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.

Two new London Housing Zones to create thousands of jobs

London Mayor Boris JohnsonTwo major Housing Zones launched in Waltham Forest and Wembley will see the building of thousands of homes that will create 12,000 new jobs and boost the construction trades.

The Waltham Forest Housing Zone will enable the housing led regeneration of the Blackhorse Lane and Northern Olympic areas, creating two new villages connected by the Lea Valley regional Park. The Zone will receive £41,985,000 towards 2,477 new homes, with 596 affordable properties.

Councillor Khevyn Limbajee, Waltham Forest Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This is great news for Waltham Forest residents looking to continue to live in the borough.

It will allow us to accelerate the delivery of up to 2,500 new homes and create 1,000 new jobs. With over £200million of investment secured from developers we now have the opportunity to enhance the diverse character of this unique location.”

In Wembley there will be five phases of development along the east of Wembley High Road and towards the Stadium. The Zone will receive £8,000,000 and create at least 2,380 homes, 894 affordable properties.

The two new Zones take the total number of current Zones in the capital to eleven, with the Mayor announcing the first nine last month. The Zones are part of the Mayor’s commitment to double house building as London’s population continues to boom.

The current Zones will collectively create 32,810 homes, thousands of construction jobs, major station upgrades; new schools; new bridges, and over 38,000 homes, (more than a third will be affordable) and 66,000 construction jobs.

Building work gets underway on Sheffield leisure project

Building work gets underway on Sheffield leisure projectBam Construction is set to transform Graves leisure centre in Sheffield under a £16 million building contract with Sheffield City Council.

In what is the biggest investment in leisure facilities in the city in the last 20 years, two new state-of-the-art leisure venues are now under construction both at Graves and also at Thorncliffe in High Green.

Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “After construction began on the North Active leisure centre in High Green last week, I am very pleased to see that work is now beginning on this even bigger project in the south of the city.

Both of these exciting developments will not just be traditional sports centres, but will bring swimming pools, gyms, sports facilities and health services together.

It is especially pleasing that, in this time of austerity, our partnership working with organisations such as Sport England, the NCSEM, the Lawn Tennis Association and British Gymnastics is enabling Sheffield City Council to drive these important developments forward and invest in the health of our future generations.”

BAM senior design manager Noel Banfield said: “We are very much looking forward to beginning on this important project, which will contribute to health and wellbeing in Sheffield and beyond.

Building and testing swimming pools in particular is very technical and complex, so we are delighted to be bringing across much of the management and wider team from the Huddersfield scheme. This will bring huge efficiency benefits to the project to extend these facilities.”

Willmott Dixon increases Liverpool workload

Willmott Dixon increases Liverpool workloadWillmott Dixon is expanding its presence in Liverpool with a £8 million regeneration contract that will boost economic growth and create new jobs.

The company has been appointed by Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) to overhaul the 15 storey Marwood Tower and transform it into 81 modern apartments for over 55s.

The local landmark is situated between Great Homer Street and Kirkdale Road and its revamp is part of the wider Project Jennifer development along Great Homer Street.

The Marwood Tower scheme, designed by John McCall Architects, forms part of the new Liverpool Housing Partnership forged between Liverpool City Council, Liverpool Mutual Homes, Redrow Homes and Willmott Dixon to deliver 1,500 new homes and bring a further 1,000 back into use across the city.

A new arc around the base of the tower will be built that includes a courtyard garden and a community consultation exercise is taking place to decide the designs and features. The old and new buildings will be linked by covered walkways that open in the centre of the courtyard.

Cllr Ann O’Byrne, Cabinet Member for Housing at Liverpool City Council, said: “This is an exciting scheme which will completely transform the tower block and create much-needed good quality accommodation.

This is another example of where we are working with partners and being creative in finding new ways of re-using existing buildings and sites to meet our commitment to build 5,000 new homes and bring another 1,000 back into use.”

Boost for business as government backs new enterprise zones

Enterprise ZonesBusinesses across the country have been given a major boost after the government outlined plans to launch 2 new enterprise zones that will create thousands of jobs.

Under measures announced by the Chancellor in the Budget, both Blackpool and Plymouth are in line to become the latest places to benefit from the top-class business incentives and world-class infrastructure that enterprise zones bring to their local economies and communities.

The government is also looking to extend the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone in Kent, while extensions have been rubber-stamped for Motor Industry Research Association Technology Park in the Midlands, Tees, Humber, Leeds, Mersey Waters, Manchester and Oxford.

The enterprise zones estimate that over their 25-year lifespan these measures could deliver at least an extra 3.3 million square metres of state-of-the-art workspace – the equivalent of more than 460 Wembley football pitches – and provide space for thousands of more jobs.

Local Growth Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “Enterprise zones are driving forward our economy, creating thousands of jobs and attracting billions of pounds in private investment.

Extending the programme as part of our long-term economic plan means we can build on that success, allowing hundreds more companies to benefit from the top-class business incentives and world-class infrastructure that these thriving business hubs offer.

It will mean thousands more jobs for hard-working people and a real boost to local business.”

Enterprise zones have already provided a major boost to the UK economy, creating more than 15,500 jobs, attracting over 480 companies and drawing down £2 billion in private investment.