our capabilities. By doing so we'll build more resilient businesses – equipped to explore and exploit new and emerging markets – and respond to the challenges of the 21st century."

AMRC website
Harworth Group website

Images: Harworth / AMRC

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