Thursday, April 18, 2024

News: Owners consider changing colliery restoration scheme

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The reclamation of Maltby Colliery in Rotherham and a scheme that will see the Green Belt returned into woodland and grassland could be revised again.

Owned and operated by Hargreaves Services plc, the 500 acre colliery was mined for over 100 years until geological conditions could not be overcome and underground operations ceased in 2013.

It had been expected to continue coal production until 2025 but the winding tower was brought down in 2014 and the mine shafts have been filled and capped. With the sudden closure, the future restoration scheme, included in the planning permission for the mine's operation, was re-examined and plans were approved in 2017.

The scheme involved cut and fill operations and the importation of 1.32 million tonnes of suitable fill material and 150,000 tonnes of soil making materials.

Estimated to take six years, it was proposed to progressively restore the former colliery tip to beneficial after-uses, including amenity grassland, agriculture, public access and nature conservation enhancement areas, and temporary ancillary and associated activities.

Owners say that due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions the ongoing reclamation scheme is approximately 12 months behind schedule.

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Now new plans are being drawn up, with the main change being to infill the existing lagoon void on the south east part of the tip and the creation of a platform for employment use on the Northeast part of the pit yard.

Equipment auction company Ritchie Bros. UK completed a purchase of the land and remaining buildings at the heart of the site in 2022. The Canadian firm has been hosting auctions at Maltby since 2019.

Consultation documents show that the new scheme will require the importation of approximately 2 million cubic metres of suitable fill, including soil making materials, to September 2033.

The documents add: "It is proposed to develop a quarry on the north east part of the Pit Yard, south of the Colliery Tip. The quarry proposals provide for the extraction of 3.9 milliontonnes of magnesian limestone to supply local markets and those further afield." This area would then be backfilled to create a development platform for beneficial employment use.

"The proposed development will provide up to 35 jobs on-site, additional jobs for those importing fill and exporting mineral by rail and road and spend in the economy including for services from local suppliers."

With approximately 300,000 tonnes per annum of fill, and the export of minerals at 200,000 tonnes per annum, this could generate an average of 128 HGV movements (64 in/64 out) per working day. The existing rail head could also be brought back into use.

Consultants are working on an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) with an environmental statement set to be submitted to Rotherham Council before a detailed planning application later in 2024.

Hargreaves website

Images: Google Maps

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News: Xeros to raise up to £5.5m

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Xeros Technology Group plc, the Rotherham-based creator of technologies that reduce the impact of clothing on the planet, is in the process of raising £5.5m to provide working capital and enable to execute its high profile contracts.

Based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, Xeros is a Leeds University spin-out that has created a number of technologies, such as the use of polymer beeds in washing and filters to collect microplastics.

Moving to a to an "IP-rich, capital-light" business model with water saving and filtration technologies with multiple commercial applications, making money has proved tricky following around £150m in investment, with breakeven expected during the second half of this financial year with "addressable global market opportunity of c£40m-£50m pa in revenue terms to Xeros in the medium term."

Confirming the investment, secured from share placing, Xeros said that license agreements were in place with five manufacturers of garment washing/processing machines, three major European manufacturers of components for the machine supply chain and direct commercial discussions with six of the top ten global washing machine manufacturers.

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The Placing and Subscription will raise gross proceeds of £4.5m in aggregate, with up to an additional £1m being raised through the Retail Offer to allow Shareholders to subscribe alongside the Placing.

Net proceeds of the Fundraising will be used to strengthen the Company's balance sheet, enabling execution of current contracts, pursuit of global opportunities and to provide reassurance to contract counterparties, provide working capital as the Company advances commercialisation of its Core Technologies, provide contingency against timing of royalty income and operational cash flow break-even, and, as appropriate, scale operations and accelerate development of other markets and applications for the Company's IP.

Neil Austin, CEO of Xeros, said: "Our technology solutions drive significant cost, energy and water efficiencies for our customers while reducing pollution in both the manufacture and laundering of clothing.

"The fundraise puts the Group in the strongest possible position to execute its commercialisation strategy, which is focused around high-margin licence fees and recurring consumable revenue.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank investors for their continued support at this exciting time for Xeros."

Xeros website

Images: Xeros

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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

News: Funding boost for Wentworth Woodhouse regeneration project

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A regeneration projct restoring a group of derelict stable buildings at Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham has secured a £528,475 grant from Historic England.

Planning permission was secured in 2022 to convert part of the magnificent stables for use as a production kitchen and another part for a 120 cover café catering for visitors as they arrive and leave the Grade I listed architectural jewel.

The work, which is well underway, is being funded with £4.6m of the Government’s £20m Levelling Up investment in Rotherham.

Dating from the late 18th century, the Grade II listed Mews Court was built as a later addition to the stable block, a vast complex with stabling for 84 horses.

The Mews Court encompasses a courtyard surrounded by buildings originally designed as accommodation for the equestrian staff.

Once repaired, the Mews Court buildings will play an important role in improving Wentworth Woodhouse’s visitor experience, housing a shop, ticket office and toilets. Together with the Stable Block, the buildings will also be the first thing visitors see when they arrive at the stately home, as they sit next to the new car park.

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Giles Proctor from Historic England said: “Bringing the Mews Court back to life is a key part of the restoration of Wentworth Woodhouse, enhancing both its historic character and significance, as well as improving its facilities as a visitor attraction.”

Sarah McLeod, CEO of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to Historic England for its continuing support of our restoration projects.

“This latest grant enables us to carry out the urgent external repairs needed to save Mews Court. Its buildings are in a perilous state.

“Repairs will be completed by this autumn, then we will be fundraising in earnest so we can transform some of the spaces into a shop, ticket office and toilets.”

The grant for the Mew Court repairs is the latest contribution from Historic England towards the restoration of Wentworth Woodhouse. The heritage body has also given grants towards the refurbishment of the recently reopened Camellia House, repairs for the first phase in the regeneration of The Stables, which will create training kitchen facilities and a café space, and repairs to the mansion's roof cornicing.

Events space and accomodation are set to follow at the stables before attention turns to the south wing of the main house. Known as the Bedlam wing, plans are set to inlcude further accomodation,

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPT

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News: South Yorkshire Institute of Technology official launch

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The South Yorkshire Institute of Technology has been officially launched, creating a partnership to deliver world-class technical education and training.

Backed by more than £21m in funding from the Department for Education, the establishment of SYIoT in South Yorkshire marks a significant milestone for the region, kite marking the high-quality, higher-level technical education and training provision in the region.

One of only 21 IoTs nationally, the launch marks a major investment and recognition of the region’s higher education providers.

The education partners are DN Colleges Group, Sheffield Hallam University, Barnsley College, The University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre, The Sheffield College and RNN Group.

With the pace of change and emerging technologies, the investment in South Yorkshire will ensure that education providers have access to facilities and equipment that can support them to prepare and develop individuals with skills that meet employer’s needs.

IoTs are partnerships of employers and education providers. SYIoT is supported by core employers of HLM Architects, AESSEAL Plc and Pendo.

SYIoT already works with over 5000 employers in the region but a key focus will be extending the reach, particularly to small and medium sized businesses.

The sector focus for SYIoT are the technical sectors of engineering and manufacturing, digital, construction and the built environment, health, science and media and communications.

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Karen Mosley, Managing Director, HLM Architects and Chair of South Yorkshire Institute of Technology, said: “We are delighted to be launching the South Yorkshire Institute of Technology.

“This partnership between employers and education and training providers focuses on our key sectors and occupations and developing the skills required for higher technical roles across our region.

“As an employer, it is exciting to be partnered with education providers and to be able to help shape provision and delivery in this way.”

Specialising in Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs), professional training and higher apprenticeships, the investment in facilities and cutting-edge equipment is focused on widening opportunities in higher education.

The courses and qualifications on offer, including bite-size programmes, enable individuals to access higher education to enable them to enter or re-enter employment, or upskill to support their progression within employment.

SYIoT offers flexible and affordable qualifications to adults of all ages and in 2025 the costs of programmes can be supported by the new Lifelong Learning Entitlement as well as current funding streams.

For employers, alongside funding support for apprenticeships, education partners can advise on any other funding available, including the Skills Bank.

Karen added: “The first learners started on SYIoT programmes this academic year and it will be exciting to see the developments over the next few years,”

“Education and employer partnerships are central to ensuring that South Yorkshire develops the skills base required to meet the challenges of the region by upskilling our people and encouraging investment in higher technical job opportunities.”

RNN website

Images: RNN

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Thursday, April 11, 2024

News: Contractor celebrates completion of Rotherham cycle scheme

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Esh Construction has completed the first of three key active travel projects in Rotherham that are designed to make it safer and more convenient for pedestrians and cyclists to travel into and around the town centre.

A £3.6m project on Wellgate and Broom Road – on behalf of Rotherham Council – has delivered 1,600 metres of dedicated cycle tracks, along with signal-controlled crossings and associated junction improvements. An online roundabout on a busy commuter route was upgraded, incorporating the new cycle lanes to provide a safer solution for cyclists and those using mobility scooters in accessing the town centre.

Esh’s Divisional Director, Steven Garrigan, said: “This type of project requires extensive logistical planning while working across online travel networks and commuter routes, therefore we are pleased to bring the first of three active travel schemes to completion.

“At Esh, we pride ourselves on building and maintaining strong working relationships with our clients and through our work with Rotherham Council we are building on an extensive portfolio of experience, while supporting the active travel targets outlined by South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority.”

Funding for the scheme was secured by the Council through the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority Active Travel Fund (ATF), Gainshare and the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS).

Rothbiz revealed when the scheme was proposed in 2021 that it would reduce the capacity of Clifton roundabout, making queuing longer at busy times. Further work is now being carried out on extending the scheme along Broom Road to the Stag roundabout, and on possible schemes in the adjacent areas.

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Matthew Reynolds, Head of Transportation Infrastructure Service at Rotherham Council, recently updated councillors on the completed scheme. He said: "It looks impressive. From our expectation it is functioning how we want it to do.

"We need to be mindful of the messaging around the scheme. It is a cycle scheme, but actually, what we are seeing here is a much safer use of this roundabout. Before you could go round the roundabout without having to brake - "flythroughs" on a very fast roundabout with people not driving appropriately. The new kerbing makes people slow down, assess and look around the junction, before they make the turns. And that, from what I have seen, has been very good in terms of its compliance and getting people to drive a lot more safely.

"To be honest, it would be good to have few cyclists on there, and we'll get there in time I think, once we build the network, but it is a good piece of infrastructure."

To the west of Wellgate and Broom Road, two further active travel projects being delivered by Esh are nearing completion. Known as Sheffield Road Cycleways and Maltby Bus Corridor, the schemes are expected to be finished later this year, providing Rotherham’s residents with more opportunities to undertake journeys by bus, walking, and cycling in line with the active travel initiative.

The Sheffield Road Cycleways project will connect Sheffield and Rotherham, with over 2km of new cycle routes being introduced on the A6178 Sheffield Road at Templeborough and Westgate between the town centre and the borough boundary at Tinsley. Over time and alongside other investments the route will provide a nearly seamless connection for cycling from beyond Meadowhall through to the Broom area.

It is due to complete in July 2024.

Maltby Bus Corridor will feature 2.8km of new bus lanes and new signalised junctions with pedestrian crossings along the 8-mile route from Rotherham to Maltby. The bus corridor will bypass areas of congestion on the A631 route into the town centre and enable faster and more reliable services, particularly those linking Maltby to Rotherham and onwards to Sheffield city centre, Magna and Meadowhall.

It is due to be completed in April 2024.

Funding for the Sheffield Road Cycleways project and the Maltby Bus Corridor was secured via the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority with monies from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund.

Esh Group website

Images: Esh

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