Boris Johnson sets out bold vision to build new homes

London Mayor Boris JohnsonThe Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has this week announced initial funding of more than £1 billion to deliver thousands of homes and create new jobs in the construction trades.

This is part of the Mayor’s ambitious scheme to build at least 42,000 homes a year to meet the demands of the city’s ever increasing population and boost the local economy.

This initial new funding package of over £1 billion will support the delivery of 45,000 more low cost homes for hard working Londoners. Additional funding is set to be unveiled soon.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “For over thirty years, regardless of boom and bust, governments of every hue have failed to build enough homes. With London’s unprecedented population growth, housing supply and affordability is now our biggest challenge and we need to double the number of homes being built.

“This requires a radical shift in how we prioritise housing to ensure we do not compromise our economic growth, and a collective effort from City Hall, government, and industry to treat housing as an essential infrastructure.

“We are overseeing the largest release of public land for a generation to ensure we maximize housing supply. We’ll have delivered 100,000 new low cost homes but we won’t stop there.

“The new funding and plans today will ensure thousands more hard working Londoners are helped with homes over the next decade, together with a raft of new and innovative ideas to unlock finance and the huge potential to develop new homes and communities across the capital.”

Work at Glasgow retail extension gets underway

Work at Glasgow retail extension gets underwayGraham construction has commenced work on a £20 million extension to Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

The centre’s owners Hammerson is creating a new 14-screen Cineworld cinema, nine new restaurants, improved bingo facilities and further retail units at the centre.

Graham will also redesign and remodel a section of the winter garden’s, create a new taxi rank, extend the bus station canopy and install new paving.

Silverburn opened in 2007 on the site of the former Pollock Centre and is one of the largest and most popular retail destinations in Scotland, with almost approximately 14 million visits every year.

The first phase of the 120,000 sq ft scheme involves the demolition of the remaining units of the Pollock Centre and the existing bingo hall. Works are scheduled to complete in spring 2015.

Guy Wells, development manager at Hammerson said: “The start of work on site is another major milestone in the delivery of the new leisure quarter at Silverburn which will firmly establish the centre as the premier retail experience in Glasgow and beyond.”

Carillion gets £800m Sunderland regeneration scheme

Carillion gets £800m Sunderland regeneration schemeCarillion has been selected by Sunderland City Council as the preferred bidder to form a strategic partnership to deliver a range of property services to undertake the City’s regeneration programme.

This innovative contract, which will initially focus on the redevelopment of key sites across the City, is worth at least £100 million over the first eight years and potentially up to £800 million over 20 years.

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council said: “The chance to take part in an ambitious, long-term initiative attracted bids from a number of leading UK companies.

“We were delighted at the high standard of the shortlisted bids and it was a difficult task to choose the preferred bidder, but the commitment, track record and approach of our chosen partner gave it the winning edge.

“This decision marks an important milestone in the joint venture agreement, which will breathe new life into under-used publicly owned land in prime sites for development.

“The programme will invigorate key areas of the City and offer new opportunities for employment, housing, shopping and leisure.”

The scheme also paves the way for the development of the Vaux site, which has been standing empty for 14 years since the brewery closed in 1999.

Other key sites which will also be developed by the partnership include Seaburn, Chapelgarth, Farringdon Row, Holmeside and parts of the East End.

Carillion Chief Executive, Richard Howson, said: “We look forward to working with Sunderland City Council and to engaging with local communities and businesses to deliver the Council’s vision for the City, which will bring major benefits to the people of Sunderland and act as a catalyst for further inward investment.”

Enterprise zones boost UK industry with foreign investment

Enterprise zones boost UK industry with foreign investmentEnterprise zones are pushing the UK ahead of global competitors after attracting even more overseas investment Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said today.

The latest investment, which comes from Swedish company Haldex, will be based at the MIRA Technology Park Enterprise Zone, creating jobs and growth for the local economy.

Haldex is a manufacturer of automotive safety systems with annual net sales of nearly £400 million, is to create its new European Technical Centre at the MIRA Enterprise Zone, consolidating their European research and development operations in the UK.

Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said: “The British car industry is a big national success story. This year it has attracted more than £2.5 billion of investment and created 5,000 new jobs.

“Haldex’s decision to base its European Technical Centre at MIRA shows we are an attractive place for international companies to do business.”

The state of the art 25,000 square foot facility in the heart of the Midlands will bring an initial 44 high tech jobs to the area, developing a new generation of safety systems.

Eric Pickles said: “We have acted fast to tackle the deficit. We are now focused on backing the industries of the future, growing the private sector and making Britain a great place to do business.

“When international companies like Haldex invest here it shows we have got our offer right. Every 20 seconds a car, van, bus or truck rolls off a UK production line and enterprise zones like MIRA Technology Park are magnets for the global motor industry with the best international businesses choosing them as their home.

“This is just the beginning – enterprise zones are at the heart of our long-term economic plans. They are already making a big difference, attracting increased investment to the UK – half a billion pounds so far – and creating over 4,600 jobs in just a year and a half.”

£200m Edinburgh city centre scheme gets underway

£200m Edinburgh city centre scheme gets underwayBuilding work on a £200 million redevelopment scheme in Edinburgh is set to start following an agreement to commence enabling works and the completion of a number of key pre-lets.

The scheme is one of Edinburgh’s biggest commercial development projects in the last 10 years. It has been forecast that this development has the potential to create 3,500 jobs while boosting the building trades.

This year Interserve and Tiger Developments entered into a joint venture agreement to develop the four-acre site next to Edinburgh’s Haymarket station.

Agreement has now been reached with Network Rail to start preparatory works as early as December on the railway tunnels beneath the site.

This will take approximately 12 months with disruption to rail users kept to a minimum as the works will take place at night when rail services have ended.

The Haymarket has full planning consent for 404,000 sq. ft. of office accommodation and 60,000 sq. ft. of commercial and leisure space, together with a 165-bedroom hotel and a 320-space underground car park.

Tenants already signed up for the initial development phase include Q Park, Tesco and serviced apartments provider Staycity. Food chains Prezzo and Pret A Manger are already committed to the second phase of the scheme.

Interserve’s Development Director David Westwater said: “This agreement with Network Rail to start work on the site represents a significant milestone for one of Edinburgh’s last remaining gap sites.

“We are looking forward to completing the underground works during 2014, allowing for above-ground construction to start in early 2015.

“We are looking forward to starting what we believe to be one of the best city centre development schemes to be found anywhere in the UK right now.”

On-site construction is set to start in spring next year, with the first buildings’ phase earmarked for completion in 2016.

Sigma secures £700m to build 2000 new homes in the North

Sigma secures £700m to build 2000 new homes in the North 1Sigma Capital Group has agreed a £700 million deal with Gatehouse Bank that will see the building of 2,000 homes and pave the way for new jobs in the trades.

The multi-million scheme will support the roll-out of one of the UK’s largest portfolios of new private rented residential homes, boosting economic growth and providing much needed homes.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “As part of our plan to help Britain succeed, we are determined to build a rebalanced economy across the country. As we compete in a tough global race, Sigma’s joint venture with Gatehouse is brilliant news for the North West and for Britain, showing that we are open for business.

“The rental market is a vital asset to this country and this new investment will help to boost local economies, create jobs and deliver more homes for hardworking people.”

Sites for the initial 2,000 privately rented homes have already been identified in Liverpool and Greater Manchester.

They will be backed by local authority partnerships with Liverpool and Salford City Councils, and 22 sites, totalling over 90 acres, have already been identified across the North West.

The joint venture also provides an opportunity for the creation of a portfolio for further 4,600 new privately rented homes in the future.

Sigma secures £700m to build 2000 new homes in the NorthBusiness Secretary Vince Cable today welcomed the new £700 million inward investment deal, which will be delivered through UK with backing from strong international investors, Gatehouse Bank.

He said: “The UK’s inward investment is booming, growing by 11% last year alone. We want to be even more ambitious and make sure that any new investment is spread right across the country – not just in London and the south east.

“By ensuring each region has access to good finance opportunities, UKTI’s Regeneration Investment Organisation will help all the UK’s regions fulfil their full potential, helping to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.”

Graham Barnet, Chief Executive of Sigma, said: “We are delighted to have the support of the Prime Minister and the Business Secretary as we deliver this innovative joint venture model, supplying high quality homes in areas of the country where rental housing is in extremely short supply.

“Gatehouse has substantial knowledge of and expertise in the UK property market and has shared our vision for this project.

“I am delighted that we are now working together to deliver the roll-out of our model, which has the potential to create one of the largest new build privately rented residential portfolios in the UK.”

Balfour Beatty secures £317m Suffolk offshore contract

Balfour Beatty secures £317m Suffolk offshore contractBalfour Beatty has announced today that it has reached financial close in the £317 million Greater Gabbard offshore transmission project set to boost the renewable industry.

This is Balfour Beatty’s first offshore transmission investment as part of Ofgem’s offshore transmission owner (OFTO) tender regime.

The company will jointly own the OFTO assets and be responsible for their operation and maintenance under a long-term licence granted by Ofgem with a 20-year revenue entitlement.

The Greater Gabbard OFTO is the high-voltage transmission system which connects the 504MW Greater Gabbard Wind Farm located off the coast of Suffolk to the onshore transmission grid.

Greater Gabbard will generate enough electricity to power around 500,000 homes each year. The OFTO assets include two offshore and one onshore substation and over 150km of sub-sea cable infrastructure.

Balfour Beatty CEO, Andrew McNaughton, said: “Reaching close on Greater Gabbard reinforces Balfour Beatty’s leading position in the growing and potentially very large offshore transmission markets.

“It is also a significant step in the development of our investment business in non-PPP infrastructure markets, as well as our wider strategy of developing our delivery capability in the offshore renewables industry.”