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Robertson wins £11m contract to build Preston research centre

5 Aug 20 The University of Sheffield has appointed Robertson to build its Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) across the Pennines in Preston.

The AMRC building has been designed by Cartwright Pickard Architects
The AMRC building has been designed by Cartwright Pickard Architects

The 4,500m2 applied research centre will be home to the development of new manufacturing technologies, tools and techniques.

Robertson is expected to start site work on its £11m construction contract in September and complete during the second half of 2021.

The University of Sheffield AMRC North West will be built within the Samlesbury Aerospace Enterprise Zone in Preston, part of the wider Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Cluster.

A £20m grant from Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal will be used to build and equip the facility.

Dirk Pittaway, managing director of Robertson North West, said: “Robertson has a reputation for delivering quality projects on budget and on programme.  Our appointment to build AMRC North West illustrates further the commitment of the University of Sheffield to deliver a world-class facility for the incredible work that will be undertaken. As a business with a strong northwest presence we will be working wherever we can with local supply chain partners, further bolstering the local economy and proudly providing a platform for AMRC North West to take its place on the global stage.”

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Robertson is working alongside a design team that includes Cartwright Pickard Architects, Curtins Engineers, Arup, Gardiner & Theobald and Rex Procter & Partners.

Steve Fogg, chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “The appointment of a contractor takes us one step closer to realising our vision for the site.  The Enterprise Zone will be one of the county's sites of strategic significance and the location of the AMRC is testament to Lancashire's strong aerospace and advanced manufacturing capabilities.

“The decision by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to invest £20m of its Growth Deal monies into this scheme is due to its confidence in the AMRC's ability to drive growth and increase productivity to ensure Lancashire remains at the forefront innovative and cutting-edge technologies.”

The growing AMRC North West team currently operates from an interim facility provided by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the centre of Preston. There, they work with manufacturing businesses, from global aerospace giants to local small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The team has already worked with more than 100 Lancashire manufacturing SMEs on one-off projects.

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