South Yorkshire is to become the UK’s first Investment Zone, creating an expected 8,000 new jobs and bringing £1.2 billion of private investment by 2030.
An £80 million investment from the UK government will help the region build on its strengths — using its success in advanced manufacturing — to boost the UK economy “and make South Yorkshire the best place to start, scale or relocate a business.”
The first investment announced is a more than £80 million Boeing-led research project into manufacturing lightweight structures for aeroplanes – a key part of making aviation more sustainable.
Compass (Composites at Speed and Scale) will be built as an extension to the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre’s Factory 2050.
It will be built with support from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, Sheffield City Council and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “Our Investment Zone will help put South Yorkshire back where we belong; at the forefront of this country’s manufacturing-led growth.
“Technology created in South Yorkshire built the modern world. Because in South Yorkshire we have always known how to deliver practical solutions to big challenges. Yesterday it was stainless steel and our coal industry, today it is AI, Robotics and creating lighter, stronger materials for Jet Zero.
“That’s why this new Investment Zone status is so important. Because with the support of partners like Boeing, and working with the government, we’re showing we have the tools, the technology and the confidence to build on our strengths as not just the world’s first, but the world’s best Advanced Manufacturing District.”
The Investment Zone – the first of 12 new zones built around universities and high-growth industries in the UK – will build on the success of South Yorkshire’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID), expanding it to incorporate Rotherham town centre and Sheffield city centre, with Opportunity Sites across Barnsley and Doncaster.
Investors, developers and start-ups will be offered a combination of targeted support and financial interventions to start, scale up and relocate their businesses including:
- Help with relocating through funding for capital, infrastructure and feasibility work.
- Help unlocking barriers to planning, with support from dedicated Investment Zone planning officers throughout the process.
- Skills support schemes to upskill workforces and boost opportunities for graduates whilst tackling issues around economic inactivity.
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council Leader Stephen Houghton said: “Although the focus of the project covers Rotherham and Sheffield, the Investment Zone will bring strong benefits to the whole of South Yorkshire.
“The wider programme will provide us with new opportunities for growth and development in our borough. It will enable us to attract new businesses, provide scale up support to those already here, and create new jobs, which will bolster our local economy through opportunity sites at J36, J37 and in Goldthorpe.
“For The Seam, our digital campus in the town centre, South Yorkshire’s Investment Zone will bolster the already attractive offer for innovative businesses looking to make the most of our pre-existing cluster of digital and tech companies and strengthen the growing reputation for Barnsley as a destination for digital businesses.”
City of Doncaster Council Leader Ros Jones said: “Doncaster is primed and ready to take advantage of the benefits being part of an Investment Zone will bring. We have the advantage of four large employment sites all with excellent connectivity and already designated in our Local Plan.
“Doncaster’s focus is on developing its industry strengths in engineering and manufacturing with specialised areas of rail, future mobility, and advanced materials. We are well placed to support the growth and expansion of business, jobs, and supply chains across the South Yorkshire region.”
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Leader Christopher Read said: “We always welcome any investment into our region, and as a Council we have already secured millions in funding into our borough for our communities.
“Today’s announcement builds on the successes of the Advanced Manufacturing Park and other big-name companies who have also chosen to invest here. Our new manufacturing economy is helping to bring more high paid jobs to Rotherham and the Investment Zone agreed for South Yorkshire today demonstrates the national significance of this.
“We look forward to seeing how it will help us in achieving our aim of meeting the needs of our communities and building on the good work we are already doing in this area.”
Sheffield City Council Leader Tom Hunt said: “The Investment Zone will unlock new opportunities and drive sustainable economic growth in Sheffield and across South Yorkshire.
“Sheffield is home to world-class research and development centres, global manufacturing firms, and start-ups and scale ups that thrive in a city which nurtures innovation. The Investment Zone will build on these foundations. It will connect big business to local supply chains and help us achieve long-term, sustainable growth for Sheffield.
“It is fantastic that South Yorkshire is the first Investment Zone to be announced in the UK. In Sheffield and our region, businesses and researchers are at the cutting edge of new developments in advanced manufacturing, green aerospace, advanced health and wellbeing, clean energy, and the digital sector.
“The investment zone will provide new opportunities to scale up businesses and create new opportunities for jobs and further investment.
“In Sheffield we have developed strong partnerships between the council, business, and academia to create a melting pot for ideas, innovation, and action. By working together with our colleagues in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham to develop the Investment Zone, we will create new opportunities for the people of South Yorkshire.”