One of the largest concentrations of hi-tech manufacturing in the UK could be created on either side of the boundary between Sheffield and Rotherham, if plans for an Enterprise Zone win Local Enterprise Partnership backing.
The proposals focus on a patchwork of sites in an area stretching from the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Waverley, to Sheffield Forgemasters’ Brightside Lane plant, Tata Steel’s Brinsworth Strip Mill and MTL’s nearby hi-tech manufacturing plant.
The aim is to create a “Modern Manufacturing Priority Area” at the heart of the city region that could become an engine for wealth creation, based on an industrial sector where Sheffield and Rotherham have already established a global reputation.
Proponents say the area suggested for the Zone includes numerous sites at differing stages of readiness, ranging from existing, developed properties to sites with potential for future development, including vacant areas of Outokumpu’s site on Shepcote Lane.
They add that developments would provide space for indigenous companies to grow as well as sites for inward investment and would encourage further growth of the city region’s advanced manufacturing and engineering cluster.
An Enterprise Zone on the site could also become the location for the National Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Growth Hub, which the LEP is seeking Government backing to create.
The Hub would ideally be built close to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and its nuclear counterpart, the Nuclear AMRC, currently under construction at the Advanced Manufacturing Park. It would have the job of driving economic growth in the manufacturing sector nationally would bring investment, economic growth and new jobs to the region.
To achieve those aims the Hub would develop an industrially led innovation programme, commercialising new technological breakthroughs, a technology transfer programme targeted at Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), a skills programme covering schools, apprentices and graduate trainees and driving forward export let growth in key markets.