Wednesday, January 12, 2022

News: MTL Advanced wins armoured steel contract

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Rotherham-based MTL Advanced has been chosen to supply armoured steel for the production of the UK’s MoD Boxer Armoured Vehicle Programme, under a £-multi-million, multi-year contract awarded jointly by WFEL and parent company KMW.

The armoured material will be used in the Boxer vehicle hull assembly, which will be fabricated at WFEL’s specialist Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in Stockport.

MTL Advanced have invested in excess of £2m in new capital equipment to help support this project and meet increased demand. The new investments have been spread around the various manufacturing cells of the Rotherham business, to provide an enhancement in capacity, in line with the production schedules for the UK Boxer vehicles contract.

MTL operates a 300,000 sq ft facility at Brinsworth.

In a major boost to the local community, this contract award has contributed to the creation of 30 new jobs at MTL Advanced, who have also welcomed 12 new Apprentices to their Engineering & Welding Apprentice Academy during September, demonstrating MTL’s on-going commitment to train the next generation of Engineers. MTL Advanced says that investing in the next generation of talented engineers is critical to their ongoing success.

The company has also recruited an additional four young job seekers as part of the nationwide KickStart campaign and new Graduate schemes have also been brought forward, to upskill MTL’s staff and provide them with further education and career progression opportunities.

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MTL Advanced General Manager, Karl Stewart, said: “We are really excited to have been awarded this major contract, which will give us the opportunity to work in partnership with WFEL and KMW on such an important UK Defence project. We look forward to engaging closely with WFEL and KMW’s engineering teams and leveraging our armour manufacturing expertise to help make this Boxer Vehicle programme a great success for the British Army.

"As a company located at the heart of the Sheffield-Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing corridor, the region that was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, we are immensely proud to be able to bring such a prestigious multi-year contract to Rotherham for the benefit of our local community.”

This is the latest sub-contract to be awarded by WFEL, a key partner in the manufacture of the Boxer Armoured Vehicles for the British Army, under the $2.3 bn contract signed in November 2019 between ARTEC and the UK MoD.

The company will be attending a KickStart recruitment event on Wednesday January 12 at the Youth Hub at Rotherham United Community Sports Trust, New York Stadium. Local individuals will be presented with the opportunity to apply to one of the newly created positions and work on exciting contracts, such as the UK Boxer Programme.

MTL Advanced will also be hosting an open evening during National Apprenticeship Week 2022 on Thursday 10th February, where local school leavers and anyone interested in starting a career in engineering will be welcome to discuss the company’s apprenticeship opportunities for September 2022.

MTL Advanced website

Images: KMW

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News: Plans lined up for new Rotherham pool hall

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Work is underway on a new pool hall in Rotherham - right on cue for a masterplan which focuses on improving the leisure offer in the town centre.

Last year, the former Rileys snooker hall and sports bar sold as part of a Doncaster Gate plot at auction for £260,000.

This meant that the tenants, operating as Pot8's, began racking their brains for a new venue nearby. A good break saw a soon-to-be completed development accross the town became available and operators look set to give it a shot and start from scratch on Main Street.

The pool hall is looking to take a 5,334 sq ft unit within Westgate Chambers - the largest private-led regeneration project currently ongoing in Rotherham town centre.

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Renovation plans for Westgate Chambers were approved in 2018. A £10m scheme designed by Sheffield-based Self Architects involves the creation of a showcase commercial, retail and residential development that involves renovating the buildings that surround a landscaped internal courtyard, including a superb Georgian Grade II listed building, one of the oldest surviving historic structures in Rotherham town centre.

The buildings, close to the important regeneration site of Forge Island, were bought by the Council in 2006 but the authority's own redevelopment efforts were hit by the economic downturn and a removal of Government funding. Having sold the properties, the current scheme, by Peter Hill of developers HMP Bespoke Construction Ltd, is providing high quality retail, leisure and commercial space at street level with contemporary apartments above.

An application has also been submitted for new alcohol licence for the premises at 8 - 10 Main Street, known by many as the former Body-Tec gym.

Change of use plans, drawn up by Self Architects, show that the ground floor would have a small bar area, six pool tables and drinks tables aimed at casual play and socialising. The basement area is aimed at more dedicated pool playing with ten tables and another small bar and a shop selling pool equipment.

Images: Google Maps

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News: Muse man makes Harworth switch

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A leading man in the effort to bring a cinema to Rotherham at the Forge Island regeneration scheme has taken up an new role at Rotherham-based Harworth Group plc, a leading regenerator of land and property for sustainable development and investment.

Based close to its flagship Waverley development, the listed firm is a specialist in brownfield regeneration and has a £250m income-producing portfolio across the UK.

Dan Needham has joined as Development Director in a newly-created role that is seen as central to the delivery of Harworth’s strategy to double the size of its business over the next five to seven years.

In his role as Development Director, Dan will be responsible for progressing a number of Harworth’s strategic land and major development sites, reporting to Chief Investment Officer, Jonathan Haigh. Dan is a Chartered Surveyor with 30 years’ experience in delivering commercial and mixed-use schemes across the Midlands and North of England.

Needham was most recently Development Director at Muse Developments, the urban regeneration arm of Morgan Sindall Group plc, where his major projects included a mixed employment and residential development at Harrier Park in Hucknall, Nottinghamshire delivered in partnership with Rolls-Royce plc; Forge Island in Rotherham, a leisure-led scheme developed in partnership with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council; and the 22-acre Doncaster Civic & Cultural Quarter.

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Dan Needham, Development Director, Harworth Group plc, said: "Harworth has established itself as one of the leading development and regeneration specialists in the UK. I am thrilled to be joining the company and look forward to helping Harworth deliver its pipeline of regionally significant projects across its regions, creating sustainable new jobs, homes and communities.”

Needham leaves the Forge Island project, where Muse is Rotherham Council's partner, having worked to secure planning consent for a new leisure scheme in Rotherham town centre with an 8-screen boutique style cinema, modern hotel, food and drink outlets and car parking.

Last year, major hotel brand, Travelodge, exchanged a long-term deal to become an anchor tenant. This followed the news earlier in the year that boutique cinema operator, The Arc, had agreed to open its seventh site at the scheme.

Harworth website

Images: RMBC

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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

News: Updated plans for 715,000 sq ft speculative logistics development in Rotherham

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Another set of updated plans for a huge distribution centre development alongside the M18 motorway in Rotherham have been submitted.

Outline plans were approved for "Interchange Park" at Hellaby in 2020 and applicants said that it could be home to over 1,000 jobs. Since then, Panattoni, the largest industrial real estate developer in Europe, has bought the Cumwell Lane site and gained approval for changes to the plans.

Now Panattoni has submitted a reserved matters planning application to Rotherham Council for a 715,000 sq ft speculative development, now-called Panattoni Park Rotherham, consisting of the 630,000 sq ft facility (a maximum of 21 metres high) and a smaller 85,000 sq ft facility (15 metres).

The 40-acre Panattoni Park Rotherham is located in an established distribution location, immediately adjacent to junction 1 of the M18 and just two miles from junction 32 of the M1.

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The plans provide more details on the size, layout and appearance of the buildings, along with a landscape strategy and details of access within the site.

Both are proposed to be steel frame buildings with metal cladding in a palette of silver/metallic/grey, with feature entrances and glazing to the office elements.

As already approved in previous plans, vehicular access to the new units is to be via Cumwell Lane which is off the A631. A dedicated access road will be provided to both units from Cumwell Lane for HGVs.

The detailed scheme includes a total of 490 car parking spaces, of which 99 will provide for electric charging and 25 will be provided as accessible spaces. An additional 189 spaces for HGV parking is also proposed. Parking for 180 bicycles will be provided across the site.

Dan Burn, Development Director for the North West and Yorkshire at Panattoni, said: "We look forward to working with all stakeholders through the planning application process with the aim of bringing forward this nationally significant development."

Local occupiers include Great Bear, Clipper Logistics, DX and FedEx. Letting agents are M1 Agency, Legat Owen and Knight Frank.

Panattoni website

Images: Panattoni

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News: Wilko, over and out

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Wilko, the value general merchandise retailer, has announced plans to close 15 stores this year, including one in Rotherham.

The Worksop-based High Street chain confirmed that it had briefed its team members in Rotherham town centre of the decision to close the store because favourable lease terms cannot be agreed with the landlord.

The soon-to-be-vacated Corporation Street store is adjacent to the Forge Island regeneration site, where a mixed-use scheme anchored by Arc Cinema and a Travelodge hotel is being built.

A spokesperson said; “We have been looking at our options, but the reality is that we have been unable to reach an agreement with the landlord that makes this store commercially viable."

Rothbiz revealed in 2014 that wilko was set to take the large unit that was vacated by electrical retailer, Comet at Parkgate Shopping.

At the time, an agreement was reached with Rotherham Council and the retailer that would see the Corporation Street store staying open for at least five years if plans for Parkgate were approved.

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The town centre store is set to close in June 2022. The Parkgate store is unaffected by the latest announcement.

Jerome Saint-Marc, CEO at wilko, said: “Our history is steeped in serving our customers and communities going back to 1930 but there’s no denying the way people shop with us and where they want to shop with us is changing. As a business we’re evolving and this includes working with landlords for more favourable terms, as well as looking at locations and store formats. We’ll continue to pull together to make our business better to secure the future of over 16,000 team members.

“We’ll be doing everything we can to support our affected team members who will be offered any available positions in nearby stores. We apologise to customers but will continue to offer them everything they need in nearby stores or via wilko.com.”

Roger Jenkins, national officer at the GMB Union, said: "These closures are devasting for Wilko workers and the communities who use them. “It’s yet another nail in the High Street’s coffin and GMB calls on councils and landlords to review commercial leases and offer lower rents."

Last year, buildings next to wilko on Corporation Street were demolished as part of the Forge Island scheme. On the other side, the Mecca Bingo has closed permanently and proposals to create flats have been unveiled.

Rotherham Council has targeted Corporation Street and sites nearby for investment, eager to build on the catalyst Forge Island scheme which will host an 8-screen boutique style cinema, modern hotel, food and drink outlets and car parking.

Wilko website

Images: Google Maps

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