Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has given an enthusiastic welcome to plans for University of Sheffield’s AMRC2 proposal, describing it as ‘a real statement about the ambition of this region’.
Responding to plans submitted by the University of Sheffield for an advanced manufacturing campus on the site of the former Sheffield City Airport, Richard Wright, executive director of the Chamber, said: “We enthusiastically welcome this submission – it is a real statement about the ambition of this region.
“The University of Sheffield has given amazing leadership in the advanced manufacturing sector and this builds on what they have already done with the AMRC ‘group’ on the Advanced Manufacturing Park and the Diamond Building at the University.
“While this is happening we also know that Sheffield Hallam University is giving similar leadership with the Advanced Wellness Research Centre for the health and activity sector on the Olympic Legacy Park. Both universities take a real regional and long term approach to the future which is, in my opinion, the best way to really turn round the regional economy and compete in the world.
“Yet while this is going on we see the local authorities across the Sheffield business region busily working on their own individual economic development units, rather than developing a single growth hub with a common, and excellent, service across the whole region.
“This parochial approach to the economy - each protecting their own patches rather than focusing on the quality or service at the right cost - could well prevent us from really pushing us forward.”
More than 1,800 jobs are set to be created on the site of the former Sheffield City Airport by the huge new high-tech development.
The proposal is for seven large buildings on the site – now Sheffield Business Park – beside the Parkway between Rotherham and Sheffield.
It includes a £30 million 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 hangaars 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.