Thursday, March 26, 2020

News: Trade Centre Group get green light for new Rotherham car supermarket


An expanding car retailer has secured the necessary planning approval in order to open a massive new car supermarket in Rotherham - a move that could create 180 jobs.

Rothbiz revealed in February that the Trade Centre Group, was looking to take on the former Homebase unit at Parkgate.

The Trade Centre Group was established in 1999 and is now the fastest growing used car retailer in the UK. Headquartered in Neath, the company encompasses Trade Centre Wales and Trade Centre UK and originally had three showrooms throughout the South Wales region, before expanding into the West Midlands. A former Homebase unit in Rochdale was converted last year as the expansion continued North.

The company's Rotherham proposals include converting the existing building as a 174 bay indoor showroom together with ancillary spaces which include, a dry valet area, small workshop, offices, staff toilets, customer toilets, baby changing, storage, sign up area and waiting areas.

The plan is to utilise the existing car park and vacant land that was earmarked for further development to create 812 external car sales bays plus staff and customer parking.

The Trade Centre Group has already acquired the site. Previous owners, BMO Real Estate confirmed that its Rotherham retail warehouse was sold for £6.75m in December 2019 to an owner occupier.


Planners at Rotherham Council have been satisfied with the proposals and said: "From a Planning Policy perspective the Council previously proposed to allocate the site for employment uses and a fully employment development would be the most preferable in terms of job creation.

"It is noted that up to 180 No. jobs could be created and Policy colleagues are supportive of a proposed development that helps bring more of the site forward and have raised no objections in principle to the car sales proposal."

Documents submitted in support of the plans show that the new operation would create 86 customer facing retail roles, 52 technical and logistics roles and 12 administration roles. Recruitment began earlier this year.

Further details on dealing with flood risk and road access / widening are now set to be submitted.

With a turnover of £255m in 2019 the group is set to grow revenues in 2020 by over 35%.

Trade Centre UK website

Images: Trade Centre UK


News: McLaren launch latest supercar - complete with new Rotherham made parts


British supercar manufacturer, McLaren Automotive, has revealed its 765LT - the road car which includes the first use of carbon fibre body components produced at the McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) in Rotherham.

The £50m centre was opened on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in 2018 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, as part of McLaren's ambitious plans to increase the rate of innovation of its famous lightweight carbon fibre chassis that are at the heart of all its cars.

The new 75,000 sq ft facility shipped the first of its lightweight carbon fibre "tubs" last year but the Rotherham staff have been busy on new components, seen for the first time on the latest in a line of "Longtail" McLarens .

The 765LT is the most dynamically advanced and engaging LT model ever from McLaren Automotive. It includes an active rear wing, rear bumper and front floor designed, engineered and manufactured at the MCTC – the first use of MCTC-produced carbon fibre body components in a McLaren road car.


The hydraulically actuated rear wing sits proud of the rear deck, curving upwards towards the middle, rather than swooping downwards in line with the rear bodywork. The wing aids downforce levels, draws hot air out of the engine bay and improves high-speed braking.

Filippo D'Adamo, programme manager – McLaren 765LT, said: "Any "Longtail" is a very special McLaren, a car that drives our designers and engineers to question how much more we can do, how far we can go. In the 765LT this has resulted in new McLaren carbon fibre technologies enabling vital weight savings, the most power and torque ever in an LT, the quickest acceleration and the highest levels of driver engagement."

Mike Flewitt, CEO, McLaren Automotive, added: "The 765LT is the most accomplished and exhilarating LT model ever from McLaren Automotive. Incredible performance and astonishing levels of driver engagement – the result of hundreds of detailed engineering actions undertaken to ensure the purest possible connection between driver and car – are the stand-out attributes of an LT developed with single-minded determination to deliver a wholly immersive driving experience to those who secure one of the 765 available to customer order."

McLaren website

Images: McLaren


News: Vital work continues at Wentworth Woodhouse


The coronavirus pandemic forced the mansion to halt its tours and events and close to visitors last week but vital roof repairs are continuing at Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham.

Heritage construction workers can be seen carrying out vital tasks to ensure the project keeps on schedule for as long as possible.

Halting work adds expense. Some £30,000 is needed every month for costs including hire of scaffold and contractor facilities, security systems, health and safety measures and insurance.

Roof slates from the Make Your Mark in History campaign, which raised over £45,000 and enabled supporters to have slates engraved with personal messages, are now being placed over the East Front portico.

"In the meantime, a very carefully-managed roof work programme is keeping the building safe," said Dame Julie Kenny CBE, founder and chair of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT).

A representative for Woodhead Group, which is carrying out Phase 2 of the Trust's Capital Works, said: "Workers on the roof are following government guidelines to the letter.

"We have implemented daily health-screening questionnaires, created extra hand-washing and cleaning facilities and staggered break times to ensure we are social distancing. 

"We are fortunate to have a vast site and operatives can work well away from each other.

"We are working really closely with our supply chain partners and subcontractors to continue as normally as possible while protecting the safety of everyone."


Tom Woodhead, Business Services Director for Woodhead Group, said: "With the enhanced measures we have put in place on all our sites, we have been able to maintain progress and have a plan in place to continue for as long as government guidelines allow.

"I would like to thank our project team and supply chain partners for their can-do attitude, particularly over the last week to keep us on track in these difficult times."

The WWPT took over the house in 2017. Its staff of 52 is being paid until the end of March.

The Trust is waiting to find out whether it can access government financial initiatives such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, announced on Friday March 30, to keep its team.

The 212 volunteers, who gave over 22,333 hours of unpaid support last year, have been stood down.

Sarah McLeod, CEO of the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT), said: "Keeping people safe is our absolute priority right now.

"Wentworth Woodhouse will re-open in style as soon as the COVID-19 crisis is over and we want everyone back in force - all our staff, volunteers and loyal supporters."

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPT / Woodhead


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

News: Plans passed for new Rotherham retail development


Plans have been approved for a number of retail units alongside a completed housing development in Rotherham.

Rothbiz reported in January that plans had been submitted for a new commercial scheme on a parcel of land near to where housebuilder Taylor Wimpey completed a 280 home development near Rawmarsh, known as The Wickets.

Mumbles Group, a privately owned property development company, is behind the proposals for the vacant land at Harding Avenue and Symonds Avenue which will enable new shops, takeaways, restaurants and cafes to open at the entrance to the new housing estate at Upper Haugh.

The proposed development is for a parade of six units configured in an L shape along the western and southern boundaries, facing inwards over a 54 space  car park. New access is set to be created from Harding Avenue and some landscaping is also proposed. Totalling 10,323 sq ft of floorspace, the development will create a new local centre to serve the local community.


The plans show that unit 1, the largest unit on the proposals will be occupied by Co-op. It is also estimated that four full time and 14 part time jobs would be created by the scheme.

The proposal is in a preferred location for new retail development and has found favour with Rotherham Council planners. Uses could include retail, food and drink and hot food and takeaway. It will need to meet the council's policy that restricts hot food takeaways within defined centres so that they would not result in not more than 25% of the ground floor units within a defined local centre being hot food takeaways.

Planners conclude: "The principle of a new local retail centre on this site on a site allocated for retail in the Local Plan is considered to be acceptable. The layout of the site is considered to offer an acceptable balance between achieving an efficient use of the land available whilst safeguarding a satisfactory provision of landscaping screening, with a mix of hard and soft landscaping features."

Images: Google Maps


News: Eagle lands further investment


Rotherham-based platforms hire company, Eagle Platforms Ltd, is investing over £1m in its fleet with the help of a loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Moving to larger premises in Anston to deal with demand which continues to grow year on year, Eagle Platforms has secured a £200,000 loan which will provide additional growth capital and allow it to acquire a further £1.1m of large plant to meet demand.

The company, which provides powered access equipment such as cherry pickers and scissor lifts to construction and other sites throughout the North, has more than doubled turnover in the past two years to £2.5m. It aims to increase that to £3.5m in the current year.

Eagle Platforms was founded in 2011 by Jim Haigh, who has worked in the industry since the 1980s and now runs the business with the help of operations director Dan Stewart. The company, which has a fleet of 300 items with six delivery lorries, currently employs 26 staff and expects to create four new jobs in the year ahead.

Jim Haigh. managing director of Eagle Platforms, said: "Eagle Platforms has been growing rapidly in the past few years, which we believe is due in part to the personal and knowledgeable service we offer. The funding will allow us to acquire more plant to ensure that we are always able to meet customer demand and offer prompt delivery, and to take our business to the next level."


Pete Sorsby, with fund manager, Mercia, added: "Eagle Platforms is a service-driven business with a strong client focus and an excellent reputation in the industry. The company has achieved sustained growth over a number of years. The loan will allow it to meet demand following a number of contract wins, and improve profitability and turnover.

Chris Mangle of Custom Business Finance provided fundraising advice to Eagle Platforms. He said: "Business growth creates the need for additional working capital. In the case of Eagle Capital, we were able to restructure existing finance agreements and reduce their monthly repayments, then secure additional funds from NPIF to allow them to expand the fleet to support their growth plans."

NPIF is  supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

Mark Wilcokson, senior manager at the British Business Bank said: "It's great to be working with Eagle Platforms again after they received NPIF – Microfinance investment in 2019. This further investment shows that NPIF is making a real impact on business communities and strengthening regional economies. We are proud to work in partnership with Mercia and our other appointed fund managers to make a real impact on businesses like Eagle Platforms."

Eagle Platforms website
NPIF website

Images: NPIF

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