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Business and industry leaders give unanimous support to proposed Rolls Royce projects

posted 11 Apr 2011, 00:44 by RiDO Rotherham
Business and industry leaders from across the region have offered unanimous support, following the news that Rolls Royce are considering the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) as the location for two major new production facilities. 

One factory, named the Advanced Blade Casting Facility, would make turbine blades used within jet engines, whilst the second 'Project PoWer' factory would manufacture large components for power stations. A third factory is also proposed, which could house one of Rolls-Royce's suppliers, and between them the two main projects are initially planned to employ approximately 350 people.

For Yorkshire Forward this is yet further justification behind their decision ten years ago to develop the Advanced Manufacturing Park site at Waverley, Rotherham. As Thea Stein, chief executive at Yorkshire Forward said; "It was always envisaged by Yorkshire Forward that the AMP would become the UK's premier advanced manufacturing technology park. This has largely already been achieved during the past ten years, but the addition of the proposed Rolls Royce facilities at the AMP will further cement its reputation and ensure Yorkshire and Humber is at the forefront of the world's precision manufacturing industries."

Master Cutler, Bill Spiers emphasised the benefits of the announcement to the region, and added; “Rolls Royce deciding to use the Advanced Manufacturing Park for two of their new factories would be very good news for the Sheffield Region. It would bring valuable investment in advanced manufacturing and technology and be a vote of confidence in the Region’s future. It emphasises our reputation for quality and in addition would create long term employment for our skilled workers.  We must do all we can to encourage success in this endeavour. “ 

The planned facilities have the potential to bring sizeable opportunities for existing regional companies that have the potential to supply these industries, and the news has been warmly greeted by local business organisations.

Andrew Denniff, executive director at Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce commented: “Naturally we are very pleased to learn of Rolls Royce’s plans to bring manufacturing plants to Rotherham and create jobs in our area.  It is excellent news that such a leading company has chosen our region as the potential location for its new factories.”

This sentiment was strongly echoed by Richard Wright, executive director of the Sheffield Chamber, who said: “This is a tremendous fillip for manufacturing in our region, fully justifying the strategic investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Park and underpins how far this region has come in the last few years. The vast majority of the products manufactured in these factories will be exported; either directly or indirectly, and really aligns to our manufacturing strategy for the region. Everybody should welcome this announcement including the other companies who will form part of the supply chains into Rolls Royce.”

Staff from Rotherham Investment & Development Office (RiDO) would work with Rolls Royce to realise these projects, and at a recent public consultation event, Tim O'Connell, RiDO’s business development manager commented; "We are pleased that Rolls Royce are considering the Advanced Manufacturing Park for their proposed facilities, and look forward to receiving their planning application at the appropriate time. Rotherham has a long, and continuing history of being home to leading advanced manufacturing and engineering companies, and it is great that a world-class company such as Rolls Royce recognises the benefits of locating some of their manufacturing facilities into the borough."

James Newman, Chairman of the region’s Local Enterprise Partnership, also added the LEPs support for the news; “The Sheffield City Region LEP is delighted with Rolls Royce's announcement that it will be making a further investment into the City Region, which further confirms the LEP's belief that the City Region is one of the UK 's leading centres for advanced manufacturing. This announcement, together with the recent statement by the Technology Strategy Board of its support for the AMRC, further supports one of the LEP 's key objectives of creating a National Hub for Advanced Manufacturing and Materials based in the City Region.''

Rolls-Royce expects to submit a planning application for their proposals to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council within the next few months, and if all goes to plan site preparation work could commence for the factories in late 2011 / early 2012.