Sheffield City Council has approved plans for the circular building, which will combine a range of technologies, including advanced robotics, flexible automation, unmanned workspace, off-line printing in virtual environments linked to plug-and-play robotics, 3D printing from flexible automated systems, man-machine interfaces, and new programming and training tools.
The development will be built by the University of Sheffield, consolidating the success of their investment in the original Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Catcliffe. Since the first University building opened there in 2004, four further new buildings and two extensions have been added to provide a current total of around 30,000 sq m of accommodation.
The new location – sited directly opposite the existing developments on the other side of the Parkway – will help to secure Sheffield’s place at the heart of advanced manufacturing in the UK and as a key player on the global stage.
Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts, whose constituency includes the Business Park, said he was fully behind the new development.
“Over the last decade we’ve seen the enormous impact of the University’s active involvement in advanced manufacturing, creating high quality jobs and hundreds of new opportunities for apprenticeships, as well as attracting some of the world’s best known aerospace and engineering companies to work and invest here.
“The planning approval represents a real step forward in moving this vital activity to the next level, and giving the City Region the opportunity to further its reputation as a leading force in advanced manufacturing, not just at UK level, but on the global stage. The application now requires final approval by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and the City Region MPs have collectively written to him to urge a speedy turnaround so that construction can begin as soon as possible on this innovative development.”
Graham Sadler, Managing Director at Sheffield Business Park, said the planning approval was great news for the wider 50-acre Phase 2 development site, which already has planning consent.
“We’re working hard to make sure that we create the right environment to attract inward investment from high quality businesses, bringing real jobs to the region. The construction of Factory 2050 will send out a clear message of our ambition to maximise the benefit to the City Region of this vital location. Individual sites on the remainder of Phase 2 will be available this autumn and plans are well underway for the speculative development of four high quality production units. These are due for completion in mid-2015, building on the University’s vote of confidence in Sheffield Business Park.”
The University of Sheffield has already signed a deal to secure a total of 50 acres of land at the business park – a move which will support the progress of exciting plans to create a critical mass of hi-tech, advanced manufacturing businesses along the Parkway corridor. A detailed master plan for the entire 50 acres will be submitted to Sheffield City Council’s planning department in the next few months.