Friday, July 20, 2018

News: Guest & Chrimes demolition begins

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A section of the Guest & Chrimes building in Rotherham is being demolished for safety reasons following a large fire at the historic site.

The former factory on the edge of Rotherham town centre was well alight when five fire crews arrived in the early hours of Sunday morning, July 1.

Opened in 1857, the history of the works is of national and international significance due to the role of the Guest & Chrimes business in pioneering the design and manufacture of brass valves and screw-down taps across the world. The firm once employed thousands.

The large premises are on Don Street between Rotherham Council's Riverside House and Rotherham United's New York Stadium.

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A spokesperson for Rotherham Council and Rotherham United, said this week: "Following initial advice from Historic England, an independent structural engineer has been consulted and has concluded that a section of the Guest and Chrimes building requires immediate demolition for safety reasons.

"Due to concerns over public access to the site, demolition to part of the frontage of the building will begin on Thursday 19th July. Following this initial work, and in view of the building's historical importance, a further assessment will be made on the last section of the frontage which contains both the main entrance and the most interesting architectural features."

Don Street, which passes between the building and the River Don, is used by fans accessing the family stand and away stand at the AESSEAL New York Stadium. The Millers kick of their home campaign back in The Championship on August 11 with home friendly against Premier league Cardiff City scheduled for July 25.

Empty since 1999, the site was purchased by Rotherham Council for £2.6m from developers, Evans in 2010 and is now controlled by the football club which has a very long lease from the Council.

The town centre masterplan outlined an aim for Guest & Chrimes to create a focus for recreation and sporting activity in the town. It concluded that "it is recognised by all that change and some demolition will be necessary to deliver a viable and deliverable scheme."

Images: SYFR

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News: HS2 parkway decision needed now

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David Higgins, the outgoing chairman of HS2 Ltd, says that the Government needs to make a decision on whether a potential parkway station on the high speed route through South Yorkshire will be included in the £55.7 billion project.

The Government has been carrying out a study into a potential station on the main HS2 line in South Yorkshire after it opted to back proposals to re-align the route through the region.

The option proposes that HS2 services between London and Sheffield would take a spur off the new north-south high speed line and travel directly to the existing Sheffield Midland station using the existing railway line. Instead of travelling into a new station at Meadowhall, the HS2 line to Leeds would travel east of Rotherham following the M1 and M18 before heading through the Dearne Valley.

In 2016, the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling asked HS2 to study possible sites for a parkway station but a report, due in 2017, has not been published.

Alongside Wales, Bramley and Hooton Roberts in Rotherham, also on the shortlist was Mexborough, Hickleton and Clayton in Doncaster plus sites at Hemsworth and Fitzwilliam before the proposed new HS2 depot at Crofton in West Yorkshire.

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David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd, said: "In my report on options to serve South Yorkshire, published in 2016, I called on HS2 Ltd and the Secretary of State to consider the potential for a parkway station on the high speed line, which could serve the South Yorkshire areas as a whole, and to extend HS2 services beyond Sheffield Midland to serve locations such as Barnsley and Rotherham.

"Work has since been undertaken in this area and ultimately this is a decision for the Secretary of State for Transport. As we move towards submission of the hybrid Bill for Phase 2b into Parliament, a decision will be needed on whether to include provisions for a potential parkway station in the scheme design.

"Including passive provision for a parkway would allow the infrastructure to be future proofed to meet the future needs of communities and businesses in South Yorkshire."

The government said in 2017 that it intends to bring forward a third hybrid Bill for phase 2b in 2019.

The delay in whether a station is included, and on where it might go, has also caused headaches for the Sheffield city region (SCR) who were provided with £1.3m in Government funding to study the impacts of the new route and how it can get the most out of HS2.

The high-level Government study considered eight possible locations based on the assumed HS2 route through the SCR. However, it did not go so far as to examine the potential economic or social benefits from a Parkway at each location or investigate the environmental impact.

The HS2 Growth Study for the SCR has been delayed. An evidence base report and a connectivity study was commissioned first, whilst the business, skills and employment workstream was postponed.

A report to the SCR Combined Authority in March explained that uncertainty had made it difficult to accurately quantify or identify the economic benefits, adding: "This has been exacerbated by the ongoing uncertainty over whether there will be a parkway station in South Yorkshire and its precise location. Such a station could have significant impacts on the overall economic position."

At the start of July, HS2 Ltd was asked by the Department for Transport to begin preparatory works for the future electrification of a 25km section of the Midland Main Line from Clay Cross to Sheffield Midland Station. Confirming works on the spur for HS2, no announcement has yet been made on paying for the Northern Loop out of Sheffield.

HS2 Ltd website

Images: HS2 Ltd

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News: Major improvement work on key Rotherham road

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Major repair and resurfacing works to one of Rotherham town centre's major routes will take place over the summer.

Major work is required on Centenary Way that plays a critical role in managing traffic movements through and around the town centre, forming part of both the inner and outer ring road.

Rotherham Council is set to carry out repairs to the joints and road surfacing that are part of a bigger scheme to refurbish Crinoline Bridge. Other works will also be taking place beneath the roadway to repair the concrete elements of the bridge.

Rothbiz has previously reported that the route is at risk of closure.

The bridge is close to the interchange and the junction created for the Tesco development on Drummond Street. Scheduled inspections over the past 20 years have revealed severe issues with the bridge joints. More recent specialist inspections have identified severe corrosion and concrete spilling over large areas. The life expectancy of the bridge has dramatically reduced and the most cost effective solution is to rebuild the top of the abutments and replace the deck of the bridge to modern design standards.

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A bid was submitted for support from the Government's Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund, having earlier been turned down for cash. The bid was for £2.8m, with £960,000 coming from the Council, who would also meet any cost overruns. £1.312m has now been set aside in Rotherham Council's budget for much-need repairs to Crinoline Bridge.

Motorists are being warned that to enable the work to take place at this busy section of road, weekend closures will be taking place usually between 7.00 pm on Saturday nights until 5.00 am on Monday mornings during weekends over the school summer holidays.

The closures, beginning this weekend, will be between College Road roundabout and the junction with Drummond Street. Traffic will still be able to travel between St Ann's Roundabout and Drummond Street.

Six further closures will then take place during the summer. The closure this weekend however, will be slightly shorter, and will be from 7.00 am until 7.00 pm on Sunday only.

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, cabinet member for jobs and the local economy at Rotherham Council, said: "These vital works, alongside the nearby improvements to Rotherham Interchange, are an important part of ensuring Rotherham's town centre transport links are the best they can be as we move forward with the Town Centre Masterplan and look to grow Rotherham's economy."

Paul Woodcock, assistant director for planning, regeneration and transport, added: "These are major engineering works to ensure the safety and improve the road surface of one of the key routes through Rotherham town centre.

"We apologise for any inconvenience to motorists during these works, which have been scheduled on weekends, mainly during the school holidays, to ensure minimal disruption."

Images: Google Maps

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

News: Zen Golf stars at The Open

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An adjustable putting and full swing platform developed in the Sheffield city region is centre stage at The Open this week as a partnership between Zen Golf and Sky Sports continues.

With offices in Sheffield and a studio at Templeborough in Rotherham, Zen has developed the Zen Green Stage - a world-first, computer-controlled platform that enables golfers to practice an almost limitless number of breaking putts. It can also easily be converted to a full-swing platform for other types of practice and play and can be combined with golf simulators.

The British-made product made its TV debut on Sky Sports at The Open Championship in 2017, and interest has soared with subsequent high profile airings during Sky's ongoing golf coverage including the 2018 Masters, Players and US Open tournaments.

Nick Middleton and fellow inventor Andrew McCague based the concept on an original idea by the test pilot of the Mach 3 Lockheed Blackbird, US Air Force colonel Horace Templeton, who first created green-reading maps in the 1970s. In September 2014, Zen used similar techniques to help create greens maps at Gleneagles used by the victorious European Ryder Cup team.

Nick Middleton, managing director at Zen Golf, said: "The buzz about the Zen Green this season has been amazing, and is growing week by week. PGA professionals and other golf coaches can now engage with pupils who are fascinated by Sky Sports' innovative coverage, which now includes the Zen Green Stage. Everyone is talking about it – the top golf coaches, and the top golf TV presenters."

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Zen is now working with Harewood Asset Finance to offer golf academies, teaching professionals and other potential buyers the option to pay monthly, spreading the cost of purchase and improving cash flow for their business.

Tour putting coach Phil Kenyon, who teaches on a Zen Green Stage at his Harold Swash School of Putting studio at Formby Hall Golf Resort Hotel & Luxury Spa in Southport, said: "For many coaches the Zen Green Stage will be the final piece of the jigsaw at their golf academy: it opens up new creative possibilities for both putting and full swing coaching. It is a great product, but raising the capital to buy one can deter some people. I can see the new finance option being very popular."

Middleton added: "Adding the Zen Green Stage to your business connects you directly to modern audiences who love to watch Tour golf coverage on Sky Sports. Merely by being there it gets your golf club or academy into the headlines, it positions you as technically-advanced, and it creates a big additional fun-factor to every visit to your establishment."

The Open Zone created for Sky Sports has been used to enhance the broadcaster's coverage at Carnoustie. A number of the world's leading players have been taking part in a 99-yard challenge and it has also been used to recreate memorable putts from recent Open winners. The 1999 Open Championship winner Paul Lawrie, was invited to The Open Zone for a putting masterclass.

Zen Golf website

Images: Sky Sports

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News: Former Maltby Colliery site on the market

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The remaining employment land at the former Maltby Colliery in Rotherham is being promoted by landowners, Hargreaves Services.

The 500 acre colliery was mined for over 100 years until geological conditions could not be overcome and underground operations ceased in 2013.

It had been expected to continue coal production until 2025 but the winding tower was brought down in 2014 and the mine shafts have been filled and capped. With the sudden closure, a restoration scheme was developed and future uses were examined through the borough's new Local Plan.

Hargreaves Services has recently established a new division, called Hargreaves Land, which aims to bring forward developments and unlock value from the group's 17,500-acre land bank, which is valued in excess of £50m.

The company's UK-wide land portfolio includes over 50 sites ranging from former coal mines undergoing remediation, through to prime consented sites ready for development.

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At Maltby, Hargreaves is working with consultants WYG on a masterplan which is due to be submitted in Autumn 2018. With the Local Plan being adopted, around 80 acres is being made available for commercial/industrial uses around the former pit head.

Through the local plan hearings, the company had suggested that land at Maltby could be suitable for lower density uses, "including potential use by an aggregates business, construction firm or other larger scale occupiers."

With rail infrastructure on site, representations for Hargreaves add that it "is likely to help to attract interest for waste (including reverse logistics and recycling facilities), energy, industrial or other "bad neighbour" type uses from a wider catchment."

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For the majority of the site, a reclamation scheme has been approved that will see the Green Belt returned into woodland and grassland.

The new brochure for the site, drawn up with agents at Knight Frank, shows nine available plots and states: "The plots would be suitable for a variety of associated uses and ancillary opportunities such as waste processing, aggregates, composting and green energy projects."

Rothbiz understands that an international firm which hosts auctions for large scale plant and machinery has previously shown an interest in the site.

Hargreaves land added: "We are actively seeking to work with prospective occupiers to facilitate the re-use of the land and premises for employment purposes.

"Adjacent land, which is also within Hargreaves Land control, has been successfully promoted as a potential housing site."

Hargreaves Land website

Images: Hargreaves Land

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