Sadiq Khan has released the first details of his plans to set up a powerful ‘Homes for Londoners’ team at City Hall to oversee homebuilding in the capital and boost the delivery of new homes.
The Mayor of London has begun work to pull together and bolster housing and development capacity at City Hall and across the GLA family.
As a first step, he has begun recruiting new experts to scrutinise ‘viability assessments’ – the financial details that lie behind how much affordable housing new developments include.
The experts, who will be drawn from finance surveyors and property consultant experts and be based at City Hall, will support housing delivery by making planning decisions faster and more consistent, and by ensuring new developments include the maximum amount of affordable housing.
Sadiq will also lead a new ‘Homes for Londoners’ board, formed of London Boroughs, housing associations, and developers.
The board will oversee delivery, land assembly and investment decisions, and will draw on expertise from across the housing and property sectors to help develop new policy for the capital.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Homeownership has been slipping increasingly out of reach for more and more Londoners, and rents have been getting harder and harder to afford. I want to be honest with Londoners from the start that it will take time to turn things around – we’re starting from a position where last year the previous Mayor built the lowest number of affordable homes since records began.
“I am determined that Londoners get the same opportunities this great city gave me. That is why I am setting up my Homes for Londoners team to speed up homebuilding and to move towards 50 per cent of new homes in London being genuinely affordable to rent and buy.”
A review of capacity and skills across the GLA will now get underway. Its aim is to ensure the ‘Homes for Londoners’ team can play a more active role in the delivery of housing, particularly in bringing forward public land in London, and speeding up the planning process. This may also lead to additional expertise and support being recruited into the team in due course.
David Montague, Chair of the g15, said: “The Mayor of London has made housing a priority from day one, and we have been working with James Murray on a new strategic housing partnership.
“Homes for Londoners will bring together the GLA, housing associations, local authorities and housebuilders to tackle the capital’s housing crisis.
“The priority now must be to build a long-term pipeline of clean serviced and consented land. With this we can guarantee apprenticeships, jobs, economic growth, thriving communities and affordable homes. Without it, London will lose out in the competition for investment and growth.”
The number of newly built homes across England has increased 6% in the past year, new figures released today show.
The latest house building data shows that 139,030 new homes were completed in the year to June and have continued to build gradually over the last 2 years.
More than 144,280 homes were started in the year to June 2016.
Meanwhile, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show there are more first-time buyers than at any time since 2007, with 72,800 in England in the second quarter of 2016.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We’ve got the country building again with more new homes started and built than this time last year.
“This is real progress but there is much more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in house building to ensure many more people can benefit.”
Today’s figures show strong regional growth in London, Swindon and Wakefield, which are all experiencing high levels of completions.
Delivery in London saw 24% more homes being built in the year to June 2016 than the previous year with local authorities in Greenwich and Waltham Forest seeing completions soar 126% and 103% respectively over the same period.
And in Swindon and Wakefield completions were up 104% and 41% respectively.
Figures published last year show that the total number of new homes across the country rose by 25% in 2014 to 2015, when taking in to account all homes, including new builds, houses that have been converted into flats and buildings whose use has been changed to residential.
The government is committed to building the homes this country needs and investing £8 billion to build 400,000 more affordable homes to rent and buy.
The landmark Housing and Planning Act will help deliver on its ambition to build a million more homes by ensuring councils continue to play a key role in delivery, and through new measures that will allow them to deliver more homes more swiftly.
Kier’s construction arm has confirmed it has secured places on a trio of major construction frameworks with a potential spend of £5bn that will create new jobs and boost the trades.
• A place on the four-year £4bn Department of Health Procure22 framework as one of six principle supply chain partners which commences in October. Kier Construction is a leading provider in the health sector having delivered over £170m of health projects over the last twelve months.
• A place as one of five suppliers on two five-year construction frameworks worth up to £750m at Gatwick Airport. The frameworks cover building and civil engineering projects up to £10m as well as a smaller works framework for building projects up to £1.5m. The award reflects Kier’s increasing profile in the aviation sector with a place recently secured on the framework at Glasgow airport focused on infrastructure improvements.
• A place on the two-year £500m University of Cambridge Framework to provide a range of facilities including laboratories, teaching and lecture spaces and sport facilities. This construction framework provides opportunity to build on our established working relationship with the University.
Kier Group chief executive, Haydn Mursell, said: “These awards demonstrate the breadth of our offering and the strength of our relationships with clients across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, aviation and education.
“Such awards, which account for approximately half of our UK regional building revenues, enable us to work closely with our clients to deliver on their long-term requirements and they further bolster our strong Construction order book.”
Having previously delivered 2,520 units across five central London schemes for Urbanest as part of a long-running partnership, this latest £42 million project at 5 Miles Street, Vauxhall will include 454 apartments at a variety of price points.
The 33-storey building will include a wealth of personal and communal study areas, lounges and a cycle store, together with significant enhancements to the public realm.
With focus on long term sustainability, photovoltaic panels and a green roof will be incorporated in order to minimize carbon emissions and reduce fuel consumption, alongside a combined heat and power (CHP) unit designed to recycle heat and energy within the development.
The scheme will create a number of jobs locally alongside an additional 20 apprenticeships as part of Balfour Beatty’s ongoing commitment to The 5% Club, which aims to have a minimum of 5% of the total workforce made up of apprentices or graduates.
The development will contribute to the wider £400 million regeneration of Vauxhall Square, which will include a significant amount of new office and residential development, alongside a new hotel and cinema complex.
Construction for 5 Miles Street is set to begin imminently and is scheduled to complete in summer 2018.
David Kennedy, Managing Director of London Region for Balfour Beatty said:“We are looking forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with Urbanest.
“To date we’ve delivered over 2,500 units of student accommodation for Urbanest and over 20,000 beds for private sector customers and academic institutes as well as significant investment into a number of schemes.
“Vauxhall Square is an important part of London’s development by incorporating the local student population into the local community and we’re pleased to be a part of the wider project”.
Wates Construction has signed a contract to deliver a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art food and health research centre at Norwich Research Park, marking a significant step in the business’ growth in East Anglia.
The £63.5 million construction element of this project will see Wates build a new five-storey development that will bring together research teams from the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
Designed by architects, NBBJ, the scheme will comprise a variety of specialist laboratories, lecture theatres and offices. Photovoltaic panels and ground source heat pumps have been incorporated into the building design to enhance energy efficiency.
The work adds to Wates’ growing East Anglia project portfolio and extends the business’ presence in the region’s science and research sector. Current projects also include the University of Cambridge’s North West Cambridge Development.
Wates has made a commitment to create opportunities for on-site industry skills training throughout the work, which is expected to include apprenticeship positions and partnership working with Norwich-based schools and colleges.
Ian Vickers, Managing Director at Wates Construction, said: “This project is undoubtedly significant for the development of science but it is also set to be an incredible catalyst for the region in terms of creating opportunities for local people.
“At peak periods our site team will stand at 350 and this, along with our investment in skills training and our engagement with a local supply chain, will further contribute to the local economic benefit of this fantastic scheme.”
New affordable homes will be built in the Fort William area as a result of the Scottish Government investing over £2.5 million in charitable bonds.
Charitable bonds are ethical financial products – no profit is taken by Allia, a social investment charity who issues the bonds on the Scottish Government’s behalf. Allia have provided Lochaber Housing Association with a loan of over £2 million.
The interest on the loan, over half a million pounds, is converted into a charitable donation, which the Scottish Government gives to housing associations for the construction of new social housing
There has been considerable success with previous charitable bonds that have been issued with total investments now over £40 million.
This seventh bond provided development finance for 581 affordable homes, and generated over £9 million for charities of which £6.7 million will go towards the construction of new social housing.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:”Good quality, affordable housing is essential to help attract and retain people in Scotland’s remote and rural communities.
“We have committed to deliver 50,000 more affordable homes over the next five years, backed up with investment of more than £3 billion. Announcements such as this one today marks another step on road to delivering that pledge.
“Innovative financing schemes such as charitable bonds play a major role in helping us deliver this major expansion in housing supply. We invested £25 million last year and have committed to invest the same again this year and we remain the only Government in the UK to do so.
“Through these bonds we are also maintaining Scotland’s leadership in financial innovation, working with partners to deliver more for less public investment.”
Vinci Construction UK has been awarded a £35 million contract to design and build student accommodation in Cardiff.
Developer Fusion Students is behind the plan for the 686-bedroom complex at the former Cardiff Metropolitan University Howard Gardens site in the city.
The site, off Newport Road behind the Holland House hotel, was formerly occupied by the university’s School of Art and Design until it relocated its operations to its new Llandaff campus in September last year.
Following demolition of the existing buildings, two new accommodation blocks will be constructed along with community facilities including a library, gym and cinema.
Work on the project is due to be completed in time for the 2017 academic year.
The Welsh Government is investing more than £500,000 in site infrastructure works to expand Presteigne’s Broadaxe Business Park that will create new jobs.
The project involves the construction of a new road and the installation of associated services that will open up a 4 acre site and create up to six serviced development plots for businesses.
The expansion follows enquiries from a number of companies, including businesses based on the Park that want to expand.
The contract, which was put out to tender, has been awarded to Jones Bros. (Henllan) Ltd .
Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates said: “We know that the availability of sites and premises is fundamental in attracting new investment and retaining existing investment.
“The Powys Local Growth Zone advisory group report also highlighted the need for sites and premises to address economic development in Powys and I am pleased the Welsh Government is responding to local demand and investing to support business growth.
“This project will open up opportunities for companies in the area to expand and grow their businesses and also help attract new businesses to the area that will create jobs and support the local economy.”
It is also anticipated it will attract private sector investment from local construction companies that have expressed interest in developing the plots.
Gareth Jones, Director, Jones Bros (Henllan) Ltd said: “As a long established Welsh business, we are naturally delighted to be involved in bringing this development site to fruition by constructing the access road and the installation of associated services and infrastructure.
“We have recently been involved with business park expansion projects in Carmarthenshire (Cross Hands Food Park) and hope that this investment will help deliver the same economic and employment opportunities.”
The investment in Broadaxe Business Park is the latest in a number of interventions by the Welsh Government in the mid Wales property market aimed at supporting jobs and growth.
A new bus station and 1,000 space car park will be built in Lincoln helping to deliver jobs, growth and opportunity, after the government committed to fund the project.
The £29 million scheme will help improve city centre journeys for people living, working or visiting the town and deliver a boost to the economy.
Delivering transport upgrades that help people get around and get on is a key part of the government’s plan for transport.
The scheme is expected to create up to 200 jobs in the city, and deliver an economic boost worth £9 million a year.
The major investment is being made after the Transport Secretary approved plans for a new eastern bypass earlier this year. The council is now working to secure funding and make the plans a reality.
There will also be improvements to Lincoln Central railway station and a pedestrianised plaza connecting the bus and rail stations.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “A new bus station, car park and upgraded railway station will be a huge benefit to people who live and work in Lincoln, and those who visit the city.
“Better transport facilities don’t just help people get around, they help them get on – connecting them to jobs, opportunities and helping deliver economic growth.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) is providing £11 million towards the project, with the City of Lincoln Council providing £16 million and the
When complete, the windfarm will deliver up to 1,800 megawatts of low carbon electricity to around 1.8 million UK homes.
The windfarm would create up to 1,960 construction jobs and 580 operational and maintenance jobs.
If built to the full capacity, the investment would total around £6bn providing a great opportunity for economic growth in the Humber region and beyond.
Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “The UK’s offshore wind industry has grown at an extraordinary rate over the last few years, and is a fundamental part of our plans to build a clean, affordable, secure energy system.
“Britain is a global leader in offshore wind, and we’re determined to be one of the leading destinations for investment in renewable energy, which means jobs and economic growth right across the country.”
Located approximately 89km off the Yorkshire coast, the windfarm will comprise up to 300 wind turbines and will connect to the grid at North Killingholme in North Lincolnshire.
The Government is making £730 million of financial support available for renewable electricity generation this Parliament, sending a clear signal that the UK is open for business.
The decision was made on the merits of the scheme based on a report and recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate
U+I has exchanged contracts with landowner, Parkdale Investments, to bring forward a new mixed-use regeneration project for the Forest Works site on Blackhorse Road, North East London.
The 3-acre industrial site has the potential to deliver 300 new homes and 5,500 sq. ft. of commercial space for the area, with a GDV of £95 million.
Less than 150 metres from Blackhorse Road Station, Forest Works sits within an area that has already been earmarked for significant wider regeneration.
The site has been identified as a hub within the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s Blackhorse Lane Area Action Plan and is located within the new Blackhorse Lane housing zone, which is aiming to deliver over 2,500 new homes and 1,000 new jobs in the next ten years.
Councillor Clare Coghill, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and High Streets has described Blackhorse Lane as the area with “the greatest potential for improvement of any part of the borough.”
As well as £200 million of private investment, it is benefiting from support from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund for improvements to its high street and public amenity spaces.
In January 2016 it was also announced that Blackhorse Road Station would receive £2.2 million investment from TfL for improvements to the station and surrounding area.
Simon Hesketh, Director of Regeneration, U+I said: “We are delighted to be working with Parkdale Investments on a mixed-use regeneration project that will deliver significant benefits to the local area.
“Forest Works demonstrates U+I’s ability to uncover regeneration opportunities within emerging parts of the London City Region. We are focussed on creating long-term social and economic change for the places in which we develop and we look forward to working with Waltham Forest council and the local community to progress our redevelopment plans for the site.”
UCLH has appointed Mace to deliver a new state-of-the-art centre for its internationally renowned services, further enhancing its status as world leading hospital and university campus in central London.
The new centre, which will be located on Huntley Street, has been co-designed with patients and staff and will bring together services currently provided at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNEH) and Eastman Dental Hospital (EDH), in addition to other UCLH services.
The building navigation has been planned so that the zones that reflect how patients are treated and there will be a floor specifically for the care and treatment of children.
Mace has worked on a number of complex healthcare projects in the capital including the East Wing cladding project and the Positron Emission Tomography Centre for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, the refurbishment of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital as well as managing the redesign of UCLH’s A&E department.
Terry Spraggett, Director for Public Sector Construction at Mace, said: “I’m delighted that Mace has been appointed by UCLH as main contractor on this significant and complex hospital project, which is challenging both in terms of the construction and logistics of the site.
“Mace has a strong track record of delivering complex healthcare projects across the UK to an exceptionally high quality.
“We look forward to bringing our experience to this project and helping UCLH realise its vision to deliver better treatment and care for patients.”
Plans for building a £47 million Woodford Grange housing development in Winsford have been given the go-ahead by Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Chosen developer, Keepmoat, will deliver 401 new homes on the 30 acre brownfield site off Woodford Lane West, where home hunters and first-time buyers will now have access to a collection of two, three and four bedroom properties under the government-backed Help to Buy scheme.
There will be 130 affordable properties built on behalf of the Council within the development; these are understood to be the first local authority houses built within the Borough for nearly 40 years.
A green corridor and a small central village garden will be created at the heart of the development. In addition significant investment will be made in outdoor play facilities at Hebden Green and Oakland schools and a state of the art 3G pitch at Winsford Academy.
Prior to submitting plans, Keepmoat hosted a public consultation event at Hebden Green Community School to hear any concerns and include local input.
Gareth Roberts, regional managing director for Keepmoat in the North West, said: “Working in partnership with the Council, we have identified key ways to regenerate a surplus piece of land and really invest in Winsford while creating housing solutions – particularly for first-time buyers.
“This major new scheme will also create new job opportunities, which supports the Council’s aspirations for Winsford. We’re delighted that this shared vision for Woodford Grange has been given the go ahead and we look forward to getting on site.”
Councillor Angela Claydon, Cheshire West and Chester Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This is really good news for Winsford. The partnership will provide a true mix of properties including 130 homes built for the Council which will give people a real choice from a range of new build homes”
Wates Construction has signed a £20.2 million contract to build Regal Ltd’s brand new Left Bank residential tower, broadening the contractor’s Birmingham-based project pipeline.
Work is expected to commence this month and will see Wates create a new 22-storey building, which will comprise 189 high-quality apartments, as well as ground floor retail space and public realm.
The appointment closely follows Wates’ selection to deliver Ardstone Capital’s new speculative Grade A office development at Phoenix House on Newhall Street where building work is expected to complete by the end of the year.
Designed by Glancy Nicholls Architects, the new 11,905 sq m Left Bank development on Broad Street is expected to reach completion by summer 2018.
The scheme adds to Wates’ portfolio of projects across Birmingham, which has recently included the development of Eastside City Park and the fit out of Gowling WLG’s new premises at Two Snowhill.
Phil Harrison, Managing Director, Wates Construction Midlands and North said: “The scale of investment that Birmingham is currently experiencing is an indicator of ever-growing developer confidence and it demonstrates the city’s integral contributions to the strength of both the regional and national economies.”
The new £1 million bridge will be constructed using a single-span galvanised steel structure and has been designed to allow all road traffic to cross, with no weight restrictions.
The site team will be working around a four metre vertical face on the east embankment to construct new abutments, pouring 100 cubic metres of concrete.
The design also includes improvements to drainage to defend the bridge from severe weather damage in the future.
As with all of its projects, Morgan Sindall has taken steps to ensure that no damage is caused to the surrounding environment. Measures have been taken to ensure debris from the construction process does not fall into the Black Water and dry stone walling, due to be dismantled during the build, will be salvaged and reconstructed once the bridge is in place.
Morgan Sindall’s area director for infrastructure, Robert Ogg, said: “The C446 road provides a vital link between Alyth and the A93 to Glenshee and the local communities come to depend on the infrastructure network so heavily, often without noticing how vulnerable it can be.
“We are acutely aware of this reliance and are proud to be designing and building a new bridge to restore this critical access; our message to the many people who would usually use this route is that the end is in sight.”
Land Securities announced the sale of the Ealing Filmworks site in the heart of Ealing town centre to St George that will build 161 new homes and a landscaped public square.
The development will have a mix of restaurants, cafes, shops and bars, including affordable homes.
St George has a proven track record in creating high quality mixed-use developments across London and is already successfully delivering the Dickens Yard development in Ealing Broadway.
Riccardo Mai, Head of Development Management at Land Securities, said: “Land Securities is proud of the work we have done to facilitate development of the Filmworks project and bring a cinema back to Ealing. We are delighted to have now secured an agreement with St George, a company with unquestionable track record of delivering major developments”
Michael Bryn-Jones, Managing Director of St George PLC said: “We are delighted to continue our investment in Ealing with the acquisition of Ealing Filmworks. It will complement the success of Dickens Yard delivering a much wanted cinema, fantastic new shops and restaurants in the heart of Ealing town centre, as well as high quality homes.”
Councillor Julian Bell, leader of
A former Barr’s soft drink factory site in Wigan will now be transformed into a £35.5 new housing development with building work on the new homes expected to start this month.
Housing regeneration specialist, Keepmoat, has bought the land and will deliver 194 two, three and four bedroom properties for sale. The new development will also deliver brand new public open space and two children’s play areas.
This is Keepmoat’s first new housing scheme in Wigan and the developer has confirmed plans to continue working closely with Wigan Council to look at ways to regenerate more areas in the region.
Gareth Roberts, regional managing director for Keepmoat in the North West, said: “We very much specialise in providing homes for the first time buyer market and so we’re excited to be bringing our offer to Wigan.
“More importantly – this major regeneration project will create employment and training opportunities throughout the build process so we can put back into the local economy.”
As part of the new housing development – which has been named Cottonfields – Keepmoat will also work with the Council, to ask local schools and colleges to help develop some public art which will be displayed on site.
A £60 million project to refurbish and upgrade the kilometre-long Glasgow Queen Street tunnel was completed last week, nearly three days ahead of schedule.
Since the high-level station closed on Sunday 20 March, 3,000 engineers have been working around-the-clock for five months to renew 1,800 metres of concrete slab track and install more than 4,000 metres of new rails through the structure.
Station platforms and track layouts within Queen Street have also been extended and altered as part of the project, and both the tunnel and station have been prepared for the electrification of the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line next year.
Electrification will allow the introduction of faster, longer and greener trains on the line – delivering thousands of extra seats, shorter journey times and improved accessibility for customers.
Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf helped tighten the final bolt on the new slab track inside the tunnel and met with customer service staff.
Mr Yousaf said: “I am pleased to see the work on the Queen Street tunnel completed ahead of schedule and on budget. This has been an unprecedented project, both in engineering terms and in the scale of the operation required to keep people moving and services diverted via the underground platforms during the works.
“This is a key milestone in our programme of investment for Scotland’s railways and literally paves the way for the introduction of a new generation of electric trains.
“I would like to congratulate the ScotRail-Network Rail Alliance on a successful job, and the hundreds of men and women who have worked day and night to deliver the hugely ambitious project.”
The company secured approval on a reserved matters application for its development called Prime Place, Millbrook Park, which will create 159 homes for private sale, together with 29 homes for affordable rent.
The wider 2.7 acre scheme at Millbrook Park, a popular new community, will provide 2,174 high-quality homes in a superb landscaped parkland setting, together with shops, offices and a new primary school.
Designed by renowned architects Broadway Malyan, Prime Place, Millbrook Park will be in a mix of one and two-bedroom apartments and penthouses, together with a small number of three and four-bedroom houses.
Maximising the use of the naturally sloping terrain, the design includes a large terraced parkland garden at the heart of the scheme for all residents to enjoy.
Residents also benefit from underground parking and a low carbon district heating system. The homes are a short walk from Mill Hill East underground station and less than nine miles from central London.
Brian Brady, managing director Prime Place: “Millbrook Park is an ideal fit for Prime Place’s strategy of providing outstanding homes in popular locations and close to excellent transport links. We are delighted to achieve approval from Barnet Council and anticipate starting work on site very soon.”
Prime Place, Millbrook Park underlines further Willmott Residential’s growing presence, developing homes for sale through Prime Place and for private rent through be:here, with 5,000 units on site or in planning.
In addition, Willmott Partnership Homes builds 2,000 homes a year with an expanding geographic presence and strong client base that includes housing associations, developers and local authorities.
A £9.7 million construction contract for the final phase of development at Baker Barracks has been signed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Kier Graham Defence Ltd.
The scheme, which will cover the building of a new training centre, armoury and office extensions at the West Sussex site, will see the latest construction work commence in October 2016.
These works are part of a wider upgrade of Baker Barracks with enabling works, a new perimeter fence and additional office space now complete and the delivery of new Single Living Accommodation due to be completed in September 2016, bringing the overall investment in the site to circa £27 million.
The infrastructure investment is part of the Army Basing Programme (ABP) which is providing the facilities the British Army needs to live, work and train in the UK as it returns from Germany, rebases across the UK and restructures to its future Army 2020 formations.
Mark Duddy, ABP Programme Director said: “This is a brilliant example of how we are investing in infrastructure across the UK. The developments at Thorney Island will provide modern, suitable facilities and accommodation for service personnel working and living on site.”
Trevor White, operations director for Kier Construction Southern said: “We’re extremely proud to have been appointed to deliver this project which will supplement the existing facilities at Baker Barracks.
“It’s an important project for DIO so they can provide improved facilities for our armed forces and we look forward to working with them to deliver this exciting opportunity.”
GRAHAM Construction has started works to build a new multi-million pound Blackburn Partnership Centre.
The new £8.2 million centre, which will create a hub for council, health and community services in the village, will be located next to the Mill Centre.
Blackburn Partnership Centre is a partnership between West Lothian Council and NHS Lothian. Hub South East Scotland is delivering the project.
GRAHAM Construction regional development director, Craig Bridges, said: “This state-of-the- art facility will be a real attribute to people in the West Lothian region and an excellent addition to local health services.
“The Blackburn Partnership project will create an accessible centre for the community, the second of three we will be completing in partnership with Hub South East Scotland and NHS Lothian.
“We have significant experience of delivering modern health-care projects across Scotland and are pleased to be reaching this important milestone.”
Brian Houston, chairman of NHS Lothian, said: “I’m delighted that work is now progressing on The Blackburn Partnership Centre. It is one of three new health and social care centres in Edinburgh and West Lothian, which are designed to provide a one-stop shop for health and council services in the heart of the communities.”
Richard Park, operations director for Hub South East Scotland, the council and NHS Lothian’s development partner, said: “As a Hub project, once complete, not only will it provide modern, high quality facilities for the people of Blackburn, it will also have also delivered a number of community benefits for the local area.”
The company will now deliver Littlehampton’s new leisure centre, which will feature an eight-lane, 25 metre swimming pool, learner pool, gym, dance and cycling studios, sports hall and café.
Construction is set to start in 2017, with the centre built on the site of the current sports dome and overflow car park and the existing building will then be demolished. The public will use the current leisure centre while the new one takes shape.
Willmott Dixon has delivered more than £100 million of leisure facilities in the past six month and the company’s recent involvement in flagship schemes includes new centres in Tewkesbury, Dartford, Scarborough, St Albans, Oldham, Hebburn, High Wycombe and Romford.
Councillor Paul Dendle, Arun District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Amenities said: “We are delighted to announce Willmott Dixon as the successful company. They have a proven track record in delivering similar projects and we are excited about seeing this major project get underway.
“We believe that when open, the leisure centre and swimming pool will be a facility that the town can be really proud of and that residents can enjoy for years to come.”
Roger Forsdyke, managing director of Willmott Dixon construction in Cobham, said: “We are proud to have secured Littlehampton’s flagship leisure centre. We’ll be working closely with Arun District Council to provide the local community with much needed new facilities.”
Creating a legacy is also important and Willmott Dixon will deploy its Community Investment Plan which includes local work placements, trainee and graduate placements and apprenticeships, along with creating new jobs.
A new extra care development will be built in Saffron Walden as part of a larger scheme to increase the number of new homes in the Essex area.
The contract, which has been awarded to Keepmoat will see 73 new apartments built on Radwinter Road in Saffron Walden for Housing Association, East Thames.
The development will include on-site care staff, visiting management staff, non-resident management staff and community alarm service as well as community facilities such as a lounge, a restaurant, and a communal garden.
The apartments will be available for rent from East Thames or available to part buy under a shared ownership scheme.
With people living longer and Britain ageing population growing rapidly, Keepmoat is acutely aware of the pressures that local authorities and housing associations face to provide modern accessible housing for people who want to downsize, but are adamant about not wanting to go into care homes.
Since 2002 Keepmoat has constructed more than 4,000 extra care and retirement units in Britain with the purpose of embedding and integrating extra care services into the heart of communities, providing older people with a place to call home in the community they have always lived in.
Dan Germann, Regional Managing Director of Keepmoat’s London and South Developments division said: “Throughout the duration of this project, we will ensure the project works for the whole community with a focus on longevity of good quality housing, which gives residents access to supporting services and opportunities for lifelong learning, training, employment and care when needed. We look forward to getting started on the project.”
The project involves the refurbishment of levels 2-5 of the iconic building, creating a 114-bedroom ‘aparthotel’ for operator Roomzzz.
The scheme is the second phase of a wider £30 million investment to develop the building as a major leisure destination, and follows the refurbishment of ground and first floor levels as restaurant and bar accommodation, all of which will remain operational throughout the project’s duration.
Commencing in mid-August, the scheme sees ISG carrying out remedial works to the roof structure, as well as the installation of a cantilevered scaffold system at first floor level.
ISG will then make significant structural alterations to the building’s floor slabs to introduce new service risers to accommodate the hotel’s modern mechanical and electrical infrastructure.
Andy McLinden, ISG’s Northern managing director, said: “The former Corn Exchange in Manchester is a very special and much-loved building and its latest evolution builds on the growing trend for hybrid guest accommodation in the city.
“It’s a great challenge and an environment where we positively thrive as a business and there is a great deal of anticipation to get underway with the transformation of this iconic Manchester landmark.”
A £13.3 million road improvement scheme in North Lincolnshire has been given the go-ahead, paving the way for thousands of jobs and homes to be created.
The M181 Lincolnshire Lakes project will allow more than 6,000 new homes to be built and up to 4,000 jobs to be created by 2028, with up to 1,500 homes and 1,500 jobs predicted to be delivered by 2021.
The scheme has been made possible by Government investment to improve the nearby M181 to serve the development.
Highways England’s Growth and Housing Fund is providing £8.6 million for the project, with North Lincolnshire Council topping up the remaining using developer contributions.
The Growth and Housing Fund is a pot of £100 million which provides financial contributions towards the cost of road improvements that are needed for new developments.
This is the second time an award has been made since the fund was set up earlier this year as part of the Government’s 2015 Road Investment Strategy.
Transport Minister John Hayes said: “This exciting project is an important part of our £15bn road investment strategy to deliver better journeys and help people get about and get on.
“The new junction on the M181 in North Lincolnshire will help the local economy to grow – delivering 4,000 jobs, 6,000 homes and opportunity for people in the area.”
Highways England’s Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “The Lincolnshire Lakes project will unlock the development of two strategic sites, directly enabling the delivery of thousands of jobs and homes over the next 12 years.
“This is a good example of Highways England working with local partners and developers to provide road improvements, value for money and economic growth.”
The employment rate in the UK is now at a record high of 74.4% and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in over 10 years at 4.9%, according to the latest set of figures.
The Office for National Statistics confirmed that there are a record 31.7 million people now in work – up by 624,000 in the past year and over 2.6 million since 2010.
The rise in employment continues to be driven by full-time work. Average wages before bonuses grew by 2.2% over the last year.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damian Green said: “This remarkable set of figures shows that there are more people in work than at any other point in our history, which is fantastic news as we build a Britain that works for everybody, not just the privileged few.
“We’ve entered a period of significant change, but when it comes to our jobs market we’re in a position of strength, with over 2.6 million more people in work than there were in 2010, the number of workless households cut to an all-time low, 750,000 vacancies in the economy and wages rising too.
“Our job now is to build on this success story so that everybody can benefit from the opportunities that are being created regardless of who they are or where they come from. Encouragingly, employment has risen in all regions and nations of the UK over the last year.”
The current labour market statistics also show:
the female employment rate is at 69.6%, the highest since records began in 1971
at 5.6%, the proportion of 16 to 24 year olds who have left full-time education and are unemployed has never been lower
The multi-million investment in the campus will come from a range of partners including The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd, Copeland Borough Council, Copeland Community Fund, and Cumbria County Council.
Wates will now be working to develop designs for the new campus with submission of a planning application anticipated in mid-December.
The campus proposal will include new facilities for St Benedict’s Catholic High School and Mayfield Special School and bring them together on the current St Benedict’s site.
Tony Shenton, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction North West, said: “The partners leading the development of Campus Whitehaven share a vision to create a state-of-the-art centre for learning and sport, and Wates’ extensive experience in education positions us as the ideal contracting partner to take this forward.
“Wates’ growing presence in Cumbria has seen us launch a significant local economic benefits strategy to ensure that our work is a catalyst for the region’s economy.
“As such, we will now be working with local supply chain partners and training providers to generate training and employment opportunities throughout the build programme.”
Balfour Beatty has been selected by Gatwick Airport to deliver a range of projects under its new £1.2 billion capital investment programme, which will deliver expansion in scale and passenger capacity.
The company has been appointed to two frameworks, the Low Complexity Build and Low Complexity Civils Framework, as well as the Medium Complexity Build Framework.
It is expected that projects delivered through these frameworks will be procured over the next five years, paving the way for new employment opportunities in the building trades.
Balfour Beatty has a long standing relationship with Gatwick, for which it has delivered in excess of 500 projects, including upgrades to the security lanes, the Pier 11 build, and the £50 million refurbishment of the North Terminal.
Plans to redevelop the Sheerwater Estate scheme near Woking with 922 homes and community facilities have been given the go-ahead by the local council.
Phase one of the four phase scheme is expected to get underway later next year and consists of nearly 100 new homes and a leisure centre.
Cllr David Bittleston, Woking Borough Councils Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing Development, said: “The decision to grant planning consent is crucial to the regeneration of Sheerwater.
“The scale and nature of the overall development, as well as detailed plans of the first phase of residential development and community leisure facilities, have been established and rigorously tested against local and national planning policy.
“It is my belief that the regeneration of Sheerwater will make a significant improvement to the quality of life for existing and new residents of Sheerwater.
“The new housing stock, roads, community and leisure facilities will all ensure the area is a sustainable and desirable place to live for years to come.”
Ambitious plans to build a Northern Powerhouse remain a key government priority, two of the key ministers tasked with driving forward the work confirmed this week.
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Jim O’Neill and Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy, both proud Northerners, will lead the work across the whole of government to help make the north a powerhouse for the UK economy once again and build on the strong progress of the last two years.
The ministers’ comments come ahead of the first official tour by Mr Percy to the North since his appointment and today he will visit Hull, Manchester and Liverpool to hear for himself how devolving greater power from Whitehall to Town Halls and greater investment is already leading to the creation of jobs and stronger economic growth.
Key achievements for the Northern Powerhouse to date include:
- five historic devolution deals have been agreed across the Northern Powerhouse – in Sheffield, Greater Manchester, North-East, Tees Valley and Liverpool
- 55% of the population of the Northern Powerhouse will vote in an elected Mayor next year, giving each area a powerful new voice in national life
- major investment in transport has been committed including a new rail franchise on the Northern network delivering 2,000 extra services each week, £200 million for Transport for the North and a £60 million package for exploring work on HS3
- attracting foreign investment – there has been 127% growth in the number of foreign direct investment projects in the Northern Powerhouse over the last two years with the North-West outperforming every other region in the UK
- the employment rate in the Northern Powerhouse is close to its record high, and since June 2014 unemployment has fallen faster in the North than in the South
Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Jim O’Neill said: “Making our great northern towns and cities a powerhouse for the economy once again is the reason I joined government, and there is evidence everywhere you look that our plans have already made a real impact.
It is fantastic to be able to continue to champion the Northern Powerhouse within the very heart of government and there will be no let-up in our commitment to fuel the local economy through encouraging foreign investment, improving transport and creating new jobs.”
Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said: “Building the Northern Powerhouse is a long-term government priority and central to our plans to rebalance the economy.
As a proud Northerner, I am determined to ensure that people in every part of the North – from large cities to small rural communities – enjoy greater control over their lives and stronger, more sustainable economic growth.
That’s why this government will continue to support major investments to unlock the potential of the North and ensure that every area benefits from a growing economy.”
In a major boost to support British jobs and investment, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid have today announced the go-ahead for a brand new £344 million expansion programme at London City Airport.
The three ministers announced the approved plans for an extended terminal, new aircraft taxiway and parking spaces for planes in one of the capital’s fastest growing airports.
Set to improve passengers’ journeys, these new plans will increase connections within the UK and Europe and support business opportunities and investment.
London City Airport also estimates that the scheme will create 1,600 airport jobs for staff, together with 500 construction jobs, and could potentially contribute £1.5 billion to the UK economy by 2025.
There will be new space for planes to taxi to and from the runway, so more planes can use it, and new stands for planes to allow bigger, more modern planes to use the airport.
London City Airport will also make a number of investments in transport links around the airport, including funding the cost of additional DLR rolling stock (£2.6 million), investing in a bus and taxi access scheme and improving walking and cycle routes to the airport.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “London City Airport’s ambitious growth plans will boost international connections, strengthening the City of London’s links to destinations across the world, and send a clear signal that Britain is open for business.
“This is a real vote of confidence in the resilience of our economy, creating over a thousand new jobs.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is fantastic news for London and Britain as a whole. I am determined to invest in the infrastructure this country needs, to help people get around more easily, boost investment and create opportunities.”
The consented scheme will see the Grade II listed cell block restored and converted into apartments. The proposals also include the retention of the listed walls and gatehouse, which will feature a small café.
This is the first significant prison conversion into residential in the UK that City & Country is aware of, and is the first of our four prisons to gain planning permission.
Before the application was submitted to Portsmouth City Council the local community was invited to a series of public consultation events, with over 5,000 residents and community representatives attending and providing feedback on the evolving proposals.
Richard Winsborough, Associate Director for planning at City & Country, said:“Restoring these buildings was of paramount importance to us when we purchased Kingston Prison and we are pleased that members at Portsmouth City Council recognised the need of delivering a new future for the redundant site.
“As well as providing fantastic, characterful new homes, the development will open up the prison to the wider community and enable the enjoyment of these magnificent buildings for years to come.”
New Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed he has no plans to scrap the HS2 high-speed rail contract.
The news will be a huge relief for contractors and consultants looking to win billions of work on the scheme.
It has also been viewed as a bellwether for the new-look Government’s approach to infrastructure spending
He added: “The thing that’s important for people to understand is that HS2 is not simply a speed project, it’s a capacity project.
“We have lines at the moment which have seen huge increases in the number of passengers, the amount of freight in recent years.
“Of course it makes sense if we’re going to build a new railway line for it to be a fast railway line, to increase travel times or reduce travel times from north to south – that’s logical.
“But actually we need a better transport system for the 21st century and HS2 is part of increasing the capacity of our transport system.”
The first round of contracts worth £11bn are due to be awarded in the coming months.
Morgan Sindall has secured £800 million contract on National Grid’s onshore electricity cable framework that will continue over four years.
The framework is effective from June 2016 and will involve the design, construction and commissioning of 11kV to 400kV cable systems across National Grid’s network.
Morgan Sindall is one of four companies to have been appointed to the Engineer, Procure and Construct (EPC) framework.
Projects awarded under the framework will typically vary in value from between £2 million and £50 million.
Simon Smith, managing director of Utility Services at Morgan Sindall, said: “We are delighted to have secured a position on this framework.
“Morgan Sindall has been working in the electricity transmission market for a number of years and this opportunity further enhances our growing capability with National Grid and in this specialist sector.”
The average time for a planning decision to be made on major developments has fallen by 17% on the previous year, paving the way for the building trades.
Annual statistics published this week show decision times for local and major applications have reduced, meaning more housing and business developments can start to build sooner.
Planning Minister Kevin Stewart welcomed the statistics, but said more must be done to improve planning performance.
The average decision time for major developments in 2015-16 reduced by more than 6 weeks on the previous year, while major housing development decisions are now almost two weeks faster than in 2013-14.
Decisions made on local housing applications also reduced by almost a week compared to the previous year.
Mr Stewart said:“Effective planning is crucial to promoting sustainable economic growth and ultimately to helping build more homes. Speeding up the planning system is a vital part of this.
“These statistics are very encouraging, particularly at a time where we are looking at the best ways to reform and improve our planning system.
“The reduction in decision making timescales can only be a good thing – it means we are open for business and helping create certainty within the building sector.”
Willmott Dixon has been awarded a £34 million contract to build the History Centre in Plymouth.
Willmott Dixon will now work with Plymouth City Council through a pre-contract agreement to develop the building and construction elements of the project and prepare the site ready for a second-stage contract award later this autumn.
The conpany’s track record for restoring Grade 2 listed property and creating world famous heritage attractions was further underlined by this appointment.
It’s a continuation of the construction growth in the South West, following the opening of its Exeter office and the project to build a home for the Met Office’s new supercomputer.
Councillor Ian Bowyer, Leader of Plymouth City Council said: “Willmott Dixon were awarded the contract after a highly competitive tender process and we’re really pleased to have them on board.
“As well as in-depth knowledge of the sector they demonstrated how they would inspire Plymothians to build for Plymouth and invest in the communities that support culture. This makes their appointment a great fit for the History Centre.”
Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture said: “Willmott Dixon has a wealth of experience in helping to create buildings that are both functional and iconic.
“We were particularly impressed with their recent regeneration of a former Grade 2 listed building into a new home for the Gwent Records Office.
“This was a project that breathed new life into a property of more than 100 years old – so much like our ambitions for the History Centre.”
The 7,500 square metre, six-storey building is being developed in a prime campus location opposite the Shorehead roundabout between Queensgate and Wakefield Road in the town.
The £27.5 million building will provide a new home for the University’s Law School and the School of Music, Humanities and Media.
It will also link into the University’s Student Central building which was completed in January 2014, at a cost of £22.5 million.
Around 166 tonnes of Yorkstone has arrived from Johnsons Wellfield Quarries in Huddersfield which was established as a local company in 1854.
Mark Heginbotham, project director from Morgan Sindall, said: “People will really notice a difference in the building now as we begin the installation of the stone cladding.
“Yorkstone is a fantastic material to work with. It adds a distinctive quality to the building which is one of grandeur, solidity and tradition. But here, it is not being used to create a traditional style building.
“The Oastler building is bold and modern and with its blend of traditional and modern materials, it will make a real statement in the town.”
The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Thornton said: “This blend of the modern and the traditional is representative of the University itself.
“This year we celebrate our 175th anniversary – and proudly celebrate the pioneers who established higher education in the town – while continuing to be at the forefront of developments to meet the needs of today’s students.”
The eye-catching building, which will provide a new gateway building to both the university and the town centre, was granted planning consent by Kirklees Council in April 2015.
Morgan Sindall has started work on a 65,000 sq ft leisure extension to White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds.
The £13.7 million design and build contract is being delivered by Morgan Sindall’s major contracts team, which has its regional office in the Hunslet area of the city. The contract also provides for a 15-month maintenance period.
The latest project includes plans for an 11-screen cinema, operated by Cineworld IMAX, six additional family friendly restaurants and a raft of attractive public realm features.
The leisure-focused scheme will provide White Rose Shopping Centre’s loyal customer base with the full-day experience.
Once complete it is estimated that the extension will deliver 350 new full-time and part-time jobs to the area.
Barry Roberts, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “This is a fantastic project to be involved with and one which many people in West Yorkshire and beyond will benefit from. It will be a remarkable addition to the family leisure offering of the region and we understand our responsibility in making the vision of the developer a reality.”
Rob Jewell, Portfolio Director at Land Securities, said: “The decision to appoint Morgan Sindall to deliver this latest improvement to White Rose Centre was an obvious one given its exemplary previous work on the project.”
“Land Securities is thrilled to provide the centre’s loyal catchment with prestigious and favoured leisure and dining brands, such as Cineworld IMAX, Wagamama and Chiquito.”
It is expected that the new extension will be operational in the summer of 2017.
The development – on a brownfield site at Greenbrow Road, west Wythenshawe – will create 52 houses for sale and shared ownership and 78 apartments for affordable rent through WCHG.
Construction work by Lovell – which has its North West regional office in Altrincham – recently got under way on land formerly occupied by five blocks of flats owned by WCHG. The new homes are set to be completed in January 2018. The scheme was awarded to Lovell following a competitive tendering process.
Nigel Wilson, Group chief executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, says: “We are delighted to launch this exciting new project and create much-needed affordable housing for this area. This will be another landmark development for the Group following on from Village 135.”
Lovell regional director Nigel Yates says: “We’re delighted to be working once again with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group helping deliver its major new-build housing programme.
“This development will bring a mix of smart modern new homes, available for rent, shared ownership and sale, to an area which has a real shortage of family homes as well as housing suitable for single people and first-time buyers. High levels of energy-efficiency will be built into the new homes helping residents save on fuel bills.”
The new homes will be built to the equivalent of Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes incorporating high-efficiency boilers, high-specification floor and cavity insulation.
BAM Construction in the Midlands has secured a second contract with BUPA-owned client Richmond Care Villages.
The construction business which is based in Birmingham will create a retirement village at Wood Norton near Evesham, Worcestershire. BAM is currently building a retirement village in Witney, Oxfordshire, also for Richmond Care Villages.
The £40 million development will create 48 village apartments for independent living, 46 suites for assisted living, and a 60-bed care home providing nursing and dementia care.
In addition, there will be a wellness spa, lounges, library, terrace café, restaurant and garden bar. It will be lavishly landscaped as is the norm for Richmond Care Village developments.
BAM Design is developing final designs for the scheme. Their expertise in 3D co-ordinated design working with the structural engineer and M&E subcontractor, has been fundamental to the integration of over 1,000 services holes through the steel frame.
Demolition work has included the team removing roof tiles to allow bats to escape and asbestos clearance to buildings in the former BBC Residential Training Centre. The team are currently undertaking groundworks to a 26,000m3 cut excavation for the basement.
Regional Director for BAM Construction in the Midlands, Rod Stiles, said: “We are pleased to be working with BAM again on this prestigious new retirement village for Worcestershire.
“Richmond Wood Norton is an extremely complex development with a main Village Care Centre of 100,000 sq.ft, but I am confident that BAM have the expertise to deliver a fantastic building for us to provide the very best in retirement living and care.”
Balfour Beatty and Wanda One will now work together to agree the details of the final contract award which is expected by the end of the year.
Tim Gawthorn, director at Wanda One (UK) told property website CoStar: “We are pleased to announce the arrangement of financing for One Nine Elms, which will support the successful delivery of this important mixed-use development.
“On completion, One Nine Elms will bring high quality residential apartments, a 5 star Wanda Vista hotel, world-class amenities and public spaces for the community to enjoy.
“Further to this announcement, we can confirm the PCSA agreement has been signed with Balfour Beatty, which marks another important milestone in the delivery of One Nine Elms, we are delighted to be working with Balfour Beatty on One Nine Elms and the delivery of this iconic London development.”
Dean Banks, managing director at Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction Services business said: “We are pleased to be awarded the pre-construction services agreement for One Nine Elms and to be partnering with Wanda One to get this fantastic project underway.
“This reflects the depth and breadth of experience we have in this sector and builds on the success of similar projects across London.”
The scheme will see the demolition of 40 unsustainable 1950s concrete-framed Unity homes in Kelvedon, Essex, which will be replaced with 64 modern houses and flats in Church Road, Croft Road and Thorne Road.
The redevelopment work, set to start this autumn, will create 36 houses, 27 flats and one bungalow, with the first new homes set to be handed over in spring 2017.
Five of the homes will be available on a shared ownership basis, with the rest being available for affordable rent.
Andy Allocca, new business and project manager at Greenfields, says: “Helping to create and maintain thriving communities is at the heart of what we do. These properties will last for generations to come, and I look forward to handing the residents the keys to their new homes.”
Unity properties are system-built homes of non-traditional construction with a concrete frame and cladding, which were built in the post-war perio
Hard to insulate and heat, they are prone to damp and condensation. Lovell’s experience in redeveloping Unity houses includes an ongoing £13.6 million scheme for Orbit Homes in Suffolk, which will provide 164 new homes.
Balfour Beatty has been awarded a £170 million contract to upgrade baggage screening and handling systems for Heathrow Airport Limited.
The project, which has been awarded through the Heathrow Airport Limited Delivery Integrator Framework to which Balfour Beatty was appointed in 2014, will involve upgrading and installing baggage screening and handling systems at Heathrow’s eastern baggage facility.
The Company will utilise its technological expertise across the project including the latest Building Information Modelling techniques to define the most efficient approach to design, manage logistics and to interface with live airport operations.
Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said: “This contract award is testament to the strength of the partnership we have developed with Heathrow Airport Limited over the last 17 years.
“The UK aviation sector is a core market for Balfour Beatty and we are delighted to play our part in helping Heathrow maintain its position as a leading travel hub and supporting local employment.”
The crucial elements of stability and a long-term outlook are needed in order for the UK’s onshore wind sector to realise its full potential, according to the CBI.
Speaking at the Scottish Renewables Onshore Wind Conference, Rhian Kelly, Business Environment Director at Britain’s largest business group, highlighted the pivotal role of onshore wind in the UK’s wider energy mix.
On the role of onshore wind in the UK energy mix, Rhian Kelly, CBI Business Environment Director, said: “Having steadily grown in capacity, onshore wind now meets over 5% of the UK’s energy needs, saving almost 15 million tonnes of carbon each year.
“It can support our objectives of decarbonisation, affordability and security of supply as part of a diverse and balanced energy mix across the UK.
“We need to ensure that low-carbon investment is affordable for both households and businesses. And this is where onshore wind plays an absolutely pivotal role.
“It is all too easy to forget that the UK is still one of the world’s leading wind energy markets, with the onshore industry adding over £900 million to the economy last year. This is something that we should be shouting about and looking to build upon.”
Lindsay Roberts, Senior Policy Manager for Scottish Renewables, said: “Renewables are now Scotland’s largest generator of electricity, with onshore wind making up the lion’s share of output.
“There is plenty of scope for further growth – which would be good for the environment and for consumers – but only if government is prepared to create a level playing field and allow onshore wind to compete for long term contracts for power for clean electricity, along with other renewables and nuclear power.”
Transport for London (TfL) has awarded a contract to deliver step-free access at three stations as part of major station improvements ahead of Elizabeth line services commencing in December 2018.
The station improvements will include new lifts, walkways and footbridges to Seven Kings and Manor Park stations.
The upgrade of these stations is part of TfL’s work on the eastern section of the new Elizabeth line route between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
This work will ensure that the network is accessible for all when it is fully operational, linking east London and Essex with the West End, west London and Berkshire.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m determined to make London a fairer city, open and accessible to all, and one where we improve the support for those less able to get around London.
“My team are working on a more ambitious approach to improving step-free access in our stations, and I am very pleased that passengers using Maryland, Manor Park or Seven Kings are going to benefit from major improvements to their stations ahead of the launch of the new Elizabeth line services.”
Emily Ball, TfL’s Accessibility and Station Upgrade Manager, said: “These works mark the next stage of the ongoing TfL station improvements programme that will transform stations on the Elizabeth line route.
“Once these works are complete, customers using Maryland, Manor Park and Seven Kings will enjoy step-free access and new station facilities.”
Major Network Rail work to upgrade stations and track is also ongoing at stations along the TfL Rail route to prepare the existing railway for the Elizabeth line.
Willmott Dixon has added to its £350 million of projects in the universities sector by being appointed by Swansea University for the preconstruction stage of its world-class computer science facility.
The £31 million Computational Foundry at the university’s new Bay Campus will become a beacon for research collaborations, attracting leading academics from around the world.
It will build on Swansea’s existing achievements of being the top ranked university in Wales for the quality of its Computer Science research by the Research Excellence Framework.
Facilities include space for over 150 researchers in laboratories that support industrial proof-of concept and prototyping work, stimulating commercial opportunities, entrepreneurship and job creation.
Backed by a £17 milllion from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it will also feature world-leading experimental set-ups, equipment, devices and prototypes to accelerate innovation. The building will be operational and welcome staff and students from September 2018.
Neal Stephens, managing director at Willmott Dixon construction in Wales and the West: “ We’re looking forward to delivering an outstanding research and teaching facility that will benefit the university and Swansea City Region for generations to come.”
Power generator SSE has taken a final investment decision to proceed with the Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 (FM2) project in West Yorkshire, with construction expected to begin later this year.
The completed plant will be able to generate around 70MW of electricity, enough to power around 170,000 homes.
FM2 is expected to bring similar benefits to the local area as FM1, including in excess of 500 construction jobs during the three year build, a number of contract opportunities and an estimated £10 million of additional economic benefits to the local economy, through spending in restaurants, hotels and local businesses.
An EPC contract has now been signed with Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), a Swiss headquartered company who are a market leader in building energy from waste projects, who were also the main EPC contractor on the neighbouring FM1 plant.
Charlie Cryans, Head of Construction for SSE said: “SSE’s decision to take the FM2 project through to construction is positive for our businesses, but also represents a £360 million investment, which will provide a range of benefits for the local area which we have a long association with.
“We will be holding a Meet the Buyer event in the coming weeks which will provide local businesses and suppliers with the opportunity to meet the main contractor for the project, and pitch their products and services.”
The firm is already on-site constructing the new depot, which will be used to accommodate office staff and house equipment at the industrial estate in Stratton Business Park.
The two-storey building will comprise open-plan office space, individual work areas and a spacious workshop. It will also include an induction room, wash-down area and a drying room.
During the six month project, the Morgan Sindall project team will also create a fuel storage facility and a modern canteen within the depot.
The building will be completed in winter 2016 and will be fitted with solar panels to generate sustainable electricity and a water attenuation tank to store water and prevent flooding. The project is targeting a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) rating of excellent.
Richard Hallt, area manager at Morgan Sindall, said: “We’re so pleased to be creating a sustainable and modern working environment for staff at Western Power Distribution in Bude. The depot will provide office staff with a Grade A workspace as well as secure areas to store equipment.
“As a company, Morgan Sindall is committed to delivering projects with sustainable best practice at their core and we look forward to handing over the new depot to Western Power Distribution in due course.”
Plans to transform cancer care across Merseyside and Cheshire by developing a major new specialist hospital in the heart of Liverpool have been given the go-ahead.
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust has been granted full planning permission for the 11-floor hospital on West Derby Street as part of its £157 million investment in expanding and improving cancer care.
Preparatory construction work is expected to start on site later this year, with the new hospital opening to patients by the end of 2019.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said: “This is a landmark development which will not only create a first-class new building in this part of the city, but will lead to major improvements in the delivery of services for cancer patients from across the region.
“The health campus will be a world-class facility that the whole city can be tremendously proud of and will continue Liverpool’s long tradition of innovation in the fields of medicine and health.”
The hospital has been designed by the same award-winning architectural team at BDP that created the new Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
The cost of the new hospital will be funded by the NHS and is not a private finance initiative.
The funding is coming from a combination of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre’s own reserves, NHS commissioners, some borrowing from government sources and a public fundraising appeal.
Keepmoat has been granted planning permission to build 100 new homes in Kinsley, Wakefield, paving the way for economic growth and new jobs.
The firm, which recently expanded in the region with the launch of an office in Leeds, has now secured three major projects in as many months, with work on brownfield developments across Leeds, as well as the Seacroft Hospital site already in the pipeline.
Keepmoat will now deliver two and three bedroom homes at land off Spring Close; prompted by the success of existing schemes at Fitzwilliam and Frickley.
Keepmoat’s Kinsley development is the latest in the Wakefield district involving a ‘stalled site’ – land which had previously had planning permission but remained undeveloped.
Wakefield Council launched its ‘Wakefield Builds’ campaign which aims to increase the number of new homes built across the district through schemes such as matching developers with stalled sites such as the one in Kinsley.
Councillor Denise Jeffery, Wakefield Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth and Skills, said: “We are committed to stimulating housing growth across the district, and Keepmoat’s development is a prime example of this.
“Not only will the development lead to even more quality homes being built in the area, but it also demonstrates how developers can work with our ‘Wakefield Builds’ campaign to unlock stalled sites.”
Building work on the new homes is expected to progress in November this year.