Financial boost to breathe new life into housing developments

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Financial boost to breathe new life into housing developmentsLocal leaders will be able to bid for a share of £50 million to invest in infrastructure projects that will see the building of new homes and create new jobs.

The investment will be made available in 2015 to 2016 through the Local Growth Fund to unlock locally-led housing developments of between 250 and 1,499 units which are struggling to move forward.

This is on top of a further £1 billion fund, available as loans to developers to get their large-scale housing developments off the ground.

The scheme comes alongside wider plans to regenerate some of the country’s most run-down estates, delivering thousands of new homes in central London in the process.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “We’ve delivered 420,000 new homes since 2010 – including 170,000 new affordable homes. I’m determined we go even further.

“Today’s multi-million pound package will help get workers back onto locally-led housing developments that had been stalled with the end of the unsustainable housing boom in 2008, and deliver the homes and local growth communities want to see.

“But I also don’t want those stuck on rundown estates to be forgotten. That’s why we’re also investing a further £150 million to breathe new life into those areas, and deliver homes that residents can be proud of for years to come.”

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “We’re doing all we can to get the country building, and provide developers with a chance to get on site and start building local housing schemes that are vital for supporting local economic growth.

“Today’s £50 million fund will help deliver the infrastructure local communities need to support new homes, and comes on top of the £1 billion we’re making available to unlock large-scale sites that stalled at the end of the unsustainable housing boom.

“This substantial investment will lead to thousands of new homes across the country, and deliver new career opportunities in the growing construction industry.”

Government set to create 8,500 green jobs

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Government set to create 8,500 green jobsEight major renewable electricity projects have been unveiled as part of the government’s electricity reforms, giving a massive boost to green growth and green jobs.

By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs and boosting the green economy.

Once built, the successful projects will contribute around 15TWh or 14% of the renewable electricity we expect to come forward by 2020, helping to put the UK well on the way to meeting the UK’s renewable energy target.

The projects have been offered under Contracts for Difference (CfD), which form part of Government’s world leading Electricity Market Reform programme.

They include offshore wind farms, coal to biomass conversions and a dedicated biomass plant with combined heat and power.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom.

“By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy.

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers.

“Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the Government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

Government set to create 8,500 green jobs

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Government set to create 8,500 green jobsEight major renewable electricity projects have been unveiled as part of the government’s electricity reforms, giving a massive boost to green growth and green jobs.

By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs and boosting the green economy.

Once built, the successful projects will contribute around 15TWh or 14% of the renewable electricity we expect to come forward by 2020, helping to put the UK well on the way to meeting the UK’s renewable energy target.

The projects have been offered under Contracts for Difference (CfD), which form part of Government’s world leading Electricity Market Reform programme.

They include offshore wind farms, coal to biomass conversions and a dedicated biomass plant with combined heat and power.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom.

“By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy.

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers.

“Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the Government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

Government set to create 8,500 green jobs

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Government set to create 8,500 green jobsEight major renewable electricity projects have been unveiled as part of the government’s electricity reforms, giving a massive boost to green growth and green jobs.

By 2020, the projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs and boosting the green economy.

Once built, the successful projects will contribute around 15TWh or 14% of the renewable electricity we expect to come forward by 2020, helping to put the UK well on the way to meeting the UK’s renewable energy target.

The projects have been offered under Contracts for Difference (CfD), which form part of Government’s world leading Electricity Market Reform programme.

They include offshore wind farms, coal to biomass conversions and a dedicated biomass plant with combined heat and power.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom.

“By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy.

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market – reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers.

“Record levels of energy investment are at the forefront of the Government’s infrastructure programme and are filling the massive gap we inherited. It’s practical reforms like these that will keep the lights on and tackle climate change, by giving investors more certainty.”

PM and Chancellor welcome £36bn infrastructure projects

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PM and Chancellor welcome £36bn infrastructure projectsMore than 200 construction projects are set to start in the next two years that will create 150,000 construction jobs and boost the trades industry.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor visited a transport infrastructure project yesterday to see how the government is helping businesses with investment in better infrastructure and encouraging economic growth.

More infrastructure projects are also due to be completed this year, including major roads such as the M6 J10A-13, Nottingham tram extension, Heathrow Terminal 2 upgrade and Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm, which is currently the largest in construction anywhere in Europe.

The projects due to start construction this year are part of £36 billion of planned investment in infrastructure across the country that could support over 150,000 jobs in construction and many thousands more in other sectors following completion.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.

“As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “As part of our long term economic plan we are investing in infrastructure around the country to create a more balanced, resilient economy.

“Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves.”

£120m boost for local business infrastructure

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Enterprise ZonesCommunities Secretary Eric Pickles today announced a £120 million infrastructure investment plan to bring businesses and jobs to the Sheffield area on a visit to the local enterprise zone.

Eric Pickles visited Markham Vale as cabinet ministers explained how the government’s long-term economic plan will start delivering more than 200 infrastructure projects this year.

The Sheffield Enterprise Zone will turn £25 million of government funding into £94 million more of private sector investment so they can lay down the infrastructure needed for its premier sites at Markham Vale and Rotherham to attract new businesses to the area.

The enterprise zone can now expand its business park plans by 81 acres, widen Erin Road, put in place utility infrastructure and construct 100,000 square feet of new industrial buildings. When complete the site will have capacity to bring an estimated 2,100 jobs by 2022.

Eric Pickles said: “This enterprise zone is a great example of how our economic plan is rebalancing the economy and transforming once dormant industrial sites into job creators once again.

“Today’s cash injection will help the enterprise zone pull in over 3 times as much in private sector investment, giving it the essential foundations to grow, create jobs for local people and continue the area’s proud manufacturing tradition.”

James Newman, Chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “Our continued investment in vital infrastructure, like roads and drains, is helping to bring interest from new investors, which means more jobs and more economic growth in the Sheffield city region.

“Since the launch of our enterprise zone in 2012, 18 new companies have located to our enterprise zone with 345 jobs already created on site and around 300 set to be created in the coming months.”

Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “Markham Vale has a key role to play in helping to build a strong local economy in Derbyshire that creates jobs, attracts new businesses and provides a future for our young people.”

£4m boost for home energy efficiency

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The Scottish GovernmentA further £4 million for the Home Renewables Loan Scheme to help householders cut their energy bills and help the trades has been announced by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The scheme gives individuals access to interest free loans of up to £10,000 for a range of renewable heat and electricity home technologies that will also boost the trades industry.

Since April 2011, the scheme has helped reduce dependency on fossil fuels and has allowed householders across Scotland access to cleaner, greener energy.

The First Minister made the announcement while visiting the Western Isles as part of a series of travelling cabinets.

Mr Salmond visited the Smith family home on the Isle of Lewis which is one of 53 homes in the Western Isles which has benefitted from a Home Renewables Loan.

During the visit the First Minister, said: “Scotland is going greener and the wide take up of small scale renewables appliances in households will be vital for us to become a truly low carbon economy. There has never been a better time to save energy and go green.

“Since April 2011, more than 1,188 loans have been issued to householders across Scotland and in particular more than 53 loans across the Western Isles, islanders are clearly leading the charge in choosing efficient green energy.

“I am delighted to allocate further funding of £4 million to this successful interest free loans scheme, so that even more Scots like the Smith family can reap the benefits of low carbon technologies, cut energy bills and emissions, support jobs and the local economy.”

Skanska to create 1,500 new jobs in UK

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Skanska to create 1,500 new jobs in UKSkanska, one of the UK’s biggest construction companies, has announced to create around 1,500 jobs in the UK during the next two to three years.

The recruitment drive comes on the back of an increase in workload across several sectors, including major commercial building in London and projects for health and pharmaceutical clients.

There will be a focus on construction, energy and infrastructure contracts that will be required to complete major rail, water, building and road works by the company.

President and CEO at Skanska UK, Mike Putnam, said: “With more focus on infrastructure investment, we have seen our visible pipeline of new work growing strongly during the last nine months, giving us increased confidence about the future,

“Having the right people with the right skills in the right numbers is therefore a priority for us. We are accelerating our recruitment activity significantly across all our operations, to fill roles at all levels of the company and in many parts of the UK.”

Skanska has been involved in several high-profile projects, including building 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin) in London, the widening of the M25, infrastructure for the London 2012 Olympic Park and constructing Britain’s greenest public building, Brent Civic Centre.

Government confirms £2.7bn deal to build new state-of-the-art trains

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Government confirms £2.7bn deal to build new state-of-the-art trainsMore than 800 new trains will start running from 2018 as part of the government’s £5.7 billion Intercity Express Programme that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

The new trains will provide significant benefits to the East Coast Main Line and passengers, with 19% more seats on each train, reduced journey times between London, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are building a world class rail system and the Intercity Express Programme is a key part of that.

“These new trains will transform rail travel between many of the great towns and cities of England and Scotland. This deal is further proof that our long-term economic plans are on track, creating jobs and breathing new life into the UK’s train-building industry.”

The Intercity Express Programme will see a total of 866 carriages manufactured at Newton Aycliffe for use on the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines, creating 730 jobs locally.

In addition to the 497 carriages confirmed this week for the east coast, a further 369 carriages will start to run on the Great Western from 2017. Funding for these carriages was agreed in 2012.

Government confirms £2.7bn deal to build new state-of-the-art trains 1As well as building the new manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe, Hitachi will construct maintenance depots at sites including Bristol and Doncaster, and is refurbishing and upgrading depots across the Great Western and East Coast Main Lines.

Hitachi recently announced its plans to move its global rail headquarters to the UK, further underlining the confidence in the UK economy and rail market.

Government confirms £2.7bn deal to build new state-of-the-art trains

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Government confirms £2.7bn deal to build new state-of-the-art trainsMore than 800 new trains will start running from 2018 as part of the government’s £5.7 billion Intercity Express Programme that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

The new trains will provide significant benefits to the East Coast Main Line and passengers, with 19% more seats on each train, reduced journey times between London, Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are building a world class rail system and the Intercity Express Programme is a key part of that.

“These new trains will transform rail travel between many of the great towns and cities of England and Scotland. This deal is further proof that our long-term economic plans are on track, creating jobs and breathing new life into the UK’s train-building industry.”

The Intercity Express Programme will see a total of 866 carriages manufactured at Newton Aycliffe for use on the East Coast and Great Western Main Lines, creating 730 jobs locally.

In addition to the 497 carriages confirmed this week for the east coast, a further 369 carriages will start to run on the Great Western from 2017. Funding for these carriages was agreed in 2012.

Government confirms £2.7bn deal to build new state-of-the-art trains 1As well as building the new manufacturing facility at Newton Aycliffe, Hitachi will construct maintenance depots at sites including Bristol and Doncaster, and is refurbishing and upgrading depots across the Great Western and East Coast Main Lines.

Hitachi recently announced its plans to move its global rail headquarters to the UK, further underlining the confidence in the UK economy and rail market.

Consultation on borough developments set to begin

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Consultation on borough development set to beginConstruction sites across Telford and Wrekin are set to get underway as the Council is about to start housing development plans in the borough over the next seventeen years.

The main aim of the Shaping Places Local Plan is to strengthen the identity of Telford and Wrekin as a ‘green town’ and establish the borough as a place characterised by extensive areas of open land and prominent landscape features.

The plan proposes a target of building 20,000 new homes over the 20-year plan period that will pave the way for new jobs in the construction trades.

Nearly 12,000 homes are already committed through existing planning permissions, resolutions to permit and adoption in existing development plans, so in the region of 8,000 new homes are required to deliver the target.

The next part of the plan to be consulted on is the ‘Proposed Housing and Employment Sites’ which focuses on where housing and employment is planned.

Public consultation on the sites will begin on Tuesday 6 May and continue until Tuesday 17 June and all comments received will help to prepare a plan that addresses local needs and priorities and inform the next stage of site allocations.

Telford and Wrekin needs this growth in order to link in with its business supporting and business winning approach which aims to attract new businesses to the area and provide more employment opportunities in the borough.

Last year, more commercial land was sold in Telford and Wrekin for business development than in the last ten years, while in the current year more than 1,000 new homes are expected to be built, the highest for more than 20 years.

Councillor Charles Smith, cabinet member for Housing, Development and Borough Towns, said: “Telford and Wrekin was originally designed for, and remains focused on, providing residents and visitors alike with good housing and a healthy living environment with plenty of accessible open spaces.

“This proposed housing and employment plan sets out how we want to develop over the next 20 years while keeping firmly in mind that aim of maintaining plenty of green open space.

“We want people to give us feedback on the plans set out in the document and I would urge everyone to take part in the consultation and give us comments that will help us to set out a final plan that meets the need for growth in the borough but which residents, employees and visitors feel reflects their needs and aspirations for the future.”

Skanska to build Creechurch Place in the City of London

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Skanska to build distinctive Creechurch Place in the CitySkanska has been awarded a £95 million commercial contract to build Creechurch Place in the City of London by Helical Bar, one of the UK’s leading property development companies.

The new T-shaped development will provide 26,000sqm of category ‘A’ office space over 21 floors, served by 11 lifts.

Designed by architect Sheppard Robson, the building is designed to be a sustainable City headquarters, with its landscaped square and distinctive, towering architecture.

Skanska will be responsible for construction, mechanical and electrical engineering and installation of services within the main plant rooms. Work is due to start in August 2014 and complete in September 2016.

Paul Heather, managing director at Skanska, said: “We’re pleased to add Creechurch Place to our portfolio of London commercial buildings, alongside projects like New Street Square and The Monument Building.

“Contracts like this are evidence of our growth strategy in action. They demonstrate how our highly experienced teams are well positioned to win and deliver a range of commercial opportunities in this rising market.”

The building is expected to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating when complete. Skanska will employ sustainable approaches to construction throughout the project to minimise the environmental footprint of the project, including:

  • Efficient use of water and energy
  • Minimising waste
  • Using materials that have a zero or near-zero impact on the community and surrounding environment
  • Maximising the use of recycled materials

Lambeth regeneration scheme to get underway

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Muse DevelopmentsMuse Developments has signed a building contract with Lambeth Council to deliver a £135 million regeneration scheme across three sites in Brixton town centre.

The Your New Town Hall (YNTH) project will preserve the current, historic Town Hall, deliver a new energy efficient office building for the Council of up to 125,000 sq. ft, create commercial space for start-up businesses and community groups and up to 275 new homes, of which the aim is to secure 40% as ‘affordable’.

As part of the scheme, Lambeth Council will be able to reduce its core office buildings from 14 to 2, saving at least £4.5 million a year while boosting economic growth in the area and creating new jobs.

Muse Developments, part of the Morgan Sindall Group, was chosen as the preferred developer for the YNTH project late last year, following a Europe-wide competition.

The conclusion of the Conditional Development Agreement will now allow Muse to press ahead with the detailed design of the project and carry out widespread consultation with Lambeth residents.

Morgan Sindall, the construction and infrastructure company, has been appointed as principal contractor on the scheme.

Michael Auger, development director at Muse Developments, said: “We are very excited to be on board with such a major regeneration project; we want to create something that everyone in the borough can benefit from and which adds even greater vibrancy to Brixton’s thriving community.”

Cllr Paul McGlone, Cabinet Member for Finance, said: “This development agreement gives the green light to a project that will bring enormous benefits for all Lambeth residents. Your New Town Hall is a great deal for Lambeth taxpayers and businesses.”

New leisure centre plans for Hinckley

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New leisure centre plans for HinckleyPlans to build Hinckley’s new £13.5 million leisure centre on the site of Argents Mead have been formally submitted to the Hinckley Borough Council for planning approval.

The plans were submitted by Places for People Leisure, formerly known as DC Leisure, the company appointed to design, build and run the new centre on behalf of the Borough Council for the next 20 years.

If the proposals are approved next month, it is hoped construction work can begin this summer, paving the way for new jobs in the trades industry.

As well as the eight lane, 25 metre main pool, a learner pool with a moveable floor and a separate wet play area ideal for young families, the plans now include an additional 50 spectator seats that will enable the centre to seat up to 150 spectators.

The environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art facility will also feature an eight court sports hall, an enhanced gym, cafe and a new family-sized climbing wall plus a host of other accessible facilities.

The area around the new centre will be landscaped and a clear, grassed play area suitable for school and community use will be formed.

Councillor Stuart Bray, Leader of the Borough Council, said: “These exciting designs reflect feedback we have received from the public, demonstrating that we listen and are happy to reach compromise”.

Welsh Government secures future employment site

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Welsh Government set to create more trades jobsThe Welsh Government plans to breathe new life into the former Hotpoint factory in Bodelwyddan and is investing £1.55 million to secure its future as an employment site.

The Hotpoint factory was built in the early 1980s and at its peak in 2004 employed 750 people. The plant closed in 2009 with the loss of 300 jobs.

Now the Welsh Government has agreed to buy the site, helping to create new jobs and boosting local businesses in the area

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “This is an important acquisition as it secures the site for future employment uses that can create jobs for local people. While there is little demand for very large factories in this area there is interest in the market for smaller properties.

“Our over riding aim is to help businesses grow, create jobs and attract new investment into the area. The site has the potential to provide accommodation for businesses moving into the region as well as expansion projects for local companies.”

Despite being on the market for several years it has remained empty since, apart from temporary occupation by Mainetti when its Flintshire premises were destroyed by fire.

Welsh Government is aware that when the factory closed Indesit, the owner of Hotpoint, sought to implement an innovative social plan to reduce the impact which was targeted at finding positive solutions for the workforce.

Housing Fund unlocks new homes for Manchester

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Housing Fund will build new homes for ManchesterNew housing scheme has been signed this week that will drive Manchester’s pioneering housing investment, build new homes and boost the trades industry.

The housing investment fund is a joint partnership between Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) and the Homes and Communities Agency.

It will bring a new and innovative approach to home building, intended to boost home building in the city and help the construction trades

Deborah McLaughlin, North West Executive Director at the HCA, said: “We’re combining our public land assets to accelerate the construction of much-needed affordable homes and create jobs.”

The development model uses available land owned by Manchester City Council, including a site offered by the HCA, while an investor – in the case the Greater Manchester Pension Fund – finances the build.

The aim is to stimulate home building, while reducing the usual risks associated with a development – minimising the overheads for a contractor, who will also have no sales risk.

Cllr Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “This is a momentous day and a hugely significant milestone in what has been an innovative and ambitious approach to home building – and the joint venture company, Matrix Homes, is the end product of a huge amount of work that has made sure the project is viable.

“Manchester’s housing investment fund is the first of its kind model to boost home building and we hope its success will lead to larger home building projects in the future.”

Cllr Kieran Quinn, Chair of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, said: “The current economic climate has seen home building slow down to an almost standstill, with levels of development not keeping up with the demand throughout Greater Manchester.

“This new innovative model tackles these issues by promoting development opportunities while at the same time ensuring new attractive, affordable homes are available for our residents.”

Balfour Beatty starts Norwich infrastructure scheme

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Balfour Beatty starts Norwich infrastructure schemeBalfour Beatty is getting underway with work to deliver a £19 million infrastructure scheme designed to bring new jobs and investment to Norwich.

Preliminary work will start at the end of April, with main construction commencing in May 2014.

The scheme will include the construction of a roundabout, a triple span road bridge, eastbound and westbound slip-roads on to the A47, a new signalised junction to support the nearby park-and-ride site and a dual carriageway link to the Business Park.

Balfour Beatty will be using the latest Building Information Modelling technology to prepare the scheme, detecting for clashes of services, drainage and structures, as well as using the digital techniques for the scheduling and delivery of the project to customer Norfolk County Council by the end of next year.

Sustainability will be key to the delivery of the project with 100% of the excavated material used being recycled, much of which will come from the runway at the disused RAF Coltishall, approximately twelve miles away. This will avoid the need to bring in approximately 65,000 tonnes of quarried materials by road from outside the county avoiding extra traffic on local roads.

Dean Burgess, Balfour Beatty Regional Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract. We have a successful track record of delivering important local road schemes, such as the Nar Ouse link road, and are currently working on another important road for Norfolk: the A11 dualling scheme.

“We will be working closely with our customer and engaging with the local community to ensure successful delivery of this new project.”

Firms picked for £1.4bn Sellafield job

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Preferred bidder picked for £1.4bn Sellafield jobSellafield Ltd has been selected as a preferred bidder for a multimillion joint venture between French company Areva, and British companies Mace, and Atkins.

The massive Silos Direct Encapsulation (SDP) project is valued at anywhere from £800 million to £1.4 billion. It is expected to create thousands of jobs and boost the trades.

When complete, SDP will process nuclear waste recovered from the Magnox Swaf Storage Silo, one of the oldest nuclear waste silos on the Sellafield site, and package it to make it ready for long term storage. It is the only project of its kind in the world.

Sellafield Ltd’s primary focus is to safely clean up and decommission all high hazard facilities on the site, and successful completion of the SDP project will be a vital step forward in that mission. This preferred bidder announcement therefore represents a significant milestone.

Another of the key focus areas for Sellafield Ltd is to deliver a return on investment for the taxpayer, who fund activities on the site.

One of the ways in which this is being delivered has been the embedding of a new acquisition strategy, which fundamentally changes the way we do business and introduces value for the tax-payer through performance based contracting with the supply chain.

Sellafield Ltd will now enter a period of preferred bidder clarification and confirmation of commitment whilst the contract is finalised and all legal processes are completed.

The final contract award will require approval from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Scott Reeder, Sellafield Ltd’s Chief Projects Officer: “The market recognised the challenges presented by this important and complex project and two strong joint venture organisations emerged to tender for the contract. Sellafield Ltd was very pleased with the quality, capability and commitment offered by each of these organisations.”

Government reveals plans to boost garden cities

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Government reveals plans to boost garden citiesCommunities with ideas for a new generation of garden cities will receive support from the government, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced today.

The proposals will help communities work up proposals for ambitious new developments, which are locally-led, including at least 15,000 homes that have the backing of existing residents.

According to the government there is genuine enthusiasm and ambition for growth in communities across the country that will bring together high-quality homes as well as create new jobs.

Ministers believe these locally-led developments will play a crucial role in delivering the number of new homes the country needs, but it is vital that they are not imposed from above.

That’s why today the government also invited bids for the £1 billion of investment announced in the 2013 Autumn Statement to unlock local housing schemes of over 1,500 homes, which have their plans in place but need assistance to get the development off the ground.

The funding will unlock up to 250,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020, and provide a springboard for successful bidders who also want to deliver locally-led garden cities.

Investment will be provided through the local infrastructure fund, which is already accelerating development of 69,000 homes in areas such as Cranbrook in Devon, and Wokingham in Berkshire.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Garden cities are communities where future generations will live, work, have children, grow up and grow old.

“Today I’m publishing a new garden cities prospectus, which calls for local areas to submit their plans for garden cities that will provide affordable homes, good schools, and jobs for the next generation, while at the same time preserving the countryside.

“This is a call to arms for visionaries in local areas in need of housing to put forward radical and ambitious proposals to develop their own garden cities.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “The coalition government scrapped top-down building targets, along with the last administration’s failed eco-towns programme, which built nothing but resentment.

“Instead, this government is committed to working with local communities who want to build more homes in attractive and sustainable developments where people can live and raise their families.

“Our £1 billion large housing sites infrastructure fund and package of support will help deliver locally-led developments in communities that want more growth and jobs in their area. It will also assist those areas with ideas for a new generation of garden cities, so they can turn their ambitions into reality.”

Government backs £5m Enterprise Zone deal for Great Yarmouth

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Government backs £5m Enterprise Zone deal for Great YarmouthThe Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone announced that resident company Venko Offshore Ltd has secured a £5 million contract to expand its local operation to maintain offshore gas platforms in the North Sea.

The new contract will secure work for almost 20 local people and boost the building engineering trades.

Government Ministers Kris Hopkins and Brandon Lewis last week made a special visit to Beacon Business Park on the Enterprise Zone to welcome the news and see construction in progress and meet businesses on the site.

Dutch-owned Venko Offshore Ltd – an international specialist within the energy sectors – moved to the Enterprise Zone in August last year to set up its first UK base after securing a major five-year contract that will create up to 100 jobs in the area.

Today’s contract win is the latest good news for the Enterprise Zone, which has already seen nine companies take up residence and created a total of 270 jobs since it opened in 2012. New Anglia and its partners aim to create 1,500 jobs and secure £20 million investment on the site by 2015.

Jason Grey, Operational Support Manager at Venko Offshore Ltd, said: “We are very excited to have won this major contract. Although the work is based in the Humberside area, the materials and logistics are all supplied from Great Yarmouth. We have expanded our local workforce to handle the project and been able to retain a number of operational staff as well.

“Moving to the Enterprise Zone is proving to be a solid investment for Venko; it is the perfect base for our UK operation and is enabling us to grow and take advantage of the considerable opportunities in oil and gas on a site specifically designed to meet the needs of energy-related companies. It means we are in a good position to tender for and win these large UK-based contracts.”

Local Growth Minster Kris Hopkins said: “The Venko deal is great news for the Enterprise Zone and the local community. Enterprise Zones are part of our long term economic plan to rebalance the economy, attract new private sector investment, and bring skills training and jobs to new parts of the country.

“It was inspiring to see so much construction underway and to meet the business and apprentices that are helping the Enterprise Zone to grow and become a centre of excellence for offshore energy.”

Quintain set to build 475 homes at Wembley Park

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Quintain set to build 475 homes at Wembley ParkQuintain has established a 50:50 joint venture that will kick-start the building of 475 new homes on its Wembley Park site in North London.

The firm has formed the joint venture with Switzerland-based Keystone Group to deliver the next 306,000 sq ft phase of residential development at Wembley Park.

The new joint venture will pay Quintain £22.7 million for the plot and £9.5 million for associated infrastructure.

Two of the planned buildings, covering 93,000 sq ft and containing 143 homes, will be constructed for Quintain as private rental flats.

Quintain expects a new, strong income stream to be generated for the group from this new business development.

In addition, Quintain’s appointment as development and project manager for the NW01 housing plot will generate fee income of £3.3 million over the next three years.

The remaining development land at Wembley Park is valued at £312 million. Consent is held to develop 5,000 new homes on this land, alongside 1.9m sq ft of office, leisure, retail and student development.

Maxwell James, chief executive of Quintain, said: “This joint venture unlocks value for shareholders from our largest London asset, paving the way for the delivery of more new homes at Wembley into a supply-constrained London housing market.

“Strategically, this deal enables us to establish a sustainable development programme for Wembley Park .”

Giorgio Laurenti, Chairman of Keystone Group, sad: “We are delighted to join forces with Quintain once again at Wembley Park.

“We first cemented our partnership through the successful acquisition of the Wembley student accommodation building in 2011 and are pleased to continue investing in Wembley as the area regenerates into an increasingly vibrant location.”

Work starts on new Hough End Leisure Centre

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Project leaders and partners have come together to mark the start of work on a brand new leisure centre at Hough End in south Manchester.

The new leisure centre is one of three new leisure facilities planned for the city, along with developments in Levenshulme and Beswick – bringing world class sport and leisure facilities while boosting the building trades.

The new building will feature a six-lane swimming pool and is set to open in spring 2015.

Local construction and engineering specialists Laing O’Rourke are delivering the project via the North West Construction Hub.

A community room and dance studio will also be built providing a flexible space for events and meetings including baby and toddler sessions and youth clubs.

The existing football pitches and outdoor changing rooms at Hough End will continue and it is hoped that they can be improved as part of a future phase of the development.

Councillor Rosa Battle, Manchester City Council executive member said: “A phenomenal amount of hard work and planning has gone into this project so it is a real milestone to see work begin on the brand new leisure centre.

“Manchester is renowned as a world class sporting city and this new resource will sit along side our elite facilities bringing a top class leisure centre to residents that I’m sure will be cherished and well used for years to come.

“In what has undoubtedly been a tough economic time I am proud that we are not only able to create this leisure centre at Hough End but also brand news facilities in both Levenshulme and Beswick”

London Housing Bank to boost building more homes

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London Mayor Boris JohnsonThe Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has launched proposals for an investment scheme designed to accelerate house building and create new construction jobs.

The unique ‘London Housing Bank’ scheme would loan up to £200 million to development partners to help them speed up the building of around 3,000 homes on large scale ‘multi-phase’ schemes, which already have planning consent.

These homes would then be let to Londoners at low cost rent for a ten year period before being sold on, with the loan repaid to City Hall.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We’re doing everything we can to double house building across the capital and address a 30 year failure to build enough homes for this thriving city.

“The proposed London Housing Bank is just one of several highly innovate new schemes we are pioneering here at City Hall to help meet the needs of hard working Londoners.

“Through this exciting new fund we hope to provide thousands of brand new homes many years sooner than would otherwise be possible, and make them available to rent at more affordable, below market, rates for hardworking Londoners.”

In the future, the ‘London Housing Bank’ could extend its offer to further incentivise building by purchasing off-plan market homes or offering funding guarantees. Future funding could be attracted from a range of sources, including the public sector and private sector institutional investors.

The announcement comes a week after the Mayor published his updated Housing Strategy, following consultation responses, which provides an in depth overview of London’s complex housing needs and a range of pioneering solutions to increase supply, stimulate building and tackle demand.

The strategy sets out a long-term ambition to increase supply to at least 42,000 new homes per annum, around double what has been achieved over the last 20 years. Of these, at least 17,000 should be affordable with 5,000 for purpose-built long-term market rent.

Major sea defence construction starts

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Major sea defence construction startsConstruction work on two new major sea defences in Rossall and Anchorsholme, Lancashire, is set to get underway thanks to £85 million of government funding.

Both sea defences are starting construction ahead of schedule, paving the way for new jobs in the building trades.

In total, they will protect 12,000 homes and businesses as well as vital infrastructure like roads and railways.

The new sea defences near Blackpool form part of one of the UK’s biggest coastal defence schemes.

The sea defence in Rossall will be 2km long, from Rossall Hospital to Rossall Point. The Anchorsholme sea defence will stretch 1km from Kingsway to Little Bispham.

Speaking at the launch of the construction in Blackpool, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “These new sea defences will provide vital protection to homes and the local economy and I’m delighted to see construction starting today.

“This winter’s extraordinary weather showed just how important it is to invest in infrastructure to build a stronger economy.

“We are spending more than ever before to protect homes and businesses from the risk of flooding and build a more resilient country for the future.

“Partnership funding contributions from Wyre Council, Fleetwood Town Council and Regenda Housing have also helped to fund the works.”

The government is spending £2.4 billion on flood management and protection from coastal erosion. That is more than ever before and the record investment will continue.

By the end of the decade, at least 465,000 households will be better protected from the risk of flooding.

Across the country, 55 flood defence schemes will begin construction this year, delivering better protection to 43,000 properties.

Gloucester gets £30m home investment scheme

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Gloucester gets £30m home investment schemeGloucester residents could benefit from £30 million additional investment in bringing their homes up to a high standard, under a new deal between the council and Housing Minister Kris Hopkins.

The move to transfer ownership of the city’s social housing stock from the council to a housing association could also lead to the first new social homes being built in the city for 25 years.

Transferring social housing stock

Currently, Gloucester’s social homes are owned by the council and managed by Gloucester City Homes.

Under the terms of the deal, Gloucester City Council would transfer ownership of its 4,800 homes so they belong to Gloucester City Homes outright, in exchange for the government wiping out its £50 million of historic housing debt.

Speaking on a visit to Gloucester, Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “As an MP and former council leader, I’ve seen for myself the difference stock transfer can make, unlocking millions of pounds to refurbish homes and improve the lives of tenants.

“So I’m pleased to be signing this deal with Gloucester City Council, which could lead to the first new social homes in the city for 25 years, and lead to as much as £30 million additional investment in existing stock over the next 10 years.”

Conservative MP for Gloucester Richard Graham said: “The debt write-off is probably the biggest single direct investment by government in Gloucester for a generation. It will make a real difference to my constituents.”

Chairman of Gloucester City Homes Board Tim Dare said: “We would like the opportunity to continue our successful journey as an independent housing provider to meet tenants’ needs and aspirations for their homes and communities in the future.”

Gloucester gets £30m home investment scheme

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Gloucester gets £30m home investment schemeGloucester residents could benefit from £30 million additional investment in bringing their homes up to a high standard, under a new deal between the council and Housing Minister Kris Hopkins.

The move to transfer ownership of the city’s social housing stock from the council to a housing association could also lead to the first new social homes being built in the city for 25 years.

Transferring social housing stock

Currently, Gloucester’s social homes are owned by the council and managed by Gloucester City Homes.

Under the terms of the deal, Gloucester City Council would transfer ownership of its 4,800 homes so they belong to Gloucester City Homes outright, in exchange for the government wiping out its £50 million of historic housing debt.

Speaking on a visit to Gloucester, Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “As an MP and former council leader, I’ve seen for myself the difference stock transfer can make, unlocking millions of pounds to refurbish homes and improve the lives of tenants.

“So I’m pleased to be signing this deal with Gloucester City Council, which could lead to the first new social homes in the city for 25 years, and lead to as much as £30 million additional investment in existing stock over the next 10 years.”

Conservative MP for Gloucester Richard Graham said: “The debt write-off is probably the biggest single direct investment by government in Gloucester for a generation. It will make a real difference to my constituents.”

Chairman of Gloucester City Homes Board Tim Dare said: “We would like the opportunity to continue our successful journey as an independent housing provider to meet tenants’ needs and aspirations for their homes and communities in the future.”

New plan for Build to Rent homes in west London

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New plan for Build to Rent homes in west LondonA west London suburb is set to benefit from over 120 new homes specifically for private rent under a new deal announced today by Housing Minister Kris Hopkins.

Under the terms of the deal, Inland Homes will receive an £8.7 million repayable loan to build 123 new 1 and 2-bedroom apartments in West Drayton, Middlesex.

The homes will be available for private rent, with work starting on site as early as July this year.

The minister welcomed the latest contract under the government’s Build to Rent scheme as helping meet ‘clear demand for good quality private rented homes’ in the area.

Building to Rent

The Build to Rent fund helps developers build homes specifically for the private rented sector, and is well on track to have work underway on up to 10,000 new homes by 2015.

The 123 homes announced today will be built as part of the wider Drayton Garden Village development, which includes a total of 773 new homes, a nursing home and commercial premises.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “With easy access to both central London and Heathrow Airport, there is clear demand for good quality private rented homes in West Drayton.

“So I’m pleased to announce this new deal which will lead to 123 new homes through our Build to Rent scheme, as part of the wider Drayton Garden Village development.

“This is the fourth site to receive Build to Rent funding in the capital, offering greater choice for Londoners looking to rent on fair and flexible terms.”

Stephen Wicks, CEO at Inland Homes said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding; we are confident that by applying Inland’s expertise in planning and development we can help to shape local communities and stimulate new private housing supply, which in turn will attract new institutional investment into the private rental sector.”

£260m Watford Health Campus in for planning

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£260m Watford Health Campus set to go aheadA Kier Property-led development team has submitted plans to build a £260 million Health Campus project in Watford that will take 18 months to complete and boost the construction trades.

Work on the multi-million Watford Health Campus project new is due to start towards the end of this year. VolkerFitzpatrick has been selected to deliver the road and associated infrastructure.

The Watford Health Campus project, which is a long-held ambition for the town, is gaining momentum after the project team also secured a detailed planning consent in December 2013 for the construction of a new hospital blue light link, which sits at the heart of the scheme and will improve access from the M1 to Watford Hospital.

Phil Woods of Kier Project Investment, a partner in the Watford Health Campus Partnership LLP, said: “The Watford Health Campus partners are delighted to have submitted the planning application.

“The masterplan vision reflects concepts and ideas received from stakeholders, the public and partners since the project was conceived over ten years ago.

“The project team has worked hard to meet the ambitions for the scheme by creating a first-class vision for the area.

“There has been considerable support shown for the Watford Health Campus for many years as stakeholders recognise its benefits for Watford in terms of new jobs, quality homes and better access to green, recreational space.”

National Oilwell Varco reaches out with 45 new oil & gas services jobs

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The Scottish GovernmentNational Oilwell Varco is set to expand its industrial presence in Scotland with the creation of 45 new jobs at its Glenrothes facility, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today.

The Houston-based company, which already employs more than 1,700 people at three Scottish sites, has been awarded £800,000 in RSA funding to secure the expansion which will include the creation of 37 highly-skilled positions.

The First Minister made the announcement following discussions with National Oilwell Varco senior management about their plans for their Scottish workforce carried out during his trade mission to the United States for Scotland Week.

The trip has already seen the First Minister announce the creation of hundreds of new jobs in Scotland by US-based companies; officially open the first overseas offices of Scottish firm Smarter Grid Solutions; fire the starting gun at the annual Scotland Run in Central Park and speak at an event to mark Edinburgh Napier University’s 50th anniversary.

The First Minister said: “Scotland has an enviable reputation as a world-leader in the oil & gas industry and the expertise and innovation of our engineers and technicians, honed over half a century, is highly prized among companies working in the sector.

“Houston-based firm National Oilwell Varco is already well established in Scotland, employing more than 1,700 people at sites in Glenrothes, Montrose and Aberdeen and this expansion of 45 new jobs is welcome not only in the local Fife community but for the wider oil & gas industry, especially as so many of them will be highly-skilled positions.

“The oil & gas sector makes a huge contribution to the Scottish economy and the continued confidence and investment from huge firms such as National Oilwell Varco will ensure that it will continue to do so for many decades to come.”

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise said: “NOV is a significant international player in the oil and gas sector and its decision to expand its operations in Scotland is a clear demonstration of our global reach in this area.

“Capitalising on our reputation in the sector to develop new inward investment opportunities was one of the key themes of Scotland’s industry-led strategy for the sector.

“This latest announcement pays continued testament to the skills and expertise we’ve built up in the industry over the past 40 years, and we look forward to continuing to work with the company to support its growth ambitions.”

Start on site for major Corby development scheme

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Start on site for major Corby development schemeMulberry Property Developments (MPD) have partnered with Savoy Cinemas on a construction project in Corby that will start next week and create new jobs in the trades.

The project, which will take around nine months to build, is the latest phase in the transformation of the former Tresham College site which has seen Corby Borough Council and the Homes and Communications Agency (HCA) merge their land to provide a large-scale development opportunity in the local area.

The scheme will see the building of a new cinema and restaurants in the first phase of development, with the potential for a hotel and new homes in future phases.

Developer MPD has appointed construction company MCS Group Ltd to kick start the cinema build, which involves the construction of a shell that will house both the multiplex cinema and three national restaurant operators.

The construction phase of the development will create nearly 100 jobs locally and a further 25 positions will be filled when the cinema launches.

Keir Edmonds, Managing Director of MCS Group, said: “We are delighted to have been selected for the construction of this iconic building. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be involved on a build that will undoubtedly become an anchor to Corby’s entertainment offering.”

Charles Amies, Executive Director for the HCA, Midlands said: “Corby is keen to prosper and grow, and our work over the years with the Borough Council and its partners has been to support this growth and use our land to accelerate development.

“We can boast many examples of this in Corby through our support to the Borough’s transport interchange and railway station, our investment at Priors Hall which will see some 5000 new homes, businesses, schools and parkland delivered and in this latest project at Parkland Gateway.

“We know how important the cinema phase is for the Council and people in Corby and we are really pleased to have got to this stage.”

Barratt deal to build 2,000 new homes in Milton Keynes

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Barratt deal to drive Milton Keynes 2,000 homes planBarratt Homes and Places for People have announced a joint venture to build over 2,000 homes in Milton Keynes that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

Adjacent to junction 14 of the M1 motorway, Brooklands is one of Places for People’s flagship, award-winning developments and forms part of a 145 hectare site.

To date, Places for People has built 250 homes on the land and in line with its commitment to creating sustainable places, provided a substantial amount of infrastructure, open space, and community facilities, as well as the land for a new primary school.

Barratt Homes will start construction of the residential elements in May 2014. As with its other joint ventures, Barratt will provide construction, development, accountancy and sales services to the JV.

Paradigm Housing Group will purchase the completed affordable dwellings which will consist of both rental and shared ownership tenure.

In addition to new homes, the site has outline planning permission for parks, open spaces, and a local centre, including shops and office space, which Places for People will continue to deliver.

Places for People will also remain responsible for Brooklands Square (a town square with shops, cafes and restaurants), the design, co-ordination and implementation of the roads, drainage, off-site highways improvements, green spaces and community facilities such as a primary and secondary school, which will be built within the next two years.

David Cowans, Chief Executive of Places for People, said: “At a time when new housing is desperately needed, our partnership with Barratt will enable us to build new homes and community facilities at a much faster pace.

“Brooklands is different to many other housing developments as it offers a genuine community feel and a variety of facilities that allow people to mix and integrate. It has proved hugely successful and we want to build on this success via this new joint venture.

“Working together, we will be able to develop the site more quickly than would otherwise have been possible, in particular the infrastructure that will continue to make Brooklands a great place to live such as the public realm, shops and schools.”

Andrew Swindell, Managing Director, Barratt Northampton said: “Our business is expanding, built on our capability to deliver challenging projects on time. This site continues our heritage in Milton Keynes where we’ve built around 800 homes in the past five years. We have an outstanding track record of delivery and we will be on site as soon as possible.”

Councils to build 10,000 affordable homes

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Extra borrowing powers for Councils to build 10,000 affordable homesNew borrowing powers that will help councils to build up to 10,000 affordable homes and create new jobs have been announced by the government.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander revealed details of the extra borrowing powers that will boost the trades and help economiv growth.

Councils can bid for a share of £300 million of extra borrowing, which will be made available through an increase in their housing revenue account borrowing cap, and invested in new affordable housing over 2 years from 2015.

Ministers also confirmed that the rules about council land sales would change, so more surplus and redundant land and property can be released to build homes for local communities.

Councils applying for extra borrowing powers will need to demonstrate maximum value for money, by including funds from disposal of surplus assets, particularly high-value vacant stock, and by bringing forward their own land for new affordable housing.

Councils building more

The government has untied councils’ hands by reforming the system for council house finance. Councils can now keep their rents and receipts from house or land sales, in return for taking more responsibility for housing in their area.

Since 2010 170,000 affordable homes have been delivered across the country, while councils have built more council housing in the last 3 years than in the previous 15 years combined.

Today’s move will allow councils to build on this progress and ensure local people have the affordable homes they need.

House building is vital for local economic growth, and councils will need to work closely with their Local Enterprise Partnership when preparing their bids for extra borrowing powers, which will form part of the government’s Local Growth Fund.

Better use of council assets and land

Ministers also confirmed that councils will have more flexibility to sell their land for new development. Starting today, councils can now sell their vacant land at below market value to a broad range of organisations if it is then used to build affordable housing.

The extra funding and flexibilities will enable councils to complement government’s affordable housing programme, which is on track to deliver 170,000 homes by 2015, and a further 165,000 between 2015 and 2018.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “We have untied the hands of councils so they can take more responsibility for housing in their area. Councils have built more homes in the last 3 years than under the whole of the last government – 170,000 affordable homes have been delivered since 2010, and housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007.”

Welsh Government set to create more trades jobs

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Welsh Government set to create more trades jobsFreudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies is investing £11 million investment into one consolidated manufacturing centre, which with Welsh Government support is creating 60 jobs.

The investment, backed by £3 million business finance from the Welsh Government, will also safeguard around 90 direct jobs and secure the long term sustainable future of the business in Wales. It will see employment rise from 237 to 297.

The company, part of the technology group Freudenberg, designs, develops and manufactures high integrity sealing solutions for the oil and gas industry globally.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “This is a major investment by the globally active German family-owned Freudenberg Group that will not only create 60 highly skilled, well paid jobs but it will also safeguard 90 others and ensure the long term sustainability of their operation in Wales.

“The company makes a major contribution to the economy, exporting products that are developed here in Wales, across the world. This investment illustrates the company’s commitment to Wales and I am pleased the WG is able to support this expansion.”

Richard T. Schmidt, President and CEO of Freudenberg Oil & Gas Technologies said: “The investment in Wales will enable the business to grow, remain competitive and become more efficient.

“The investment is testament to the company’s long-term commitment to Wales while funding from the Welsh Government was extremely important highlighting its continued support and enabling this investment to go ahead.”

Barnfield Construction scoops Stafford office job

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Barnfield Construction awarded Stafford office jobManchester based Panacea Property Development has announced the start of construction work on a £25 million mixed use development scheme at Riverway Stafford.

Panacea was given a planning approval following purchase of the site from Staffordshire County Council that will see the building of a new business centre that will boost the local economy and create new jobs.

Barnfield Construction has been appointed as contractor with completion scheduled for the summer of 2015. The total value of phase one is circa £12 million.

Panacea is reviewing proposals from interested parties for phase two of the development where a 60 to 80 bed independent living scheme is planned on the prominent 0.64 hectare front site.

Gareth Riddell, Co-founder and Director of Panacea Property Development said: “Panacea has used its blend of unique skills and experience to bring the Riverway Stafford development to fruition and has built an enviable portfolio of complex sites where we can add real value.

“We help landowners and occupiers from both public and private sectors that require a dedicated, confidential and streamlined service to deal with their diverse property requirements. We act independently or in partnership and collaboration with other organisations.”

The scheme has been forward funded by Aviva Investors via their REaLM commercial assets fund on a 30 year income-strip basis with RPI based rent reviews.

Tom Chadwick, Assistant Fund Manager at Aviva Investors said: “We are delighted with this transaction as it fulfils the investment requirements of our pension fund clients by providing exceptionally secure and inflation linked cashflows.”

Willmott Dixon gets £91m repair and maintenance contracts

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Willmott Dixon gets £91m repair and maintenance contractsWillmott Dixon Partnerships has won two housing repairs and maintenance contracts worth £91 million that will create new jobs and help the trades.

The company will also be investing in skills with a commitment to create apprenticeships as part of the work as well as boost economic growth in the West Midlands region.

The largest contract is a £64 million venture from Orbit Heart of England to deliver responsive repairs to homes across Stratford-upon-Avon, Rugby, Burton-on-Trent, Coventry Hinckley and Northampton over the next eight years.

Nick Melling from Orbit Heart of England said: “This is the first time that Orbit Heart of England has appointed a supplier for this length of contract.

“As well as offering value for money for our customers, Willmott Dixon will be employing local people, using local trades people and offering apprenticeships.”

The scope also includes refurbishing vacant properties and electrical testing, with Orbit Heart of England having an option to extend the contract for a further five years.

A Willmott Dixon Partnerships team will co-locate with Orbit Heart at its office in Stratford-upon-Avon while also working from three additional regional offices in Burton, Rugby and Leicester.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships has also won a five year contract worth £27 million from Midland Heart to deliver its service to 5,300 homes across the East and West Midlands. It will co-locate at Midland Heart’s office in Coventry to provide the service, which has an option to be extended to ten years.

Mick Williamson, managing director at Willmott Dixon Partnerships, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Orbit Heart of England and Midland Heart.

“We will apply the same focus on quality, skills development and service levels that has enabled us to add value and bring enhanced productivity in our performance to maintain 60,000 properties for Birmingham City Council.”

Willmott Dixon gets £91m repair and maintenance contracts

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Willmott Dixon gets £91m repair and maintenance contractsWillmott Dixon Partnerships has won two housing repairs and maintenance contracts worth £91 million that will create new jobs and help the trades.

The company will also be investing in skills with a commitment to create apprenticeships as part of the work as well as boost economic growth in the West Midlands region.

The largest contract is a £64 million venture from Orbit Heart of England to deliver responsive repairs to homes across Stratford-upon-Avon, Rugby, Burton-on-Trent, Coventry Hinckley and Northampton over the next eight years.

Nick Melling from Orbit Heart of England said: “This is the first time that Orbit Heart of England has appointed a supplier for this length of contract.

“As well as offering value for money for our customers, Willmott Dixon will be employing local people, using local trades people and offering apprenticeships.”

The scope also includes refurbishing vacant properties and electrical testing, with Orbit Heart of England having an option to extend the contract for a further five years.

A Willmott Dixon Partnerships team will co-locate with Orbit Heart at its office in Stratford-upon-Avon while also working from three additional regional offices in Burton, Rugby and Leicester.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships has also won a five year contract worth £27 million from Midland Heart to deliver its service to 5,300 homes across the East and West Midlands. It will co-locate at Midland Heart’s office in Coventry to provide the service, which has an option to be extended to ten years.

Mick Williamson, managing director at Willmott Dixon Partnerships, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Orbit Heart of England and Midland Heart.

“We will apply the same focus on quality, skills development and service levels that has enabled us to add value and bring enhanced productivity in our performance to maintain 60,000 properties for Birmingham City Council.”

Unlocking potential for growth and new jobs

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Unlocking potential for growth and new jobsHampshire County Council is set to start construction work of a new spine road within the Solent Enterprise Zone that will create thousands of jobs and boost economic growth.

Around £7 million of Government funding will be used to create the new spine road that will link the new main gateway off Broom Way and running east-west across the southern area at Lee on the Solent.

Cllr Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “The right infrastructure within, to and from Daedalus will help to attract investment, supporting the growth of local businesses and creation of around 3,500 jobs for local people.”

Hampshire County Council is to lead the development of the spine road on behalf of the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) as landowner of the Enterprise Zone and Solent LEP.

The road will access a string of development sites and is essential in underpinning the comprehensive redevelopment of the Waterfront to create a vibrant new complex of commercial and leisure businesses and new homes.

Mr Woodward said: “It makes absolute sense for Hampshire County Council, with its experience and skills, to manage the delivery of the new Enterprise Zone spine road, which is key to unlocking the Waterfront for redevelopment. We have already started works to improve the access to the Enterprise Zone.

“This includes improvements being made to Newgate Lane, opening up road access from Gosport Road into the Enterprise Zone and creating a new main gateway to the Enterprise Zone off Broom Way.

“When completed, this package of infrastructure works will benefit the entire enterprise zone and wider South Hampshire economy.”

Colin Molton, HCA Executive Director, added: “We have worked closely with partners to make progress on this important development which forms is a key part of wider plans to bring jobs, investment and growth to the Solent Enterprise Zone.

“There is still some work to be done activity can start, and we will remain focused on helping to get this work underway so that the area can benefit from the investment that will be brought to the site.”

Westfield London £1bn building scheme approved

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Westfield London £1bn building scheme approvedWestfield’s £1 billion retail and residential extension, that will create new jobs and build thousands of new homes, has been given the go-ahead by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

Revised plans to expand Westfield in Shepherds Bush, creating thousands of new jobs and more than 1,300 homes, were granted planning permission by the council’s planning committee.

Plans are to demolish existing buildings on the site and build new ones, ranging from two to 23 storeys, with up to 1,347 new homes and 61,840sqm of shops, including anchor department store John Lewis.

Westfield expects to begin building work this year with John Lewis and other new stores opening in time for Christmas 2017.

The scheme will bring thousands of jobs to the area, including 600 through the arrival of John Lewis.

There will also be cafes, restaurants, offices, a public square, spaces for community, health or cultural use, leisure facilities, along with new pedestrian routes and open spaces, cycle parking, car and motorcycle parking, and new roads.

Westfield has said it hopes to create three separate zones – a retail quarter centred around John Lewis, a residential quarter around a green square, and a piazza around the existing, grade II listed Dimco buildings that would be focus for small shops, leisure and community space. The Dimco piazza does not, however, form part of the current planning application.

Government set to build more homes for private rent

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Government set to build more homes for private rentHousing Minister Kris Hopkins has announced a deal that will see the building of 500 homes in London specifically for private rent.

This is the fourth deal under the government’s £1 billion Build to Rent scheme – and the largest to date, paving the way for new jobs in the construction industry

Overall through this innovative new fund, work will be underway on 10,000 new homes for private rent by 2015.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “With millions looking to live in and around London, there is a real demand for good quality homes available to rent on flexible terms.

“Today’s Build to Rent deal is our fourth and the largest to date. It will deliver nearly 500 homes on sites across the capital and in Chelmsford, offering greater choice for tenants.

“And with more sites being considered as part of this £1 billion scheme, we’re looking to get even more homes built specifically for rent across the country.”

New homes in and around the capital

Under the terms of the deal, Genesis Housing Association will receive £45.5 million to build 485 homes for private rent across 4 sites in London and Chelmsford. The homes will be a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom properties.

In each case, Build to Rent homes will form part of wider developments, with affordable housing and home ownership schemes including Help to Buy also available.

Building homes for rent

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “With London’s population soaring, and to help address a 30-year failure to build enough homes, we have set the most ambitious house-building targets in City Hall history.

“The private rented sector has a huge part to play in this. More well-designed, good quality homes to rent will help rebalance the capital’s rental market, improve services for tenants and stimulate new development and economic growth as well as providing the new homes that hardworking Londoners so desperately need.”

Government set to build more homes for private rent

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Government set to build more homes for private rentHousing Minister Kris Hopkins has announced a deal that will see the building of 500 homes in London specifically for private rent.

This is the fourth deal under the government’s £1 billion Build to Rent scheme – and the largest to date, paving the way for new jobs in the construction industry

Overall through this innovative new fund, work will be underway on 10,000 new homes for private rent by 2015.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “With millions looking to live in and around London, there is a real demand for good quality homes available to rent on flexible terms.

“Today’s Build to Rent deal is our fourth and the largest to date. It will deliver nearly 500 homes on sites across the capital and in Chelmsford, offering greater choice for tenants.

“And with more sites being considered as part of this £1 billion scheme, we’re looking to get even more homes built specifically for rent across the country.”

New homes in and around the capital

Under the terms of the deal, Genesis Housing Association will receive £45.5 million to build 485 homes for private rent across 4 sites in London and Chelmsford. The homes will be a mix of 1, 2, and 3-bedroom properties.

In each case, Build to Rent homes will form part of wider developments, with affordable housing and home ownership schemes including Help to Buy also available.

Building homes for rent

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “With London’s population soaring, and to help address a 30-year failure to build enough homes, we have set the most ambitious house-building targets in City Hall history.

“The private rented sector has a huge part to play in this. More well-designed, good quality homes to rent will help rebalance the capital’s rental market, improve services for tenants and stimulate new development and economic growth as well as providing the new homes that hardworking Londoners so desperately need.”

Housebuilding scheme reaches out with new jobs

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Housebuilding scheme reaches out with new jobsA 15-year housing deal that will see the building of hundreds of new homes and boost the building trades has been agreed between Hammersmith & Fulham Council and developer Stanhope.

The 50:50 joint venture will see the Council and Stanhope jointly take forward housing development opportunities – beginning with the creation of more than 300 homes over the next three years.

Of these 300 new homes, an estimated 40 per cent – approximately 120 – will be affordable intermediate housing sold at a discounted market rate to help local people take their first steps onto the housing ladder.

The borough’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Andrew Johnson, said: “We’ve carefully considered how best to use our land assets more proactively – and firmly believe that joint ventures such as this can accelerate release of public land to help drive forward development, housing supply and economic growth.

“As well as delivering more than 100 low-cost-homes to buy, this partnership will also enable the council to ensure that the proceeds are ploughed back into similar schemes, estate improvements and reducing our £200 million of housing debt.”

Two council-owned vacant residential sites in Fulham have already been identified as opportunities to create new homes for this first phase of the joint venture – Watermeadow Court Estate and Edith Summerskill House.

The two sites have been empty for many years after being declared unfit for purpose and proving too costly to maintain. On the two sites, roughly double the original number of homes will be re-provided – addressing the local demand for both low-cost home-ownership and market sale properties.

It is expected that one third of the discounted market sale housing would be reserved for families on incomes of up to £30,000pa, one third would be affordable to those with incomes of up to £40,000 pa and the remainder would be affordable to those with incomes up to the Mayor of London’s official affordable housing limit of £80,000.

New homes underway in Stockport town centre

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Building IndustryWork is underway to build 36 new houses as part of the Covent Garden Urban Village scheme in Stockport that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

The project will be developed by Seddon in partnership with Stockport Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The new homes will be built over four sites, including Hopes Carr, and will comprise a mix of two, three and four bedroom family homes for market sale with off-road parking and gardens.

Two of the sites front onto Churchgate, with another one behind Churchgate House and one behind Watson House / Chapel Studio.

A new highway connecting Waterloo Road with Orchard Street will be constructed as part of the scheme and the cobbled road on Lavender’s Brow will be restored.

Councillor Iain Roberts, Executive Member for Economic Development and Regeneration at Stockport Council, said: “Covent Garden is a pivotal project in the regeneration of Stockport town centre. By bringing more family homes to the town centre, we will improve the area, increase footfall and boost local businesses.

“We’ve made great progress with the completion of 46 homes last year and I look forward to seeing the second phase developing over the next year.”

Adrian Green, Development Director at Seddon, said: “We are delighted to have reached the implementation stage of this next phase of the Hopes Carr regeneration, which represents the culmination of the hard work between ourselves, the HCA and Stockport Council.

“These new homes will bring life and old meets new architecture to the area which will benefit the whole of Stockport Town Centre, and allow further development to take place in the future.”

Deborah McLaughlin, Executive Director for the North West at the HCA, said: “Covent Garden Urban Village is an important project for Stockport, so I’m really pleased to see work starting on phase 2.

“The central aim of the Get Britain Building programme is to deliver new homes in the areas that need them most, so I’m sure that local people will look forward to these homes being completed.”

£19m road upgrade to bring new homes and jobs for Norwich

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Up to £19 million of government funding will be invested in a new transport scheme in Norwich, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has announced today.

The funding will help two business parks to grow, creating over 5,000 new jobs and allowing 600 new homes to be built while boosting economic growth in the area.

The Department for Transport funding will be used to enlarge the junction on the A47 at Postwick, east of Norwich. The improved transport link will allow further development of the existing Broadland Business Park and development of the new Broadland Gate Business Park.

Local transport minister Baroness Kramer said: “This major road improvement is great news for Norwich, with fantastic benefits for local people including new homes and the creation of thousands of new jobs.

“The £19 million we are putting into this project will greatly boost the infrastructure Norwich needs to help the local economy grow.”

The Postwick Park and Ride site next to the junction will also be enlarged as part of the scheme to provide people with more choice of how to travel.

The main works are scheduled to start in April 2014 with completion of the scheme in November 2015.

The Department for Transport will provide a maximum of £19 million towards the full scheme cost of £24.4 million.

£19m road upgrade to bring new homes and jobs for Norwich

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Up to £19 million of government funding will be invested in a new transport scheme in Norwich, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has announced today.

The funding will help two business parks to grow, creating over 5,000 new jobs and allowing 600 new homes to be built while boosting economic growth in the area.

The Department for Transport funding will be used to enlarge the junction on the A47 at Postwick, east of Norwich. The improved transport link will allow further development of the existing Broadland Business Park and development of the new Broadland Gate Business Park.

Local transport minister Baroness Kramer said: “This major road improvement is great news for Norwich, with fantastic benefits for local people including new homes and the creation of thousands of new jobs.

“The £19 million we are putting into this project will greatly boost the infrastructure Norwich needs to help the local economy grow.”

The Postwick Park and Ride site next to the junction will also be enlarged as part of the scheme to provide people with more choice of how to travel.

The main works are scheduled to start in April 2014 with completion of the scheme in November 2015.

The Department for Transport will provide a maximum of £19 million towards the full scheme cost of £24.4 million.

Innovation centre to create 150 jobs on Solent Enterprise Zone

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Innovation centre to create 150 jobs on Solent Enterprise ZoneWork to build a new £5.3 million new business development on the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus is set to start after Fareham Borough Council gave the go-ahead last week.

The innovation centre project will create around 150 new jobs and create office space and workshop facilities for new businesses. The focus will be on the engineering, aerospace, aviation and marine industries, with support to help them grow and succeed.

The development is part of large scale investment at the Enterprise Zone, which includes improvements to the runway and new hangar space. In Autumn, Fareham College will open a new Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) on site.

Fareham College and Fareham Borough Council have been working together to ensure potential links between developing local skills at the training facility and local jobs at the innovation centre are maximised. The scheme has been supported by a £5.3m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which owns the enterprise zone site.

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: “The Innovation Centre will see the construction of state of the art business facilities at Daedalus and the creation of highly skilled local jobs. With top the range support on offer for new companies in engineering, aerospace, aviation and marine, the innovation centre is great news for Borough’s economy as a whole.”

Kevin Bourner, Head of Area at the HCA, said: “The innovation centre is the next critical stage in the development of the Solent Enterprise Zone.

“The news that work can now get underway on the centre is another clear sign of the good progress that is being made at the Solent Enterprise Zone thanks to the efforts of all partners involved.”

Innovation centre to create 150 jobs on Solent Enterprise Zone

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Innovation centre to create 150 jobs on Solent Enterprise ZoneWork to build a new £5.3 million new business development on the Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus is set to start after Fareham Borough Council gave the go-ahead last week.

The innovation centre project will create around 150 new jobs and create office space and workshop facilities for new businesses. The focus will be on the engineering, aerospace, aviation and marine industries, with support to help them grow and succeed.

The development is part of large scale investment at the Enterprise Zone, which includes improvements to the runway and new hangar space. In Autumn, Fareham College will open a new Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (CEMAST) on site.

Fareham College and Fareham Borough Council have been working together to ensure potential links between developing local skills at the training facility and local jobs at the innovation centre are maximised. The scheme has been supported by a £5.3m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which owns the enterprise zone site.

Executive Leader of Fareham Borough Council, Councillor Seán Woodward, said: “The Innovation Centre will see the construction of state of the art business facilities at Daedalus and the creation of highly skilled local jobs. With top the range support on offer for new companies in engineering, aerospace, aviation and marine, the innovation centre is great news for Borough’s economy as a whole.”

Kevin Bourner, Head of Area at the HCA, said: “The innovation centre is the next critical stage in the development of the Solent Enterprise Zone.

“The news that work can now get underway on the centre is another clear sign of the good progress that is being made at the Solent Enterprise Zone thanks to the efforts of all partners involved.”

Scottish government reveals £1bn jobs boost

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The Scottish GovernmentThe Scottish Government Infrastructure Investment plan – which delivers housing, hospitals, schools and transport infrastructure projects – is set to see a further £1 billion worth of investment.

The extra investment has been possible by extending the Scottish Government’s Non-Profit Distributing funding method.

Every £100 million of construction activity is estimated to support over 1,300 jobs. Investment in infrastructure has supported 40,000 jobs across Scotland over the past year.

Finance Secretary John Swinney made the announcement alongside the allocation of UK Budget Barnett consequentials for Scotland

Speaking during a statement to parliament Mr Swinney said: “Whenever there has been an opportunity to further invest in our economy, this Government has taken it.

“That is why I am pleased to announce today a number of measures that will boost our economy, create jobs, support skills development and strengthen Scotland’s infrastructure.

“We know that every additional £100 million of construction activity is estimated to support over 1300 jobs. And then we get the long term benefits of using the asset.”.

The funding allocations will include:

• An extra £31 million capital funding over the next two years for local government to further develop the capital infrastructure needed to increase early learning and childcare provision. This will bring the total capital investment to £91 million.

• An extra £12 million resource funding to local government in 2015-16 to further fund the provision of free school meals for P1 – P3 pupils, with proportionate additional funding available in 2014-15 to reflect the implementation of the commitment from January 2015.

• An extra £10 million of support for Help to Buy (Scotland) in 2014-15 which will bringing our overall investment to £235 million over three years.

• A further £12 million this year to further enhance our extensive existing measures to support youth employment, such as Modern Apprenticeships and enhanced vocational pathways.

• £2 million over two years to provide further support for those affected by the UK Government’s programme of welfare reform.

Mayor gives the go-ahead to new 1,000 homes in Islington

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Mayor gives the go-ahead to new 1,000 homes in IslingtonPlans to build almost 1,000 homes in Islington have been approved by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, paving the way for new jobs and boosting the trades.

Boris Johnson ‘called-in’ the City Forum development on City Road in December 2013 after officers from Islington Council refused the application.

Since then, City Hall planners have been working closely with developer Berkeley Homes and the council to bring forward a scheme that can alleviate some of London’s pressing housing needs and regenerate a part of London that is in need of improvement.

The scheme comprises a 42-storey tower block and a 36-storey tower block in an area already designated by Islington Council as suitable for locating a cluster of tall buildings.

The development will include 995 homes, 30 per cent of which will be affordable. There will also be a 190-room hotel, a crèche, retail and office space. It is expected that the development will lead to the creation of more than 1,000 jobs.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “London is enjoying an unprecedented population boom and by 2030 will become the first city in Europe to be home to ten million people.

“Building new homes and creating more jobs is absolutely crucial so that we can ensure this growth is sustainable.”

Berkeley’s Divisional Managing Director, Justin Tibaldi, says work will begin right away: “We are delighted to have been given planning permission by the Mayor and will aim to get on site this summer.

“We want to bring real benefits to the area and to London as a whole, not least through a major investment in high quality affordable housing.”

Northern Ireland housing deal reaches out with 1000 new jobs

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Northern Ireland housing deal reaches out with 1000 new jobsClanmil Housing Group has unveiled a finance deal that will inject up to £180 million into social housing and the wider economy in Northern Ireland.

The investment is expected to generate almost 600 construction jobs over four-years and support more than 400 associated jobs in the supply chain.

The funding will also enable Clanmil to access up to £80 million in statutory funding from the Department for Social Development and kick-start construction of 1,600 much-needed social homes that will house up to 5,000 people.

Steve Amos, Chair of Clanmil Housing, said: “This is really good news in a tough lending market. Faced with growing demand for social housing and increasing constraints on statutory funding, our challenge is to find new funding sources that will support continued investment in social housing and make the available public money go further.

“Thanks to strong working relationships with both banks and their confidence in Clanmil’s financial management, we have been able to agree a mix of funding at very competitive rates and with a range of tenures to support the delivery of such a large affordable housing investment programme.

“This funding leaves Clanmil well placed to continue to play a major role in the provision of good affordable homes for people in housing need. The Northern Ireland economy will also benefit from much needed jobs for the local construction industry.”

Welcoming the announcement of additional funding by Clanmil, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said: “This funding will help provide an additional 1,600 social homes throughout Northern Ireland and will be welcomed by prospective tenants and the building industry.

“The next three years of the Social Housing Development Programme will see housing associations significantly step up output to deliver 2,000 new homes each year.

“Clanmil will play a key role in achieving these targets and this £120 million loan will be invaluable in partnering match funding from my Department to allow these ambitious targets to be met.”

Kier appointed for Enfield Council housing projects

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Kier appointed for Enfield Council housing projectsA housing project by Enfield Council is set to help solve the region’s urgent need for family housing and boost the building trades in the local area.

The new regeneration scheme has identified seven council-owned sites across the borough to develop 94 new, high quality residential homes, the first council housing to be built in Enfield for several decades.

Over the last year all but one of the sites have been cleared and Kier will start work on the Parsonage Lane site in Enfield by June of this year.

All the homes will be mixed tenure developments including two, three and four-bedroom houses and one and two-bedroom apartments with some properties for shared ownership.

Cllr Ahmet Oykener, Enfield Council’s cabinet member for housing, said: “We have taken an innovative approach to the planning and funding arrangements providing 37 affordable rented council-owned homes. A wholly owned Council property company will be able to use the income generated from the remaining 57 homes to fund the whole development.”

Dennis Seal, Kier’s residential investment director, said: “The provision of 37 new affordable rental homes in Enfield and the retention of the income from the remaining 57 properties will ensure that the initiative delivers homes to the highest standard.

“We will be using appropriate and sustainable materials to create attractive new homes that will fit into their surroundings across the seven very different sites, adding value and reducing running costs.”

Small sites being developed include:

• 9-85 Parsonage Lane EN2 0AG
• 22-68 Forty Hill EN2 9EG
• 119-135 Lavender Hill EN2 0RH
• 50-60 St Georges Road EN1 4TX
• 41-63 Tudor Crescent EN2 0TT
• 1-18 Jasper Close EN3 5QG
• Garages to rear of 131-161 Holtwhites Hill EN2 8BL

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