Plans to upgrade London Waterloo station

Plans to upgrade London Waterloo stationA multi-million pound expansion of London Waterloo has seen its planning application for by Network Rail submitted, with work on the £400 development set to start in October.

The first part of the project involves strengthening three bridges on the approach to the platforms as well as changing the layout of the track and platforms.

John Halsall, route infrastructure director for Network Rail, said: “The project to improve the railway and strengthen the bridges on the approach to Waterloo is an absolutely vital part of our plans to improve capacity at Britain’s busiest station.

The submission of the planning application to carry out this work is an important step forward and, if approved, we expect to start work before the end of the year.”

The planning application for the proposed work has been submitted to the London Borough of Lambeth.

If permission is granted preparation work would be expected to start in October 2015, with construction taking place between November 2015 and the end of 2016.  Associated track and signalling work will then continue until mid-2017.

Tim Shoveller, managing director of South West Trains, added: “We operate one of the busiest railways in Europe, with over half a million passenger journeys every day.

The biggest investment for decades on our network is well underway but the work to expand London Waterloo is absolutely vital to make sure we can provide much needed extra space, both for our customers now and in the future.”

Amey secures £113m Yorkshire Water deal

Amey secures £113m Yorkshire Water dealYorkshire Water has awarded its new £113 million waste water network repair and maintenance contract to Amey.

The deal is set to start in September and will run until 2020 with Amey covering the whole of the Yorkshire region.

It will also support Yorkshire Water in protecting homes from sewer flooding and pollution incidents, which equates to over 100,000 jobs per year.

Yorkshire Water has around 55,000 kilometres of sewerage pipes across the county shifting used water and sewage from nearly 2.5 million properties to over 600 waste water treatment works.

Amey will undertake  all  of  Yorkshire  Water’s  contracted  repair  and maintenance services on its extensive waste water network.

Charlie Haysom, Yorkshire Water’s Director of Service Delivery, said: “This major contract has been designed to deliver the best possible service for our customers at the best price with the highest levels of safety.”

Mel Ewell, CEO, Amey, said: “The awarding of this contract to Amey is testament to the strength of our relationship with Yorkshire Water and their trust in our ability to deliver services to the highest possible standards as well as our considerable experience in the waste water industry.

We are delighted to expand the scope of our work with Yorkshire Water. Both our organisations will work together to improve essential services and provide an outstanding customer experience across the region.”

New town in South Hams gets the go-ahead

New town in South Hams is gets the go-aheadDetailed plans for the first phase of a new Devon town have been approved, paving the way for economic growth and new constitution jobs in the trades.

Building work on the multi-billion pound Sherford development near Plymouth will start soon, seeing the construction of 580 new houses.

The town will have four schools, a library, GP surgery, town hall, community centres and parks.
Some local people have raised concerns the development does not contain an ambulance station and that local hospitals will struggle to cope.

The developers, the Sherford Consortium, forecast the new community will inject £2 billion into the local economy.

South Hams District Council and Plymouth City Council granted their permission for the first phase of this  major development scheme that will boost the buiding industry and help growth.

Leader of South Hams District Council John Tucker said: “This advanced step in planning approval is a milestone which marks the real beginning of Sherford as a town, bringing much needed housing and jobs to the area.”

New home planning permissions hit 200,000 mark

New home planning permissions have passed the 200,000 mark for the first time since early 2008, paving the way for new jobs in the building construction trades.

Figures released by the Home Builders Foundation (HBF) and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report show that planning permissions for 52,167 homes were granted in England during the first quarter of this year.

This is a 19% increase on the 43,926 permissions in the corresponding quarter last year. Figures in the latest report show that 203,810 permissions were granted in the 12 months to April.

As the country looks to increase housing supply from the very low levels of recent years the increased number of homes being planned is extremely welcome.

However, many of the homes identified in the report still have to navigate the remainder of the planning system, a process that continues to take far too long, delaying work starting on many of the sites.

Since the introduction of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in 2013, housing output has increased significantly. The planning process, however, remains a significant constraint on the industry’s ability to meet the higher levels of demand and deliver further increases in supply.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said: “Since the Help to Buy scheme was introduced in 2013 house building activity has increased strongly. Private housing starts in 2014 were up nearly 40% on their pre-Help to Buy level in 2012. However we are still only building around half the number of new homes the country needs, and far fewer than in previous decades.

One of the biggest constraints on the industry’s ability to meet the new level of demand and deliver further sustained increases in build rates is the planning process. How quickly we get more sites to the point where we can actually start to lay bricks will be a major influence on future house building levels.

The headline announcements made in the Productivity Plan sound very positive. What is key is that the detail is now developed and the proposals implemented as soon as is possible.

Increasing housing delivery will provide the high quality homes our next generation needs, support thousands of companies up and down the land and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

Galliford Try secures £48.5m Priority School Building batch

GallifordTryGalliford Try has reached financial close with the Education Funding Agency for the £48.5 million North and North East Lincolnshire batch of schools in the Priority School Building Programme.

The batch includes building two new secondary schools – The Vale Academy and Baysgarth School – as well as six new primary schools – Brumby Junior School, Burton-upon-Stather Primary School, Oasis Academy Henderson Avenue, Crosby Primary School, The Grange Primary School and Great Coates Primary School.

Greg Fitzgerald, Executive Chairman of Galliford Try, said: “Reaching this agreement with the EFA marks another significant milestone for our business as we continue to make considerable progress in the education sector.

We look forward to working with all the stakeholders involved to ensure these school buildings help provide a first class educational environment for the students of the region.”

Kier gets £475m joint venture Smart Motorway contract

Kier 2Kier has secured one of Highways England’s largest Smart Motorway Programme (SMP) contracts worth up to £475 million, in a joint venture with Carillion.

Awarded as part of the Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF), the programme will be focused on the 19 mile stretch of the M6 running from Junction 16 to 19 and the M6 running from Junction 13 to 15, as well as the M20 between Junction 3 and 5 and the M23 from Junction 8 to 10.

The first phase of the contract on the M6 (J16-19), worth £129.5m, is due to begin in the autumn, with the other packages phased for delivery over the next four years. Final target costs for these tranches will be agreed with Highways England in due course.

The joint venture is one of three delivery partners for the Highways England Smart Motorway Programme and will be managed through a collaborative agreement designed to share industry knowledge and best practice.

The programme will include a range of smart motorway technology including the testing of All Lane Running (ALR) and Advanced Directional Signage (ADR).

Haydn Mursell, chief executive of Kier, said: “Investment into the transport infrastructure sector is a key component of the National Infrastructure Pipeline, and this significant award is testament to Kier’s growing presence in this arena.

Our role in the Smart Motorway Programme extends Kier’s capabilities into Highways England’s capital expenditure programme, leveraging our expertise through the recent acquisition of Mouchel and illustrating the breadth of services that Kier can provide to clients in our core markets.”

Enterprise zones to attract new investment

Enterprise ZonesThere will be more opportunities for places to benefit from Enterprise Zone-boom as government announced scheme’s extension to create jobs and economic growth.

Local councils are being urged to work with their Local Enterprise Partnerships(LEPs) to come forward with ambitious plans for new Enterprise Zones and to seize the economic initiative by identifying businesses on their patch with investment or export potential.

Ministers want local business and civic leaders to encourage firms with shared interests to stand together and form a stronger commercial proposition. This includes building on the commercial strengths of rural areas.

These new zones will enable places to drive growth and jobs creation.

Enterprise Zones bring with them a raft of benefits to businesses including lower taxes, access to superfast broadband and streamlined planning permission to boost local infrastructure.

Minister for Local Growth and the Northern Powerhouse James Wharton said: “Enterprise Zones are creating thousands of jobs, attracting billions of pounds of investment.

Britain is a great place to do business and this is a chance for local areas to build on their benefits. As part of our long-term economic plan it is only right we allow more to share our national success.

The government is building on the success of the existing 24 Enterprise Zones which by last December had attracted 15,500 jobs around the country since they opened over the past 3 years and delivered a multibillion-pound boost to local economies.”

Government drive to use land and property for growth

Government drive to use land and property for growthLocal councils will be encouraged to release surplus public land and property, as part of the Government’s productivity plan to create new jobs and boost economic growth.

Through the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association (LGA)-led One Public Estate programme local councils will be encouraged to share buildings and services, reduce running costs and release land in order to boost development.

The 32 councils that are currently on the programme own 28 per cent of council land and property assets in England. They expect to deliver an additional 9,000 homes, 20,000 jobs, raise £129 million in capital receipts from land sales and cut running costs by £77 million over five years.

In the Budget it was announced that £6 million would go towards forming new partnerships of councils to transform local services and deliver local growth.

Minister for Cabinet Office, the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock said: “Over the last five years the Government’s property reforms have raised £1.4 billion for hard-working taxpayers and in the years ahead we will go further, and faster.

“By freeing up land and encouraging growth we are helping local communities to spring to life and find a new use for old government land.”

LGA Chairman, Cllr Gary Porter, said:”Through One Public Estate, councils have shown that they are perfectly placed to act as leaders of place and deliver effective cross public sector asset management.

It is great to see in practice and how through the programme we are seeing the integration of services, local economic growth, and support more sustainable local government.

“It’s clear this isn’t easy work and the investment of time, energy and patience, as well as funds, needs to go hand in hand with strong leadership. But I think what the One Public Estate programme has shown us is that the hard work is worth it.”

Successes to date include City of York Council entering a partnership with Network Rail to jointly release city centre land for the development of 1,100 new homes and 80,000 sq m of central business district and Leeds City Council working in partnership with Leeds Community Health on joint use of their land and property to underpin delivery of integrated health and social care services across the city.

Major plans for town centres across Wales

Welsh GovernmentCommunities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, has this week set out how £5 million of Welsh Government funding will be used to boost town centres across Wales.

The capital funding will be loaned to seven local authorities for up to 15 years to be spent on town centres in Tredegar, Rhymney, Grangetown, Llanelli, Rhyl, Caernarfon and Barry.

During this time, the council can recycle and re-invest the funding in different projects which will improve their town centres and bring empty buildings back into use.

Such improvements will help create jobs and encourage economic growth, increase the number of homes available within town centres and make them a more diverse, vibrant and attractive place to visit.

The Minister visited Rhyl town centre to see first-hand how the funding will help transform the town. Lesley Griffiths said: “Town centres play a vital role in community life and this loan funding will help bring about improvements in the areas which need it the most.

I look forward to seeing how this £5 million will improve town centres across Wales over the next fifteen years. By making our town centres more attractive and accessible, we hope to increase visitor numbers and give local businesses and communities a boost.”

The funding will support a range of different projects in the seven local authorities across Wales:

  • In Tredegar, the council will receive £714,286 to demolish a social club and replace it with much needed social housing.

  • Rhymney will receive £500,000 to bring six empty properties back into use and make the former Aldi site more attractive for development.

  • Carmarthenshire Council will use its £700,000 to renovate empty properties in Llanelli town centre and bring them back into use

  • In Rhyl, the council is using the £842,857 to work with the private sector to redevelop empty buildings on West Parade and build a new car park in the centre of the town

  • Gwynedd Council will put their £700,000 towards the ongoing major regeneration project in Caernarfon town centre

  • In Barry, the council will receive £842,867 to develop empty and rundown properties into affordable housing and apartments for market rent.

£1.5bn boost for motorways in England

£1.5bn boost for motorways in EnglandHighways England has today appointed six joint-venture companies to design and build 10 ‘smart motorways’ across England as part of a £1.5 billion investment.

The smart motorway schemes, part of the £15 billion government investment Highways England is delivering between now and 2021, will see 292 extra lane miles added to motorways.

Three of these projects will start in autumn this year: 2 in the Midlands – M1 junction 19 to junction 16 in Northamptonshire and the M5 Junction 4a to Junction 6 in Worcestershire, and 1 in the North West – M6 junction 16 to junction 19 near Stoke-on-Trent.

Construction contractors appointed are Balfour Beatty and VINCI joint venture, Costain and Galliford Try joint venture, and Carillion and Kier joint venture.

With designers being CH2M and Hyder joint venture, Amey and Arup joint venture, and Jacobs and Atkins joint venture.

Valued at up to £1.55 billion in total, this is the second major procurement to be awarded under the company’s Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF).

The first was the appointment of designers and contractors for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement which was announced last month (June).

Roads minister, Andrew Jones, said: “As part of our long-term economic plan, we are investing more than £1.5 billion over the next five years in upgrading congested sections of motorway.

This means better journeys for millions of people across the country, easier access to jobs, and stronger links between towns and cities. This is good for the economy and good for Britain.”

Highways England smart motorway programme director, Andy Watson, said: “We have awarded these contracts to the companies who demonstrated to us they will work together, across all the projects, not just the ones they have been awarded.

They proved they are driven to get the best results on price, quality and on reducing impact on road users: keeping the motorways flowing while they construct these vital improvements.”