Prime Minister Theresa May has said the site of the infamous 1984 “Battle of Orgreave” could help “power a new engineering revolution“. The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) between Rotherham and Sheffield was setup in 2001 by Boeing and the University of Sheffield and is located on the site of the former coking plant.
In February luxury sports car manufacturer McLaren announced plans to open a £50m chassis factory which would create 200 jobs on the site http://bbc.in/2kmvbET. Construction of the plant is planned to start this year and advanced carbon fibre chassis’ should be in full production by 2020.
Shortly after the McLaren news, Boeing announced a £20m plant is to be built on the site http://bbc.in/2lzhxB3. This would be the American airplane manufacturer’s first European commercial factory – alongside the AMRC to manufacture hi-tech parts for aircraft wings. Boeing said it would also increase its commitment to research at the site.
The AMRC already houses a nuclear research facility and a Rolls Royce jet engine factory. Sheffield tech firm The Floow has also recently announced a £13 million investment package at the site too. The prime Minister has said of the site “Attracting one of the world’s most famous car brands and one of the leading names in aerospace to Sheffield were deals built on the city pooling its skills and working together. I want to see the prosperity that areas like London and the South East have enjoyed replicated across the country. That means developing and supporting key sectors to inspire an economic revival in places like South Yorkshire, and all our great regions and cities.”
The site itself was home to the Orgreave Colliery, which closed in 1981. There was also the coking plant, which supplied coke to the steel factories of Scunthorpe, but this closed in 1990. In 1995 British Coal Opencast gained permission to restore the tip and make the land fit for rebuilding. This was because the site was one of the most polluted areas in the UK, and the nearby river Rother said to be most polluted river. The river is now rich in wildlife.
The AMRC is based on over 100 acres of the reclaimed site and a further 741 acres of the site is set to become the community of Waverley. The community will feature over 4000 homes, as well as office and commercial areas. The project aims to achieve zero carbon status and be an example of sustainable development with 222 acres of green space including recreation areas with parkland, three lakes, reservoir, and woodland.
This is a great example of how a former colliery can be turned around. There is investment coming into the area and with it jobs and career opportunities from leading manufacturing companies.