A ‘Factory of the Future’ masterminded by The University of Sheffield for the site of the former Sheffield City Airport has been given the green light to go ahead.
The £43 million state-of-the-art research facility off the Parkway is set to build on the success of the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Catcliffe, Rotherham.
The proposal was passed unanimously at a council planning and highways committee meeting yesterday.
Named Factory 2050, the facility will combine technologies including advanced robotics, flexible automation, unmanned workspace and 3D printing.
It is set to be complete near the end of the year, and an independent survey has predicted the construction process alone will directly contribute £6.4m and 162 jobs to the economy.
The factory could contribute £1.9m annually and employ up to 60 people when fully operational.
Director of Estates and Management Keith Lilley said the university is ‘very excited’.
“The AMRC is now in a position where it can legitimately call itself a world leader in manufacturing research,” he said. “It is attracting major investment and jobs to the region.”
However, the Federation of Small Businesses, which has been pushing since 2012 for all developments on the site to be halted until an independent inquiry looks into the possibility of reopening the airport, continues to oppose the plans.
Speaking before the council meeting, spokesman Neville Martin said the AMRC would have ‘benefitted greatly’ from a revived airport.
“There is no shortage of alternative sites for the factory,” he said.