A city of Sheffield’s size should always be a leader, not a follower, so it is heartening to hear more details about the new development that will enable us to compete on a global level.
On Thursday we report how more than 1,800 jobs are to be created on the site of the former Sheffield City Airport by a huge new high-tech development.
According to proposals the massive advanced manufacturing campus will help Sheffield get ‘ahead of the game’ and enable the city to compete on a ‘global level’. This is important as it helps us set the agenda. We have already seen how the success of the original Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on the other side of the Parkway, which now sits within the Advanced Manufacturing Park has attracted more than 40 hi-tech companies including Rolls-Royce which has just opened a £110m factory.
So what is being proposed? Well the plans are for 1.3m sq ft of 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.
This is a significant number of positions and it excellent news for the local economy.
In an age of zero-hour contracts and fluctuating work patterns having nearly 2,000 jobs of this quality open up on our door step is a reason to celebrate.
While we’re on the subject of celebrations I was in Doncaster on Wednesday night for Robin Hood Airport’s 10th birthday party.
It was a great occasion and emphasised the importance to the Sheffield city region of having the gateway to the world, which the airport brings.
Work on the FARRRS link road project is continuing, which will open up Robin Hood to the UK motorway network and the infrastructure around the airport continues to grow, with hotels, offices and businesses all springing up in and around Finningley village.
As we heard on Wednesday night the jobs potential of this development is phenomenal.
There is much to be proud of in our region and many reasons for optimism. Today’s news is further reinforcement of that belief.