Boris Johnson approves Westfield expansion

London Mayor Boris JohnsonThe Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has approved plans to extend the Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush and build more than 1,300 homes.

The £1 billion scheme will create around 6,700 permanent new jobs and boost the building construction trades in West London.

The development will also include a new John Lewis department store, restaurants and cafes, office space, a children’s play space and a new leisure complex.

Developer, Westfield Shopping towns Ltd will build 1,347 homes. 162 of these homes will be affordable homes, 40 per cent of which will be social rented. This number could increase subject to viability assessments.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Westfield has had a transformational impact on Shepherds Bush and White City, kickstarting widespread social and economic regeneration. This expansion will create thousands of much-needed new homes and jobs and ensure that the area remains one of West London’s leading shopping destinations for many years to come.”

The 230,000 sq ft John Lewis store will operate over four floors, creating approximately 600 new jobs.

Tim Harrison, head of format development at John Lewis said “This is very positive news. We look forward to bringing our offer closer to customers in West London. We will continue to work closely with Westfield during the next design stage and towards delivery of the shop for 2017.”

The development sits within the White City Opportunity Area – one of more than 30 areas designated by the Mayor with significant capacity for new housing, commercial and other development.

The Opportunity Area seeks to build on White City’s heritage in creative, media and entertainment industries.

Other elements include the redevelopment of the former BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane and a new campus for Imperial College, Imperial West. In total, there is capacity for 5,000 homes and 10,000 jobs.

Bradwell development gets the go-ahead

Bradwell development gets the go-aheadPersimmon Homes Anglia have secured planning permission for a major new development which will deliver homes, jobs and a new primary school to Bradwell.

The application for 850 homes at Bluebell Meadow on Beccles Road was approved by Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s planning committee this week, paving the way for building construction work.

Andrew Fuller, managing director of Persimmon Homes Anglia, welcomed the decision, saying: “We are delighted to be on the threshold of an exciting development for Bradwell.

“The scheme will provide hundreds of much-needed new homes and includes a neighbourhood centre and land for commercial use, encouraging business and jobs into the area.

“We presented a detailed planning application for 150 homes, with a further 700 in outline form. These will offer a choice of properties, including starter homes and bungalows, and with ten per cent of the properties designated as affordable housing to meet the needs of local people.

“Along with a new primary school, we will be providing a significant amount of open space, over and above what is actually required, to benefit this development and the surrounding community.

“A much-needed link road between the A143 and Beacon Park will also be delivered, in conjunction with central government funding.

“Altogether, the planning approval represents an amazing opportunity for the Great Yarmouth area and we look forward to getting started on site in July of this year.”

Bristol enterprise zone will bring home more local jobs

Bristol enterprise zones will bring home more local jobsBristol has been awarded funding as part of a £23 million national urban redevelopment that will boost the trades and create 900 new jobs.

The money will enable the redevelopment of additional underused and derelict land and encourage further businesses to open in the area.

Speaking in Bristol, Minister for Communities Stephen Williams said: “Bristol city centre has already been transformed through the government and local enterprise zone’s support for the area, with run-down buildings redeveloped and turned into thriving businesses.

“This transformation has helped create 900 new jobs locally, through success stories such as the Engine Shed’s new business development area.

“I want to keep up this pace of transformation, and the new £6m of funding announced today will help more neglected areas within the city centre to be bought up, redeveloped and opened up again for business.”

Bristol’s enterprise zone has already encouraged 80 companies to move into the area in new developments such as the Engine Shed, Temple Studios, the expansion of Paintworks and the office development at 2 Glass Wharf. There are also several other sites ready for new development.

Geoff Gollop, Deputy Mayor of Bristol said: “This £6 million government capital funding for the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone is in response to a specific request to government and is extremely good news. It is yet another example of Bristol being recognised nationally as making solid progress with its regeneration plans.

“This particular funding will enable us to bring forward development and jobs in the enterprise zone which in turn will bring further investment to the city.

“I also welcome the work commencing on the bridge to Arena Island which is set to bring so much more than the arena itself which is already proving a significant catalyst for development in the enterprise zone and will give a huge boost to the city region.”

Minister unlocks Bristol’s ‘Arena site’ to major development

Minister unlocks Bristol’s ‘Arena site’ to major developmentWork to unlock a development site which has been earmarked for Bristol’s ambitious Arena project is set to get underway this week.

Communities Minister Stephen Williams joined partners at the Diesel Depot site beside Temple Meads station to mark the start of infrastructure work which will unlock the site for major development.

The £11.5 million project commissioned by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) will see a new two lane bridge installed over the River Avon to improve links with the station and the rest of the city.

This represents the first physical step in supporting Bristol City Council and the West of England LEP’s ambitions to bring a 12,000-capacity Arena to Bristol, which would be based on part of the Diesel Depot site.

It happened the same day as government announced a £6 million investment to Bristol’s Temple Quarter enterprise zone, to enable the redevelopment of underused and derelict land, support further development and attract new businesses to the area.

Speaking as work started on site, Mr Williams said: “Bristol city centre has already been transformed through the government and local enterprise zone’s support for the area, with rundown buildings redeveloped and turned into thriving businesses.”

Colin Skellett, chairman for the West of England LEP, said: “It’s great to see actual physical work starting on the arena site. This new bridge is a vital piece of infrastructure, opening up the site and improving access to and from the station and with the rest of the city.

“It brings us another step closer to the arena – something that is much needed for the city region, not just in giving us a first-class entertainment venue, but as a catalyst to investment here, creating future jobs and growth.”

Geoff Gollop, Deputy Mayor of Bristol, said: “I welcome the work commencing on the bridge to Arena Island which is set to bring so much more than the arena itself which is already proving a significant catalyst for development in the enterprise zone and will give a huge boost to the city region.”

Construction begins at Lewisham Gateway

Construction begins at Lewisham GatewayLewisham Gateway Developments Ltd (LGDL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Muse Developments, has started work on site to deliver one of the largest regeneration projects in south east London, Lewisham Gateway.

The work marks the start of a £230 million partnership investment in Lewisham town centre that will bring significant benefits to local traders, residents and the building industry.

In total, the scheme will deliver in excess of 700 new homes, 65,000 sq ft of retail, restaurants and commercial space, a major new urban park with enhanced waterways as a focal point, extensive public realm along with improved bus, taxi and cycling facilities.

The development is a partnership between Muse and the London Borough of Lewisham, the Mayor of London and Transport for London.

The Homes and Communities Agency are also making a substantial financial contribution to the project to assist with the cost of the major infrastructure investment being undertaken and secure the delivery of much needed homes.

Located in Lewisham town centre, the site is currently dominated by a large and widely unpopular roundabout, which cuts off the town centre from Lewisham DLR and railway stations.

Lewisham Gateway will replace this outdated layout with a newly configured road system that will enable a previously traffic dominated environment to accommodate stunning new buildings, an urban park and new shop-lined pedestrian walkways.

LGDL has started work on the first phase, which includes the new park, Confluence Place, and the project’s first two buildings, which will deliver 193 new homes. A proportion of the new homes in the initial phase of the development will be owned and managed by specialist private rental investor, Fizzy Living.

Salford council homes set for £75m upgrade

Salford council homes set for £75m upgradeCouncil tenants in Salford could benefit from up to £75 million investment in their homes, under the terms of a new deal announced this week.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins gave the green light for Salford City Council to transfer ownership of its social homes to Salix Homes – by writing off the council’s £65.1 million historic housing debt.

Raising Salford homes to a decent standard

Currently, Salford’s 8,500 social homes are owned by Salford City Council and managed by Salix Homes, a not-for-profit company.

Under the terms of the deal reached yesterday, Salford City Council would transfer ownership of the homes to Salix, while the government would write off its £65.1 million historic housing debt.

In exchange, Salix Homes has made a commitment to invest £75 million to ensure that all 8,500 properties will reach the government’s Decent Homes standard by 2020.

This will include:

  • 4,000 homes getting new kitchens or bathrooms
  • 2,000 homes getting new windows
  • 3,000 homes getting upgraded heating

The deal will now be put to consultation, before Salford tenants get a chance to vote later this year. Only if tenants vote yes will the deal go ahead.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “Today’s deal is great news for Salford’s residents, unlocking £75 million to invest in bringing their homes up to a high standard.

“This investment from Salix will mean residents in all 8,500 social homes in Salford will benefit from a range of improvements, whether new kitchens or bathrooms, new windows or better heating.

“So I’m pleased to sign this deal with the City Council and write off £65 million of their historic housing debt, so they can put the offer to their tenants and so Salix can plan ahead for the investment they have committed to making.”

Councillor Gena Merrett, Assistant Mayor for Housing and Environment at Salford City Council said: “This announcement is fantastic news for tenants and for Salford as a whole and shows that the government is confident in the council’s proposals to transfer its housing stock to Salix Homes and the extra investment that will bring.”

Kier bags £30m Wolverhampton hospital job

Kier 2Kier has been appointed to carry out the construction and redevelopment works of the emergency department at New Cross Hospital for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.

Kier was awarded the £30 million contract under the ProCure21+ framework that will boost the construction industry and help the trades.

The development will bring all emergency services – which are currently spread out across the News Cross site – under one roof.

The planned scope of works includes the construction of a three-storey emergency department containing the new A&E department, wards and admin space.

All associated demolition and connection works to the existing hospital will also be undertaken, which includes a link to the existing heart and lung building.

Work will be carried out in phased sections to ensure access to the hospital and the heart and lung building will be maintained at all times with minimal disruption and Kier will ensure hospital functions are unaffected.

Kier Construction director, David Sizer, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to build this important emergency healthcare facility, which is greatly needed by the Trust and the people this unit will serve.

“We have successfully completed over 100 projects through the P21+ framework to date and we are confident that, by working collaboratively with the Trust, we can deliver excellent new healthcare facilities for Wolverhampton. These will both ease the pressure on the emergency department and enable the Trust to provide even better patient care.”

Trust chief executive, David Loughton, said: “We have worked long and hard to secure this improvement for the people of Wolverhampton.

“Our emergency department has been under immense and growing pressure and it is a source of great pride and optimism to see work so close to starting.

“In just over a year’s time we will have one of the world’s most advanced emergency buildings and urgent care systems. That is very good news for Wolverhampton.”

Kier will start on site in June with a planned opening date of November 2015.

Balfour Beatty gets £180m Heathrow contract

Balfour Beatty gets £180m Heathrow contractBalfour Beatty has been appointed to deliver up to £180 million of infrastructure works for Heathrow Airport that will upgrade Terminals 1, 2 and 4.

This is the first of four framework contracts awarded by Heathrow, as part of a total investment package of £1.5 billion, which will boost the construction industry and create new jobs.

These new frameworks, which appoint a single contractor to deliver a programme of projects, are intended to enable Heathrow to realise year-on-year savings on its capital investment programme.

Balfour Beatty will be acting as programme manager and contractor at various stages throughout the lifecycle of the framework, delivering individual projects worth between £500,000 and £70 million.

Projects will range from structural improvements to multiple asset replacements such as escalators and passenger conveyors, passenger and goods lifts, air conditioning systems, retail areas, CCTV, access and security systems.

At the end of 2016 there is an option to extend the framework for a further two years, which will be worth up to an additional £70 million.

Balfour Beatty will bring its substantial range of in-house expertise to deliver the framework including design, engineering, construction, mechanical and electrical capabilities, and Building Information Modelling (BIM) which will allow full 4D design specification for Heathrow.

Steve Marshall, Balfour Beatty Executive Chairman, said: “I am delighted Balfour Beatty has been appointed to Heathrow’s new style of framework contracts.

“We have worked in partnership with Heathrow for fifteen years and we will continue to bring our leading capabilities in areas such as Building Information Modelling and safety to our work at Terminals 1, 2 and 4; and play our part in helping Heathrow maintain its position as a leading travel hub.”

Regeneration schemes to boost local growth

Regeneration schemes to boost local growthConstructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) is holding a briefing session on 4 June for companies in the regeneration and construction supply chains.

Companies in the building trades will learn at first-hand about the opportunities that are being created by regeneration projects in the region.

Neil Graham, Head of North East Economic Assets at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is among the speakers. He will provide insights into the potential for local economic growth created by regeneration projects which are kick-started through public investment.

The HCA is driving the development and regeneration of land, including that owned by the former RDAs, and is working with local partners to create communities where people want to live by providing homes, businesses and jobs on the sites.

The HCA has an existing portfolio of land and has also been confirmed as the preferred agency to dispose of surplus public sector land throughout the North East and has already worked on sites previously owned by Network Rail and the Ministry of Justice.

It is driving development and regeneration plans by working with local partners to help create local economic growth on the sites.

The other speakers will be Trudie McCormick, Southdale’s Managing Director for the North East region, and Damien Wilson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s Assistant Director (Regeneration).

Southdale, a construction and development specialist, is looking to put almost £28 million of new work into the local supply chain after winning a number of significant contracts across the region. The firm, which is based in Darlington, is about to start work at sites in Gateshead, South Tyneside and Teesside.

The event takes place at 8.30am on Wednesday June 4 2014 at CENE’s offices in Belmont Business Park, Durham. Anyone interested in attending should email Leanne McAngus on

First Minister announces multi-million pound regeneration boost

The Scottish GovernmentCommunities in Rutherglen and Dalmarnock are to benefit from a £4.48 million funding boost which will extend the legacy of the Commonwealth Games, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today.

The Scottish Government has provided the funding to Clyde Gateway URC to support the physical regeneration of the area and help create new jobs for the local area.

Projects funded are based near 2014 Commonwealth Games venues and Athletes’ Village and include a £4 million investment in safe and attractive pedestrian and cycle routes, as well as schemes to improve the mental and physical wellbeing of people in the area.

New pedestrian routes will connect Glasgow’s SMART bridge with new commercial development plots at Shawfield’s National Business District, and South Dalmarnock with public transport at the upgraded Dalmarnock railway station.

These pathways will also enhance and improve the main pedestrian and vehicle routes serving the Commonwealth Games.

The investment will ensure necessary regeneration work is undertaken before the Commonwealth Games begin.

The First Minister made today’s announcement during a visit to the Aspire Church building, which is currently rented by the Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust, which has received £436,000 in funding.

The Trust aims to convert the building from its previous use as a housing office into a community space which will house a range of services and projects including health, IT and employment advice.

Mr Salmond made the visit with the Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games, Shona Robison, after the Scottish Cabinet’s public referendum Q&A event in Rutherglen.

He said: “The impact of the Commonwealth Games will reach across Scotland but the epicentre is here in the Clyde Gateway area. This is why additional funding for community regeneration initiatives in this area are vital.”