Welsh Government accelerates job creation in Wrexham

The Welsh GovernmentThe Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) has announced plans to double staff numbers at its headquarters in Wales by the end of 2016, creating more than 200 jobs.

On a visit to the company Economy Minister Edwina Hart announced the expansion is being supported by £160,000 from the Wales Economic Growth Fund which will speed up job creation ensuring that seventy of the new posts will be created within months.

Minister Edwina Hart said: “Avox has a client base that is spread across the world, working with 40 global investment banks. This expansion is yet another example that proves Wales is a great location for financial services companies to thrive.

“It also illustrates DTCC’s on-going commitment to continue to grow and invest in the business in Wrexham and I am delighted the Welsh Government is supporting this important investment.

“Welsh Government support will ensure that a high percentage of those new jobs will be created in Wrexham within a matter of months rather than years, providing an immediate boost for the local economy in terms of jobs and salaries.”

Paul Barlow, Chief Operating Officer of Avox Limited, said: “We have had our operations centre in Wrexham for over 10 years and, together with our parent company DTCC, we are pleased to be creating a significant number of new jobs and career growth opportunities for our staff.

“We remain focussed on continuing to build a long term sustainable business in Wrexham, alongside the local community and the Welsh Government.”

Help to Buy building new homes across the country

Help to buyNew figures published today show how the scheme is boosting the supply of new homes, with over 32,500 households buying new build homes through the equity loan and NewBuy options.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said today’s figures were further evidence that Help to Buy was doing exactly what it was designed to achieve: providing assistance to hard-working families while expanding and accelerating the supply of new homes.

Over 80% of sales have gone to first time buyers and been for new build homes. The direct result is a new generation of homeowners and a 34% increase in private housebuilding during the first year of the scheme.

Help for buyers and builders

Housebuilding has climbed to the highest level since 2007, while developers have pledged to use the momentum created by Help to Buy to continue increasing their output.

The construction sector has grown for 14 consecutive months, and companies are now taking on new workers at the fastest rate for 17 years.

Mr Lewis said the government had expanded the range of available data about Help to Buy. Figures published today include, for the first time, sales data broken down by postcode, so communities, builders and businesses can see exactly how the scheme is benefitting their area.

Brandon Lewis said: “Almost 40,000 households have now achieved their dream of becoming homeowners through Help to Buy. Hard working families are getting the homes they want, while housebuilding has increased to its highest level since 2007.

“It’s no accident that since the start of the scheme private housebuilding has shot up by a third and continues to climb. Developers are increasing their output, and taking on new workers at the fastest rate since records began.

“And today, for the first time, we’re publishing post-code level data about the scheme, so communities can see exactly how this vital part of our long-term economic plan is improving the housing market and helping their area.”

Households encouraged to think renewable

Households encouraged to think renewableA new online tool to help householders save money on their bills if they install a renewable heating system in their home, launched today.

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Payment Calculator developed jointly by the Scottish Government and the UK Government, will help householders to make informed decisions by more accurately estimating what payments they could receive if they decide to apply for the RHI.

Welcoming the new tool Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government have invested £50,000 to develop this excellent resource that will allow households across Scotland and the rest of Great Britain to calculate the true cost of savings to their bills if they invest in renewable heat technologies.

“The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) provides payments to householders who install renewable energy heating systems in their homes. It was introduced to incentivise the use of heat produced from renewable sources, such as wood fuel or heat pumps.

“The Scottish Government is committed in supporting the development of a diverse renewable heat industry that will deliver benefits to consumers. We have developed a range of supporting actions to increase deployment of renewable heat technologies in Scotland. This includes providing interest-free loans of up to 75 per cent of the cost of the installation of renewables technologies, including biomass boilers.”

Mike Thornton, Director of Energy Saving Trust Scotland, said: “We welcome the launch of the new domestic RHI calculator which will allow Scottish households to identify how much they could benefit from RHI payments if they install renewable heating in their homes.

“The recent launch of the domestic RHI has made the installation of renewable heat technologies more compelling than ever for Scottish households, particularly those living in off-gas properties that are often heated by more expensive fuels.

“With rising energy bills and worries about energy security, there needs to be a major transformation in the way we heat our homes. Scottish Government funded support for domestic renewables, alongside the domestic RHI, is helping to make this a reality. ”

Public land pilot scheme to bring new homes to Liverpool

Building IndustryMore than 100 new homes are set to be built on former railway land in Aintree, Liverpool, that will boost the construction trades and create new jobs.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has recently taken on 35 sites from other government bodies as part of a nationwide effort to get public land with capacity for up to 100,000 homes out to market by March 2015.

The first pilot deal has seen the HCA secure Persimmon Homes Lancashire as the developer for the 17-acre Liverpool site. It was identified within Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council’s 2011 Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment as a potential area for sustainable redevelopment.

The completion of the deal comes as the HCA publishes its latest Land Development and Disposal Plan (LDDP) today. The updated plan details the landholdings available to developers that the HCA expects to bring to market over the next 2 years running up to March 2016.

The LDDP sets out how the HCA will use its experience of managing large portfolios of land and assets to potentially bring up to 200 sites to market between now and March 2016. Sites in the LDDP will build on the housing capacity of those already disposed, bringing the HCA’s contribution to government’s commitment to dispose of enough land with capacity for 100,000 homes to around 17,000, up from 14,000, by March 2015.

HCA Chief Executive, Andy Rose, said: “From 2015, the HCA will take on an enhanced land disposal role for Government, adding value to surplus public sector sites with development potential and speeding up their sale to help increase the supply of housing and increase economic growth.”

New fund will speed up work on thousands of new homes

New fund will speed up work on thousands of new homesHousing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis today launched a £3 million fund to speed up getting work started on as many as 85 new housing sites where development has been agreed.

The funding will be available to councils across the country to tackle planning issues that can cause delay and prevent builders getting on site and starting work quickly – helping accelerate as many as 25,000 new homes.

Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: “In 2010 we inherited a housing industry in paralysis – where neighbours and developers were at loggerheads, aspiring homeowners couldn’t get on the property ladder and house building levels were at their lowest since the 1920s.

“Since then we’ve got Britain building, not least through our planning reforms to put power in the hands of communities. Now, the challenge is to get work started on sites where development has been agreed as soon as possible.

“Today’s £3 million fund will do just that, getting work started on as many as 85 sites, creating jobs as well as up to 25,000 new homes.”

Permission granted, getting work started

Since 2010 the government has radically reformed the planning system, making it simpler and quicker, with locally led plans identifying and allocating land for much needed homes.

As a result, planning permission was granted on 216,000 new homes in the last year alone, and housebuilding levels have reached their highest level since 2007.

Today’s £3 million fund will tackle issues that can slow things down, even when the principle of development has been agreed – like completing financial agreements and signing-off conditions attached to planning permissions.

Councils with the greatest numbers of large housing developments recently agreed will be given priority for the funding, as well as those who can show how they will make each pound go further by enabling faster starts on site.

Each council that successfully bids is expected to receive around £50,000 from the fund.

Latest figures from Glenigan estimate that the number of homes with planning permission “on hold or shelved” has steadily fallen thanks to government-led efforts to get work restarted on stalled sites – the numbers of homes on hold or shelves has fallen from 79,604 in January 2011 to 50,050 in June this year.

Interserve awarded £21m Southampton Uni job

Interserve awarded £21m Southampton Uni jobInterserve has won a £21.5 million design and build contract for a new teaching building at Southampton Solent University that will boost the construction trades.

Interserve will build a new seven storey building with an internal floor space of 9,250 square metres connected to one of the University’s existing buildings.

The new building is designed by Scott Brownrigg and will feature an 18m x 80m main atrium, within which a pod-like structure – housing an 80 seat lecture theatre – will be suspended, with a number of bridges linking the pod to the new and existing building.

The design of the pod is intended to reflect Southampton’s nautical heritage and the University’s forward-looking ethos. Beneath the pod, a lower atrium will lead to subterranean lecture theatres as well as lower level classrooms, kitchens, offices and a plant room.

The new building will also feature a main conference centre, a number of smaller conference rooms and numerous classrooms (part of a total 2,000 square metres of classroom area). Various projecting balconies and glazed spaces will overlook the main atrium.

Interserve Engineering Services is to provide all mechanical and electrical services on the scheme.

Commenting on the project, which is scheduled for completion by the end of December 2015, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Van Gore, said: “This imaginative and exciting project for the University has been years in the planning and I am thrilled to see it start to take shape. It marks the University’s coming of age.”

Justin Elliott, Associate Director of Interserve said: “We are a regionally based office local to the University employing twelve graduates from its built environment degree courses. Being part of the local community we see how important this project will be for it and the University.”

Keepmoat to deliver £50m Manchester regeneration scheme

Keepmoat to deliver £50m regeneration scheme for West GortonManchester City Council has appointed Keepmoat Homes to deliver 400 new homes for sale as part of the latest phase of its flagship regeneration programme in West Gorton.

The new £50m scheme, which was part-funded by £30m from the Homes & Communities Agency, will lead to the creation of 400 flexible ‘lifetime’ homes, which allows owners to adapt their homes as their mobility needs change.

The new plans will also continue the transformation of West Gorton, a suburb which has played a large part in Mancunian history as the place where Manchester City Football Club was founded.

Manchester City Football Club was established at the former St Mark’s Church in West Gorton in 1880.

Manchester City Council is currently half way through delivering a 10 year regeneration masterplan for West Gorton, which has so far seen the demolition of 380 existing homes and the construction of 171 new council houses for affordable rent built by Keepmoat Regeneration.

As part of the transformation of the neighbourhood Manchester City Council is also revamping a site close to the Fujitsu Complex in West Gorton to create a new £10m television production base in the area called the Drama Hub. The facility has the potential to create more than 400 new jobs in the area.

Cllr Jeff Smith, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said: “West Gorton is almost unrecognisable compared to the neighbourhood it was a decade ago, bringing hundreds of new homes to Manchester and reinvigorating the community with a huge sense of pride and place – and the next phase will build on that success.”

David Chilton, Greater Manchester Head of Area for the Homes & Communities Agency, said: “This scheme is a prime example of the valuable support that the HCA provides to developers. It will create much-needed new homes for local people, and will also play a major role in the ongoing revitalisation of this area of Manchester.”

Millions announced for Smethwick regeneration

A massive £11 million makeover at three tower blocks has been announced by Sandwell Council to improve 270 Smethwick homes and boost the building trades.

The 270 homes will benefit from the improvements which will give the buildings a refreshed look and help reduce fuel bills for residents.

The wider community is also set to benefit from the 84 week scheme with employment and training opportunities created by the construction company for local people.

As part of this commitment there is provision for 12 apprenticeships as well as a graduate position and work experience placements for over 16s looking to start their career in the construction industry.

Keepmoat have also been appointed to deliver a range of improvements including: kitchen and bathroom upgrades and rewires, new boiler installs and decoration works to void properties following Sandwell Council’s appointment of Keepmoat under a two-year refurbishment framework.

Sandwell Council is also investing £2 million to improve the street scene in town centres and pavements in and around Cape Hill, Bearwood, Soho and Victoria.

The funding is on top of a further £2 million announced to improve the street scene in roads and pavements around Smethwick.

Regeneration specialist Keepmoat will carry out the major improvement programme to the flats known as The Crofts, in Windmill Lane, on behalf of Sandwell Council.

The high-rise blocks will get new roofs, external cladding and residents’ flats will benefit from new windows and balconies. Work is expected to start imminently and will take two years to complete.

Work on the improvements will start later in the autumn after consultation on the details to street lighting, pedestrian crossings, tree planting and bollards with residents.

Sandwell Council leader Councillor Darren Cooper said: “This is a significant amount of investment into Smethwick. We have invested heavily in West Bromwich and other towns across the borough and now it is Smethwick’s turn.

“I am delighted that we are not only improving the housing but also generating employment and apprenticeship opportunities through our partnership with Keepmoat.”

Galliford Try lands multimillion contracts in the Highlands

Galliford Try  1Galliford Try has announced that its Miller Construction business has reached financial close on a £35.4m project to construct the new Inverness Royal Academy and a £15.4m primary school in Wick.

Under the projects, Miller Construction will be working on these projects for Hub North Scotland Limited the public/private development company working in partnership with The Highland Council.

Inverness Royal Academy, which is due for completion by summer 2016, involves the construction of a new four-storey replacement school, sports pitches, an outdoor terraced teaching area, gardens, landscaping and a car park and bus drop-off area. The new Inverness Royal Academy campus will cater for around 1,500 pupils across the ages of 11–18.

Noss Primary School involves the construction of a combined replacement primary school for both the North and Hillhead existing primary schools, a new nursery and enhanced facilities to support education for pupils with additional needs.

The new school will accommodate close to 400 pupils over 14 classrooms. The project will be delivered in two phases with final completion due in spring 2016.

Galliford Try Chief Executive Greg Fitzgerald stated: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with Hub North Scotland Limited and The Highland Council on these significant education contracts and are now able to get the projects underway.

“The Miller Construction business is an important addition to the Group and these awards reflect its reputation and strong market presence in the education sector in Scotland.

“We look forward to successfully delivering both projects for our client and wider stakeholders, and in turn providing pupils, teachers and the communities in Inverness and Wick with an enhanced built environment and improved facilities.”

Kier wins Bournemouth water contract

Kier 2Kier has been named as Sembcorp Bournemouth Water’s (SBW) new delivery partner for its £3.5 million per annum planned and reactive maintenance programme.

The contract is for two years with a potential five-year extension, and the scope of Kier’s work will include repair and maintenance while giving, mains laying and meter installation.

A new customer for Kier, SBW selected the company for its experience and award-winning customer service, which complements SBW’s own achievements in this area, having received Customer Service Excellence awards for the past 14 years.

The introduction of Kier as SBW’s new delivery partner will be seamless and customers will see the new, jointly-branded livery on Kier’s vehicles and employee uniforms in the coming weeks as the contract mobilises.

Roger Harrington, SBW’s managing director, said that having a first-class delivery partner was essential to the company’s business and he was very pleased to introduce Kier to customers in this capacity.

He added: “Kier’s experience and reputation in the industry are considerable, but more importantly, their approach to customer service is aligned to ours, which will ensure service delivery excellence for our customers.”

This latest contract win further demonstrates Kier’s position as a major player in the water and utilities industries.

Toby Harding, Kier’s operations director for utilities in the south, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as SBW’s new delivery partner.

“We have a strong nationwide presence in the utility sector, working with a wide range of water clients. So we are confident that our extensive knowledge of the industry, our award-winning approach to customer care and our focus on working collaboratively will ensure the success of this planned and reactive maintenance programme.”