Chancellor pledges £100bn by 2020 for infrastructure

Chancellor commits £100bn by 2020 for infrastructureChancellor George Osborne has anounced a £100 billion investment in this Parliament for new roads, rail, flood defences and other infrastructure projects.

Launching the new National Infrastructure Commission, led by former Cabinet minister Lord Adonis, the Chancellor said that infrastructure will be at the heart of next month’s Spending Review.

In his statement, he pledged £100 billion in infrastructure spending by 2020 – including full funding for the £15 billion Roads Investment Strategy.

A suite of asset sales which the Treasury expects to raise billions of pounds is being identified to be ploughed back into infrastructure projects that will create thousands of jobs in the trades.

The Chancellor said: “This is about jobs, growth, living standards and ensuring Britain is fit for the future. We must be the builders. At the Spending Review, I will commit to investing £100bn in infrastructure over the next five years and we are creating an independent commission to give us a long-term, unbiased analysis of the country’s major infrastructure needs.

We need to think long-term and deliver a cross-party consensus on what we need to build. I am delighted Andrew Adonis and this world-class group of experts have agreed to come together on the National Infrastructure Commission to help us do that.”

Lord Adonis said: “For Britain to get on with the job of delivering high-quality infrastructure that benefits everyone, you need more than just a commitment to invest – you need long term forward plans and the maximum possible consensus.”

Plans unveiled for £70m Orbit Homes development

Plans unveiled for £70m Orbit Homes developmentOrbit Homes has unveiled its plans for a £70 million St Anne’s Quarter development in Norwich city centre that will see the building of 437 new homes.

St Anne’s Quarter will comprise 22,000 square foot of commercial space, and a central plaza area along the riverfront, which includes a landscaped open space.

The plans will see the first homes due for completion in summer 2017, offering a mix of studio, one, and two bedroom apartments and houses, as well as eight commercial units.

Maggie McCann, development director for Orbit Homes, said: “We know there is a lot of public interest in the site, with it having stood empty for almost 20 years, so we were delighted to share our plans with the local community.

We have committed to spending £70 million to regenerate St Anne’s Quarter into a mixed-tenure sustainable development that will provide new homes to meet need and aspiration in Norwich. Orbit has a target of building 12,000 new homes by 2020 and this is a key site in helping us reaching that goal.”

Ahead of construction, Orbit Homes appointed Norwich Property Services (NPS) Archaeology to excavate the site, ensuring any historical finds are recorded and preserved.

With the 18-week programme of archaeology now coming to an end, Orbit Homes is currently in the process of appointing a building contractor. Construction is expected to begin in early 2016.

Wates gets affordable housing job

Wates gets affordable housing jobAffordable housing provider, Wates Living Space, has commenced work to develop a brand new apartment complex on Hesketh Road in Stafford.

Wates has now begun work to deliver the £5.59 million package of works, which will include the demolition of five multi-storey apartment blocks and associated garages to create 63 brand new affordable one and two-bedroom homes.

Designed by architects, Pozzoni LLP, the regeneration scheme forms part of a wider investment in the town and surrounding areas by SARH, and marks the first time Wates Living Space has worked with the social landlord.

Planning permission for the Hesketh Road scheme was granted in July, a milestone in the £40 million SARH programme to build over 300 energy efficient homes in Stafford. Completion is scheduled for early 2017.

Wates Living Space has made a commitment to ensuring that the local community and economy benefit from the work.

This includes a pledge to create extensive opportunities for training and employment throughout the project and the appointment of local sub-contractors and suppliers to support project delivery.

The project will also see Wates Living Space appoint wholly owned SARH trading subsidiary, Housing Worx, to install kitchens in the new homes.

Karen Armitage, SARH Chief Executive, added: “We are delighted that this exciting project is now well underway as it will provide a huge boost for the local community. As well as providing much needed affordable homes it will also help to drive regeneration in the area.”

Lee Sale, Regional Business Director, Wates Living Space said: “Wates Living Space believes that building new homes is about much more than bricks and mortar and we will work closely with SARH to ensure that we create extensive benefits for local people throughout the project and beyond completion.”

Go-ahead for Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 Power Station

Go-ahead for Ferrybridge Multifuel 2 Power StationThe Ferrybridge Mutlifuel 2 (FM2) Power Station was given the go-ahead this week by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

The proposed multifuel power station will have a capacity of up to 90 MWe Gross, capable of producing low carbon electricity and heat primarily through waste derived fuel.

The site is located within the site of Ferrybridge ‘C’ Power Station, Stranglands Lane, Knottingley, West Yorkshire.

The decision follows an examination process completed within the statutory timescales laid down in The Planning Act 2008 (as amended by The Localism Act 2011). It is the 9th power station examined by the Planning Inspectorate to gain development consent.

Following a six month examination during which the public, statutory consultees and interested parties were given the opportunity to give evidence to the Examining Authority, a recommendation was made to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change on 29 July 2015.

The Planning Inspectorate’s interim Chief Executive, Steve Quartermain, said:“The decision announced today supports the recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate and is the 43rd application for a nationally significant infrastructure project to be examined.”

A major priority for us over the course of the examination was to ensure that communities who might be affected by this proposal had the opportunity to put forward their views. As always, the Examining Authority gave careful consideration to these before reaching its conclusion.”

Success of £100m regeneration scheme in Wales

Welsh GovernmentThe Welsh Government’s flagship £100 million regeneration scheme, VVP, has found it is delivering significant benefits to the Welsh economy and communities across the country.

The report highlights the programme will create more than 2,000 jobs, support 3,000 people into work and bring a further £300 million into Wales.

It is also expected to deliver 1,000 additional affordable homes and more than 2,300 homes in the private sector.

Through VVP, 11 local authorities across Wales are sharing £100 million in capital funding between 2014 and 2017. The funding is being invested in a range of regeneration projects in town centres, coastal communities and Communities First areas, with significant progress being made across Wales

An independent group was appointed to review the success of VVP to inform future funding decisions for the programme. Their report endorses the scheme’s aims and says it is generating major benefits for Welsh communities, while setting out ways the programme could be strengthened even further in future, should there be another funding round.

Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Lesley Griffiths, said:”Our flagship VVP programme is at the very heart of our work to create jobs, boost the economy, increase the supply and quality of housing, and tackle poverty.

“This is why I am delighted this independent report so clearly endorses our approach to regeneration and highlights the huge impact the programme is set to have in Welsh communities.

“I would like to thank the group’s members for using their wealth of expertise in various areas to assess the success of VVP and inform future work.”

Plans unveiled for revised £27bn Crossrail 2 scheme

Plans unveiled for revised £27bn Crossrail 2 schemeTransport for London is driving forward plans for the £27 billion Crossrail 2 rail scheme as it seeks to get Government approval next spring.

The next step in taking forward this vital new Crossrail 2 railway is the launch of a public consultation today on more detailed plans for the project, which could bring huge economic benefits across the UK.

Benefits from the project would be felt across the UK, supporting thousands of new homes and jobs in the building trades.

Some 200,000 new homes and 200,000 new jobs could be supported by the scheme, through the housing and economic growth it would support, with 60,000 full-time jobs also being supported through the construction and operation of Crossrail 2.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “Crossrail 2 will be a vital new transport link that will significantly improve capacity on the rail network into and out of London. It will also provide a major boost for jobs, new homes and economic growth here in the Capital and far beyond.”

Michele Dix, TfL’s Managing Director of Crossrail 2, said: “Crossrail 2 will provide a UK-wide economic boost supporting hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs. It is also vital to meet the demands of London’s rapidly growing population.”

Contractor appointed for £16m project in Warrington

Contractor appointed for £16m project in WarringtonLiveWire have appointed BAM Construction as the preferred contractor to carry out work to transform the existing Great Sankey Leisure Centre in Warrington into a neighbourhood hub.

Construction, which is set to begin on phase 1 of the £16 million project at the start of next month, will revamp the centre into a state-of-the-art integrated facility which will provide leisure, health and cultural services for the people of west Warrington.

The dementia friendly facility will include a fitness suite, swimming pools, sports hall, tennis courts, 3G pitch, GP surgeries, library, cafe and health and wellbeing facilities including a spa, with phase 1 set to open to the public in Autumn 2016.

BAM’s national charity partner is the Alzheimer’s Society and the partnership provides opportunities for the team to fully embrace with, and create, a true dementia friendly environment for local people.

Managing Director at LiveWire, Jan Souness, said: “We are pleased to announce the appointment of BAM as the contractor to carry out the development of the existing Great Sankey Leisure Centre to transform it into a modern integrated facility for the whole community.”

Construction Director at BAM, Ian Fleming, said:“It’s very important to us to deliver this project successfully for the whole community, and not just to build a fantastic facility but to make the opportunity of the build itself into a positive experience for them.

We’re really looking forward to engaging people and creating something that will truly enhance the lives of everybody who lives here.”

Balfour Beatty gets £28m Dundee Rail Station contract

Balfour Beatty has been awarded a £28 million contract for the redevelopment of Dundee Rail Station, creating 120 construction jobs per year throughout the duration of the project.

The contract will see the new station built on the site of the former station concourse with a triple height ground floor incorporating a passenger concourse, ticketing facilities, a café/restaurant and retail space and three additional floors above the concourse to accommodate a new hotel.

Balfour Beatty is committed to providing a lasting benefit for the local communities in which it operates and its winning bid included a detailed community engagement plan to provide 10 work placements, seven new industry entrants, six apprenticeships and 100% of local job applicants being guaranteed an interview.

Hector MacAulay, Balfour Beatty Managing Director for the East of Scotland, said: “This is a key project in the exciting programme to regenerate the Waterfront in Dundee and follows on from our recently completed New Olympia Pool and Leisure Centre in East Marketgait.

We will work with the Council to generate significant community involvement through the construction phase with local employment and apprenticeships to deliver sustainable benefit to the city in the long term.“

Ken Guild, leader of Dundee City Council, said: “The Council’s new Capital Plan identified funding for this vital project to go ahead. It will bring more than 120 construction jobs per year for the two years of the build; £11.6m of gross added value to the local economy; and knock on benefits to the local supply chain, which all add up to make the concourse project a key economic driver for the city while it is being built.

In addition when the new railway station concourse opens it will create jobs in the associated hotel and retail development.”

The two year construction project which will start this winter will be delivered over the railway line and will allow normal train services to continue.

PM and Chinese President unlock UK investment

PM and Chinese President unlock UK investmentThe north of England will forge new partnerships with China and unlock the potential of the Northern Powerhouse that will boost economiv growth and create new jobs.

The announcement comes as the Prime Minister and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, embark upon a tour of Manchester, as part of the China State Visit.

The Prime Minister said: “We are committed to rebalancing our economy and building a Northern Powerhouse.

China is a key trading partner for the UK and the partnerships being made today will see real investment going into the north.

“This is all part of this government’s plan to attract more investment and deliver economic growth to an area of huge potential.”

Partnerships set to be agreed include:

  • Hainan Airlines announcing the first direct flights from Manchester Airport to China – the first outside London. The deal is estimated to provide a £50 million boost to the Manchester economy and open up links from China into the Northern Powerhouse.

  • Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) being appointed as main contractor for the Middlewood Locks regeneration project in Manchester.

  • As announced on the Chancellor’s visit to China last month, Hualing Group is signing an agreement with UK real estate company Scarborough Group International to invest in 3 major regeneration projects in the north: Middlewood Locks in Manchester, Thorpe Park in Leeds and Sheffield Digital Campus.

  • The University of Central Lancashire establishing a joint innovation and entrepreneurship competition with the Shenzhen government in south eastern China

  • Uppingham School in Rutland setting up 5 schools in China in a partnership with Hainan Airline and Tourism Group.

  • Hong Kong based company Netdragon Websoft finalising the acquisition of the educational supplies company Promethean World Plc, based in Blackburn, for £84.8 million, securing 671 jobs.

Hinkley Point C to create 25, 000 jobs

Hinkley Point C to power six million UK homesEDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) have committed to Hinkley Point C during this week’s landmark China State Visit.

The project will provide a vital boost for the national and local economy – creating 25,000 jobs, up to 1,000 apprentices and landing UK businesses billions of pounds worth of supply chain contracts.

Hinkley Point C will provide low carbon electricity to six million homes, twice as many as the whole of London, for around 60 years – and consumers won’t pay a penny until the plant is up and running.

The companies have signed a Strategic Investment Agreement which marks a critical moment for the site in Somerset. EDF has confirmed it will take a 66.5 per cent stake in Hinkley with CGN taking 33.5 per cent, demonstrating a clear commitment from both parties.

The Government and EDF have finalised the detail of the Contract for Difference which offers increased price certainty for the electricity produced from Hinkley Point C.

The Funded Decommissioning Programme has been approved and will make sure that the tax payer doesn’t pick up the cost of decommissioning the plant in the future.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m pleased to announce that today we are signing an historic deal to build the Hinkley nuclear power station, providing reliable, affordable energy for nearly six million homes and creating more than 25,000 jobs, all while working together to build a low-carbon future.”

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We are tackling a legacy of under-investment and building energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century as part of our plan to provide the clean, affordable and secure energy that hardworking families and businesses across the country can rely on now and in the future.

The UK is open for business and this is a good deal for everyone – Hinkley Point C will continue to meet our robust safety regulations and will power nearly six million households with low-carbon energy, creating over 25,000 jobs and more financial security for working people and their families.”

The Government will support new nuclear power stations as we move to a low-carbon future. Hinkley Point C will kick start this and is expected to be followed by more nuclear power stations, including Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. This will provide essential financial and energy security for generations to come.

EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “Hinkley Point C and successive nuclear projects will guarantee the UK the reliable, secure low carbon electricity it needs in the future.

Nuclear power will save customers money compared with other energy options and provide a huge boost to British industrial strength, jobs and skills both in Britain and abroad. Today’s announcements are also good news in the fight against climate change.”