Morgan Sindall lands University of York building contract

Morgan Sindall lands University of York building contractMorgan Sindall has been appointed by The University of York to build its new Environment Building which will house the University’s Environment Department and the York Environmental Sustainability Institute.

The three storey development at the Russell Group institution’s Heslington Campus, will include almost 4,000 sq m of office, laboratory and teaching space along with an auditorium housed in a distinctive oval rotunda. The space is divided between learning and research functions and office accommodation.

Aiming for a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) rating of Excellent, the development comes complete with a raft of environmental measures including: the creation of a living green wall on the south elevation, solar photovoltaic panels installed on part of the building’s roof to help with power generation, a green roof and connection to the University’s existing district heating system.

Engineers are also investigating the possibility of using the nearby Scullions Lake to install a lake-source heat pump to further assist with heating the building.

Morgan Sindall area director, Kevin Donegan, said: “We are extremely proud to have the opportunity to play our part in the ongoing redevelopment of The University of York. It is a prestigious institution and we are very pleased to have been selected to deliver this important project for them.

“As with all our educational projects, we aim to create spaces which help people achieve their very best. This building will be one which will proudly boast its environmental credentials to all who will see and use it. It will become a key building in our higher education portfolio.”

Work on the development started in August 2014 and is expected be completed in the late summer of 2015.

Housing zones: power for growth and jobs

Housing zones power for growth and jobsThe government has announced plans to create 30 housing zones on brownfield sites across the country as part of our efforts to increase housing supply.

This prospectus sets out more detail of the funding and bidding process to create housing zones outside of London.

A London housing zones prospectus has been published by the Mayor of London and formally invites bids from London boroughs.

The housing zones programme offers the chance to unlock brownfield land that has the potential to provide viable housing schemes. This is through a combination of:

  • long term investment funding

  • planning simplification (eg local development orders)

  • local authority leadership

  • dedicated brokerage support from central government and the Advisory Team for Large Applications (ATLAS) planning support.

Central government is making available £200 million of recoverable investment funding for housing zones in England outside of London.

Local authorities who submit successful proposals for housing zones will also have access to cheaper borrowing at the Public Works Loan Board’s project rate for capital infrastructure expenditure, relating to the zone in 2014 to 2015 and 2015 to 2016.

Expressions of interest must be submitted to the Homes and Communities Agency by noon 3 October 2014.

Flood risk work to start in Leicester

Flood risk work to start in LeicesterFlood risk works are set to take place in Leicester’s River Biam near the Great Central Way as part of the government’s flood risk management scheme.

Work will involve lowering the ground level beneath the arches by about 1 metre, which will help reduce the risk of flooding to about 250 homes in Braunstone Town and Aylestone.

The footpath from Braunstone Lane East under the Great Central Way bridge to the Great Central Way spur will be closed for 5 days between 22 September and 10 October during the works.

The Great Central Way footpath and cycle path will remain open as normal, and access to the route from the eastern side will also be unaffected. Great Central Way can also be accessed from Braunstone Lane East and Evesham Road as normal.

Aylestone Meadows nature reserve and Riverside Park will not be affected.

Further works along the River Soar corridor are planned for 2015.

Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “This is part of the ongoing work being carried out in the city to ensure our flood management is up to the challenges posed by climate change and demands of a modern-day city.

“We’re currently consulting on a flood alleviation plan for the city, and investing in tackling some of the main problem areas. The work at the bridge will lessen flood risk across a wide area of the city.”

Jon Vann, the Environment Agency’s lead on the project, added: “Together with partners in Leicester City Council, we’re developing a holistic approach to reducing flood risk for the local community, as well as delivering economic and environmental benefits.

“We will do everything possible to minimise any disruption and will put the safety of the public at the heart of our project.”

Planning approval for Portsmouth development

Unite StudentsStudent accomodation developer Unite Group has received resolution to grant planning approval for the development of a 0.8 acre site in Portsmouth city centre.

The site will provide a home for 836 students and completion is anticipated in time for the 2016/17 academic year, paving the way for new employment opportinities in the trades.

The Greetham Street site is being acquired from Portsmouth City Council. The development represents a £42 million investment, and is projected to boost economic growth and benefit the local economy.

Unite will be working closely with the local community, Portsmouth City Council and UOP to help accommodate a large and growing number of students studying in the city.

Unite Students have operated in Portsmouth for 10 years and have three properties that provide a home for 1,400 students studying at The University of Portsmouth (UOP).

As part of Unite Students’ commitment to provide a home for success for all students living with them, plans for the development include designated areas for private study, and generous communal space for students to socialise in.

Students will benefit from features such as LED lighting, high speed 20Mb Wi-Fi and fortnightly cleaning for kitchens and communal areas within shared flats, all designed to help enhance students’ learning and living experience, so they can achieve more from their time at university.

Richard Simpson, Managing Director of Property for Unite Students, said: “We are very pleased to have received planning for this development in a prominent city centre location in Portsmouth. The acquisition forms part of our regional development strategy where there is a growing demand for student accommodation.

“This year we have seen university applications continue to outstrip available places and there is a growing need for safe, secure purpose built student accommodation.

“The site is ideal for University of Portsmouth students, being close to campus and will provide a safe and modern home that supports students’ success.”

Boris Johnson unveils ground-breaking homes scheme

London Mayor Boris JohnsonThe Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has selected preferred bidders for two sites, owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA), that will see the building of 1,200 new homes,

The development, which includes 480 homes for long-term private rent, will use an innovative covenant to help relieve pressure on the capital’s housing market, accelerate development and raise standards of private renting.

Over the last decade the number of households privately renting has increased to around two million Londoners – about one in four – but the capital has few purpose-built rented schemes compared to the US or Europe.

The GLA marketed two sites, Silvertown Way and Pontoon Dock, with the specific aim to deliver a significant proportion of private-rented homes.

The requirement for top quality private rent, built alongside traditional private sale and affordable housing, will help to speed up the construction period, encourage long-term institutional investment into the residential market and improve the design, tenancy arrangements and management of the homes.  The GLA requires both developers to hold the private-rent housing for at least ten years.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Boosting house building is my number one priority, with City Hall leading the way with a range of creative approaches to address a 30 year failure to build enough homes.

“These two great new developments will turn surplus public land into new homes for Londoners.  These schemes will be built faster than conventional methods by providing a US-style private rented model alongside traditional tenures.

“It’s important for London’s economy to support the growing rental market, providing top quality homes and management, together with the reassurance of longer tenancy agreements.

“I also want to entice more institutional investors to come forward and invest in quality homes for Londoners, further supporting house building and creating thousands of new jobs”

Galliford Try Plc working with OPAL LAND LLP, a joint venture between Thames Valley Housing and Galliford Try PLC’s residential arm, Linden Homes, has been selected as the preferred delivery partner for Silvertown Way in Canning Town, Newham.

The 2.1 hectare site was previously vacant land, and will become more than 1,000 homes including 347 private rented, 232 for affordable rent, and 154 for affordable home ownership. It will also include 86,000 sq ft of employment and non-residential space.

Bouygues Development working with a consortium backed by the London Pensions Fund Authority and Grainger plc has been selected as the delivery partner for Pontoon Dock, a 0.69 hectare site within Royal Docks, also in the London Borough of Newham.

The site is currently a public car park and coach stand that will be transformed into more than 200 homes and approximately 11,000 sq ft of non-residential floor space, to include 137 private rented sector homes, 42 for affordable rent and 31 for shared ownership.

Birmingham set to build five new leisure centres

Birmingham City CouncilWork to transform the provision of sports facilities across the city – including five brand new leisure centres – is set to be approved by Birmingham City Council at Cabinet this month.

Four of the new Leisure Centres will replace existing facilities in Erdington, Northfield, Stechford and Shard End, and one is a new facility which will be built in Ladywood as part of the Icknield Port Loop regeneration development.

The plans follow the success of Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre and contract award for Sparkhill Pool and Fitness Centre.

The new facility in Ladywood will include a pool with eight lanes and seating suitable for competitions. Tenders will be evaluated in December with contracts starting in April next year.

Cabinet will also be asked to include Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre and the Alexander Stadium Complex within the package of works in order to achieve further investment and cost savings.

Deputy Leader for Birmingham City Council, Cllr Ian Ward, said: “This report builds on the Sport and Leisure Facilities Framework agreement and sets out how we can provide good value, cost effective and modern leisure facilities to Birmingham residents whilst safeguarding their future.

“Despite the considerable budgetary restraints that we face, this demonstrates our commitment to delivering facilities that can support people, young and old, in being active and enjoying a healthy lifestyle.”

Cabinet will be asked to approve the sites for citywide new build facilities and a bid to Sport England’s Strategic Fund for further capital funding.

The report follows agreement on the future leisure provision strategy back in December and the approval to appoint three contractors to the Sport and Leisure Framework in March this year.

Chelmsford plumber ‘taps’ into employment

Chelmsford plumber ‘taps’ into employmentGeorgia Rolfe, 25 and a trained plumber, has landed a job with the Guinness Partnership that will deliver repairs and upgrades to thousands of homes across the local area.

Willmott Dixon Partnerships has a contract with The Guinness Partnership to deliver repairs and upgrades to 7,100 of Guinness South’s housing stock across the local area.

Georgia explains: “I was having some work done to the property and was chatting to the gentleman who had come to undertake it. I explained my qualifications and desire to get back into plumbing and he informed me that Willmott Dixon was looking for trade operatives. I decided there was no time like the present and sent across my CV.”

Georgia was interviewed and was thrilled to receive the news that she was successful. She said: “After working as a site manager for over a year, I was keen to return to plumbing – I just wanted to be hands-on again.

“The opportunities that working with Willmott Dixon will bring are vast – whilst working locally is great.”

Georgia will now work as a plumber for Willmott Dixon as it carries out its contract with The Guinness Partnership. She will be responsible for planned and responsive repair works in tenant’s homes across the Essex area.

Georgia added: “I am looking forward to getting stuck into the role and working in tenant’s homes like mine. I have wanted to return to plumbing for a while now and know this move will be a great opportunity.”

Aimee Tracey, Willmott Dixon’s customer and community partner for The Guinness Partnership branch, said: “Georgia has the relevant qualifications, experience and drive to be a fantastic asset to the team locally. We are keen to ensure that we look within the communities we serve to help local people gain experience and employment and I wish Georgia every success in her new role.”

This comes after the community actions of Willmott Dixon staff received a Royal seal of approval, with the company achieving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.

One of the areas highlighted by judges in making the award was the £1 million worth of community investment made by the company and staff each year to local good causes.

The company has also received recognition after scooping gold in the ‘Excellence in Social Responsibility’ category of the prestigious Investors in People awards, whilst also recently receiving Business in the Community’s CommunityMark with commendation for its societal benefit programme.

BAM to build Derby Manufacturing UTC

BAM to build Derby Manufacturing UTCWork is due to start on the development of the campus for Derby Manufacturing University Technical College (UTC) following the granting of planning permission by Derby City Council.

BAM Construct UK will build the £8 million centre which has been designed by Maber Architects.

The UTC will open in September 2015 for the first intake of students in years 10 and 12 – providing young people with the skills needed in engineering and manufacturing, including the rail industry.

The UTC will have capacity for up to 600 young people aged 14 to 19. They will study core GCSE’s, A levels and engineering qualifications enhanced by project based learning, work placements, employer site visits and industry expert lectures.

Derby Manufacturing UTC is a partnership between Derby College, the University of Derby, Rolls-Royce Plc, Bombardier, Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, Derby City Council and a wide range of supply chain employers working in local manufacturing and engineering.

It is one of 50 new UTCs being developed across the country which are being developed to fill the skills gap in industry by training young engineers who have the talent and skills that employers need now and in the future.

Employers at a wide range of local businesses, including Rolls-Royce plc and Toyota UK, have been heavily involved in setting up Derby Manufacturing UTC and will continue to work alongside the organisation to provide work experience opportunities and projects for the learners.

Work placement opportunities will be core elements of the work programmes where learners will be able to put into practice the skills they have learnt in the classroom into work activity, supported by mentors from local companies.

Derby Manufacturing UTC Principal Designate Philip Morris said: “With planning permission agreed, we are looking forward to seeing the building develop.

We already have a number of young people who have submitted expressions of interest for joining Derby Manufacturing UTC next September and applications are now being taken and formalised for our first cohort of students in year 10 and year 12.”

Government action to build new homes in London

Government action to help provide more new homes in LondonHousing Minister Brandon Lewis has taken steps to ensure that empty and redundant office space in the London Borough of Islington can continue to be converted into new homes.

Since May 2013, those looking to convert offices into new homes have been able to do so under a permitted development right – that is, without applying for planning permission, other than a light-touch “prior approval” mechanism for transport, contamination and flooding issues.

Such rights have been enthusiastically adopted by the housing industry, with a particular move towards providing new studio and 1 bedroom flats. This has included the conversion and refurbishment of the Archway Tower in Islington.

However, Islington council issued an Article 4 Direction, seeking to remove these rights across the borough. This was despite a special exemption exercise previously taking place, which exempted the much of the strategic office space in the borough.

After discussions with the council, the steps taken today by ministers will limit where office to residential conversions cannot take place under permitted development rights to very small, targeted parts of Islington – rather than a blanket ban applying across the whole area.

Anyone looking to convert offices to homes outside those specific areas will continue benefit from the government’s permitted development rights, where they no longer have to apply for planning permission other than the prior approval process.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “House building levels have reached their highest levels since 2007, but there is an acute need for more homes, especially in London.

“With more mobile modern day working practices, and housing being in such demand, it makes sense to allow the free market to create new homes on brownfield land. In turn, such regeneration helps protect the countryside.

“The steps I’m taking today ensure that Londoners can benefit from the steps we’ve taken to cut red tape and make it easier to deliver these new homes in Islington.”

£100m Cotgrave scheme gets underway

£100m Cotgrave project gets underway 1Partners involved in the construction of a £100 million residential project in Nottinghamshire gathered this week to see the start of the project to build over 450 homes.

Representatives from Rushcliffe Borough Council, the HCA, Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes attended the site which will pave the way for 600 jobs in the trades.

Cotgrave is an 8-10 year project with a value of approximately £100 million. Spread over 34 hectares, the site is a derelict pithead site on a former colliery and will deliver 450 new homes of which 141 will be affordable.

Rushcliffe, the borough in which Cotgrave sits, is only the second council in the East Midlands to be awarded ‘Client Based Status’ under the National Skills Academy for Construction and the first in the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

This means that developers and house builders will employ and offer training opportunities to local people when building new homes. This approach has been adopted at the Cotgrave site, and will be delivered and supported by Barratt Homes and employment partners.

Cllr Neil Clarke, Leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council, said: “This major development is a massive boost for Cotgrave and Rushcliffe’s economy, as well as providing new homes and giving local people opportunities for work and training.”

£100m Cotgrave project gets underwayGraham Dobbs, Head of Midlands North for the HCA – the government’s housing and regeneration agency which has invested £3.6 million into Cotgrave said: “We are really pleased that the work and investment we have put into this project along with the the council, developers and local people over many years is now coming to fruition.

“As well as new homes for local people, we will also boost job opportunities and local economic growth”.

John Reddington, Managing Director for David Wilson Homes East Midlands said: “We’re immensely excited to be starting work at Hollygate Park, which will offer our very best new homes in a unique setting.

“Working closely with Rushcliffe Borough Council and other partners we look forward to creating job opportunities and a vibrant new community for local people.”