HS2 route from West Midlands to Crewe confirmed

HS2 route from West Midlands to Crewe confirmedA final decision on the HS2 route between Fradley in the West Midlands and Crewe has been announced today, paving the way for new jobs and boosting the construction trades.

With this annoucement, the government has confirmed its intention to open this section of the line 6 years earlier than planned, in 2027.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 will help rebalance our economy by providing more space on our crowded rail network, creating jobs and supporting business. Confirming that the route from the West Midlands to Crewe will open 6 years early is a major boost for the Midlands, Northern Powerhouse and beyond.

HS2 is a transformational scheme and we are committed to helping those who are affected by it. That is why we are proposing a comprehensive package of compensation and assistance for homeowners along the route, which goes well beyond what we are required to do by law.

I hope that confirmation of the Phase 2a route will also give communities the certainty they need to plan for the future and make the most of this vital railway.”

As part of its commitment to assisting people affected by HS2, the government has also launched a consultation to give the public an opportunity to comment on the wider proposed property compensation and assistance package for Phase 2a.

GRAHAM secures projects totalling £10m

GRAHAM secures projects totalling £10mGRAHAM Interior Fit-out (GIFO) has been selected by Primark to build their latest new store in Broughton Park, Chester.

The project will be completed over a 14 week programme period, has a square footage of 39,100 and is spread over two floors.

This store in Chester is further commitment, by Primark, to their expansion programme across European and worldwide retail markets and will be the first Primark store to open in the region for five years.

During the 14 week programme the GIFO team will install new mechanical and electrical services, ceilings and floor finishes and all fixtures, fittings and furniture.

GIFO have built up and are continuing to enhance an already well-developed relationship by consistently delivering a quality product, efficiently and to the quick turnaround timescales demanded by a “contemporary fast fashion trend” retail giant such as Primark.

Primark has nearly 300 stores across the UK & Europe, 169 of which are in the UK and just recently opened its first store in America.

Berkeley strikes deal on 3,500-home East London site

Berkeley strikes deal on 3,500-home East London siteA total of 3,500 new homes, a school and a park will transform a disused Parcelforce depot in east London, thanks to an agreement between the Mayor of London and Berkeley Homes.

The 10 hectare site in Stephenson Street, Newham will boast a new school and green space, as well as nearly 100,000 sq ft of community, business, leisure and retail space.

More than 1,200 of the 3,500 homes will be for affordable rent or shared ownership. It is part of the Mayor Boris Johnson’s wider push to strengthen institutional investment in the residential market in London, with City Hall initiatives aimed at boosting both shared ownership and purpose-built private rent.

The development of the former depot continues the Mayor’s drive to release all sites in the capital under his ownership for development.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: This huge chunk of disused land will be put to the best possible use, creating a whole new neighbourhood including 3,500 much-needed new homes, a new school and a park.

This ambitious development will help to further the continuing transformation of east London as part of our Olympic legacy.”

Chairman of the Berkeley Group Tony Pidgley CBE said: Stephenson Street will be a new village for London. It will have all the qualities that a successful community needs: shops, workspaces and a school, links between neighbours, a beautiful park where people can play and great transport connections. Above all, this site will create homes for people regardless of their age, background or income. It will be a place for everyone.

Berkeley Homes was selected from a shortlist of four developers as the partner for the new site as part of the London Development Panel procurement process, which was set up by the Mayor to accelerate the delivery of housing in London.

A key part of the Mayor’s Housing Strategy is to encourage institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies, to invest in housebuilding.

This includes efforts to support extended leases and more stability for tenants as well as top quality, well designed, new developments.

Persimmon set to build 80,000 new homes

Persimmon set to build 80,000 new homesFollowing announcements made in the Autumn Statement, Persimmon has today unveiled plans to build over 80,000 new homes in the next five years.

Persimmon currently employs 4,500 people and envisages creating a further 1,000 jobs as part of its five year plan.

Persimmon’s group CEO, Jeff Fairburn, made the announcement as he welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne to one of the company’s developments in Essex.

Speaking in South Ockenden, George Osborne said: “One of this government’s top priorities is backing working families who aspire to own their own home. So we’ve got to get Britain building, and I’m encouraged to hear about Persimmon’s plans to build 80,000 homes.

“We made a start tackling the home ownership crisis in the last Parliament – but there’s much more to do to turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy.

“My Spending Review sets out our plan to deliver 400,000 affordable new homes – the biggest such building programme by any government since the 1970s.”

Since 2012, Persimmon has increased the number of homes completed each year by nearly 50%.

Mr Fairburn said: “Home ownership continues to be an aspiration for the majority of British people and these latest initiatives announced yesterday by the Chancellor should help that dream become a reality for many more people.

Persimmon prides itself on building homes that people can afford to buy in quality locations. Most of our buyers are looking to stay in their local area and this is exactly what we deliver.

Now is a great time to buy, with lenders increasing the number of mortgage products available. The new schemes announced yesterday, which include Help to Buy Shared Ownership, London Help to Buy and the Starter Home initiative will all help even more people into home ownership.”

Persimmon has opened two new regional businesses in 2015 – Durham and central Birmingham and plans to open a further two businesses in 2016 – Cornwall and Perth.

Kier appointed for £20m student accommodation in Durham

Kier appointed for £20m student accommodation in DurhamKier Construction has been appointed to build new £20 million Sheraton Park student accommodation scheme in Durham city centre.

Kier’s appointment by the specialist student housing developer, Alumno, marks a major turning point in the transformation of the Edwardian landmark buildings.

The site is being brought back to life with plans for 418 student rooms as a result of designs developed by architectural practice, Howarth Litchfield, who were major contributors when securing planning permission for Sheraton Park.

Low environmental impact is at the heart of the design with the development focusing on reducing energy and minimising emissions; using A/A= rated building elements and implementing a range of water saving measures.

The new facilities will cater for a mixture of undergraduates, post-graduates, returning students and some fellows, and will include a mix of en suite bedrooms, studios and accessible bedrooms.

Gary Dobson, Kier Construction area operations manager, said:  “We are delighted to continue our successful  relationship with Alumno Developments. We will draw from our experience in delivering high quality student accommodation together to produce a unique product that significantly enhances the student experience in Durham, and we are excited about getting construction under way.”

David Campbell, Alumno’s managing director, added: “Sheraton Park will offer its end-users a premium blend of student accommodation within an highly attractive environment and we aim to reinterpret the original character while maintaining much of the history of the existing site.

The sensitive development of the site is predominantly landscape led and the proposals will recreate a semi-wild parkland within the confines of the local environment. We anticipate high demand from students wishing to live there.”

George Osborne spurs house builders to deliver 400,000 homes

George Osborne spurs house builders to deliver 400,000 homesChancellor George Osborne has unvailed new plans in the Autumn Statement that will pave the way for building thousands of new homes and boost the construction trades.

The Autumn Statement and Spending Review is set to deliver £20 billion of cuts to Whitehall budgets but also start the biggest affordable housebuilding programme since the 1970s.

The Chancellor unveiled a total housing package of nearly £6.9 billion.

This will see plans to more than double present levels of affordable housing programme grant, presently running at around £900 million a year.

Up to £4 billion will be channeled into building 135,000 “Help to Buy: Shared Ownership” homes for households earning less than £80,000.

A further £2.3 billion will be paid to house builders to subsidise the construction of 200,000 starter homes — properties for sale to first-time buyers at a 20% discount to their market value.

And £400 million will be allocated to help build 8,000 specialist homes for older people or those with disabilities.

M+W bags £200m Hull green power plant

M+W bags £200m Hull green power plantM+W Group has been chosen for the delivery of a new waste-to-energy facility in Kingston upon Hull that will power the equivalent of over 40,000 homes.

The contractor will be responsible for the design and build of the new facility that will incorporate the latest fluidised bed gasification technology.

Construction is due to start in January 2016 with completion scheduled for summer 2018.

The new facility (Energy Works) is designed to reduce the need to for local landfill as well as relying on fossil fuel generated power to meet local energy demand.

When completed Energy Works will be able to generate up to 28MW of electricity, producing enough energy to power thousands of homes in the community each year.

Located in the industrial heart of the city, the facility will see the redevelopment of two adjacent brownfield sites covering an area of 12 acres.

To reduce the need for vehicular transportation and impact of any congestion in the area during the construction and operation of the facility, a special high-line conveyor and access route will be created to connect the two sites.

Working on the project alongside M+W Group will be two main sub-contractors; Outotec, an international specialist in advanced gasification technology; and Spencer Group, the Hull-based engineering and construction business leading the civil engineering works for the new facility.