Scottish Government on track for affordable housing target

Scottish Government on track for affordable housing targetNew housing statistics show the Scottish Government is ahead of its target of 30,000 new affordable homes by 2016 while boosting the building trades and creating new jobs.

According to new figures published today 7,012 affordable homes were delivered over the last year and 19,900 homes have now been delivered by the Scottish Government through the Affordable Housing Supply Programme since 2011.

The number of homes completed and delivered through the programme in the year to March 2014 was up 17 per cent on the previous 12 months while approvals were up by 43 per cent.

The latest figures also show that in the final quarter of 2013, 3,046 private sector new builds were completed. This is the first time in four years the quarterly figure has been above 3,000.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “These statistics show that our commitment to increasing the supply of affordable homes in Scotland is paying off and I am delighted to say we are well on track to deliver our target of 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of this Parliament.

“But we cannot rest on our laurels. The supply of affordable housing continues to be a high priority for us and we are working with the entire housing sector to increase the supply of affordable homes and deliver vital support for construction and house building companies throughout Scotland . And to back this up we are investing over £1.35 billion in affordable housing in the four years to March 2016.

“Our £275 million investment in Help to Buy will bring much needed economic growth to Scotland by supporting our housing industry and creating employment opportunities.

“It’s clear we are making progress but we could do so much more with the full powers of independence. We would have full flexibility over budgets, investment and innovative financing to further support the supply of much needed new homes.”

Interserve gets Wolverhampton Uni job

Interserve gets Wolverhampton Uni jobInterserve has won a contract to build a new £13.5 million Business School for the University of Wolverhampton in partnership with Gardiner & Theobald and the structural and M&E consultants Arup.

The new facility, due to open in August 2015, is designed by architects Sheppard Robson and will serve as a gateway to the University’s Molineux Campus.

Work is due to start on site in early June 2014 and is to be completed late August 2015.

The six-storey building will be embedded on one side into a seven metre high embankment. At approximately 6,000 square metres gross internal area, the building will house teaching facilities for the Business School, including undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education, plus offices, meeting rooms and a café.

Interserve’s Regional Director, Simon Butler, said: “We are delighted to have secured another significant project within the Higher Education sector, an area where we already have a formidable track record.

“We are looking forward to re-establishing our relationship with the University of Wolverhampton where we were previously involved on the School of Health and Wellbeing project.

“The new Business School demonstrates the University’s commitment in providing the best facilities for students and the private sector.”

Dr Anthea Gregory, Head of the University of Wolverhampton’s Business School and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, said: “After many months of planning it is wonderful news that work on the new building is imminent. It has been a competitive process and we were very impressed with the bid that Interserve put together and are looking forward to working with them on this project.

“This will cement the Business School’s reputation in the region and nationally, not just with students but with the business community. It is also great news for Wolverhampton and shows confidence in the local economy and the City.”

Wind farm to generate £4m for local community

Welsh wind farmEnergy Minister, Fergus Ewing has granted planning consent for a new 26-turbine wind farm in South Lanarkshire that will generate approximately £4 million to the local community and boost the trades.

The wind farm will power the equivalent of up to 49,000 homes in the area. The construction phase of the development is estimated to create around 50 jobs on site.

It will be developed by Banks Renewables (Kype Muir Wind Farm) Limited will have a maximum generating capacity of 104MW in the South Lanarkshire Council area.

Mr Ewing said: “The Kype Muir wind farm will create jobs both in its construction and during its lifetime. Once it is up and running, the wind farm will save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, and will be able to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 49,000 homes.

“It’s also encouraging to see that this consent will mean that this development will be at the forefront of driving a solution to deal with the aviation radar issues that exist with wind development in the area.

“Wind farms, like Kype Muir, provide considerable benefits to their local community and play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of electricity demand generated from renewables.

“Scotland is leading the way across UK in how we support local and community ownership of renewable energy. We have been supporting communities to develop renewable projects for over a decade and, over that time, our support has adapted to meet the needs of communities.”

Unite gets planning approval for development in North West London

UNITE announces new London developmentDeveloper of student accommodation, Unite Students, has received a planning approval for the development of a one acre site in Wembley, North West London.

The site, which is targeted to open in 2016, will provide a home for 699 students alongside 10,000 sq ft of retail space as well as boost economic growth and create new jobs.

The site was acquired from Schroders Real Estate Investment Trust in September 2013 for £7.56 million, an increase from the £7.4 million acquisition cost previously announced due to overage calculated following the grant of planning.

It has an estimated development cost of £47 million and a projected development yield of 9%, in line with Unite’s target levels. The scheme will be developed by the London Student Accommodation Vehicle (LSAV), UNITE’s 50:50 joint venture with GIC.

Alongside Unite’s existing Islington and Angel Lane (Stratford) developments, this scheme in Wembley achieves 60% of LSAV’s target pipeline.

The Zone 4 site is just 13 minutes from Central London via Wembley Park Underground Station, with easy access to the capital’s universities.

It sits within the Wembley Park regeneration area which will see new offices, shops and homes built around the iconic Wembley Stadium to create a dynamic new neighbourhood and community.

The site is adjacent to the recently opened London Designer Outlet and when it opens, the student accommodation will be marketed at a competitive price point.

Richard Simpson, Managing Director of Property, said: “We are pleased to have secured planning for our Wembley development in this strong London location.

“The site works well for students as it is within easy access of the capital’s universities and close to the amenities, and excellent transport links of Wembley Park, including the recently opened London Designer Outlet.”

The property will include communal space designed to enhance students’ living and learning experience, en-suite shared flats, high speed Wi-Fi and LED lighting, throughout.

Demolition paves the way for new homes in Suffolk

Demolition paves the way for new homes in SuffolkDemolition teams have moved in on outdated council homes at Woolpit and Stowmarket, Suffolk, which are set to make way for brand-new modern homes for affordable rent.

Representatives from Mid Suffolk and Babergh District Councils, Orbit Homes and affordable housing developer Lovell attended events marking the official start of demolition work.

The regeneration scheme will create four one-bedroom flats; eight two-bedroom houses, 10 three-bedroom houses and three four-bedroom houses.

All the properties will be for affordable rent. The scheme includes 46 parking spaces as well as changes to the road layout to create a cul-de-sac style development.

Councillor Marilyn Curran, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “We are committed to providing good quality, affordable homes for our residents.

“This project will see outdated and not-fit-for-purpose housing being replaced by modern, sustainable homes that will enable families and residents to stay in an area of Mid Suffolk in which they have chosen to live.”

Lovell regional director Tony Tann said: “These developments will make a real difference by delivering a range of warm and modern, well-designed affordable homes for rent for local people.

“Our team is delighted that demolition is now under way and we look forward to working closely with the local community and Orbit Homes throughout the construction programme.”

Demolition work is also in progress at St Mary’s Road, Stowmarket, where four Unity houses and 34 garages will be replaced with 14 brand-new homes for affordable rent: two one-bedroom flats, 10 two-, three- and four-bedroom houses and two two-bedroom bungalows. The new housing will be managed by Orbit East.

Report: Sustainability vital for business success

Carillion logoSustainability is vital for business success in today’s challenging markets according to Richard Howson, Chief Executive of leading integrated support services company Carillion.

Speaking at the launch of the company’s annual Sustainability Report, Richard Howson said: Surprisingly we still hear discussions that sustainability is either a ‘nice to have’ or, worse, something that companies can’t afford, but this misses the point.

“Our report demonstrates that sustainability can make a powerful contribution to profit as well as operational delivery and it creates real benefits for the communities in which we work.”
Carillion’s Sustainability Report updates progress on its 2020 Sustainability Strategy, which was launched in 2011 and delivers six positive outcomes across the three pillars of environmental, social and economic responsibility, including creating lasting social value and supporting sustainable communities across the UK, the Middle East and Canada.

The Report launch was held at the Battersea Power Station regeneration project, where Carillion is delivering Phase One of the project, a mixed residential, retail and leisure development.

David Picton, Carillion’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “At Battersea we will generate up to 500 new jobs and employ 114 apprentices, with a commitment to recruit from the local community and to help the long-term unemployed.

“We have a detailed sustainability plan for the full project, including innovative approaches like using the Thames to transport excavated material away from the site by barge. This one initiative alone saved the equivalent of 750 lorry journeys on local roads, cutting CO2 emissions by 45 tonnes.

“Our role in regenerating this iconic area of London demonstrates our sustainability programme in action and our commitment to creating lasting social value in the communities in which we operate.”

Millions for renewable energy projects

Millions for renewable energy projectsScottish Enterprise has announced £3.5 million of new investment in Scotland’s growing renewable energy sector, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced.

Four projects are being supported through the enterprise agency’s Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF).

In Aberdeen, attending the All-Energy Conference, Mr Ewing said: “This latest round of Scottish Enterprise funding underlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to Scotland’s growing renewables sector.

“Scotland is a world leader in deploying renewables technology. We have tremendous green energy potential and vast natural resources, about a quarter of Europe’s wind and tidal energy and 10% of its wave power.

“Clean, green energy is creating opportunities for communities across Scotland and delivering jobs and investment.”

• Islay Energy Community Benefit Society will receive a £735k loan to install a community owned 330Kw turbine on the island, with the potential to power the equivalent of 300 homes.

• Edinburgh-based Nova Innovation has secured a £700k loan from REIF to support the first phase of the 0.5MW Shetland Tidal Array, believed to be the first deployment of a tidal energy array anywhere in the world. Scottish Enterprise is backing the project with a £1.2 million R&D grant that will lever in an additional £1.85 million of private sector investment.

• Fintry Development Trust, a body dedicated to making the village in Stirlingshire a zero-carbon, zero-waste community, is being supported with a £615k loan. It will help refinance a commercial agreement that gives the trust an income stream from the nearby Earlsburn Wind Farm. This income will be invested in local renewable projects.

• Inverness company AWS Ocean Energy has received a loan of £250k to support further development and testing of its AWS-III, a wave energy device which offers the prospect of wave energy on a farm scale. AWS also received support through the first round of WATERS funding.

Welcoming the investment, head of REIF Andrew Smith said: “These are really ambitious and exciting projects, which clearly demonstrate the wide range of initiatives that REIF was set up to support. They also show how by working with other funders we can leverage significant investment from the private sector.

“Scotland is fast gaining a global reputation for being at the forefront of developing and testing new technologies in the development of wind, wave and tidal energy, and all of these projects will make a real contribution to the ongoing development of the sector.”

Planning permission granted for £43m research factory

Planning permission granted for £43m research factoryPlans for building a new £43 million state-of-the-art research factory in Sheffield have been approved by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

The circular building will combine a range of technologies, including advanced robotics, flexible automation, unmanned workspace, off-line printing in virtual environments linked to plug-and-play robotics, 3D printing from flexible automated systems, man-machine interfaces, and new programming and training tools.

Graham Sadler, Managing Director at Sheffield Business Park, said: “The construction of Factory 2050 will send out a clear message of our ambition to maximise the benefit to the City Region of this vital location.

“Individual sites on the remainder of Phase 2 will be available this autumn and plans are well underway for the speculative development of four high quality production units.

“These are due for completion in mid-2015, building on the University’s vote of confidence in Sheffield Business Park.”

The University of Sheffield has already signed a deal to secure a total of 50 acres of land at the business park – a move which will support the progress of exciting plans to create a critical mass of hi-tech, advanced manufacturing businesses along the Parkway corridor.

A detailed master plan for the entire 50 acres will be submitted to Sheffield City Council’s planning department in the next few months.

Consent granted for Ewe Hill wind farm

Consent granted for Ewe Hill wind farmScotland’s Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has granted consent for a wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway that will create new jobs and boost the trades.

Consent has been granted for the 22-turbine wind farm at Ewe Hill, six of which already had planning permission from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

It is expected to deliver the equivalent of around 80 short-term construction jobs, with further employment opportunities likely to arise during the decommissioning process.

The Ewe Hill project represents a £65 million investment by developer ScottishPower Renewables, and will have a generating capacity of up to 51MW. It could power the equivalent of approximately 24,000 homes in the area.

It is also estimated that around £20 million will be spent on the construction of civil and electrical infrastructure, with ScottishPower Renewables seeking to encourage contractors to hire from local suppliers, where possible.

Over the operational life of Ewe Hill Windfarm, ScottishPower Renewables expects to deliver the equivalent of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity per annum towards community led initiatives, totalling around £6.3 million over the lifetime of the development, and is currently in discussions with local communities on how to take this fund forward.

Commenting on the granting of consent for the Ewe Hill wind farm, Mr Ewing said: “The Ewe Hill wind farm will create a significant number of jobs, as well as generating power for many thousands of homes.

“It’s encouraging to see that a solution has been found to deal with the aviation radar issues which have held the proposal up.

“Projects like this provide considerable benefits to the local community, and play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of 100 per cent of electricity demand generated from renewables.”

London demolition set to surge as offices get under way

London demolition set to surge as offices get under wayLondon is set for an upsurge in office development with a rise in demolitions and the readying of sites for new construction, the latest survey by Deloitte Real Estate has shown.

Anthony Duggan, partner and head of research at Deloitte Real Estate, said: “Developers that started office development schemes at the first signs of economic recovery in 2011/12 are now reaping the rewards as their schemes complete at a time of reducing availability, increased tenant demand and rental growth.

The latest London Office Crane Survey shows 9.2m sq ft under construction across central London. Office development has now been running at below average levels for five years. This, combined with a clear rise in office take-up over the last 12 months, has resulted in availability falling to its lowest point since 2007.

This year will see 7m sq ft of Grade A office space delivered, the largest volume in a single year since 2003. Despite this, 45% of the total volume under construction has already seen early letting success, so available space reaching the market will be significantly lower.

The London Office Crane SurveyThe report suggests that 2017 could be the year in which delivery really starts to recover, as the current phase of 4.5m sq ft of demolition begins to translate into completed schemes.

Mr Duggan said: “Taking into account all proposed schemes that have the potential to start construction, new supply would only be marginally above the long-run average level.

“However, the timings of such developments will be closely monitored as to identify the shift in supply volumes in the medium-to-long-term.”