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Demolition paves the way for new homes in SuffolkDemolition teams have moved in on outdated council homes at Woolpit and Stowmarket, Suffolk, which are set to make way for brand-new modern homes for affordable rent.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“This project will see outdated and not-fit-for-purpose housing being replaced by modern, sustainable homes that will enable families and residents to stay in an area of Mid Suffolk in which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.”

Kier appointed for £100m North Staffordshire contract

Kier 2Kier has been appointed by the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust to deliver a programme of healthcare works valued at over £100 million.

Kier is looking to boost the local economy during its partnership with University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, so it is seeking to select 70% of the labour, subcontractors and materials suppliers from the surrounding area.

In addition, over 100 building trade apprenticeships will be supported over the lifetime of the programme and more than 60 training opportunities will be offered to local schools, colleges and universities.

Procured under the P21+ framework, the contract will run for between three and five years and will involve a wide range of work, including refurbishment, extension and new build projects, ranging in value from £1m to £20m.

Kier’s partnership with the Trust, working on projects at both City General Hospital in Stoke and Stafford Hospital, will support the integration of an extensive range of health and care services from across Staffordshire on these two sites.

More specifically, initial projects will include building a new critical care unit, operating theatres and imaging facilities, as well as refurbishing existing inpatient wards and constructing new ones in order to increase the number of available beds.

Kier chief operating officer, Steve Bowcott, added: ‘We are delighted to have been selected as Principal Supply Chain Partner for this important programme.

“Having already delivered over 100 successful projects through the P21+ framework, we look forward to working collaboratively with the Trust to develop solutions that work for patients, and provide outstanding new healthcare facilities for Staffordshire.”

Work on the first projects is due to start on site in July with the overall programme of works continuing until at least 2018.