Innovation District set to boost North

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A top team from Sheffield City Region hopes to make a splash at the UK’s most important property fair with a host of projects - including one billed as a “flagship project for the Northern Powerhouse.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, will lead a delegation to MIPIM UK in London on October 19-21 aiming to raise awareness of schemes including the Olympic Legacy Park, Peak Resort in Chesterfield, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, Barnsley town centre redevelopment and Doncaster European Golf Championship Course.

The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District is also being promoted, in a bid to help the concept take flight.

AMID is a plan for a cluster of hi-tech firms based on or near the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham collaborating to boost research and economic development.

The idea was suggested by Bruce Katz, a former advisor to President Obama, on a visit in January 2015.

Tim O’Connell, business investment manager at Rotherham Investment and Development Office, will give a presentation at the event, at Olympia exhibition centre in London.

He said: “It’s a flagship project within the Northern Powerhouse that could deliver growth across the North. It is still a concept but we are working towards a formal launch. There are a whole series of opportunities to tie it all together and it needs to fit into a concrete delivery programme.”

RiDO, Sheffield City Council, landowner Harworth Estates and Sheffield Business Park had paid IBI consultants to produce a report on possible actions and the district’s potential impact. It could include funding for small firms to collaborate, Mr O’Connell added.

The aim was to re-create the conditions of close-packed cutlery firms that helped Sheffield’s steel industry lead the world.

He added: “We are trying to move away from the old models of people being suspicious of other companies and show working together helps them thrive.”

The AMID could extend to the centre of Sheffield.