Advanced manufacturing campus in South Yorkshire could create 1,800 jobs

AMRC2 artist's impression
AMRC2 artist's impression
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Plans for a huge advanced manufacturing campus which could employ 1,800 people on the former Sheffield City Airport have been submitted by the University of Sheffield.

The proposal is for 1.3m sq ft of buildings on the site - now Sheffield Business Park - beside the Parkway between Rotherham and Sheffield.

Plan view of AMRC2 scheme

Plan view of AMRC2 scheme

It includes a £30m National Material Institute, a £20m Fast Make Centre of Excellence, where prototypes move to manufacture within months, and a £30m Energy 2050 development to help make energy more affordable, secure and sustainable.

The plans state the development could lead to the creation of up to 1,881 jobs and contribute up to £74.2m annually to the local economy. It would see old airport buildings demolished and land close to the Parkway turned into a construction site.

Dubbed AMRC2, it will be the latest in a long line of research centres, following the original Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on the other side of the Parkway, which now sits within the Advanced Manufacturing Park after attracting more than 40 hi-tech companies including Rolls-Royce which has just opened a £110m factory.

The plans state: “The development at Sheffield Business Park of the AMRC Campus 2 has already attracted significant interest from partner organisations nationally and internationally. The University anticipates that this interest will, just as with Rolls-Royce, develop into significant investments for manufacturing, employment, and gross value added to the local, regional and national economy.

“The global renown of the University’s AMRC activities indicates the potential for AMRC2 Campus to be a prestigious development which contributes to civic pride and most importantly significant investment in manufacturing.”

The scheme also includes a residential training centre and recreation space. A planning statement drawn up by Bond Bryan architects was submitted to Sheffield City Council by DLP Planning on behalf of the University of Sheffield.

Another university project on the airport site is already under construction, the £43m Factory 2050 will be the UK’s first fully reconfigurable manufacturing facility. Sheffield Business Park is one of the largest in Yorkshire.

Both AMRC developments are set to become the nucleus of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, Europe’s largest research-led cluster of businesses and science research facilities.

Graham Sadler, Sheffield Business Park managing director, said: “The proposals included in this application will support the growth of the Sheffield City Region economy by making a significant contribution to increasing its GVA and delivering the growth plan.

“The project is also at the centre of the emerging Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, supported by public and private partners which together with other sites will put Sheffield on the global map for advanced manufacturing, R&D and business growth. This will help attract original equipment manufacturing companies and their supply chain to the City Region.

“This application should be fully supported by all in the interests local, regional and national growth.

“The land subject to the proposal has no inherent ecological or agricultural value, nor was is it chosen because of its natural beauty or protected wildlife. It is the site of former open cast mining, reclaimed and subsequently used as an airport until closure in April 2008.

“The project creates a new economic land use of significant benefit and its boundaries provide a new Green Belt boundary including Amenity Hill and Tinsley Park Golf Club.

“As a City Region we need to get ahead of the game in advanced manufacturing and if we do not others will and it will be an opportunity lost. There is national and international competition for the same market and we have a one-off opportunity to compete at the global level. Following due process every effort should be made to deliver this project at the earliest opportunity.”

Images by Bond Bryan.