Pickles ‘content’ at Factory 2050

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A vision for a high value Manufacturing Valley along the M1 has taken its first step after plans for a £43m advanced manufacturing centre on the old Sheffield Airport runway were given the green light by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

The centre, which will be known as Factory 2050, will be developed by the University of Sheffield and located on the end of the runway, which is part of Sheffield Business Park.

The proposals were referred to the Government following approval by Sheffield City Council in April.

The university hopes the scheme will mimic the success of the existing Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on the other side of the Parkway in Waverley.

And its head, Prof Sir Keith Burnett, University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor, hopes it will be the first step towards massive expansion of the project - which is based on a collaboration with industry.

Speaking at the Cutlers’ Feast last week, he said: “I believe we have the potential for a great deal more, something which could transform the AMRC site at Waverley into the hub of advanced manufacture in the UK: a High Value Manufacturing Valley along the M1 corridor and renewing our city region and nation through the possibilities of investment and major new production.”

Factory 2050 proposals were submitted to Government at the end of last month as the development involves building on green belt land.

However, Pickles decided not to call in the proposals for the 50-acre site and added that he was “content” that the decision should be determined by the city council.

In April, Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts revealed that the city’s MPs had written to Pickles urging a quick decision on the proposals.