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.

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.”