Rolls-Royce set to get the green light

Artist's impression of the new Rolls-Royce development, with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in the background
Artist's impression of the new Rolls-Royce development, with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in the background
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Planning chiefs are set to give Rolls-Royce the go-ahead to create hundreds of hi-tech jobs on South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Rotherham planners are recommending councillors give outline planning approval to the project to build three factories on the site, when they meet tomorrow.

But they want the aerospace giant to contribute £850,000 to improve road junctions leading onto the AMP and provide a further £24,000 for bus shelters.

Concerns expressed by Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive about the high number of car parking spaces – 860 in all – have been dismissed by Rotherham planners.

They accept Rolls-Royce’s arguments that the parking spaces will be needed when the factories are fully manned and to accommodate shift changes. One of the factories – to be occupied by what Rolls-Royce is describing as Project PoWeR – will eventually cover 21,000 sq metres of land – the size of almost three football pitches – and will be the tallest building on the AMP site.

It will be 38 metres high at one end – big enough to accommodate vessels weighing up to 140 tonnes and 23 metres high, which will be at the heart of the next generation of nuclear power stations.

Rolls-Royce’s second factory – covering an area of up to 14,900 square metres – would be the company’s Advanced Blade Casting Facility, making turbine blades for jet engine, which have to withstand temperatures of more than 1,900C.

The third factory which planners are recommending councillors approve, would cover 8,800 square metres next to the Advanced Blade Casting Facility.

It could either be used by Rolls-Royce for further job-creating investment or let to another occupier, possibly one of the firm’s suppliers.

If councillors give outline approval, as expected, Rolls-Royce has said it will submit detailed proposals next year, with the aim of Project PoWer starting production before the end of 2013.

Rolls-Royce has made a series of proposals to improve the ecology around its new factories, including building two ponds to encourage invertebrates, birds and, possibly, fish, the installation of nesting boxes for bats and insects and measures to encourage reptiles.