Posts tagged electrical

Planning reform to boost the trades

The Scottish Government

Proposed changes to Scotland’s planning system will put a great emphasis on economic benefits, including creating new jobs, planning Minister Derek Mackay will tell key members of Scotland’s business community this week.

Mr Mackay will meet with Scotland’s business leaders during a series of engagements taking place around the country to support the Scottish Government’s public consultation on Scotland’s third National Planning Framework (NPF3) and a revised Scottish Planning Policy.

The Minister will discuss how proposed changes to the planning system will place a greater weight on economic impact. This includes the creation of new jobs as well as recognising and responding to economic conditions.

Mr Mackay said: “The Scottish Government is focussed on sustainable economic growth, and as Planning Minister I am intent on delivering a planning system that is enabling this objective.

“This is about the culture and practice of planning on the ground. An explicit emphasis on economic impact in planning deliberations is both necessary and timely. I believe we are making good progress.

“During the consultation process I have been meeting with local authorities, developers, environmental groups and members of the public. By meeting with key players from Scotland’s business community I will gain further feedback on the consultation which will assist in our drive to push forward sustainable economic growth.”

Willmott Dixon gets the go-ahead for £14.5m third phase of Orchard Village

Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon has been selected to deliver phase three of the Orchard Village scheme in Rainham that will see the creation of hundreds of new homes and jobs in the trades.  

Old Ford Housing Association, part of affordable housing provider Circle Housing Group, is responsible for the £80 million masterplan to replace the 1960s-era high-rise Mardyke estate with Orchard Village, which was recently listed by Inside Housing as one of its Top 50 UK Affordable Housing Developments for 2013.

The third phase of Orchard Village will see Willmott Dixon build 87 homes, with 29 available for affordable rent, 28 for shared ownership and 30 for sale.

This latest deal means that Willmott Dixon will have been involved in all three phases of the village, which is replacing 516 homes with 555 new homes comprising 339 general needs, 64 shared ownership and 152 private sale properties. There are also local shops and a new Primary Care Trust facility.

Orchard Village’s creation is a six year process, with completion by 2015. During that time, Willmott Dixon will have demolished six tower blocks and ten low rise blocks and replaced them with lower rise, more family-friendly homes.

Charlie Scherer, chief operating officer at Willmott Dixon’s housing company said: “We’re very proud of our role in building Orchard Village, which will offer a fantastic living environment to so many people.

“During phases one and two, our community engagement was a key feature, so much so that we were recently one of only a few projects in the UK that won a Considerate Constructor Scheme gold award. This is an ethos that will very much continue as we start phase three.”

Extra investment bringing ‘real results’ and jobs- says Jane Hutt

Extra investment bringing real results and jobs says Jane Hutt

An extra £1.3 billion has been spent on building affordable homes, new health facilities and schools in the past year, the Welsh government has said.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt has outline today how the Welsh Government has helped deliver new hundreds of affordable homes since the its  Infrastructure Investment Plan was published in May 2012.

Jane Hutt said that despite cuts to the capital Budgets, the Welsh Government has focused on important priorities of creating new jobs and boosting economic growth.

Ms Hutt said: “The additional investment we have made from capital reserves, totalling almost £462m, in the short term has the potential to create around 8,000 jobs during construction phases.   In the longer term, this will boost growth and support the delivery of more efficient public services.

“In addition we have continued to work across the Welsh Government to maximise our opportunities.  For example, we have worked to develop an Infrastructure Priority in the 2014 – 2020 European Structural Fund Programmes.

“A potential £1.8bn source of investment which could make a significant contribution to the delivery of our key priorities.”

The additional infrastructure investment in Wales will see a number of construction schemes underway including  the Local Government Borrowing Initiative to the 21st Century Schools programme and completion of the A465 through a non-dividend investment vehicle

What is your reaction to the extra £1.3 billion investment that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Enterprise zones get £100m building boost

Enterprise zone activity gets £100m building boost

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced to increase the Government’s infrastructure investment in enterprise zones by £100 million that will create thousands of local jobs in the trades.

The investment package will help the thirteen enterprise zones to receive more money for 18 projects to build new service roads, car parking and other infrastructure, transforming ‘shovel ready sites into job ready sites’.

The fund, originally £60 million, is designed to help zones reach their real growth potential faster as economic engine rooms of local economies. Following a competitive bidding process the successful proposals will now undergo further testing to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

Enterprise zones have already created 3,000 new jobs, attracted 126 businesses, generated 105,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace and secured almost £229 million of extra private sector investment.

In addition to this, 5 enterprise zones are also receiving £24 million to tackle traffic bottlenecks and road congestion near their site through Department for Transport funding.

Eric Pickles said: “Enterprise zones are stimulating job creation and economic growth in different parts of the country with their special package of incentives to attractive new business ventures.

“The government is putting its money where its mouth is and making sure enterprise zones have the buildings and infrastructure they need to make sites ready for business to set up in.

“Enterprise zones are proving extremely popular with business – they have already created over 3,000 jobs for local people – a 75% increase in just 5 months – and many more will be coming down the pipeline because of this new support.”

Andy Rose, Chief Executive at the Homes and Communities Agency, which is administering the fund, said: “The response from the enterprise zones to this investment opportunity demonstrates just how crucial upfront infrastructure is to development.

“It is great news that this additional investment means more priority sites can be funded than first thought, creating more jobs in the areas that need them.”

Today’s announcement is just one of range of steps the government has taken to rebalance the economy and support local businesses to grow and create jobs.

The government has reformed the way councils are funded so they have new incentives to go for growth and support local businesses. It has established 39 local enterprise partnerships that along with enterprise zones are able to access millions in government investment to support their local economy, including the £770 million Growing Places Fund and £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund.

Hinkley Point builders to get paid at least £13 an hour

Hinkley Point builders to get paid at least £13 an hour

Construction unions have signed a ground breaking industrial relations agreement to build a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point that will employ 5,000 workers at the peak of construction.

The project will be the largest single site construction project in Britain. The Civil Engineering Sector Agreement has established pay rates for the workforce which is significantly above those agreed by the Construction Industry Joint Council.

It has been confirmed that a minimum craft rate of £13 an hour for civil engineering work and additional bonus payments to workers on site will establish the job as the best-paid site in the UK.

After months of negotiating, unions UCATT, Unite and GMB have secured agreement with the client EDF Energy and the principal contractors Bouygues Laing O’Rourke for a Common Framework Agreement which addresses how industrial relations will be managed and a Civil Engineering Sector Agreement.

The agreement also makes clear that the training of traditional apprenticeships and adult trainees will be a priority. A target of training at least 500 apprentices and adult trainees during the lifetime of the project has been set.

In an important step to combat casualisation and poor productivity the site will only directly employ workers through PAYE. For the first time in such an agreement there will also be strict rules placed on the recruitment of workers through employment agencies.

A top of the range occupational health scheme will be established to help ensure the short-term and long-term health of the construction workforce.

The agreement also sets out provision for a bonus scheme, a productivity scheme and milestone payments, which has laid the foundations for the best paid construction project the industry has seen.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of construction union UCATT, said: “This ground breaking agreement will ensure that workers building Hinckley Point will receive excellent rates of pay and first class conditions. This agreement will act as the blueprint for all future major construction projects.”

Kevin Coyne, Unite National Officer for Energy and Utilities, said: “A new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point will be a significant milestone towards meeting Britain’s low carbon energy needs.

“We’re pleased that progress towards a greener future is also characterised by good pay and conditions for thousands of highly skilled workers. The agreement reached between the unions and employers is the result of intense but constructive negotiations.

“This agreement sends a clear message to the rest of the construction industry that good productive relationships can deliver positive results. The unions and employers have made real progress in laying the right foundations for this important project. It is now time for the government to stop delaying and give EDF the certainty it needs so the company can get on with the job of meeting the UK’s energy needs.”

What is your reaction to the development of Hinkley Point that will employ 5,000 workers at the peak of construction and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Willmott Dixon confirmed for £46m Birmingham City campus

Willmott Dixon

The next phase of Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus is set to provide a £28 million boost to local businesses and create new jobs in the trades.

Willmott Dixon was today confirmed as a preferred contractor for the £46 million contract to build phase two of the University’s new campus in the city centre at Eastside, adjacent to Millennium Point in the heart of Birmingham.

The two-year project will also sustain 1,300 jobs and Willmott Dixon has committed to creating 46 new jobs for trainees, apprentices and people currently looking for employment.

With construction starting in June, the company expects £28 million of the build cost to go on sub-contractor packages delivered by firms located within a 20-mile radius of the project.

Phase two is part of the University’s £180 million investment in its estate and will feature a student support hub as well as a new library, teaching and IT space, plus other student-facing support faculties.

The Coleshill-based contractor also built phase one of the University’s masterplan, which features an integrated creative and media hub supported with pioneering technology. This project alone saw over £25 million of contracts spent on companies within a 20-mile radius of the site.

The phase one development has been named The Parkside Building, as it overlooks the newly opened Eastside City Park fronting the University’s flagship city centre campus. The Parkside Building will be open to students from this September.

Peter Owen, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the Midlands, said:  “As a local company we take seriously our responsibility to support growth and sustain jobs in Birmingham.

“Our recent investment in the 4Life Academy is an example of this commitment. Now we have been appointed for phase two of Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus and we’ll work with local companies to ensure they benefit from this huge investment.”

Work to start on Inverness College

The Scottish Government

Construction work on the new £50 million Inverness College UHI is set to start next month, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today.

The 13.3 acre University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) development will create 300 jobs during construction, a minimum of 28 modern apprenticeships and provide facilities for over 8,500 students.

Inverness is the first Further Education college to use the Non Profit Distributing (NPD) financing model with City of Glasgow and Kilmarnock colleges to follow later in the year.

NPD ensures that private sector returns are capped, that there is no dividend bearing equity, and any surplus is directed in favour of the public sector.

Other major projects in the £2.5 billion NPD pipeline include M8, M73 and M74 improvements, while construction work has already begun on community health buildings in Aberdeen, Forres and Tain.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The new £50 million Inverness College UHI will be a landmark building, the centrepiece in a high quality, modern and sustainable campus being developed on the outskirts of the city.

“This Government is determined to invest in Scotland’s infrastructure – our schools, roads and hospitals – both to stimulate growth in the short term and lay the foundations for long term success.

“That is good news for the Highland economy and its construction industry and will attract businesses and highly trained professionals to the Highlands to help stimulate economic growth.

“Our investment in schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure is set to top £3.4 billion in 2013-14, which is estimated to support more than 40,000 jobs across the Scottish economy.”

Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “The Scottish Government has demonstrated its commitment to Scotland’s college sector by adding £61 million to the sector’s budget over the next two years compared to what was originally planned for the spending review period.

“We are progressing college reforms that will substantially improve students’ chances of securing a job at the end of their course, as well as ensuring local businesses are able to employ the right people with the right skills.

“Our investment in Inverness College UHI sits alongside upcoming investment in Glasgow and Kilmarnock colleges to ensure our students have state of the art learning facilities to help them maximise their potential. The new Inverness campus will play a crucial role in the expansion of research, further and higher education in the Highland region.”

Barry White, Chief Executive of the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), explained: “Reaching financial close of a project of this size and complexity in only 17 months is unprecedented. This project, funded through the SFT led NPD programme, is a massive boost to the local economy with the main contractor committed to deliver at least 25 apprenticeship positions.

“When it opens in summer 2015, Inverness College UHI will be housed in modern, high quality and fit-for-purpose buildings and achieve great value-for-money thanks to the collaborative efforts and professionalism of all partners involved.”

Go-ahead for £150m Olympic Stadium conversion

Go-ahead for £150m Olympic Stadium conversion

Transformation works at the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford have been given the go-ahead, paving the way for new jobs and boosting the trades.  

The Legacy Corporation’s planning decisions committee granted permission for the original structure to be transformed into a 60,000-seater venue with a capacity of 80,000 for concerts.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “This is fantastic news and we will work hard to make sure our residents have access to the jobs created by the construction project as well the Stadium itself once it opens. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is beginning to take shape and the progress that’s been made so far is impressive.”

The multi-purpose venue, which has Premier League club West Ham United confirmed as an anchor tenant, will host Rugby World Cup matches in 2015 and the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

Members unanimously approved the application, which was made by the Legacy Corporation on behalf of E20 Stadium LLP – a special purpose vehicle comprising The Legacy Corporation and Newham Council.

Subject to a referral to the Mayor of London, work will begin later this year on the proposed alterations, which include introducing retractable seating in the lower tier and a new extended roof design to cover the new seating, as well as the re-use of the iconic lighting towers.

Dennis Hone, Legacy Corporation chief executive, said: “This is an important milestone that paves the way for the Stadium’s intended legacy use as an all-year-round venue.

“As we prepare for the phased re-opening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer, with the long-term future of all eight permanent venues on the Park now secure, we remain firmly on track to deliver a meaningful physical and social legacy for Londoners.”

What is your reaction to the transformation of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Kier to upgrade Harlow housing

Kier 1Repairs and maintenance provider, Kier is further extending its work in Harlow with an additional £4.5 million contract to improve Harlow Council’s housing stock.

Kier began working with Harlow Council in 2007 when a joint venture partnership, Kier Harlow, was formed to provide a number of services to the town from housing repairs for the council’s 10,000-plus properties to street scene and grounds maintenance.

Due to start in June this year, the additional contract sees Kier appointed as principal contractor to work alongside Kier Harlow in improving kitchens and bathrooms throughout the council’s housing stock.

Continuing for up to four years, the works will upgrade all of Harlow Council-owned properties to ensure they meet and surpass the Government’s Decent Homes standard requirements.

Kier Services planned works manager Christopher Bunker is responsible for delivering the programme. He said: “The partnership will operate from our existing Kier Harlow base and will benefit considerably from the wealth of existing knowledge within the JVCo team.

“Kier is very proud of the contract award and is looking forward to making a big difference in residents’ homes – I’d like to say a big well done to all those involved in securing the work.”

Kier Harlow operations director, John Phillips said: “It is Kier’s goal to continuously improve the customer’s experience in Harlow and this contract together with new team members will be pivotal in achieving our aim. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to the team who worked hard to secure this contract.”

What is your reaction to the £4.5 million Harlow contract that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

£32m investment to unlock 5,000 jobs

£32m investment to unlock 5,000 jobsProposals to create thousands of new homes and jobs in Devon have been backed by the Government to invest £32 million in the project to get the first phase of work underway.

The investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is intended to unlock the development of the long-awaited new community of Sherford, which is anticipated to bring 5,500 new homes and create 5,000 jobs.

The development is expected to generate around £1billion in development expenditure to the area and provide an economic boost worth around £2billion.

Subject to the agreement of legal terms, the investment would be used by a development consortium led by Red Tree to start work on the development and begin a series of important road and utilities improvements to accommodate the early phases of house building.

The funding, unveiled by housing minister Mark Prisk, is set to kick-start construction of houses and community facilities at the new town of Sherford.

The scheme will also include 893,000 sq ft of employment space as well as schools, a town hall, swimming hall and community park.

Colin Molton, HCA executive director for the South and South West, said: “The new community of Sherford is an incredibly important project, because it will go a long way towards meeting the significant need for new homes in Devon and Plymouth and provide a major boost for the economy.

“It is a complex development, which has taken years to bring to this stage. It is fantastic news that investment has been approved which will support the development of the sustainable new community of Sherford. I look forward to seeing work start on the project soon.”

Plymouth City Council leader Tudor Evans added: “For every home built, one and a half permanent jobs are created. This is not just good news for the construction industry, it’s good for the wider supply chains and the businesses and shops that will all begin to see new customers as this new community begins to take shape.”

What is your reaction to the £32 million of investment that will unlock 5,000 jobs in the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

£29bn boost for the renewable industry

£29bn boost for the renewable economyMore than £29 billion worth of investment has been announced in the renewable energy sector since 2010 with the potential to support around 30,000 jobs and boost the trades.

At the All Energy Conference today in Aberdeen, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey revealed new regional renewables job and investment figures for the green economy.

Speaking at the conference, Mr Davey called on Scotland to remain in the UK to protect current high levels of renewable investment in the trades and safeguard additional employment opportunities for people in the trades.

Mr Davey said: “The UK offers a uniquely attractive, stable, transparent and supportive environment for investment in low carbon generation.

“Between now and 2020, the support we give to low carbon electricity will increase year-on-year to £7.6 billion – a tripling of the support for renewable energy.

“New research by my Department estimates that, since 2010, across the UK, over £29 billion of private sector investment in renewables has been announced supporting almost 30,000 jobs.

“Many of these jobs are highly-skilled and well-paid positions and employees can be proud to be a part of securing the UK’s energy supply.

“The commitment of the UK Government to a vision of a low carbon future is building up a bow wave of new jobs and investment in the economy.”

Renewables jobs and investment

New research shows that since 2010 more than £29 billion worth of investment has been announced in renewable energy with the potential to support around 30,000 jobs.

The figures produced by the Department of Energy and Climate Change show that between January 2010 and April 2013 industry has announced:

  • 18,613 jobs and £14.5 billion investment in England,
  • 9,143 jobs and £13.1 billion investment in Scotland,
  • 1,952 jobs and £1.4 billion investment in Wales,
  • 239 jobs and £304 million investment in Northern Ireland.

What is your reaction to the £29 billion investment that will energise the renewable industry and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Morgan Sindall wins £3.3m contract to expand Cambridge school

Morgan Sindall wins £3.3m contract to expand Cambridge school

Morgan Sindall has begun work on a £3.3 million extension project at The Perse Upper School in Cambridge that will boost the building industry.

The new build development comprises the construction of a three-storey block with a number of associated external works that are due to complete in the summer of 2014.

The new building will significantly expand the school and provide new teaching and classroom facilities for staff and pupils.

Morgan Sindall will construct the building using a traditional concrete frame and a combination of pre-aged zinc cladding, glass curtain walling and render.

The building will be joined to an existing part of the school by an interconnecting covered foot-bridge built to the first floor.

As the project team is working on a busy school site, hoardings have been put into place to ensure that the building works are segregated and that there is minimal disruption to the children’s learning environment.

Ed Elliott, head teacher of The Perse Upper School, said: “We are all delighted to see construction underway. The building will house new classrooms and a large flexible area that can be used for assemblies, rehearsals, exams and meeting space.”

Bob Ensch, Morgan Sindall area director, said: “The new building will bring a wealth of benefits to both pupils and staff at The Perse Upper School and will provide an excellent learning environment for years to come.

“Morgan Sindall has a proven track record in successfully delivering projects on time and within budget and we understand the complexities that are involved when operating within existing educational environments.”

Work on site has begun and will complete following a 60-week programme of development.

The development at The Perse Upper School is the third major project Morgan Sindall has secured in the local area in recent years. The company completed the £9 million redevelopment of office space at Botanic House on Hills Road last year and is currently on site delivering a £1.7 million commercial development at 90 Hills Road.

More money for renewable heating kit

More money for renewable heating kitHouseholders across Great Britain will be able to get even more cash for renewable heating kit, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced today.

The money off vouchers available under the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme have been increased to £2,300 for ground source heat pumps, £2,000 for biomass boilers, £1,300 for air source heat pumps and £600 for solar thermal systems.

The RHPP scheme, first launched in July 2011, is designed to encourage householders to switch to renewable heat from traditional heating systems by offering money off the cost of the equipment. The scheme is targeted at those living off the gas grid, where most money on bills and carbon can be saved.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Over 10,000 householders have already taken advantage of money off renewable heating kit and we want to see even more consumers stepping up to the plate and getting on board.

“But I want to go even further. I want to kick start this exciting new market for consumer renewable heat technologies.

“This time limited, big increase in the value of vouchers for hardworking people who want to do something positive to install money saving green heating in their homes, should be a real boost for this growing green sector.”

The scheme was extended in March this year until the end of March 2014 ahead of the launch of a Renewable Heat Incentive for householders, with around £12 million up for grabs.

Alongside changes to the voucher values, householders will now be required to undertake a Green Deal assessment before submitting a claim to the Energy Saving Trust to redeem their voucher.

This will help householders think about how renewable heat could fit with energy efficiency improvements for their home and ensure they are advised on choosing the right technology for them.

The additional voucher values are intended to reflect the cost of a Green Deal assessment, as well as the cost of getting these technologies installed in homes. Householders can also use the Green Deal to pay for some of the cost through savings on their energy bill.

The increased voucher values and Green Deal assessment requirement will kick in for any applications submitted today onwards.

Willmott Dixon gets Scape contract to drive growth and create jobs

Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon has announced to use its re-appointment as sole contractor on Scape’s major works framework to create jobs and boost opportunities for local companies over the next four years.

Willmott Dixon estimates that under the previous Scape framework, where it was the incumbent contractor, local authorities saved a minimum of 14p in every £1 they spent on projects procured through Scape.

The construction company is planning to increase that saving to 20p in every £1, while ensuring 60 per cent of project budgets are spent on companies within a 20 mile radius of each Scape site, and raising employment and skills targets by 1,400 per cent.

Mark Robinson, CEO of Scape said: “Scape’s frameworks are becoming increasingly sought after with the number of public bodies using Scape’s services doubling over the last two years.  It is important that this new framework focuses more than ever before on supporting local people and local businesses in a tough economic climate.”

Scape’s frameworks are worth £3 billion and over the last decade Scape has delivered over 1,200 projects on time and in budget for 250 public sector clients.

Scape specialises in providing a range of national and regional procurement frameworks enabling the UK public sector to procure construction services quicker and more efficiently, without having to go through lengthy and costly OJEU processes each time.

Scape’s new major works framework, which Willmott Dixon won after a seven-month re-procurement process, is expected to generate £1.25bn of construction work over the next four years. It comes as public sector budget cuts and reduced spending on capital projects put the spotlight on contractors generating even more value and efficiency in their construction output.

The benefits to clients of using Scape, including the reduced procurement time it brings, was underlined by Willmott Dixon delivering all 157 projects under the previous framework on time and in budget.

EC boost for green infrastructure

EC boost for green infrastructure

The European Commission (EC) has adopted a new Action Plan for encouraging the use of green infrastructure, and for ensuring that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning.

It aims to show how the EU’s Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the “blue economy”, which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020

Environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Building green infrastructure is often a good investment for nature, for the economy and for jobs. We should provide solutions that work with nature instead of against it, where that makes economic and environmental sense.”

The Plan will contribute to the EU’s “Blue Growth” strategy (IP/12/955) and is consistent with the Commission’s focus on regional collaboration to encourage sustainable growth and create jobs.

The strategy will focus on:

  • Promoting green infrastructure in the main policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, nature, water, marine and fisheries, regional and cohesion policy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, transport, energy, disaster prevention and land use policies. By the end of 2013, the commission will develop guidance to show how green infrastructure can be integrated into the implementation of these policies from 2014 to 2020
  • Improving research and data, strengthening the knowledge base and promoting innovative technologies that support green infrastructure
  • Improving access to finance for green infrastructure projects – the commission will set up an EU financing facility by 2014, together with the European Investment Bank, to support green infrastructure projects
  • Supporting EU-level green infrastructure projects – by the end of 2015, the commission will carry out a study to assess the opportunities for developing an EU-wide network of green infrastructure.

Private finance to rebuild 46 schools

Private finance to fund rebuilding 46 schoolsThe Education Funding Agency (EFA) has announced that 46 schools will be rebuilt using private finance under the next steps of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) that will boost the trades and create jobs.  

46 schools in 5 batches will be rebuilt under the government’s new approach to public private partnerships, known as PF2. These schools have a total funding requirement of approximately £700 million.

The funding is set to be raised using an innovative new ‘aggregator’ model. The ‘aggregator’ will be able to access both the bank debt and capital markets in order to secure the best deals for the taxpayer.

The Hertfordshire, Luton and Reading batch will be launched at a bidder’s day due to be held by the EFA on 28 May 2013. A notice inviting bids from firms interested in constructing and maintaining the schools will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in June.

The other batches, to be released over the next 12 months, will see the creation of more jobs in the building engineering industry as well as benefit from the future investment fund.

The announcement underlines the government’s commitment to using public private partnerships to deliver investment in new public infrastructure and assets.

Ministers are also announcing the allocation of a further £300 million of capital funding in the current spending review period to enable an early start for 27 further schools in the programme. These schools will be procured in 4 batches.

The investment is part of the government’s commitment to give children the best possible start in life and to make sure schools are a place where children can fulfil their aspirations.

The remaining schools in the programme are intended to be delivered using capital funding, subject to the next spending review settlement. The timetable for the remaining schools in the programme will be announced after the settlement is made in June.

Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the EFA, said: “I am delighted we can confirm the schools to be rebuilt through private finance. The government’s new approach to public private partnerships provides a great opportunity for industry to step up to the mark and I am looking forward to seeing innovative and cost-effective proposals.”

“These 5 privately-financed batches, plus the additional 4 capital-funded batches also announced today, will help us overhaul the schools with the greatest need, ensuring young people can learn in buildings that are up to scratch.”

Construction of Swansea University campus gets underway

£20m Europe Day boost as construction of Science and Innovation campus gets underway

Building work is set to start today on the Swansea University’s second campus that will create 4,000 construction jobs with a further 6,000 indirect posts supported in the wider economy.

Over £20 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government will be invested to build the centre which has also received backing from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The First Minister made the announcement whilst on site to mark the start of construction of the new campus which took place on Europe Day.

First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: “I welcome the opportunity to be here on this significant day not only to mark the start of construction but also, crucially, to acknowledge the benefits to Wales of our relationship with Europe, including EU funding.

“This EU investment will help drive forward the development of the new Science and innovation Campus, creating a cornerstone for world-leading research and employment opportunities in the construction industry as work gets underway.”

The EMC will include state-of-the-art facilities to enable Swansea University to carry out research and development, particularly through collaborative projects with industry.  It will support a range of collaborations with businesses in sectors such as advanced engineering, the digital economy and low carbon technologies.

Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “I am delighted we have been able to invest EU funds to pioneer innovation and deliver state-of-the-art education facilities, benefiting Swansea and beyond.

“We have a key commitment through our Programme for Government to enhance research and innovation to help increase Wales’ global competitiveness, and create jobs and growth. The European Structural Funds programmes in Wales are helping us to achieve this goal, having already generated a total project investment of around £400 million in R&D and innovation alone.”

EMC will accommodate the University’s Civil and Computational Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Mechanical Engineering as well as Printing and Coating activities.

The Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard B. Davies, said:  “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government for the Engineering Manufacturing Centre.

“The EMC will provide world-class research facilities and a resource for industry to access world-leading expertise to help improve manufacturing products and processes and develop new ones, thus contributing to the economic regeneration of the region.”

£76.5m infrastructure boost to create jobs and growth

The Welsh GovernmentThe Welsh Government has unveiled a £76.5 million funding package for housing, schools, flood protection and transport that will support around 1,400 jobs and boost the economy.

Finance Minister Jane Hutt outlined that the Welsh Government has delivered additional investment of around £1.1 billion in infrastructure projects across Wales by maximising the use of reduced capital budgets and by generating investment of around £750 million through innovative finance.

Jane Hutt said: “The £76.5 million of additional capital investment I am announcing today supports the priorities set out in the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan for Growth and Jobs and ensures every Welsh pound is used to boost jobs and growth.

“The main benefits of investment are gained over the long term. But in present circumstances, the jobs created in constructing new infrastructure are vitally important, and this latest package is expected to support around 1,400 jobs during the construction phase.

“This significant package of investment clearly demonstrates our commitment to stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, mitigating the impact of the UK Government’s Welfare Reforms and reducing poverty in Wales.”

The multi-million package of investment to increase housing supply, including: 

    • An additional £20 million for the Social Housing Grant specifically to target investment in providing housing for individuals and families that may be adversely affected as a result of the UK Government’s reductions in Housing Benefit; and
    • £10 million to expand the pilot of the Houses into Homes initiative to bring empty homes in Wales back into use.
    • A £25 million package of investment in education to further accelerate the 21st Century Schools Programme.
    • £11.5 million for a railway and station in Ebbw Vale town centre, as an initial element of a wider programme to create a more integrated transport network in South East Wales and support the City Region strategy.  This investment will be a further boost to the regeneration of the local area.
    • £10 million additional investment in the Flood and Coastal Risk Management Programme, to protect homes, businesses and communities from the risk of flooding.

What is your reaction to the increased infrastructure investment in Wales that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

£330m campus development get the go-ahead

CPO Unlocks £330m Campus Development

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has approved a vital compulsory purchase order (CPO) that will kick-start a major £330 million campus development and create new jobs.

Led by WNDC and the University of Northampton, the CPO covers land for a new road through Avon Nunn Mills – the largest site in the Northampton Enterprise Zone.

Located next to the River Nene, the brownfield site includes a disused Avon Cosmetics factory, as well as a former power station owned by Taylor Wimpey UK and Persimmon Homes.

In November 2012, the landowners agreed a landmark deal with WNDC and the University of Northampton. It could see the area transformed into a state-of-the-art, waterside campus, enabled by a new 1 mile spine road.

Peter Mawson, WNDC’s Chief Executive said: “The University campus will be an unprecedented development for Northampton, breathing new life into its town centre.

“It is the jewel in the crown of an exciting regeneration programme, with nearby projects ranging from a new railway station to riverfront offices starting construction this year”

Professor Nick Petford, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Northampton said: “We are delighted that the Secretary of State has approved the compulsory purchase order which will allow full development of the Avon Nunn Mills site.

“This compulsory purchase order places the University one step closer to realising our plans to create a state-of-the-art Waterside Campus; placing the University in the heart of the community.

“As the Midlands’ most enterprising University of 2013, the University of Northampton fully supports the values of the Enterprise Zone with the creation of jobs, skills and enterprise and looks forward to being a part of the wider plans to regenerate Northampton.”

Carole Stronach, director of real estate for Avon, and the consortium of landowners said: “The University’s campus development plan is a tremendous opportunity and Avon looks forward to working with West Northamptonshire Development Corporation to ensure that the land required to enable the full redevelopment of the Avon Nunn Mills area is brought forward as quickly as possible”.

Plans for the campus development are well advanced, with the University of Northampton looking to submit a planning application this Summer. Subject to securing planning approval and funding arrangements, the University would like construction to start in 2015 and complete in 2018.

Proposed planning revamp to boost infrastructure projects and create new jobs

The Scottish Government

Scotland’s planning system will create new trade jobs and economic benefits to help deliver sustainable economic growth, Planning Minister Derek Mackay has announced today.

The third National Planning Framework (NPF) and draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) will influence development plans across Scotland and guide future planning decisions on a range of sectors including transport, energy and infrastructure.

The NPF is the Scottish Government’s strategy for the long-term development of Scotland’s towns, cities and countryside. It sets out strategic infrastructure needs and priorities over the next 20 to 30 years that will pave the way for new jobs in the construction sector.

Mr Mackay said: “Scotland needs a planning system that has, at its heart, the overriding principle of delivering sustainable economic growth in order to maximise the country’s attraction to investors and visitors in a global economy.

“We want future planning decisions to give significant weight to the economic benefit of proposed developments, particularly the creation of new jobs.”

These draft proposals are supported by on-going measures to improve the overall performance of the planning system, ensuring smoother delivery and a stronger focus on economic recovery.

Planning Minister Derek Mackay added: “The consultation on the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy will influence development plans across the country for the next thirty years affecting every part of Scotland.”

He said: “We will support our review of Town Centres by insisting that major new developments which attract people – like workplaces, leisure facilities and shops – are in town centres wherever possible. We want to see development which ensures lively, successful and viable town centres.

“I am keen that planning does more to encourage good design, and the creation of the kind of places we would all like to live in or visit. Our forthcoming policy on Architecture and Place will show what we are doing to achieve this.

“Scotland is enriched by a high quality environment and many special places to live in and visit. These physical assets underpin our economy and our quality of life and that is why we need to ensure developments go in the right place, providing positive benefits for our communities and environment.”

What is your reaction to the proposed planning changes in Scotland that will create new jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

BAM appointed to deliver several Midlands schools

BAM appointed to deliver several Midlands schools

The Education Funding Agency has appointed BAM Construction as a preferred bidder for the delivery of £27 million contract for the Midlands two capital batch.

Schools are located in Birmingham, Derby and Nottinghamshire More than 1,800 pupils in one primary, one secondary and two special schools will be taught in new buildings.

The schools included are:

  • Lees Brook Community School (Secondary)
  • Heathlands Primary School
  • Hallmoor School (Special)
  • Fountaindale School (Special)

Work will now progress to the planning application stage.

Keith Rayner, BAM’s education director, said: “This is excellent news for the creative and hard working team that put together our successful proposals for these schools.

“So far, BAM has a 100% track record of making the shortlist on all of the priority schools for which we have tendered, but the real test of value is in being selected and we are delighted that our designs have been chosen.

“BAM’s presence in the education market remains extremely strong and is supported by the collaborative ethos of our company as well as our integrated capability to design and build.”

What is your reaction to the £27 million school building programme across the Midlands that will boost the construction industry? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

HS2 Ltd unveils new building plans for London Euston

HS2 Ltd unveils new building plans for London Euston

Euston Station will be redeveloped to become the gateway to the great cities of the Midlands and North as part of the HS2 scheme that will create thousands of trade jobs.

The first phase of HS2 alone, from London to the West Midlands, is expected to support about 40,000 jobs, figures which do not include broader employment growth supported by the new line and the use of released capacity on existing routes.

HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Alison Munro said: “HS2 will be an engine for growth that supports the creation of thousands of jobs for Londoners, provides extra space on the existing lines for more commuter services, and improved connectivity with our great northern cities.”

The new plans for Euston, developed partly in response to concerns from the community about the potential disruption caused by the redevelopment would lead to less disruption for passengers as the station could continue to operate mostly as normal rather than having to move services from old platforms to new ones while platforms are being progressively demolished and rebuilt.

Ms Munro commented: “Community concerns have been raised about the potential disruption caused by the redevelopment of Euston Station.

“Following more work done by our engineers to find the best way to deliver best value for taxpayers, we have identified an option that we believe delivers great opportunities for the area while minimising the potential effects on local communities in Camden and on passengers.”

The new proposals would see the station revitalised for passengers and with potential for new homes, offices and shops above. Completing construction by 2026 will unlock the line-wide benefits for local residents and businesses.

 
The revised proposal features:

  • Potential opportunities for over-station development – with the possibility of being used for future homes, open space and businesses.
  • The capacity needed for high speed and conventional trains
  • New platforms and facilities for the high-speed trains
  • New, improved facilities for all passengers in a redeveloped, integrated station with a new, combined concourse and façade
  • Better connections with the Underground, including a new Underground ticket hall
  • A sub-surface pedestrian link between Euston and Euston Square Tube
  • East-west pedestrian routes across the station, helping to link communities on either side of the station.

 

Sita to build £250m Merseyside waste plant

Sita to build £250m Merseyside waste plant

The Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority has named Sita as preferred bidder for a £1.2 billion deal to manage 430,000 tonnes of waste each year.

The consortium, which consist of industrial energy specialist Sembcorp Utilities UK and I-Environment will build a rail loading waste transfer station in Merseyside and energy-from-waste plant in Teesside.

The winning bid from Sita includes a high efficiency Energy from Waste facility with Combined Heat and Power at the Wilton International site in Teeside creating around 50 new permanent jobs.

New rail hub for the transportation of waste at the existing Potter Group Rail Freight Terminal at Kirkby on Merseyside creating around 25 new permanent jobs.

The new energy-from-waste facility will generate electricity for the equivalent of 63,000 homes and has the potential to provide steam directly to adjacent business customers, which would further improve its efficiency.

In total, over 90 per cent of the contract waste managed by the Sita consortium will be diverted from landfill and used to produce energy.

David Palmer-Jones, Chief Executive Office of Sita UK said: “We are delighted to be selected as preferred bidder for this major contract in Merseyside. This is great news for Merseyside, for the environment and for new jobs.

“The two new facilities that we will develop will enable all of Merseyside’s household waste to be put to good use.

“We will create over 70 new full time jobs in Merseyside and Teeside and several hundred more during the construction of our new resource recovery facilities.”

Proposed Energy Park will create 250 new local jobs

Proposed Energy Park will create 250 new local jobs

Plans for the building of a new Energy Park in Bulwell that will create hundreds of construction jobs have been submitted to Nottingham City Council.

Chinook proposes to develop the 17 acre site on Blenheim Lane for a major new manufacturing plant for its recycling equipment and to create new jobs in the trades.

If planning permission is granted, work on the site could begin early next year, creating 250 jobs during the construction phase and later at the completed site, including manufacturing jobs.

Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council, Councillor Graham Chapman, said: “We very much welcome Chinook’s proposals for the Energy Park and in particular their commitment to create new manufacturing jobs for local people.

“If approved, this investment would boost the city’s credentials as the most self-sustaining city for energy production in the UK. Given the problems of energy cost and supply in the next few years, it is essential this city creates as much of its own supply as possible and this is an important step in that direction.

“Expansion of the city’s high tech and green sciences sectors are a key part of our Growth Plan so that new long term employment can be created in sustainable emerging industries. But the cherry on the cake is British manufacturing jobs. At a time when the UK manufacturing base has been declining, we in Nottingham want to do all we can to revive it.”

Chinook Sciences Technical Director, Harry Perry confirmed: “This is a milestone in our plans to develop a local manufacturing base and to significantly upgrade our R&D facilities.

“Powering the site with electricity from our own technology will further demonstrate Chinook Sciences’ renewable energy capabilities, and bring clean-tech employment and investment to the Bulwell area.

“In addition, part of our plan is to launch a training program for the local workforce to enable them occupy these new jobs with confidence and competence.”

 

£80m Woking housing development reaches out for new jobs

£80m Woking housing development reaches out for new jobs

Woking Borough Council has given the go-ahead for the building of 371 new family homes as part of a £80 million housing scheme that will create new jobs and boost the trades.

The site, commonly known as the Moor Lane housing development, will be developed by Evolution, a consortium between Kier Project Investment and Thames Valley Housing.

It will see the building of 371 family homes, of which 224 will be affordable, with the remaining 147 homes for private sale.

Kier will construct the properties and Thames Valley Housing will manage and maintain the social housing over the 25-year contract.  Construction work will commence during the summer.

Cllr David Bittleston, Woking Borough Portfolio Holder for Housing said: “We are delighted that the development has had the go-ahead.

“The Council is committed to supporting the Governments’ growth agenda and this development will provide much-needed affordable houses for local people and a major boost for employment in the local area.”

Nigel Turner, managing director of Kier Property, added: “We are thrilled to have achieved this important milestone and we look forward to working with Thames Valley Housing to progress the development.

“The mixed tenure scheme will play an important part in addressing the area’s housing shortage and also creates long-lasting community benefits through a designated fund for the use by the local community.”

Geeta Nanda, CEO of TVH, said: “We are delighted to have led this consortium to supply much-needed affordable homes in Woking. It is great that we have been granted planning permission so we are one step closer to getting new homes built and lived in.”

What is your reaction to the multi-million residential scheme in Woking that will deliver hundreds of new homes and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Cash flow boost for Scottish construction industry

Cash flow boost for Scottish construction industry

The construction industry in Scotland is set to benefit from an initiative to speed up payments to contractors in public sector developments.

Project bank accounts are ring-fenced accounts from which payments can be made directly and simultaneously by a client to the main contractor and members of the supply chain, removing the scope for delays in payment from the main contractor’s bank account.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, announced the Scottish Government’s intention to trial the scheme during a procurement debate held today.

The trial is an early recommendation of the Review of Procurement in Construction, which is set to report in the summer on how Scotland’s £2 billion public construction contracts are awarded.

The system, which should be in place later this year, will speed up available funds to all contractors with electronic payments typically taking five days.

Project bank accounts will also reduce the time between initial expenditure on labour, plant and materials and subsequent payment, which will help reduce insolvencies, particularly amongst SMEs.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government is working tirelessly to improve on the procurement system in Scotland’s public sector in order to maximise economic growth and support jobs.

“We are happy to take on board the trial of project bank accounts for public sector projects and we are now looking to identify suitable opportunities which will support local and national economies and boost cash flow for both contractors and subcontractors.

“This should in turn help to preserve Scottish jobs and retain indigenous skills and expertise.

“Using project bank accounts guarantees a diverse and competitive marketplace, meaning that Scotland’s many SMEs are given the confidence to compete for Scottish construction contracts.”

Ken Lewandowski, deputy chair of the Review of Procurement in Construction, said: “Times are tough in the construction industry, and when payment for work is delayed, things only get tougher.

“Project bank accounts can help to relieve some of that pressure, especially on Scotland’s SMEs.

“The case for trialling them is so compelling, and the industry so important to the economy, that we felt it was appropriate to make this early recommendation, before we publish our full report in the summer.”

Government commits £1bn investment to build 10,000 new homes

Government reveals £1bn build-to-rent fund set to deliver 10,000 new homesHousing Minister Mark Prisk announced today that up to 10,000 new homes could be built by 2015 that will create new jobs and boost the trades.

The minister announced the first 45 projects to be taken forward using the £1 billion Build to Rent Fund which will provide equity finance to house builders and developers.

Mr Prisk said that the innovative new projects, a quarter of which are for London, will be the first step toward creating a more balanced rental market, driven by quality instead of demand.

The Build to Rent Fund is designed to help developers invest in homes built specifically for private rent by reducing the up-front risk in a relatively untested market.

A first round of projects will now receive a share of £700 million government investment package, with a second round of bids for the remaining fund expected to open later this year.

Projects going forward in this round have the potential to deliver between 8,000 and 10,000 homes, and include:

  • Genesis Housing Association, with plans for new rental homes around London
  • Place First, along with Together Housing Group, who will be building across Northern England
  • Crest Nicholson, who intend to bring a significant number of homes to market over many sites across the country

Mr Prisk said that the varied mix of developers, from brand new organisations and small housing providers to long-established developers, will bring new blood into a market currently dominated by small-scale buy-to-let landlords, and will help to give tenants more choice when choosing a home in the future.

Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “This government is determined to get Britain building, and the Build to Rent Fund is set to help us deliver, with up to 10,000 new homes to be built from these projects.

“We’ve seen overwhelming demand for the fund, and it’s become clear that there’s a real appetite for rental investment. We want to support that, which is why we’ve made a £1 billion Budget boost to the fund.

“Now, these new projects will help us map this almost uncharted market, bringing in new blood to improve rental quality and choice, and building the new homes that this country wants and needs.”

What is your reaction to the new £1bn build-to-rent fund that will deliver 10,000 new homes and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Costain Joint Ventures Win Two Crossrail Contracts

Costain Joint Ventures Win Two Crossrail ContractsCostain has been awarded a £300 million contract to design, fit-out and commission the railway systems in Crossrail’s tunnel network that will create new jobs and boost the trades.

Under the contract, the engineering solutions provider will design and install track, overhead lines and mechanical and electrical equipment to fit out the 21km of twin tunnels currently being bored under the streets of London.

Design work will commence immediately, with the fit-out works starting in 2014, and will be carried out within the entire tunnelled and surface sections of the Crossrail route between Royal Oak, Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead Portals.

Costain has also announced that in Joint Venture with Alstom it has been awarded the £15 million contract for the design, construction and commissioning of the system that will provide traction power for the trains in the central tunnelled section of the Crossrail scheme.

Work will involve the construction of several auto–transformer stations and a feeder station site at Pudding Mill Lane to provide a 25 kV supply to the overhead line equipment that will power the new Crossrail trains. Costain is also constructing for National Grid the new cable tunnels to provide power to the other Crossrail feeder station at Kensal Green.

Crossrail will open in 2018. The Crossrail route will pass through 37 stations and will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent. An estimated 200 million people will travel on Crossrail each year.

Andrew Wyllie, Chief Executive of Costain, said: “The Crossrail scheme is providing a much-needed solution to upgrading a key part of the nation’s travel infrastructure.

“We are delighted to have been awarded these contracts, which follow on from other Crossrail projects we are involved in, including the construction of the Bond Street and Paddington stations and works at Eleanor Street and Mile End Park.

“We believe these further wins demonstrate the successful implementation of our ‘Choosing Costain’ strategy in which we focus group-wide resources on meeting the developing requirements of major blue chip customers.”

Royal Liverpool Hospital gets the go-ahead by government

Royal Liverpool Hospital gets the go-ahead by government

The government has given the go-ahead for the building of Liverpool’s £425 million Royal University Hospital that will create 750 full-time construction jobs.

The multi-million development is set to employ local people, materials and services where possible to generate an additional £240 million for the local economy and boost the trades.

The Department for Health and the Treasury have approved the funding and the hospital is now assessing bids from two construction companies, Carillion and Horizon, that will design and build the hospital by 2017.

After the bidder is appointed, the hospital will obtain final planning permission and sign contracts, with building construction work expected to begin early next year.

Aidan Kehoe, chief executive, said: “I am delighted that we are now just weeks away from unveiling the design for our new hospital.

“The new Royal is at the very heart of our city and this is a significant step forward in the creation of our world-class hospital.

“It also brings us one step closer to the creation of the Liverpool BioCampus, which has the potential to transform the city, propelling us onto the world stage along with Boston and Singapore.”

What is your reaction to the £425 million funding for the building of new Royal Liverpool University Hospital that will create hundreds of construction jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Mansell starts work on £12m Euston student block

Mansell awarded £12 million Euston Road student accommodation block

Mansell has been selected for a £12 million seven-storey student accommodation building on London’s Euston road that will pave the way for new trade jobs

The scheme involves demolition of part of the existing building behind a retained façade and construction of a 171-bed accommodation block along with associated external works, services, lifts and ancillary areas.

Once complete, the building will be certified with a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

Construction of the seven-storey project at Bentley House will be completed in time for the 2014 student intake, boosting the trades and people in the building construction industry.

To protect the architectural heritage of the building, bricks removed during demolition will be salvaged, cleaned and reused where possible, with new material matched to the original as closely as possible.

Situated within close proximity to an area of high pedestrian footfall and heavy traffic, sensitive demolition techniques and sophisticated logistics planning will be used throughout the duration of the contract to avoid disruption.

An innovative piling solution, which will complete prior to the start of demolition works, will facilitate the seamless transition between an old and new sub-station.

 

Business Secretary launches new Anglia growing business fund

Business Secretary launches new Anglia growing business fund

Business Secretary Vince Cable has launched a new £3 million funding scheme for East Anglia that will kick-start growth for small firms in the trades.

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is specifically aimed at helping firms that want to grow but have been held back by a lack of finance.

The £3 million fund will provide cash grants to businesses looking to expand their operations

and create new jobs. Funding for the scheme has come from the government’s Regional Growth Fund.

The fund will provide grants of up to 20%, between £25,000 and £100,000, to business that have a shortfall in their investment plan and are able to create at least one job for every £10,000 provided by the fund.

The Business Secretary launched the fund at Redpack in Norwich, a company which hopes to benefit from the new fund and expand its existing operations in the city.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “A lack of finance is one of the biggest barriers facing firms that want to grow. The government is already taking big steps to help companies bridge that gap and now, thanks to this new fund, businesses across East Anglia will get that helping hand they need.

“Through programmes like the New Anglia ‘Growing Business Fund’, the government’s Regional Growth Fund has supported around 1,200 small and medium sized companies across the country, helping them create jobs, increase skills and grow their business.”

What is your reaction to the new funding scheme for East Anglia that will kick-start growth for small businesses and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  

British Land reaches key milestone in London redevelopment

British Land reaches key milestone in the redevelopment of Harmsworth Quays

The first step has been taken to allow the redevelopment of the 14.57 acre Harmsworth Quays printing works site in Canada Water, South East London, to go ahead.

Southwark Council has given its approval for the Daily Mail General Trust (DMGT) to assign its leasehold interest in the site to British Land.

The decision is a key milestone for the development which has the potential to deliver significant improvements to the local area and create new trade jobs.

Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Southwark Council, said: “In addition to new homes, the redevelopment of Harmsworth Quays has the potential to deliver the town centre and jobs that Rotherhithe really needs.”

British Land will now begin working up proposals in consultation with Southwark Council and the local community to realise the full potential of this important site. Vacant possession of the site will be available later this year following the relocation of DMGT’s printing operations to Thurrock.

Southwark Council, which is currently developing policy to guide the redevelopment, will be adopting a preferred option of its Area Action Plan in May for consultation. This will emphasise the council’s and community’s vision to create a mixed-use town centre at Canada Water.

Both Southwark Council and British Land have committed to exploring the potential to create a new campus for Kings College as part of the scheme, to complement their proposals for the adjoining site at the Mulberry Business Park.

Nigel Webb, Head of Development for British Land, said: “We are delighted that the London Borough of Southwark has agreed the assignment for Harmsworth Quays. We can now begin the process of working with the local community, the London Borough of Southwark and other key stakeholders to bring forward a new, mixed use development in the heart of Canada Water.”

Bam Construct wins £10m Sheffield schools contract

 

BAM Construction has been named preferred bidder for a £10 million contract that will see the building of two new primary schools in Sheffield.

The UK-wide contractor will build the schools in Shirecliffe and Fir Vale for Sheffield City Council, paving the way for new jobs in the construction industry and boosting the trades.

BAM is now working on designs to meet the requirements of the council ahead of a start on site in September 2013. Completion is scheduled for August 2014 so the schools can open at the start of the 2014/15 academic year.

Construction director Kelvin Pollard said: “We look forward to using our experience and skills to create two schools Sheffield can be proud of.

“These are important facilities for the city and we are delighted BAM has been chosen to deliver them.

“It is a great sign that BAM continues to be selected as a company trusted to deliver quality buildings at affordable prices through regional frameworks such as YORbuild.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “Giving children the best possible start in their education is essential in helping them reach their full potential.

“Research has shown that children’s achievement at school can be improved by their surroundings. These new schools will provide desperately needed places and put well-designed facilities at the heart of the community. It’s great to hear that work will be starting soon.”

BAM has built a series of major education and health projects in Sheffield in the past ten years such as the Arts Tower and culminating in the laboratory rationalisation project for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.  On the border with Rotherham, BAM is delivering the new Advanced Blade Casting Facility for Rolls-Royce.

Housebuilding set to start on Ebbsfleet residential scheme

Land Securities Group

Land Securities has exchanged contracts with Ward Homes for the sale of 150 residential plots in Ebbsfleet Valley that will kick-start the building of 6,250 homes.

The infrastructure work is set to commence in the summer with the housing construction due to begin in autumn 2013, paving the way for new jobs in the building industry and boosting the trades.

The development will be made up of family houses, located with easy access to Ebbsfleet International Station , which offers high speed domestic services to destinations including Kings Cross St Pancras and Stratford, as well as Eurostar services to Europe.

Emma Cariaga, Development Director at Land Securities, said: “We are delighted to have exchanged contracts with Ward Homes which enables the first stage of our redevelopment in the area.

“This marks the start of an exciting regeneration of the area, which will bring new homes and businesses to the Ebbsfleet Valley region. This represents a significant step forward in relation to the Government’s desire to see economic growth and housing delivery in Kent Thameside”.

Mark Bailey, Managing Director at Ward Homes, said: “Ward Homes is proud to be associated with this unique landmark development and pleased that our local Kent brand was selected as the most appropriate to launch this prestigious site.

“We look forward to working closely with Land Securities and are committed to delivering a quality residential scheme that we are confident will be a highly desirable place to live”.

Enterprise Zone Fund to accelerate growth and create new jobs

Enterprise Zone Fund to accelerate growth and jobs

A £59 million Enterprise Zone Fund to help speed up growth and create thousands of new trade jobs has been launched by the Government.

Enterprise Zones across England can now apply for funding to help them ‘turn shovel ready sites into job ready sites’ by completing key infrastructure projects and boosting the trades.

They reflect the Government’s core belief that economic growth and job creation should be led by the private sector. The Zones are focused on removing barriers to private sector growth with lower tax levels for business and a simplified planning regime and a lighter regulatory and administrative burden.

The Fund will help those Zones with real growth potential to put in place the infrastructure required to unlock sites so businesses can set up and take advantage of the offer available in Enterprise Zones, such as business rate discounts, simplified planning and superfast broadband.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles said: “Economic growth is this government’s biggest priority and Enterprise Zones are the engine room of that strategy. They are a fantastic way to attract the jobs and business investment that local areas need. This new £59 million fund will turbo charge that engine by turning shovel ready sites into job ready sites.

“Enterprise Zones have all the raw ingredients and growth incentives – simplified planning, low tax, super fast broadband and inward investment – they need to translate their potential into jobs and growth success. This is an opportunity to lay the infrastructure foundations so they are ‘gift wrapped’ ready to house new businesses.

“It is time for Enterprise Zones to take up the gauntlet of growth. Local Enterprise Partnerships can do more to make zones realise their potential sooner. The government is determined to work flat out with partnerships to clear any roadblocks in their zone’s path so they can forge ahead and deliver the jobs the country’s economy needs.”

The £59 million fund is part of the Government’s Local Infrastructure Fund of £474 million designed for infrastructure investment to support local economic growth, jobs and homes.

What is your reaction to the Enterprise Zone Fund that will support economic growth and create thousands of new jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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