Robertson North West have been appointed as the main contractor to build the University of Sheffield’s advanced manufacturing research centre, part of the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster.
The facility, known as the university’s AMRC, is to be located in the middle of the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone in Preston. Work is expected to start on site in September and complete during the second half of 2021.
The 48,000 sq ft applied research centre is being part-funded through a £20m grant from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal fund. The AMRC is intended to demonstrate, and accelerate the adoption of, technologies, tools and techniques in the advanced manufacturing industry.
The university’s decision to select Preston as the location of its research centre is expected to boost Lancashire’s reputation as one of the UK hotspots for advanced manufacturing and extend the AMRC’s footprint across the North of England.
Currently, the AMRC North West team is operating from an interim facility provided by the University of Central Lancashire in the centre of Preston.
Steve Foxley, chief executive of the University of Sheffield AMRC, said: “The facility will not only place Lancashire at the forefront of advanced manufacturing and technologies, but also be a catalyst for inward investment, supporting regional businesses to innovate, drive up productivity, and lead manufacturing towards a smart, sustainable and resilient future.”
Robertson is one of the largest family-owned construction and support services businesses in the North West, and is working on several other regional projects including the regeneration of Blackpool town centre.
The other companies in the project team include Cartwright Pickard Architects, Curtins Engineers, Arup, Gardiner and Theobald, and Rex Procter and Partners.
Dirk Pittaway, managing director of Robertson North West, added: “Our appointment to build AMRC North West illustrates the University of Sheffield’s commitment to deliver a world-class facility for the incredible work that will be undertaken [there].
“We will be working wherever we can with local supply chain partners, further bolstering the local economy and providing a platform for the AMRC to take its place on the global stage.”