Posts tagged Trade news

Chancellor steps up industry engagement

Government to support UK industry

In the run up to the Autumn Statement the Chancellor Philip Hammond will speak to British businesses in a series of high profile meetings.

As well as holding further discussions with the financial services sector in October, the Chancellor will chair roundtables with representatives from the world of technology, retailing and manufacturing as well as meeting investors, importers and exporters and hosting representatives from the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

From virtual reality to food, clothing and banking, the Chancellor will meet with representatives covering almost every aspect of the economy.

He will set out the government’s plans to support an economy that works for everyone and then lead a discussion with industry representatives on the underlying strengths of the UK economy as we enter a period of adjustment in the lead up to leaving the European Union.

Representatives will also be given an opportunity to contribute their views on the future of Britain outside of the European Union and offer input to how the government can best offer support to their industries and workforces leading up to the Autumn Statement.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “We want to ensure the continued investment that creates jobs and supports wage growth throughout this period of uncertainty ahead of the UK formally leaving the European Union.

“That means listening to businesses and organisations who represent working people all over the country, and taking the necessary steps to maintain economic stability.

“From manufacturing to new technology, exporters to small businesses, I am determined that industry and government work together to ensure that Britain takes full advantage of the opportunities Brexit presents. That means engaging in open and constructive dialogue with business leaders in the months ahead.”

Building work set to start on affordable homes for Leeds

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Leeds Federated Housing Associationhas appointed partnership housing developer Lovell to build 33 new affordable homes in Belle Isle, south Leeds.

Construction is due to start on the new houses which will all be for affordable rent through the housing association. The £3.6 million scheme will create 20 two-bedroom and 13 three-bedroom houses.

The new housing will take shape on two Leeds City Council-owned brownfield sites in Newhall Gate and Newhall Walk. Designed to complement and fit in with existing homes in the area, the development is expected to be complete at the end of 2017. The scheme forms part of Leeds Federated’s Affordable Homes Programme and is supported by Leeds City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Steve Ellis, head of Assets and Development for Leeds Federated, says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Lovell to build 33 much-needed affordable homes for rent in Belle Isle.

“There is currently a national shortage of affordable housing. Leeds Federated plans to more than double the amount of homes it develops each year to help address the need for high quality affordable homes in the Leeds City region.”

Robert Adams, regional director for Lovell – which is based locally in Gildersome, Leeds – comments: “These much-needed properties will help address the serious shortage of affordable housing locally by creating high-quality modern homes for local people.

“As a Leeds-based company, we’re absolutely delighted to be bringing our expertise in delivering well-designed homes which achieve the highest build and quality standards to this important scheme.” In line with Lovell’s commitment to benefitting local communities, the company will also provide local job and training opportunities through the development.

Contractors invited to bid for work on a £100m Cardiff housing scheme

Lovell homes

Housing developer Lovell is inviting local construction firms to find out about opportunities to work on a major Cardiff housing development by attending an event at Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday, 8 September.

Lovell is seeking supply chain partners to work on The Mill, a new 800-home development in Canton, Cardiff, which is expected to create over 1,000 jobs.

The landmark scheme – which is being delivered by a partnership of Lovell, the Tirion Group and Cadwyn Housing Association – will transform the former Arjo Wiggins Paper Mill site, to the west of the city centre with 800 homes for purchase and rent.

Work will start later this year on the first new housing to be built through the seven-year construction scheme that will pave the way for new jobs and boost economic growth.

Lovell regional director Kate Rees said: “As one of Wales’ largest regeneration programmes, The Mill will create significant work opportunities for local businesses.

“Our supply chain partner event on 8 September will enable new and existing members of our supply chain to find out more and meet our project team.

“It’s a great opportunity to get involved in this exciting project which will bring much-needed high-quality new-build homes to Cardiff.”

The supply chain partner event will take place from 9am to 11am on Thursday, 8 September at the Ricoh Suite 2, Cardiff City Stadium, Leckwith Road, Cardiff CF11 8AZ. The event is free but anyone planning to attend is asked to register in advance at: eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-lovell-supply-chain-partner-event-tickets-27048092573

Kier launches new housing venture in the North

Kier Living

Kier Living has launched a new venture designed to build a thousand of homes per annum within 3 years by creating long-term housing delivery partnerships in the north of England.

The first partnership to be confirmed is between Kier and leading northern HA Together Housing Group (THG); a JV relationship which will develop mixed tenure housing projects across Yorkshire, Humber and the North West, with the first new development site, for 113 properties for outright sale in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

The Northern Ventures model offers a full mixed tenure development partnership, enabling registered providers with development aspirations and revenue needs to share activity, transfer risk and tap into Kier’s mixed tenure development expertise, national presence and sales infrastructure.

Unlike other partnerships, this JV is for multiple sites rather than a single-site partnership, meaning the JV can work together more collaboratively, harnessing regional expertise, investment momentum and innovation and developing a range of potential sites.

Kier Living has put in place a specialist Northern Ventures senior team, as it is expected that this approach will appeal to a wide range of land owners, from private land owners where a high output of affordable housing is required to achieve planning, through to public sector land owners who want to meet mixed tenure housing targets.

Paul Moore, managing director of Kier Living North said: “We are looking at a joint venture model that provides a longer-term sustainable relationship with a 3 -5 year business plan, giving both partners diverse and sustainable benefits.

“By working together, we can look at larger scale opportunities that are not only attractive financially for both parties, but contribute extra mixed tenure new homes to meet the current UK shortage.

With Government focus on home ownership, the joint venture gives our partners opportunities to build housing stock of all tenures, as well as generating a commercial return on their investment that can be re-invested in the sector.”

Mark Dunford, finance director of Together Housing Group added: “THG is excited to enter into this partnership with Kier Living to ensure we continue to meet the aspirations of both the Government and our own growth strategy.

With focus now on home ownership, we needed to work closely with an experienced developer not only to share the risk and reward but also to learn from their experience and knowledge.

“The intention is to build 500 new properties per year and establish site specific limited liability partnership for each scheme. Any profit returned to the Group will be used to fund our affordable housing programme.”

MediaCityUK set to double in size with £1bn expansion

MediaCityUK set to double in size with £1bn expansion

MediaCityUK is to double in size, creating over 1,400 new homes and hundreds of jobs, after city council planners gave the go-ahead this week.

The 10-year building plan will create hundreds of new jobs for the area which is already home to the BBC, ITV, The Lowry, dock10 studios, apartments and hotels, restaurants, cafés and bars, the University of Salford, Salford City College and the UTC.

And, with prime office space, live/work units, small business space, creative studios, a new market square and events hall, cafés, restaurants and shops along with good public transport links to the site, the potential for more jobs is huge.

MediaCityUK is a joint venture between Peel Land and Property and Legal and General Capital.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett welcomed the news and said it was the second phase of a 20-year plan to transform the former docklands.

Mr Dennett said:“Back in 2006, Salford City Council granted planning permission for 15.1 hectares of development. Phase one has successfully been completed and now we are moving towards the second phase which will see MediaCityUK double in size”

This phase will focus on creating welcoming neighbourhoods where people can live and work, socialise and enjoy events. It’s a very exciting development for Salford.

This is all part of a major building boom in Salford which is bringing thousands of new homes and square metres of business accommodation to our city creating further jobs and opportunities on our doorstep for the people of Salford.”

Phase one of MediaCityUK is now complete, providing office and studio space for the BBC, accommodation for the University of Salford and ITV, further office space in The Landing and the Tomorrow building.

The scheme also consis of two hotels, a multi-storey car park, 378 apartments, shops, restaurants, café and bar premises, new public spaces, a new Metrolink station and a pedestrian footbridge across the Manchester Ship Canal.

The phase two site, for which planning permission has now been granted extends across eight plots on the north eastern part of the site and will provide: over 50,000 sq m of business accommodation, over 4,000 sq m of live/work units, 1,871 residential units including town houses, over 4,400 sq m of retail and leisure space and over 1,800 car parking spaces.

Government investment to create 3,000 skilled jobs

The UK government will invest £35 million to help thriving £70 billion automotive sector and create highly-skilled manufacturing jobs.

The investment will also improve industrial transport links on the A45, including a new bridge to connect Whitley South to the existing Jaguar Land Rover engineering centre and global HQ.

An expanded automotive business zone in Whitley, near Coventry, is set to become home to nearly 3,000 highly-skilled engineering and advanced manufacturing jobs, following £35 million in government investment, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announced this week.

The new 24-hectare site, known as the Whitley South Infrastructure Project, will open up new growth opportunities for local manufacturers and businesses in the supply chain, creating highly-skilled engineering and advanced manufacturing jobs.

The site is being developed with support from Coventry and Warwickshire LEP (CWLEP), Warwick District Council and Coventry City Council, who have secured further local contributions of £10 million to secure the project.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Our world-class auto sector is leading the way and this new development will create thousands more skilled jobs. It shows how private and public sector can work together to make a difference to the economy.

That’s why every member of my ministerial team has been appointed as a local growth champion, to work with local enterprise partnerships like CWLEP to support key opportunities and increase prosperity.”

The new funding will also help improve local industrial transport links, connecting the site up with the A45, and constructing a new bridge to join the new development with an existing Jaguar Land Rover engineering centre.

To coincide with the announcement, CWLEP has also announced it will publish its refreshed Strategic Economic Plan today, which includes ‘Unlocking our Growth Potential’ and ‘Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering’ as its core priorities, as well as underlining the importance of funding the Whitley South Infrastructure Project.

Speaking ahead of a visit to Coventry-based advanced manufacturing company AMT Expert, Business Minister Margot James said: “The resurgence of advanced manufacturing and the automotive industry in the West Midlands is a real success story.

It’s vital we maintain this momentum and keep creating high-skilled jobs and don’t let any opportunity slip through our fingers. Today’s £35 million investment unlocks land that will help to cement the region as a leading destination for investment.”

UK remains number one investment destination in Europe

New FDI figures show the UK had a record number of inward investment projects and created second highest number of jobs ever in 2015 to 2016.

Britain has benefitted from record-breaking inward investment by foreign companies, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has announced.

Across the country, 2,213 inward investment projects were secured in 2015 to 2016, an 11% increase on the previous year. This lead to around 116,000 jobs being created or safeguarded – the second highest number on record.

Almost 1,600 new jobs a week were created by foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2015 to 2016.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), now part of the Department for International Trade (DIT), helped to secure 4 out of 5 of the projects that created these jobs.

Since 2010, nearly 390,000 new jobs have been created through foreign direct investment in the UK.

Read DIT inward investment results for the tax year 2015 to 2016.

The department has recorded more foreign direct investment projects than ever before and, according to the EY UK Attractiveness Survey, the UK’s strong performance sees it retain its spot as the number one place in Europe for foreign investment.

Responsible for promoting British trade across the world, DIT helps secure investment from overseas companies for projects in the UK. The department’s annual FDI figures are based on UK job creation and number of projects secured.

International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox, said: “These impressive results show the UK continues to be the place to do business.

We’ve broadened our reach with emerging markets across the world to cement our position as the number one destination in Europe for investment.

This continued vote of confidence in the UK will help attract foreign investment to create jobs, security and opportunities for people across the UK.

Dr Adam Marshall, Acting Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Keeping the UK attractive to overseas investors is important for our future success. Last year’s up-tick in foreign direct investment is a welcome boost to business, and a good indicator of underlying confidence in the UK economy.”

Cheltenham office scheme to create new jobs

A £15 million office development set to bring up to 500 jobs to Cheltenham has been submitted for planning.

Property investor Formal Investments wants to create more than 80,000 square feet of prime offices as the new HQ for a major international business keen to relocate to the town.

Honeybourne Place has been pre-let to the global company and, subject to the plans receiving permission, construction could begin in 2017 with the occupier moving to Cheltenham in 2019.

Previous plans for Honeybourne Place, at Jessop Avenue, have been revised in this new application because the occupier wants more office space than originally envisaged.

The desired office space has been boosted by more than 20 per cent by removing other elements, including residential units. A detailed planning application has this week been made to Cheltenham Borough Council for the high quality six-storey landmark building.

Nicholas King, a director at Formal Investments, said: “The striking landmark building will help deliver economic growth and bring further major inward investment in a location that has cemented itself as a key business district for Cheltenham.”

Jeremy Williamson, managing director of Cheltenham Development Taskforce, said: “It is always pleasing to bring forward a brown field site, but even more so when it has such job creation potential and is promoted by local investors such as Formal Investments.”

Steve Jordan, Cheltenham Borough Council leader, said: “Securing this investment in the centre of Cheltenham is a real coup, given the high value jobs that it will generate.”

Michael Ratcliffe, chief executive of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted at the investment in town centre office accommodation, as employment is the lifeblood of the economy.”

New technology helping Network Rail redevelop Liverpool Lime Street

Network Rail is using virtual reality technology to save time and money and improve safety as it prepares to redevelop one of Britain’s major stations.

Liverpool Lime Street will undergo major work to transform it into a station to meet the needs of the growing numbers of passengers who use it every year.

As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, £340 million is being spent across Merseyside to improve the railway for passengers, including changing the layout and length of Lime Street’s platforms to accommodate more and longer trains and upgrading signalling to make it more reliable.

The virtual reality technology has enabled Network Rail to carry out 4D virtual modelling to prepare for the work, reducing the amount of time needed on track and the potential to impact on train services.

Safety and efficiency of work is improved as virtual reality enables planners to avoid overlaps between different engineering teams as well as identifying potential risks and hazards which could potentially impact on reopening the railway on time.

Graeme Whitehead, Liverpool Lime Street project manager, said: “On major projects, where you have people laying track, moving bridges and installing electrical wires overhead, all at the same time, we need precise planning to avoid overlaps that could potentially cause projects to overrun or risk the safety of those working.

Using this state-of-the-art technology we can spot those clashes before they happen making the project safer and more efficient. This delivers benefits for passengers, taxpayers and our orange army of engineers.”

Simon Wray, managing director of Specialist Project Integration, the company which developed the software, said: “Liverpool Lime Street is the first rail project in Britain to have a virtual reality model at its core.

A unique feature of the system is that it works on multiple formats including mobile devices. Liverpool Lime Street is also the first project to use Oculus Rift virtual reality technology, which allows for a fully immersive experience for training and engagement.”

£250 million milestone for Start Up firms

£250 million of Start Up Loans have been made available to entrepreneurs to boost growth and create new jobs, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark announced today.

Since 2012, Start Up Loans worth a quarter of a billion pounds have been agreed with start-up businesses to support them in getting up and running with finance and support.

Funded by government through the British Business Bank, Start Up Loans generate a return on investment to the economy of £3 for every £1 spent.

Businesses up and down the country from digital start-ups to recreational centres have benefitted from the government scheme.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Whether you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, and whatever your age, everyone should have the chance to turn a great business idea into a reality.

British entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of our economy. This government will build on the success of Start Up Loans to give entrepreneurs the support and opportunities they need to start a business, grow it in Britain and turn it into a global success story.”

Small Business Minister Margot James said: “Small businesses play a vital role in local communities, bringing them together and giving millions of people good jobs and livelihoods.

With 1 in 5 Start Up Loans going to deprived areas in the UK, they are one of the many tools we have to build an economy that works for all.”

At the start of 2016, there were a record 5.4 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, creating more than 15 million jobs and contributing £1.8 trillion to our economy.

Half of all Start Up Loans for people aged 18 to 24 go to those formerly not in employment, education or training (NEET) and 1 in 5 Start Up Loans go to deprived areas in the UK.

Tim Sawyer, CEO of Start Up Loans Company, said: “Since the launch almost 4 years ago our loans have helped create more than 45,100 jobs and for every pound invested we have returned £3 to the economy overall.”

Lovell starts £7.1m Essex housing scheme

Lovell wins £7.1m Essex housing scheme

Uttlesford District Council has chosen partnership housing specialist Lovell to undertake a £7.1 million redevelopment programme for an Essex sheltered housing scheme.

A ground-breaking ceremony has officially marked the start of construction on the project which will transform Reynolds Court in Newport, near Saffron Walden, into a purpose-built modern complex.

The existing sheltered housing is being replaced with 41 brand-new apartments for affordable rent – made up of 34 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom homes – as well as new communal facilities including a communal lounge and a garden room, hair and beauty salon and a guest suite.

The first phase of demolition and site clearance has already been carried out. The demolition programme is being undertaken in two stages enabling existing tenants to stay at the sheltered housing scheme while it is being rebuilt.

The new complex is designed to achieve a ‘Very Good’ rating when assessed using the BREEAM system for measuring buildings’ sustainability. Energy-saving and environmentally-friendly features include underfloor heating and a sedum green ‘living roof’ which reduces rainwater runoff and provides a habitat for wildlife.

Lovell regional director Simon Medler says: “We are extremely pleased to have started work on these high-quality and modern homes and modern communal facilities for Reynolds Court.

Our team has extensive experience of delivering sheltered housing to an extremely high standard and are excited to be working on this scheme which will bring about real improvements for local residents.”

Balfour Beatty gets £35m Perth Transport contract

Balfour Beatty gets £35m Perth Transport contract

Balfour Beatty has been awarded a £35 million contract to deliver the first phase of the Perth Transport Futures Project, which will support growth in Scotland’s third fastest developing region.

Balfour Beatty will create a new grade separated junction on the A9 dual carriageway as well as a new link road enabling access to development land to the west of the city.

This is the first of four phases of the Perth Transport Futures project which aims to alleviate congestion, enhance accessibility to the city and unlock £500 million of economic growth for the local economy.

Hector Macaulay, Balfour Beatty Regional Managing Director, Scotland, said: “Delivery of this project will provide significant opportunities for local sub-contractors and suppliers, ensuring that the Perth and Kinross community not only benefits from greatly improved infrastructure, but also from the added economic benefit delivered through this scheme.”

Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, said: “Through our National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework, Balfour Beatty and Perth and Kinross Councils have already formed a close partnership and this will help to ensure a streamlined and efficient first phase of the Perth Transport Futures Project.

Through the framework, the council is investing in the local economy and delivering added value for local residents as well as new opportunities for local SMEs, further enhancing growth in this rapidly developing region.”

The works are due to commence in September 2016, with completion expected in Spring 2019. The scheme will employ around 100 people and will provide a number of apprenticeship opportunities.

London Mayor to speed up housebuilding

Docklands deal will deliver 3,500 new London homes

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.”

Increase in number of new homes built and started

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.”

House building across the country

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 secures £5bn hat-trick of major construction schemes

Kier 2

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.

These include:

• 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.”

Balfour to build £42m student housing scheme

Balfour to deliver £42m student housing scheme

Balfour Beatty has been awarded a 454-unit student accommodation scheme in Vauxhall, London for Urbanest, a developer and operator of student housing in central London.

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 reaches financial close on £63.5m job

Wates reaches financial close on £63.5m job

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.”

More affordable homes for Fort William

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 gets £35m Cardiff student accommodation job

Vinci gets £35m Cardiff student accommodation job

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.

Major investment in Wales to support business growth

Welsh Government

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.

£29m Lincoln investment to boost economic 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

World’s largest windfarm gets the go-ahead

The world’s largest offshore windfarm, Hornsea Project Two has received development consent from Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.

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 signs £95m London regeneration scheme

U+I secures £95m London regeneration scheme

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.”

Mace to deliver world-class facility at UCLH

Mace to deliver world-class facility at UCLH

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.”

£47m plans approved to build new homes

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 grabs Birmingham residential scheme

Wates grabs Birmingham residential scheme

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.”

Morgan Sindall to restore Bleaton Hallet bridge

Morgan Sindall

Morgan Sindall has been appointed by Perth & Kinross Council to design and build a new road bridge over the Black Water with work expected to be completed before the end of this year.

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.”

St George secures £100m Ealing scheme

Developer St George has bought Land Securities‘ £100 million Ealing scheme in West London underlining its commitment to upmarket housing in mixed-use developments in the capital.

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

Wigan wasteland to get £35.5m investment

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.

Queen Street Tunnel works completed

Queen Street Tunnel works completed

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.”

Go-ahead for 188 homes at major Mill Hill development

Go-ahead for 188 homes at major Mill Hill development

Willmott Residential‘s expansion in London continues with Barnet Council giving its residential brand Prime Place the go-ahead to build 188 new homes in Mill Hill.

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.

New construction scheme for Baker Barracks

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.”

Work starts on new Blackburn Partnership Scheme

Work starts on new Blackburn Partnership Scheme

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.”

Willmott Dixon lands £15m Littlehampton Leisure Centre

Willmott Dixon lands £15m Littlehampton Leisure Centre

Willmott Dixon has been selected by Arun District Council to build a £15 million Littlehampton Leisure Centre that will boost economic growth and create new jobs.

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.

Extra care development scheme for Keepmoat

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.”

ISG gets £13m Corn Exchange project

ISG

ISG has been awarded a £13 million contract by Queensberry Real Estate to transform Manchester’s historic Grade II listed Corn Exchange into a four star boutique hotel.

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.”

Major investment to unlock thousands of jobs and homes

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.”

Record 31.7m in work, as unemployment rate falls below 5%

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

Wates to build £30m campus in Cumbria

Wates to build £30m Campus Whitehaven in Cumbria

Wates has been awarded the contract to build the new £30 million Campus Whitehaven project by Cumbria County Council.

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 selected for Gatwick Airport development plan

Balfour Beatty secures landmark care scheme in Ireland

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.

Go-ahead for Sheerwater Regeneration Scheme

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.

The regeneration scheme is a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Pinnacle housing association for Woking Borough Council, paving the way for new jobs in the construction trades.

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.”

Northern Powerhouse minister begins first tour since appointment

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.”

London City Airport expansion hailed by the Government

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.”

Building plans for Kingston Prison approved

The Planning Committee at Portsmouth City Council has approved City & Country‘s development of 230 new homes at the site of the former Kingston Prison.

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.”

HS2 will go ahead says new Transport Secretary

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

Grayling told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend: “I have no plans to back away from the HS2 project.”

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.”

Phase One of the scheme is expected to cost £27.4bn and the green light for work to start is due later this year.

The first round of contracts worth £11bn are due to be awarded in the coming months.

Morgan Sindall gets place on National Grid’s framework

Morgan Sindall

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.”

Faster planning helps the building trades

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 wins £34m Plymouth contract

Willmott Dixon wins £34m Plymouth contract

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.”

Yorkstone facade for University of Huddersfield

Yorkstone facade for University of Huddersfield

Morgan Sindall has taken delivery of £210,000 of locally-sourced Yorkstone which will be used to clad elevations of the University of Huddersfield‘s new Oastler Building in Huddersfield town 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 starts work on £13.7m project in Leeds

Morgan Sindall starts work on £13.7m project in Leeds

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.

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