New freedoms for Wales to build new homes

The Welsh GovernmentEleven local authorities in Wales which have retained their social housing stock, will exit the UK Government’s Housing Revenue Account Subsidy (HRAS) system and become self-financing.

Councils will be given more powers over their housing stock which will enable them to keep all the rental income they receive from tenants and build new homes.

Councils will have control over their housing assets which are forecast to generate around £18 billion of rental income over the next 30 years.

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Many hours of complex negotiations and a great deal of hard work has gone into securing this agreement, which will have a very positive impact on Wales’ council housing stock.

Each council will be better off every year and will enjoy new freedoms which will provide them with the incentive, flexibility and control to invest further in their housing stock.

The increase in councils’ housing revenue as a result of this deal will allow them to improve their existing properties and build new council houses.

Today’s historic deal will, therefore, also have a direct impact on tenants who will benefit from living in more comfortable, higher quality homes.”

Galliford Try gets £69m Wandsworth development

GallifordTryGalliford Try has reached agreement with Frasers Property on the next phases of the Riverside Quarter residential development in Wandsworth that will see the building of new homes.

Frasers has appointed Galliford Try to construct the next three phases of the project, worth £69 million in total to the business.

Phases 5C and 5D consist of two new blocks, which will include 99 apartments for sale and an additional 50 affordable homes.

Phase 6A will create a new 13 storey block providing 51 new apartments for sale and 36 affordable homes together with additional commercial units and extensive landscaping, in a much sought after residential area in South West London.

Galliford Try Executive Chairman Greg Fitzgerald said: “Long-term relationships with valued clients are a key part of our construction strategy and we are delighted to have been able to reach agreement with Frasers to continue our partnership on such a prestigious residential development in a prime London location.”

Docklands deal will deliver 3,500 new London homes

Docklands deal will deliver 3,500 new London homesWork on a major new development at the heart of London’s Docklands is set to get underway thanks to £200 million government funding to Canary Wharf Group, Eric Pickles announced.

The new phase of Canary Wharf development will deliver 3,500 homes as well as offices, shops leisure facilities and create new jobs in the building trades.

The scheme has been planned for more than a decade – but this government funding boost will enable work to finally get started.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “London’s Docklands have been completely transformed in the last 20 years into an exciting place to live and work.

Today’s £200 million deal will ensure this continues long into the future with the development of Wood Wharf, delivering thousands of homes as well as job opportunities.”

Delivering homes and jobs in the capital

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:“This funding will help to accelerate the regeneration of a ‎currently derelict brownfield site into a brand new community.”

Under the terms of today’s deal, the Canary Wharf Group will receive a £200 million loan from the government to provide the infrastructure needed to unlock the site to the east of the existing Canary Wharf estate, including the relocation and upgrading of utilities for the site.

The funding will also make it an attractive place to live and work by funding a network of parks and public squares, as well as improved road and pedestrian access.

It will mean work can then get started on delivering 3,500 homes, including 607 affordable homes, as well as 2.8 million square feet of offices, shops and community facilities.

These proposals have already got planning permission, so work will be able to start within months.

Andy Rose, chief executive at the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “The £200 million contribution to this project will accelerate the infrastructure needed to boost this vital centre for business activity by unlocking land to establish Canary Wharf as a residential location, building the homes that London needs to supply viable housing developments.”

New measures set to boost housebuilding

HousebuildingNew measures will deliver new homes across the country, help aspiring homeowners onto the property ladder and offer greater support to those renting privately.

Housebuilding is a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan, expected to create thousands of new jobs and boost the construction trades.

A new Urban Development Corporation will help deliver the first Garden City for 100 years at Ebbsfleet, with up to 15,000 new homes.

Overlapping and unnecessary building standards, that increase the cost of construction for house builders, are scrapped making it easier and less expensive to build.

There will be new support from councils for aspiring self- and custom builders in their area to find suitable plots of land to get their projects off the drawing board.

There will also be help for aspiring homeowners and tenants in the private rented sector, with more people qualifying for the Right to Buy, measures to prevent so-called retaliatory evictions and requirements on letting agents to publish full details of the fees they charge to tenants.

And homeowners in London looking to rent out their homes on a short-term basis will now be able to do so without seeking planning permission from their council – putting the Capital’s rules in line with those already in place for the rest of the country.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’re working across all parts of the housing industry to get the country building again and it’s working, with housebuilding levels at their highest since 2007 and planning permission granted on 253,000 homes in the last year alone.”

Carillion wins UK construction contracts worth £124m

Carillion logoCarillion has been awarded a £91 million contract by Helical Bar to deliver Phase 1 of its Bart’s Square development in the City of London.

The first phase of this development includes residential, offices and mixed use facilities on a 2.3 acre site that includes the area formerly occupied by Barts Hospital.

Phase 1 demolition is underway and construction will commence in the Summer of 2015 with completion scheduled for the Summer of 2017.

Carillion has also won a £33 million contract for residential developer St George Central London to build 177 new apartments at the award winning Beaufort Park development in North London.

This will be Phase 10 of the Beaufort Park project, which is being built for the Notting Hill Housing Association to provide affordable homes. Work on the site has started and completion is scheduled for Autumn 2016.

Commenting, Carillion Chief Executive, Richard Howson, said: “Winning these prestigious contracts builds on the strong, high-quality order book we have in our UK construction services business.

We are delighted to be working with Helical Bar and St George on these projects and share their vision of not simply constructing buildings, but helping to create communities in which people enjoy living.

We also remain committed to working with local suppliers and to creating jobs through these projects, by recruiting local people wherever possible and we will also be offering opportunities for young people who are training as apprentices with Carillion.”

Government cash boost for East Devon

Government funding boost for East DevonA new Jurassic visitor centre in East Devon is to receive a cash boost from the government’s multi-million pound Coastal Communities Fund that will help create new jobs.

The government is committed to helping seaside towns create vibrant economies as part of the long-term economic plan to boost jobs, infrastructure and businesses around the country.

Seaton Jurassic in East Devon will receive £200,000 to carry out excavation work for a new visitor centre which will welcome more than 66,000 visitors, create £4 million of local economic growth, and create 103 jobs.

And the Youth Hostel Association will receive £150,000 for the renovation of 2 new hostels, one in Brighton and the other in Yorkshire, which will boost tourism.

The projects will provide new and improved holiday accommodation, create a new café in Brighton and bring about 76 jobs.

Coastal Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “Investing in our coastal towns so they can reach their full potential is an important part of our long-term economic plan. These projects will drive forward new business opportunities, create local jobs, and boost the local economy.

The government is committed to supporting coastal communities across the country so they can become thriving year-round success stories that people are proud to work and live in.”

The £116 million Coastal Communities Fund is supporting 212 projects across the UK which are creating almost 12,400 jobs and providing more than 6,000 training places and apprenticeships.

The fund was launched in 2012 to help seaside towns reduce unemployment, create new opportunities for young people and help each area achieve its full economic potential.

Willmott Dixon gets £20m Trafford transformation

Willmott Dixon appointed for £20m Trafford schemeTrafford Housing Trust has appointed Willmott Dixon for a £20 million contract to transform Shrewsbury Street in Old Trafford that will pave the way for new jobs and boost economic growth.

In one of the region’s biggest schemes, Willmott Dixon will deliver a mixed-use development that includes community centre, bistro café, pharmacy, health care facilities and 80 extra-care apartments.

The extra-care apartments are an important addition to provide people over 55 with high quality accommodation with an emphasis on independent living.

In addition, St Bride’s Church is being demolished and rebuilt as part of the redevelopment which will also see a public library, a multi-function activity hall, a day nursery and sports changing rooms.

The Shrewsbury Street project is an integral part of the wider Old Trafford Master Plan being led and delivered by Trafford Housing Trust in partnership with Trafford Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

The development will complete in summer 2017 and be a catalyst for wider social cohesion and economic growth in Old Trafford.

Matthew Gardiner, Chief Executive of Trafford Housing Trust, said: “Trafford Housing Trust is ten years old this year and the transformation of Shrewsbury Street is a great example of the investment, vision and commitment we continue to bring to the borough.

The scheme will bring a real sense of identity and place to Shrewsbury Street and adjacent neighbourhoods, and the new facilities and amenities will form the centrepiece of the Trust’s long-term masterplan for the wider Old Trafford area.”

Executive Member for Economic Growth and Planning, Councillor Michael Hyman, said: “The Council is delighted that it has been able to play its part in getting this project off the ground with the provision of the land on which to build the development, which itself is a great example of partners working together.

We and the Trust are bringing facilities to promote health and wellbeing, as well as improved accommodation, and potentially employment and training opportunities.”

Skanska to carry out upgrade of UK’s busiest railway

Skanska to carry out upgrade of UK’s busiest railwaySkanska has been appointed, as part of a team of contractors, to deliver the largest investment for decades on the UK’s busiest railway, including London’s Waterloo station.

The railway from London Waterloo is the UK’s busiest, carrying more than half a million passengers every day and more than 222 million every year, an increase of more than 100% in just 20 years.

London Waterloo is the UK’s busiest station, with 98 million passengers in 2013/14 and a train arriving or departing virtually every minute during peak times.

In order to boost capacity and prepare for future growth, the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance will invest hundreds of millions of pounds over the next four years. Plans include the reopening of the former international terminal at Waterloo for use by regular commuter services.

Christian Roth, Fleet Director of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: “This is an important step forward in our commitment to boost peak time capacity by 30 per cent by 2018.

A huge amount of work has already been carried out to improve services and increase capacity but we know we need do to much more. The unique alliance between South West Trains and Network Rail allows a project of this size to be delivered efficiently and it will have a real impact on passengers’ journeys.”

James Richardson, speaking on behalf of the consortium of contractors, said: “An investment of this size is excellent news for rail passengers in the region and, of course, an exciting opportunity for our team.

Working through a unique collaboration model, we will be able to combine and integrate the skills and expertise of a strong supply chain to deliver this challenging programme.”

The consortium will now work with the Alliance to scope out detailed plans, which will then be submitted to the Office of Rail Regulation and Department for Transport.

New regeneration projects for Wales

£2m for regeneration projects across WalesCommunities and Tackling Poverty Minister for Wales, Lesley Griffiths, has announced £1,997,000 for six regeneration projects across Wales that will create jobs and boost economic growth.

The Vibrant and Viable places funding will be used to help tackle poverty, increase housing supply and improve community facilities.

The £2 million will be shared between Newport, Neath Port Talbot, Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham councils to fund key regeneration projects.

These include £485,000 that will bring empty properties back into use on Commercial Street in Newport. A £500,000 investment will help for the purchase a piece of land in the heart of Pontypridd Town Centre to be developed into shops and new homes

Another £500,000 will be invested towards the major redevelopment of Burrows Yard, a 4 acre piece of land just outside Port Talbot town centre

Lesley Griffiths said: “This substantial additional funding is further evidence of how the Welsh Government is committed to regenerating Welsh towns and cities and providing opportunities for the people of Wales.

“These projects will make a real difference to their communities. Many of the projects focus on the regeneration of town centres, which is about a lot more than filling empty shops.

It is about creating diverse and vibrant town centres which are an attractive place to live, creating jobs and helping to build a strong local economy.”

Morgan Sindall set to build first phase of £5.5m job

Morgan SindallMorgan Sindall has been appointed by Melton Borough Council to build the first phase of a £5.5 million livestock market in Melton Mowbray.

Phase one of the project will involve the replacement and relocation of cow sheds which will safeguard the livestock market on the current site for the next 20 years.

Christine Marshall Strategic Director and Cattle market project sponsor said: “We are delighted that central government has approved the funding for Melton Livestock Market and shown its support for the local rural economy.

The project is expected to bring additional benefits at the market by providing an enhanced division between livestock and visitors, resulting in better safety and improved flows across and into the site; and enhanced traffic flows in and around the site.”

The existing facilities, especially those for auctioning cattle, are in a poor condition and no longer fit for purpose.

Replacement pens are required to ensure that the Melton Livestock Market remains safe, competitive and continues to comply with increasingly stringent DEFRA requirements.

Morgan Sindall’s area director, Richard Fielding, said: “The cattle market in Melton Mowbray will make a significant difference to the local economy and we are pleased to support this project.

The market will provide a safer and more welcoming environment for the local farming community with modern livestock facilities.”

The company was awarded this project through the East Midlands Property Alliance (EMPA) framework and is due to start work on the livestock market in April 2016.