Portsmouth regeneration gets underway

HCARadian has been chosen by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to lead the residential development for Tipner at the gateway to Portsmouth, creating new jobs and boosting economic growth.

The scheme is marking a major step in the city’s £820 million project to transform the area over coming decades while boosting the building trades.

Portsmouth City Council has brought forward plans for a thriving new community at the gateway into the city.

Following major remedial work and the granting of outline planning consent on the 1.7 ha site, Radian was chosen as the developer after a rigorous selection process.

It will build the first 80 new and affordable homes and more than 600 sq m of commercial space on the former PD Fuels site which has stood largely derelict for nearly a decade.

Radian’s selection by the HCA as development partner is just the start of the first phase, which once complete will see 600 new and affordable homes and associated commercial development.

This first phase will set the benchmark for future development with a high quality scheme that will provide an inspiring entrance to the wider area.

Andrea Smith, Director of Development and New Business at Radian, said: “Our award-winning design and sustainability credentials will be very much at the forefront of this development, leading the way for the long term future of the project.

“Radian has had a long association with Portsmouth working alongside the local community for many years. Once complete, this new development will be a great place to live and work and our involvement is very much for the long-term.”

Kevin Bourner, HCA Head of Area said: “This is a major step in the regeneration of Tipner. We look forward to working with Radian to deliver a high quality scheme which is a really important addition to the city and its economy.”

Kier begins work on Stoke housing regeneration scheme

Kier 2Kier is backing a new scheme to help people buy their new homes, contributing to a £3 million regeneration plan of the local area.

Kier, which provides repairs and maintenance to more than 19,000 properties in Stoke-on-Trent, is carrying out £1 million of internal and external renovations, including chimney works, roof repairs, replacement doors and windows and floor and stair repairs on 33 empty properties.

The company, which has employed 20 local subcontractors to carry out the work, will also replace heating systems, wiring, kitchens and bathrooms in the properties.

The regeneration project was pioneered by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, offering people the opportunity to purchase one of the currently derelict homes for just £1.

Successful applicants must take out a £30,000 loan to improve the property, which is then paid back over ten years, with significantly lower monthly payments than renting a property in the same area.

Kier Stoke service manager, Robert Burt, said: “Kier is dedicated to working hard for the communities it serves and we are proud to be involved in this pioneering scheme, which promises to create new neighbourhoods and bring an abandoned community to life.

“Our years of local knowledge and expertise make us perfect for this role and we have employed 20 local subcontractors to carry out all kinds of work, from damp-proofing to wall tiling.”

Cllr Janine Bridges, the city council’s cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “The programme is really gaining momentum now and it’s great to see the work being done by the city council, in partnership with Kier Stoke, to bring these derelict properties back into use and transforming them into homes once again.

“It’s fantastic to see the renovation of these homes leading to the creation of a brand new community in our city.”

New developments provide council homes for Oxford

HCA Building IndustryTwo exciting new developments that will build new council homes in Oxford and boost employment in the trades have started on site this week.     

The developments will provide 48 new homes at Minchery Farm in Littlemore and a new sheltered housing scheme at Bradlands in Marston.

The Bradlands redevelopment will see the old and poorly designed buildings demolished and replaced with 49 modern sheltered housing flats.

The work will take around 12 months to complete and will be ready for occupation in March 2015. The scheme will be delivered by the Leadbitter Group.

Councillor Scott Seamons, Board Member for Housing, says: “This is an exciting time in Oxford. We need suitable council houses for our residents and these two sites will provide excellent modern housing that is suitable for today’s residents. The Council is committed to providing more affordable housing to meet housing need in Oxford.”

Bradlands will offer older people modern sheltered housing, with walk in shower rooms, individual heating systems and excellent communal facilities.

The scheme in Minchery Farm will see 48 affordable family homes being built and will provide a mix of flats and two, three and four bedroom homes.

Councillor Scott Seamons, Board Member for Housing, said: “This is an exciting time in Oxford. We need suitable council houses for our residents and these two sites will provide excellent modern housing that is suitable for today’s residents. The Council is committed to providing more affordable housing to meet housing need in Oxford.”

The new homes on both sites will achieve Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes and Building for Life standard, combining generous space standards with modern energy efficiency levels.

The two sites are part of a larger programme to deliver 113 new homes across the city. The three smaller sites will provide 16 properties and are at Bury Knowle in Headington, Cardinal Close in Littlemore and Leiden Road in Woodfarm.

A step back in time as shoes family return to boardroom

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Financial angel Dr Jan Telensky with Mr Baker at the unveiling of the new portrait in the boardroom of Engineering Real Results, Wolverhampton.

THE ONLY surviving member of one of Wolverhampton’s oldest families has been ‘re-united’ with his ancestors in an emotional ceremony at a Victorian factory this week.

Mr James Baker, aged 86, whose family built Baker’s Boot Factory in Cleveland Street, All Saints, in the mid-19th century, has had his portrait hung in a family gallery thought to have been destroyed decades ago.

And after hearing about Mr Baker’s story Black Country archivists have  supplied the Grade II listed building with a collection of boots and shoes made during the factories heyday when it was turning out almost half a million pairs a year.

Mr Baker, who lives in Claverly, said: “I’m really pleased that the people now occupying the old factory have decided to honour my family in this way and keep their memory alive by re-instating their portraits in the boardroom.

“The fact that they have gone to the trouble of having a portrait of myself photographed and framed and placed alongside the images of my ancestors is very moving indeed.”

baker signThe glorious old building finally closed in the 1970s after the boots and shoes business was taken over by a high street giant. Almost 40 years later a local building company got permission to turn it into homes, workshops and offices.

In 2012 former RAF  aircraft engineer Phil Prosser, who grew up in Oldbury, was looking for a home for his new venture, a college training people for jobs in the UK’s burgeoning construction industry, Engineering Real Results.

Phil said: “Part of the factory was up for grabs and was perfect for my plan … lots of space to carry practical training in plumbing, electrical installations and all aspects of the building industry. It smelled of history and I felt a bit of a connection to it too as I remember visiting it with my parents to buy my dad’s work boots decades ago.”

Archivists re-boot factory’s history

And it was while rummaging through the abandoned dusty workshops and offices that Phil and his manager Sara Learoyd, came across a series of old framed Victorian and Edwardian photographs of the original Baker family. They had been hidden away in an old cupboard for more than 40 years.

“It was a fantastic find,” Phil said. “There they were tucked away in cupboard. We were in the process of renovating the old boardroom and I decided it would be a nice gesture to the heritage of the place to have the family re-united on the walls of the room where all the business decisions that kept Bakers alive for more than 100 years took place.”

A spokesperson for the city’s archivists said: “We were looking forward to meeting Mr Baker. We have examples of Baker’s shoes in the archives and are very happy to have them on long-term loan to Engineering Real Results.”

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Lovell gets £4.4m Salford housing scheme

Lovell gets £4.4m Salford housing schemeAffordable housing specialist Lovell has been chosen by City West Housing Trust for a design-and-build development of 50 affordable homes in Little Hulton, Salford.

Work is under way on the £4.4 million Kenyon Gateway scheme which will create 50 homes for affordable rent and low-cost home ownership across six sites.

The scheme is being supported with funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, paving the way for new jobs in the trades and boosting the local economy.

The energy-efficient new housing will meet Level 3 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. Properties will incorporate Lifetime Homes design features, ensuring they are flexible and can be adapted to residents’ changing needs.

Lovell, which has its regional office in Altrincham, was awarded the contract following a competitive tendering process through City West Housing Trust’s development framework.

Nigel Sedman, assistant director of Investment and Regeneration at City West, said: “We are looking forward to working with Lovell to build much needed new homes in Little Hulton.

“These new-build projects will provide the local economy with a major boost and regenerate communities, while continuing to support the sustainable growth of our neighbourhoods.

“We remain committed to providing homes in neighbourhoods that people are proud to live in and we look forward to welcoming our new residents once the schemes are complete.”

Housebuilder gets approval for new homes in Binley

Housebuilder gets approval for new homes in BinleyA South Midlands housebuilder has welcomed the decision by Coventry City Council’s planning committee, to grant permission for a housing development on Skipworth Road in the village of Binley.

Persimmon Homes South Midlands plan to invest £3.5 million in the construction of 41 new homes on the 2.4 acre parcel of undeveloped land 3.5 miles from Coventry city centre.

Construction at the site is scheduled to commence in May 2014 paving the way for new employment opportunities in the trades. The first properties are expected to be occupied by November 2014.

Speaking of the new development, Richard Oldroyd, Managing Director at Persimmon Homes South Midlands, said: “We are committed to building high quality homes in sought after locations that are within easy reach of local amenities and transport links.

“Our plans for Binley Place include a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes to suit a range of buyers, from those looking to get on the property ladder for the first time to families seeking more space as they grow.”

In addition to the new homes Persimmon Homes has made a commitment to provide funding of over £200,000 for community facilities including education and off-site open space.

Carillion bags new services portfolio contract

Carillion logoCarillion has secured a new services contract with the Scottish Procurement and Scottish Ministers to provide facilities management services to three public organisations across Scotland.

The contract combines the demands of the National Museums of Scotland, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration and Historic Scotland into a single collaborative contract to provide economies of scale.

The new contract commenced on 6th January 2014 and sees Carillion providing a range of engineering and soft services to over 180 sites throughout the country. With a value of £7 million the contract will run for a period of five years with the opportunity to extend for a further two.

Craig Butt, Customer Business Director at Carillion Services, said: “We are very pleased to be awarded this contract which not only allows us to retain two of our key clients in Scotland but also adds Historic Scotland and a further 140 sites to our portfolio.

“We believe that our existing customer relationships and our ability to provide flexible resource for optimal service delivery is key to our success, confirming our reputation as a leading support service provider”.

This most recent success follows Carillion announcement last year that it had secured a total facilities management contract with the Registers of Scotland, servicing its headquarter offices in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, further adding to its already substantial Scottish portfolio.

Glasgow’s Queen Street railway station in £104m revamps

Glasgow's Queen Street railway station in £104m revampsNetwork Rail has launched a public consultation to get peoples’ views on the proposed £104 million transformation of Glasgow Queen Street station that will create new local jobs.

The company has unveiled new designs for how the station will look as it begins an initial three-month long process to gather passenger and public views on the project.

Scotland’s third busiest station with 20 million passengers a year, Glasgow Queen Street needs to expand to meet predicted growth to 28 million passengers by 2030 and to accommodate the longer trains that will be running on key routes in the future.

As well as overhauling Queen Street’s rail infrastructure and operational capabilities, the redevelopment will transform passenger facilities and improve how the station interacts with the surrounding city.

The project is part of the £650 million Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), which will deliver a rolling programme of electrification across the Central Belt over the next five years and beyond.

Funded by the Scottish Government, EGIP will reduce journey times and boost capacity on key routes including the main Edinburgh Waverley-Glasgow Queen Street line.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “Queen Street station is at the heart of Glasgow’s railway network and passengers using the station should enjoy an experience befitting of that role.

“The EGIP scheme will result in 30 percent more seats and around 20 percent faster journey times on our flagship route. It’s already delivered the stunning new-look £25 million Haymarket station in Edinburgh and this complete transformation of Queen Street means passengers will benefit at both ends and at all points in between.

“Before then, we’ll see the completion of electrification of the Cumbernauld line in time for the Commonwealth Games. We’re now working with partners on the scheme to see these exciting plans come to life.”

David Dickson, Network Rail’s acting route managing director for Scotland, added: “We want to hear what passengers think of this exciting new vision for the future Queen Street – a vision of a station which better serves passengers and Glasgow and creates a landmark development in this iconic location.

“The new-look Queen Street will greatly enhance the city centre and we want the public to help inform the final design of a station that will serve their needs for years to come.”

£4.8m boost to marine energy sector

£4.8 million boost to marine energy sectorScotland’s marine energy sector is to benefit from almost £5 million funding announced by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing during the RenewableUK Wave and Tidal Conference in Belfast today.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Ewing said five marine energy innovation projects are to benefit from a £2.8 million share of the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), while tidal power company Atlantis Resources Corporation is to receive a £2 million investment from the £103 million Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF) to help establish a global engineering hub in Edinburgh.

The Atlantis hub, which will become the company’s global centre of excellence is expected to create around 20 new high value jobs once fully operational.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is at the forefront of developing offshore and low carbon energy generation technology with some of the world’s greatest wind, wave and tidal resources heavily concentrated in the waters around our country.

“Today’s allocation of almost £5 million in MRCF and REIF funding highlights our commitment to supporting the growth of the marine energy sector in Scotland.

“Our ambition for Scotland’s emerging wave and tidal sector remains great. We know that the successful harnessing of ocean power takes hard work and persistence and the Scottish Government is determined to support those within the industry.

“The funding announced today will help facilitate some of the country’s most innovative and exciting marine energy projects and I am delighted we are able to assist these companies.”

Atlantis CEO Tim Cornelius, said: “This £2 million of investment is clearly a serious vote in confidence in Atlantis’s plans as a tidal energy developer and our plans to deliver Scotland’s first major tidal energy project in the Pentland Firth.

“However, its benefits won’t stop there. It will not only create Scottish jobs here today but also help create new foreign markets to export Scottish skills to tomorrow, putting Scotland at the forefront of the fast-growing global tidal energy sector.”

London ‘Gotham City’ scheme gets approved

London ‘Gotham City’ scheme gets approvedHenderson Global Investors has secured a planning approval for its 40 Leadenhall Street office scheme in the City of London that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

The £400 million scheme is estimated to create 390 construction jobs and approximately 7,000 people are expected to work in the building when complete.

Nick Deacon, Director of Property at Henderson Global Investors, said:  “We are delighted to have achieved a resolution to grant planning permission for what will be a very exciting addition to the London skyline and a valuable contribution to the City’s ever evolving tower cluster.

“This is a significant step forward for the project. We are committed to progressing the scheme and have begun to explore a number of options to achieve this.”

The exciting, high quality building, dubbed ‘Gotham City’, is located in the heart of the City’s Eastern Cluster of tall buildings. It will vary in height between 7 and 34 office storeys, with two additional basement levels, a roof level plant, restaurant and leisure uses at ground floor level.

The scheme has been designed by award-winning international architectural practice, Make, and is formed of vertical slices arranged around the listed building which create a striking and considered vertical composition to complement the more curved and leaning buildings on the London skyline.

Paul Scott, Make partner and lead project architect, said:  “We are thrilled our scheme has achieved a resolution to grant planning permission and look forward to delivering a world class 21st century building that will both enhance the City’s insurance district and reinforce its premier global position.”

The development has been designed to meet the BREEAM 2011 Excellent standard and the sustainability measures proposed will allow the Building Emissions Rate to be reduced by a minimum of 40% below Part L2A of the 2010 Building Regulations.

The building has 1.067 bicycle spaces with additional mobility scooter charging spaces, 113 showers and two disabled car parking spaces.