Thursday, January 20, 2022

News: The Rotherham company helping Brompton reinvent the bicycle


There are key parts of amazing things that are made in Rotherham - Rolls-Royce engines, Stanley knives, McLaren supercars. Here's one more to add to the list - Brompton bikes.

Brompton Bicycle, a British manufacturer of iconic folding bicycles has launched its lightest bike ever, and it has been made possible by CW Fletcher, a precision engineering firm based in Rotherham.

CW Fletcher supplies a diverse range of industries, including aerospace, nuclear and space exploration. Its "Sterling Works" is part of a 9.5-acre combined site located at Wales Bar in Rotherham where high-strength, lightweight assemblies in ordinary and exotic metallic materials are fabricated and high value-added components are machined.

The precision engineers told Brompton that their folding bike could be made in titanium when others said it couldn't.

The product of three years of research and development, Brompton has brought its fold to life in titanium by forging new construction techniques, designing over 150 components and building a dedicated factory in Rotherham in order to create the ultra-light Brompton T Line.

The two companies created Brompton Fletcher seven years ago and have previously created titanium components such as forks and rear ends for the Brompton Superlight.

Now at the facility whole frames are precision-engineered in titanium, then orbital and tig-welded for strength. In Brompton's London home, the T Line is finished with new componentry and tuned for the city, setting a new benchmark for folding bikes in lightness, ride performance and robustness.

Using titanium means that the T Line frame weighs 37% less than the original all-steel equivalent and is just as strong. Weighing 7.45 kg in total, it is comparable to a carbon road bike.

Paul Williams, chief operations officer explained the challenges Brompton overcame to create T Line: "Whilst Titanium ore is a relatively abundant material, turning it into something usable for bike manufacture takes an extraordinary amount of effort. It proves worth it though, as it has the highest strength to density ratio of any metallic element, along with great impact strength and corrosion resistance, making it the perfect material to create the ultimate lightweight folding bike, able to withstand the punishing impacts of the city.

"Working with Titanium takes a high level of knowledge, experience and diligence, so finding the right partner who shared our vision and belief in what could be achieved with Titanium was critical. Our relationship with C W Fletcher, based in Sheffield started over seven years ago and they have a long history in manufacturing going back over 100 years. With them we built Brompton Fletcher, a dedicated company with a purpose-built production facility and skilled team able to work with this demanding material and fabricate these fantastic titanium frames."

Adam Cox, manufacturing engineer at Brompton Fletcher (pictured, left), said: "All the frames we make are handcrafted and handmade. We take titanium tube, titanium plates, and weld them into frames that then get shipped down to London and built into the T Line bike.

"As a metal, titanium can be quite difficult to work with, whether you're machining it, rolling it, bending it, or in our case, welding it."

Matt Kirk, production lead at Brompton Fletcher, added: "It's not like steel so we have to form it and build it in a different way. We have to play with different wall thicknesses and different bend angles, and with the way we bend stuff, springback.

"It makes you proud that you've worked hard to make that weld as good as you possibly can. It's so rewarding."

Brompton website
CW Flecther website

Images: Brompton


News: Rotherham firms invited to supply chain event


An event is being held next week to help South Yorkshire businesses understand what social value is and why it's important to businesses in the supply chain.

Social value and sustainability are fast becoming purchasing priorities for consumers alongside price and convenience, and supply chains are under intense scrutiny as a result.

The South Yorkshire Supply Chain Managers and the Social Value Portal team are hosting an online event on January 25.

Social value can be a narrow or broad term referring to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities of an organisation, such as procurement policies or standards and values set by an organisation or project on how to address socio-economic difference within the local community. It is also used to describe how to achieve greater value through whatever an entity is engaged in, for the benefit of the wider society or particular groups.

The event is free and is open to all businesses within the South Yorkshire Region – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. It is part of the South Yorkshire Supply Chain Support Scheme, a new, free service aiming to enhance the trading opportunities in the region.

Businesses can book a place on the South Yorkshire supply chain event here.

Four Supply Chain Managers have been brought in as part of South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority’s (MCA's) Renewal Action Plan (RAP), which has been developed in close partnership with the South Yorkshire business community, councils, universities and other partners. The RAP sets out a roadmap for how the region can put itself on the path to recovering from the massive economic disruption the pandemic has caused.

SME businesses can access advice through the Supply Chain Managers on a one-to-one basis, through their local authority. The experts have been brought in to research and bring forward tender, sales and supply chain opportunities for South Yorkshire businesses.

Neil Wilkinson is the supply chain manager for Rotherham

Chair of South Yorkshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership James Muir, explains: “There are many challenges to the supply chain at the moment: the energy crisis, increasing costs when buying from overseas, pressure on businesses to be more sustainable and the impact of Brexit. These highly experienced Supply Chain Managers are here to advise and support local businesses in sourcing goods, suppliers and staff locally or within the wider region.

“We’re looking forward to helping to bring buyers and suppliers much closer together in South Yorkshire for mutual benefit.”

The MCA is also developing a Social Value Contract for South Yorkshire having chosen to ensure that investment and economic growth goes together with inclusion. It is committed to the principle that investment has to return good social and economic value.

Growth Hub website

Images: Growth Hub


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

News: £4m to revamp Rotherham's towns and villages and what it'll be spent on


Details have been revealed on projects that are set to benefit from a new £4m Towns and Villages Improvement Fund that aims to help reinvigorate town and village centres across the Rotherham borough.

The fund, which was supported by Rotherham Council’s Cabinet as part of its 2021/22 capital budget, will be used to brighten up neglected areas in smaller town and village centres, helping to restore confidence and a little civic pride in communities and also support local businesses.

The funding is due to be prioritised and spent in places that have not benefited from recent investments.

An update to Cabinet shows that projects have been put forward by Ward Councillors in consultation with their communities, including improving shopping parades, parking and green space.

Delivering scalable improvement works across local villages and townships, the overall aim of the scheme is "to work with neighbourhoods across the borough, to enhance their lived environment, through a variety of improvement projects, focused on town and village centres."

A framework has been devised for the capital scheme where projects will be allocated funds between April 2021 and March 2024.

Local councillors have been encouraged to act as community champions, engaging with residents, businesses, and stakeholders to create projects that will have a positive impact within their communities.

A number of schemes have been put forward and separated into four categories, dependent on meeting the objectives of the funding, the complexity of the scheme proposed and the potential cost of the project.

Schemes coming forward first, seen as the least complex, timely and meeting the objectives of the scheme, are:

- Creation of off-road parking next to Brinsworth Lane shops
- Improvement to the area outside Ridgeway Convenience Store at East Herringthorpe
- Green link corridor between Greasbrough Park and Greasbrough Recreation Ground
- Off street parking at Laburnum Parade shops, Maltby, utilising and improving existing green space
- Improvement to area outside of Masefield Road shops, West Melton (pictured)
- Refurbishment of Broadway shopping parade, Swinton

A number of other schemes include land and buildings that are privately owned and require more work. These schemes focus on The Pastures at Todwick, Wellgate on the edge of the town centre, Ravenfield Crossroads, St. Johns Green in Kimberworth Park, the Swinton Bridge area, Maltby High Street, Whiston Village Centre, Thurcroft High Street and Bawtry Road in Wickersley.

Maltby town centre is undergoing a masterplanning exercise which should highlight projects for this fund.

Much of the recent regeneration investment in the borough has been in the town centre with Council funding joined by money from other pots such as the Government's Future High Street Fund and Town Deal. Swinton town centre has also been lined up for larger scale regeneration.

Proposals for Dinnington and Wath were turned down by the Government as part of its Levelling Up Fund but they are being included in bids to further rounds of the fund.

Images: Google Maps


News: More flats planned in Rotherham town centre


Plans have been submitted to convert a former pool hall and retail unit into an apartment block in Rotherham town centre.

15-21 Doncaster Gate is a three storey red brick building in a mix of styles that previously contained Riley's sports bar / snooker and pool facility.

Located at a corner junction between Doncaster Gate, Howard Street and Percy Street, the 17,000 sq ft property sold at auction last year from a guide price of £225,000 and now the new owners have unveiled plans that could see 26 new apartments created over the three floors.

The first application, from DBG Contractors Ltd, is for the conversion of the snooker hall to 20 residential apartments, leaving the potential for the ground floor to continue as three commercial units.

A further application is for a change of use of the ground floor - mainly a long-vacant retail unit - from commercial to residential use. Six more apartments are shown.

The plans, drawn up by PADD consultants, state: "The proposals aim to utilise the potential of the site and upgrade and refurbish the existing building. Minor architectural interventions are proposed to the external elevations to allow the building to function as apartments and to improve the external aesthetics of the site.

"The apartments layouts work with the existing footprint and internal structural walls and columns. The proposed apartments are designed to be functional, adaptable homes all with open plan kitchen /living/ dining rooms. The apartments utilise existing window openings (some are to be extended) which provide good levels of natural lighting to all habitable rooms."

The site was initially used as a department store but the Southern part of the property was identified within the Rotherham Town Centre Masterplan as a "detractor to quality."

The application explains that the existing building is currently falling into disrepair and requires refurbishment particularly to the external elevations.

The plans add: "The windows are in need of replacement and the external cladding panels are outdated and lack unity. Whilst reconfiguring the internal layout the proposed scheme will also improve the elevational treatment of the building."

Stone effect cladding is proposed to the northern and southern buildings which will "tie the two buildings together and give them a coordinated identity."

On the ground floor, the Howard Street elevation would be reconfigured to remove an unsightly roller shutter door and create an entrance to the apartments in the centre of the northern building.

The most recent tenants, Pot8's, have recently submitted an application that would enable them to relocate across town and create a new pool hall on Main Street.

Images: Auction House West Yorkshire


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

News: Plans in for a further 200+ houses on former Rotherham greenbelt


A second set of plans have been submitted for a large residential development on former greenbelt land in Rotherham. If they are granted it would see outline approval for over 200 houses, joining 450 already approved nearby.

Rothbiz has previously reported that landowners had worked together to secure a residential allocation for the nearly 50 acre site off Lathe Road / Worry Goose Lane / Sheep Cote Road at Whiston through the development of the borough's Local Plan.

The site consists of two arable fields divided by a bank and hedgerow and sits between existing housing and Sitwell golf course.

The latest outline plans are for a site at land off Shrogswood Road and include a residential development of up to 217 homes and means of access.

Outline plans for a 450 house development on adjacent land at Whiston were approved by Rotherham Council's planning board in 2020.

JVH Town Planning have put together the latest application for E V Waddington Ltd and plans state: "The proposed development is for the residential development of 8.83 hectares of land and includes open spaces landscaping and sustainable urban drainage. The overall vision for the site is to create an attractive and sustainable development, to provide a new living environment which will provide a mix of new homes, open spaces and attractive recreational areas in keeping with the edge of settlement location."

Vehicle access is set to be off Shrogswood Road which currently becomes a private road and leads to the golf club. A transport assessment is included with the outline application.

Drainage is set to be addressed with basins and ponds as part of a sustainable urban drainage system.

A percentage of affordable housing would be expected with a development this size but plans state: "At this time it is not possible to specify the exact number or locations of these units as this information is not known at this outline stage."

A number of objections have already been received, as they were for the 450 house proposals, with flooding and traffic being big issues for residents.

For example, studies have concluded that multimillion pound improvements are necessary at the nearby Worrrygoose roundabout. The junction already operates at capacity with queues. A condition was attached to the earlier 450 house application to include road widening, bus lanes and new crossings here.

In the 217 house proposal is a scheme which includes entry widening on the B6410 Worrygoose Lane approach to the roundabout, plus the potential introduction of Keep Clear markings at the junction with Lathe Road to prevent queues impacting on the operation of that junction.

Images: Google Maps

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