Morgan Sindall wins £10m Norwich student accommodation contract

Morgan Sindall wins £10m Norwich student accommodation contractMorgan Sindall has been appointed to a £10 million project to construct a new student accommodation development in the heart of Norwich city centre.

The design and build project for Alumno Developments involves the construction of a new nine-storey development, called All Saints Norwich, next to Norwich bus station. The project also comprises the refurbishment and renovation of the adjacent building, 50 All Saints Green, a Grade II listed building.

The project is being delivered exclusively for the Norwich University of the Arts on a long-term agreement, helping to further enhance its status as a leading arts institution in the UK and assisting its long term growth aspirations.

Two existing buildings on the site will be demolished to make way for the new development and the Morgan Sindall team will also be creating a new public ‘pocket park’ with landscaping and plants.

The new development will feature 228 student bedrooms, the majority of which will be self-contained cluster flats with six en-suite bedrooms and a kitchen and lounge.

The project team will also be constructing a range of self-contained studios. A management office and reception area will be built on the ground floor, while a common room and other associated amenities will also be developed for students to utilise.

David Campbell, managing director of Alumno Developments, said: “We’re delighted to see this project coming to life.

“We think it will not only provide much needed student accommodation for the city, but will also help to regenerate the St Stephen’s area with the development of a new public square and gardens aimed at the whole community.”

Gavin Napper, area director for Morgan Sindall, said: “This is an impressive and well thought out project which is set to revitalise the surrounding area. The new development will give this part of the city a new lease of life, creating a pleasant outdoor ‘pocket park’ for people to enjoy and providing students with a home from home – helping them to make the most of their university experience.

“Morgan Sindall has a great depth of experience in successfully delivering student accommodation projects across the UK and we’re very pleased to have been appointed by Alumno Developments to bring that experience to bear on this project.”

The project is set to achieve a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (Morgan Sindall) rating of Very Good, with aspirations for Excellent, and is due to complete in summer 2015.

The project team includes project managers DBK Group, architect Carson & Partners, structural engineer Conisbee, services engineer Silock Dawson & Partners, and CDM Co-ordinator Trevor Christmas.

Sports college provides boost to Liverpool economy

Sports college provides boost to Liverpool economyWillmott Dixon has completed a new £18 million home for Archbishop Beck Catholic Sports College on the former Long Lane council depot in Fazakerley.

This is the second new school completed by the company for Liverpool City Council under the Scape framework, with Notre Dame Catholic College opening in 2013.

Around 70 per cent of Archbishop Beck’s budget was spent with firms in the region, including contracts for mechanical and electrical engineering, tiling, fencing, joinery, painting and decorating.

It is the latest in the Liverpool Schools Investment Programme, devised as a follow-up after the Government halted Wave Six of Liverpool’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.

The new school features a sports hall with six courts, a 3G pitch, a theatre and recording and dance studios. Mayor Joe Anderson said: “The new Archbishop Beck Catholic Sports College is a fantastic facility which will provide thousands of young people with education in great surroundings.

“I am pleased so many of the subcontracts were awarded to Liverpool firms, meaning that we have been able to recycle millions of pounds back into the city’s economy. It is also good to see Willmott Dixon have been training the tradespeople of tomorrow by employing apprentices as part of this scheme.”

The council’s employment and skills team, Liverpool in Work, has helped Willmott Dixon access a local workforce, apprentices and the local supply chain on the schools they are building. Almost 80 per cent of the 300 people who worked on Archbishop Beck are from Liverpool or the wider Liverpool City Region, and 27 apprentices also worked on the site.

Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North West said: “We’re very proud of what we have created with Archbishop Beck, which comes just over a year after we handed over Notre Dame, another brilliant new school for Liverpool.

“As with Notre Dame Catholic College, a key focus was supporting local jobs and companies and I’m pleased to say building Archbishop Beck gave another major boost with 70 per cent of the gross development value spent in the local economy and supply chain. It will be the same approach with Archbishop Blanch, where we are on site now.”

Construction work in Leeds Enterprise Zone gets underway

Construction work in Leeds Enterprise Zone gets underwayWilton Developments announced that Yorkshire contracting firm Stainforth Construction has been appointed to deliver the £5 million Connex 45 development at Thornes Farm in the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone.

Situated on a four acre site close to the East Leeds Link Road, Connex 45 includes a 50,000 sq ft and 30,000 sq ft manufacturing and logistics buildings in the Leeds Aire Valley.

A £670,000 grant was awarded to Wilton to contribute towards their delivery, secured by Leeds City Council from the Government’s ‘Building Foundations for Growth’ fund.

Jason Stowe from Wilton Developments said: “This is a Yorkshire success story as the grant funds are not only kick-starting the first speculative built industrial scheme of this scale in many years, but are enabling a Yorkshire developer, Yorkshire design team and a Yorkshire contractor to deliver this important project for the Leeds City Region.”

Stainforth Construction will start on site on 20th October and are expected to complete the project by July 2015.

Cllr Richard Lewis from Leeds City Council said: “The Council has worked proactively with developers to get development moving in the enterprise zone.

“Today’s news is a significant step forward in realising the potential of the enterprise zone to create jobs and become a major driver of growth for the economy of Leeds and the city region.

“It’s good news too that a Yorkshire contractor has been selected to build the two units at Connex 45. It means the full benefit of the grant funding will be felt within the local economy, with a Yorkshire-based team of developer, building contractor and consultants delivering first class business premises in what is set to become the region’s premier business location.”

New ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme to boost house building

New 'Rent to Buy' scheme to boost house buildingCommunities Secretary Eric Pickles has launched a new £400 million scheme to boost building of new rental homes that will also help the construction trades.

Current schemes like Help to Buy have boosted house building and allowed 53,000 households buy a home with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require.

The new Rent to Buy scheme will go further by providing more flexibility for people who want to rent affordably now, save for a deposit, and then either buy the new home later.

Under the scheme, housing associations and other providers can bid for a share of £400 million in low-cost loans to build up to 10,000 new homes across the country to be built from 2015 to 2018 – they will mainly consist of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments.

Landlords must then make the homes available for rent at below-market rates for a minimum of 7 years. This fixed period will give tenants the opportunity to save up for a deposit and get ready to buy their own home.

At the end of the period, the tenant will have first refusal to buy the property – alternatively they may choose to move out and buy a different property, or rent another property either privately or with the housing association.

If the home is sold, the housing association will then have the option to use any returns on their investment to build even more affordable homes in the area. Alternatively, they will still have a home, which they can look to rent at an affordable rate to another tenant who needs help to buy.

This programme is part of a broader £23 billion affordable homes programme for 2015 to 2018, as well as other schemes like Help to Buy (low deposit mortgages) and Right to Buy (home ownership for council tenants). These schemes are being arranged now, so construction works starts from 2015.

Rent to Buy

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This government is standing by people who work hard and do the right thing, and helping them move on and up in life.

“Both house building and the number of first time buyers are now at their highest rate since 2007. But there is more to do. As part of our wider housing programme, this new scheme will help increase the provision of low-cost rented accommodation and provide a springboard for young people to upgrade to home ownership down the line.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Through this pioneering scheme I’m challenging the capital’s developers to get building, and deliver the homes Londoners need, as fast as humanly possible. Loans are available to significantly accelerate the pace of development, especially on bigger schemes, and unlock additional supply.

“Through this exciting new fund we hope to provide thousands of brand new homes many years sooner than would otherwise be possible, and make them available to rent at below market rates for hardworking Londoners.”

Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm given the go-ahead

Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm given the go-aheadToday, the application for Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm, has been given development consent by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

The wind farm, with up to 69 wind turbine generators and associated offshore infrastructure, will be located in the Liverpool Bay, north west of the Wirral coastline.

The decision announced today supports the recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate and follows an examination process which met or exceeded all the statutory timescales laid down in The Planning Act 2008.

The application was submitted for consideration on 22 March 2013 and accepted for examination on 19 April 2013.

Following a six month examination during which the public, statutory consultees and interested parties were given the opportunity to give evidence to the Examining Authority, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on 26 June 2014.

The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, Simon Ridley, said: “This is a significant application for the offshore wind energy sector.

“The Planning Inspectorate is fulfilling its responsibilities by undertaking thorough, impartial examinations and ensuring full community consultation within statutory deadlines.

“The certainty of knowing when a decision will be made following full consideration of public views provides developers and investors with the confidence needed to plan the infrastructure improvements this country needs to secure future economic growth.”

Builders and buyers benefiting from Help to Buy

Builders and buyers benefiting from Help to BuyAlmost 53,000 households have bought a home in England through Help to Buy, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis announced today.

New figures show how the scheme is getting more homes built in England, with over 37,600 households buying new build homes through the equity loan and NewBuy options, and a further 15,000 though the mortgage guarantee.

A further 3,500 new homeowners have also been created in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland through the Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantee scheme.

Almost 80% of sales have gone to first time buyers, with nearly 70% being for new build homes. The direct result is a new generation of homeowners and the sharpest increase in private house building starts for 40 years.

Mr Lewis said today’s figures were further evidence that hard working families were voting with their feet, and Help to Buy was expanding and accelerating the supply of new homes.

House building has climbed to the highest level since 2007, the construction sector has grown for 16 consecutive months, and companies are now taking on new workers at the fastest rate since 1997.

The government has also expanded the range of available data about Help to Buy. Sales are now broken down by postcode and constituency so communities, builders and businesses can see exactly how the scheme is benefiting their local area.

Brandon Lewis said:

Almost 53,000 households have now benefited through Help to Buy in England. Hard working families are getting the right support to step onto the housing ladder, and house building has climbed to its highest level since 2007.

Postcode data for each constituency is now available, so local communities can see exactly how this vital part of our long-term economic plan is fixing the broken housing market we inherited in 2010, and supporting their area.

Progress across the country

Sales of new build homes have been strong across the country:

  • the highest number of equity loan sales were in Wiltshire with 557, Leeds with 539 and Central Bedfordshire with 504

  • Peterborough, Milton Keynes, Bedford, County Durham, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester, Kingston-upon-Hull, Aylesbury Vale, Telford, Liverpool, Wakefield, Colchester, and South Gloucestershire have all achieved over 300 sales

Plans backed for 500 new homes and jobs in Hampshire

Plans backed for 500 new homes and jobs in HampshireProposals to bring hundreds of new homes, jobs and better road links to a former Ministry of Defence barracks in Whitehill and Bordon, Hampshire, have taken a big step forward after being backed by councillors.

East Hampshire District Council’s planning committee approved the Homes and Communities Agency’s outline planning application for 500 new and affordable homes and around 3 hectares of employment space at its Louisburg Barracks site.

The decision supports ambitions to build a new construction skills training centre as part of the development, to help create around 500 jobs and provide a huge economic boost for the local area.

The application also included the first phase of a new relief road which enables access to the site and eases congestion around the town.

Work is expected to start on the road by next spring and is supported by around £10 million in investment from the HCA.

Kevin Bourner, HCA head of area, said:“This is another positive step towards bringing forward real and positive change in Whitehill and Bordon, with high quality new homes and jobs that the area needs.

We have never underestimated the scale of the task needed to make the most of the opportunity afforded when the MoD leaves the area. The progress we have made here demonstrates that we are taking the right steps towards achieving this ambition. There’s a lot of work that still needs to be done and we remain committed to bringing forward these exciting and transformational plans for the area.”

Cllr Richard Millard, East Hampshire District Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Commercial Contracts, said:”This is the second major planning application to be approved as part of the town’s regeneration and it shows just how far this project has progressed over the last few months.

“This scheme will radically transform the former Army barracks into a thriving community with 500 much-needed homes and jobs, and contribute significantly to a ‘step change’ in the lives of everyone in Whitehill and Bordon. It is a really exciting time for Whitehill and Bordon residents and I can’t wait to see work starting on the site.”

Cash boost to build more homes in Milton Keynes

Cash boost to build more homes in Milton KeynesHousing Minister Brandon Lewis has announced a £16.5 million cash boost to fast forward the development of over 1,600 new homes at Newton Leys, Milton Keynes.

Despite receiving planning permission for development in 2006, progress on the brownfield site stalled for years.

This cash injection from the government will help speed up progress on the site, which will not only provide homes for families but also establish a surrounding community with the construction of new primary school, a park, a hotel, a shop, and a range of other leisure amenities.

Today’s announcement is the latest allocation of funding under the Local Infrastructure Fund. The fund is targeted at schemes that could deliver real benefits to their communities but are struggling to move forward and gives them the boost they need to grow into the places that communities want and need. Already 85,000 homes have been unlocked through the scheme.

The Local Infrastructure Fund is just one of the ways the government is getting Britain building and boosting local economies, and the government’s long-term economic plan is bringing in results. Housing starts, planning permissions and residential construction orders are all at their highest levels since 2007.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Our long-term economic plan has got Britain building. And it is not just providing more homes for families but also helping to create new communities, new jobs and a boost to local economies and businesses.

“Today I am pleased to announce a £16.5 million cash boost to Milton Keynes to fast forward development at Newtown Leys, a site which will not only provide over 1,600 new homes for families, but also create jobs and help establish a local community built around the amenities and space that local people want.”

Iain Stewart MP for Milton Keynes South said: “I am very pleased with this announcement. It is important that, as well as the extra houses we need to meet demand in Milton Keynes, we have the local amenities in place which are necessary for a new community to thrive.

“This is just another example of how this government is delivering a sustainable future for Milton Keynes.”

Lovell gets Ponders End Electric Quarter redevelopment

Lovell gets Ponders End Electric Quarter redevelopmentLovell has signed a £50 million contract with London Borough of Enfield to undertake a landmark mixed use regeneration development at a key town centre site in North London.

The Electric Quarter Scheme in Ponders End will transform the area with new homes alongside new commercial and retail space off the High Street and Queensway.

Subject to the proposals completing the full planning and public consultation process, construction work on the redevelopment programme is set to start in 2015.

The scheme proposes approximately 160 homes for open market sale and 88 homes for affordable and intermediate rent as well as the creation of 1,050 sqm of non-residential spac

Key elements include the revitalisation of the High Street frontage, with the creation of new small-scale retail units and a new High Street home for Ponders End Library.

All the new homes will be built to high energy-efficiency standards, achieving Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

As well as high-quality new homes, the scheme will deliver a major boost for the local economy with new retail floor space and the creation of new jobs.

Lovell will provide up to 10 construction apprenticeships giving local young people the chance to gain trade qualifications working on the scheme, along with opportunities for work experience placements. The company aims to draw at least 30 per cent of its construction workers from the local area.

The Electric Quarter scheme – named in honour of electric light bulb inventor Joseph Swan who lived on Ponders End High Street – was awarded to Lovell through a competitive tendering process.

Lovell regional director Peter Taylor says: “It is exciting to bring our expertise in delivering large-scale, complex urban regeneration programmes to this major mixed use project for Ponders End.

“Delivering much-needed high-quality open market and affordable homes, alongside new retail, community and commercial space, the scheme will make an important contribution to the ongoing regeneration of the area.

“As part of our commitment to leaving a life-changing legacy of benefits in the communities where we work, the physical regeneration of the neighbourhood will be accompanied by the creation of significant job and training opportunities for local people.”

£525m investmnt boost for Dudgeon offshore wind farm

£525m investmnt boost for Dudgeon offshore wind farmAbu Dhabi-owned green energy giant Masdar has confirmed that it will invest £525 million in the planned Dudgeon offshore wind farm, alongside Norweigan partners Statoil and Stakraft.

Based off the coast of north Norfolk, the wind farm is expected to support 450 jobs and bring hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the UK’s economy. It could generate enough electricity to power approximately 410,000 homes.

The wind farm could also create opportunities for manufacturers across the UK. Earlier this year, Siemens announced that they were investing £310 million to build two offshore wind manufacturing plants in Hull. The developers hope that some of the turbines at Dudgeon will come from these factories.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “Masdar’s investment is a strong endorsement of the UK as the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind – and it shows the Government’s plan for green growth is working.

“Since 2010 we have seen, on average, £7 billion a year invested in renewables and we expect to see up to £50 billion more between now and 2020.”

The project reached an important milestone in early July when the developers announced that they had made a final investment decision to go ahead, investing £1.5 billion into UK offshore wind.

Masdar was also one of the investors in the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, three years before it was built. Masdar remains a pioneering investor, showing their confidence in the UK’s offshore wind sector.

Dudgeon is one of the five offshore wind projects that signed an early Contract for Difference under the new system for low-carbon electricity generation. As well as being the first contracts awarded under the system, they mark a new stage in the growth of the sector, bringing green jobs and growth across the UK and supporting cleaner and more secure energy.