Friday, December 13, 2019

News: AESSEAL's Rotherham expansion set for planning approval

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Rotherham Council's planning board are being advised to approve plans from a successful local manufacturer that would create a huge number of jobs and growth for the region.

Rothbiz reported first in September that AESSEAL, the world largest homogeneous mechanical seal manufacturer, had submitted plans for the next phase of expansion at its global headquarters in Rotherham.

The application, which is being recommended for approval by council planners at the planning board next week, is for a new building comprising a 50,000 sq ft single storey machine shop supporting a range of state-of-the-art computerised machines; and a two storey office accommodation [of around 12,000 sq ft].

The multi award winning Templeborough company, which designs and makes mechanical seals and support systems for a wide range of global industries including oil and gas, food, water, mining and pharmaceuticals, has grown from a small distribution business based on Attercliffe Road, Sheffield to a £180m+ turnover business employing more than 1,800 people across the world.

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The site has expanded over the years and AES currently employ over 350 in the town. If approved, phase 5 will almost double the size of AESSEAL's headquarters and create space for 100 new employees.

The plans state that the "proposed state of the art building, located at a prominent gateway point to the business park, will link to the existing AESSEAL facility and develop a large area of vacant land on a main arterial route into Rotherham.

"The proposed unit is to be the flagship global headquarters for AESSEAL."

Addressing issues regarding local wildlife habitats in the area, flooding, and updated transport access arrangements onto Sheffield Road, officers at the council conclude that the plans should be approved, with a number of conditions.

The application, drawn up by Race Cottom, explains that the new machine workshop on the ground floor will enable the production of mechanical seals through a range of state-of-the-art CNC machines. It will be joined by a large engineering design office to work in conjunction with the workshops to produce each custom seal component.

AESSEAL website

Images: AES / Race Cottom

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News: New initiative to help local businesses engage with schools

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Funding has been secured for a £2.7m project that will run across the Sheffield city region (SCR) to work with and support Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SME's) to engage with schools and inspire young people to prepare them for work.

Business Education Alliance aims to develop meaningful employer encounters for young people to engage in. It is based on the idea that young people are more likely to make successful transitions into employment if they have benefitted from work experience and other interactions with businesses during their schooling.

Work experience for pupils at secondary school was removed from the curriculum in 2012. Instead, schools have legal duties to ensure that all pupils at the school are provided with independent careers guidance, supported by "Gatsby" benchmarks. By the end of 2020, schools will also be required to offer every pupil at least seven "meaningful encounters" with employers over the course of their school career.

Councils in Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield and Derbyshire County, along with Doncaster Chamber, have worked together to secure around £1.5m of European Social Fund (ESF) money for the new project.

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The bid for the funding explained: "Businesses in Sheffield City Region report too many young people lack essential job readiness skills and experience of the world of work and appear to have limited access to quality careers guidance reflecting local labour market intelligence.

"However, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2014) showed less than a third (31%) of employers in SCR offer work experience, and just 18% offer any "work inspiration" activities such as mock interviews, school based talks or attendance at careers fairs."

Rotherham has taken the lead in recent years with high profile events such as LEAF and Get Up To Speed. Rotherham schools have also embraced the Enterprise Adviser Network.

The new Business Education Alliance is set to include activity such as employer engagement, brokerage, support for businesses and support for schools.

Funding could support business and enterprise mentor programmes and sector partnerships, and a range of school/employer events. SME's will be supported to delivery Gatsby recognised opportunities, careers and Intermediate Labour Market Information events, work placements, industry days, employability support and mentoring.

Matt Gladstone, executive director for place at Barnsley Council - the lead partner on the project, said: "We hope these opportunities will support our young people and provide them with more information and confidence. We want to help them make the right decisions to get ready for work, get into work and achieve their potential."

Images: The Careers & Enterprise Company

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

News: Council concerns lead to loss of licence for Rotherham taxi firm

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The owner of Fast 4s taxi service has had his operating licence revoked, following a decision by Rotherham Council's Licensing Committee.

The committee made the decision to revoke Karamat Hussain's licence after investigations by the Council's licensing team found he had breached a number of licence conditions and that around 21,000 bookings were undertaken by vehicles licensed by other authorities.

Although the practice of sub-contracting is allowed the committee had concerns that the number of sub-contracted journeys, combined with his admission to other licence breaches, indicated that Mr Hussain was attempting to by-pass Rotherham Council’s stringent taxi licensing standards.

Rothbiz reported in October that, following his appearance before the Sub-Committee, Hussain pleaded guilty at Sheffield Magistrates Court to charges concerning an unlicensed silver Ford Transit being dispatched and driven by an unlicensed driver on over 600 separate occasions. A £1,300 fine was handed down after Hussain admitted that the journeys were carried out without the required licences, safeguarding checks and mechanical vehicle checks being made.

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During the Sub-Committee hearing Mr Hussain also accepted breaching a number of other conditions attached to his Private Hire Operator Licence.

Tom Smith, Assistant Director of Community Safety and Street Scene at Rotherham Council, said: "Our taxi policy sets a standard that is amongst the highest in the country and the use of vehicles licensed within another district significantly undermines the work we’ve done across the borough to improve public safety. Drivers that are licensed by another authority have not undertaken the mandatory assessments to the same standard as drivers licensed by Rotherham Council and some vehicles licensed in other areas do not have taxi cameras installed.

"Mr Hussain should be fully aware of the extra measures taken by Rotherham Council to secure the safety of people using licensed vehicles in the borough and yet he has continued to use vehicles and drivers licensed by other authorities; an action which potentially exposes the travelling public to risks to their safety."

The revocation is subject to the appeals process before the Magistrates Court.

Rotherham Council regained its taxi licensing powers in 2016 following significant reforms of the service under the guidance of commissioners. Critical reports by Baroness Alexis Jay and Dame Louise Casey found significant failings at the council including poor policies and procedures with taxi licensing contributing to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

Images: Google Maps

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News: Fresh new Rotherham Starbucks on its way

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Construction is nearing completion at a new outlet in Rotherham for American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, Starbucks.

Rothbiz reported back in 2015 that outline plans had been submitted for a 1,959 sq ft drive thru coffee shop by the owners of the Foundry Retail Park at Parkgate.

Detailed plans were submitted two years later showing that the new Starbucks unit would be situated on the existing car parking on the north western side of the established retail park.

Franchisee, Soul Coffee House, has recently submitted plans for new signage that will see the iconic Starbucks logo go up at Parkgate.

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Contractors J.P.Wild say that they are well on track to complete the construction of a new Starbucks drive-thru restaurant at Foundry Retail Park in Rotherham before Christmas but an opening date has not yet been announced.

The new development is expected to create 15 new jobs.

With over 28,000 stores worldwide Seattle-based Starbucks plan to open 1,000 franchise stores in the UK over the next five to seven years, of varying asset types, partnering with a maximum of 25 franchisees.

Starbucks' first UK franchised business partner, 23.5 Degrees operates the first major outlet in Rotherham (after the one at Woodall Services) when it opened at the Beighton Link development last year.

Starbucks website

Images: Starbucks / J.P.Wild

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News: Local businesswoman appointed as chamber president

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Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber has confirmed Joada Allen of Visualised it Video Production as their newly appointed President for a two-year term.

Joada is an outgoing businesswoman and mother, born and raised in Rotherham and very proud to run a business in Barnsley. She is the Director of Visualised it Video Production and Vice Chair of the More and Better Jobs Taskforce, her work is based on improving skills and opportunities for people in both towns. A regular speaker in schools, provider of work experience and supporter of small businesses, she uses her experience as a teacher, Video Producer and entrepreneur to help develop a higher functioning inclusive economy for Barnsley and Rotherham.

Commenting on the new appointment Joada said: "I'm really looking forward to representing businesses in both our towns, I'm hoping to develop the skills agenda further and can’t wait to get started."

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Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive of the Chamber, added: "I am absolutely delighted that Joada has taken on the presidency. All our Board members have committed to give her their full support and I look forward on a personal level to working with her over the next two years to continue the positive progress that we have made at our Chamber of Commerce."

Visualised it Video Production became a member of the Chamber in 2014 and since that time Joada has been involved in the Chamber's Representation Council and became a non-executive director in November 2017.

Retiring President, Lisa Pogson was presented with her Past President’s badge of office for her three-year term, whilst Matt Travis of Enzygo will join Matthew Stephens of Quest Property as a Vice President. New appointments to the Board include Ben McFeely of MKB Solicitors LLP and Clive Watkinson of JC Snell.

The appointments were made during the 13th Annual General Meeting which took place recently at Barnsley Football Club.

BR Chamber website

Images: BR Chamber

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