Monday, March 29, 2010

News: Irwin Mitchell head sees Rotherham's renaissance


The head of one of Britain's leading law firms has praised Rotherham's economic resurgence after a fact-finding meeting held at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP).

John Pickering, national managing partner of Sheffield-based Irwin Mitchell had special reason to be impressed - he is a native of the borough.

"The transformation from the desolation days of coal and steel job-losses has been staggering," he said. "I grew up in Rotherham, worked here, and saw the changes the borough went through. But to see today how wasteland sites are packed with thriving businesses, and how the town centre is being brought back to life, has been an eye-opener.

"Irwin Mitchell provides support to a variety of companies in Rotherham, so we do know something about it, but what I've seen today is the scale of the progress and the opportunities for companies that want to locate or grow here. People should realise this is a very positive message - historic perceptions of how Rotherham used to be need to be changed. We'd be glad to help in that."

Mr Pickering was given a presentation by the Metropolitan Borough Council's director of planning and regeneration, Paul Woodcock, with Tim O'Connell, the business development manager in its regeneration arm, Rotherham Investment & Development Office, and Joe Anwyl, of Creative Sheffield, who heads the South Yorkshire Advanced Manufacturing and Materials team.

Mr Pickering saw how the economy had been diversified, how thousands of new jobs had been created, replacing those lost and buffering the borough against more recent cuts, and how hundreds of millions of pounds had been, and are being, invested in the borough. But he also saw the challenges being tackled, from skills levels to the town centre.

Paul Woodcock said: "John was genuinely interested and asked some very sharp questions, including how we work together to promote not just Rotherham but South Yorkshire. He also asked what Irwin Mitchell could do to help and, coming from a company with offices and specialists nationwide, that's very important for us."

Rotherham Investment & Development Office
Irwin Mitchell website


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