Investment in affordable housing paves the way for new jobs

Plans approved for Cornwall’s custom build housing projectAround £690 million will be invested in housing in 2016-17 as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

The Draft Budget for 2016-17 will aim to build between 8,000 and 9,000 new homes across Scotland, which is an increase of up to 28 per cent on the average delivered over the last two years.

The 2016-17 investment is expected to support between 13,000 and 15,000 jobs in the construction industry and generate up to £1.9 billion of economic activity.

The Scottish Government has exceeded its target to deliver 30,000 affordable homes during the lifetime of the current Parliament, with the most recent statistics showing a total of 30,133 affordable homes delivered between April 2011 and end October 2015.

This includes 20,400 for social rent and, within that, 5,292 council homes.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “We have a strong record on housing. We had a target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes in this Parliament and have exceeded that. We are also approaching 4,000 new affordable homes approvals through a range of innovative financing mechanisms.

We will continue to work collaboratively with a wide range of partners across all sectors to promote the construction of new homes, support jobs in the construction industry and encourage inclusive growth in the wider economy.”

Go-ahead for Bournemouth town centre homes

Go-ahead for Bournemouth town centre homesPlans for more than 100 new homes to rent in Bournemouth town centre have been approved.

The Berry Court scheme involves the replacement of the council-owned surface car park in St Peter’s Road with a development of 113 high-quality apartments for the private rental market.

The scheme is being led by the Bournemouth Development Company, a regeneration partnership delivering Bournemouth Council’s Town Centre Vision.

Councillor John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Council, said: “The Berry Court scheme is a creative solution to help address housing needs. It supports the aims of our Town Centre Vision in attracting new residents to come and live in in the heart of Bournemouth. By providing much needed, high-quality homes, the scheme will boost the vibrancy of the town centre.”

Duncan Johnston, Director, Bournemouth Development Company, said: “The Berry Court scheme will enable more people to live in high-quality accommodation in the town centre, so stimulating the local economy.”

Mr Johnston added that public feedback from an exhibition of plans in May 2015 had helped to develop the original design ahead of the detailed planning application being submitted in September. 

Renewables now largest electricity generator

The Scottish GovernmentRenewables are now the single largest contributor to electricity generation in Scotland at a record 38 per cent of total output.

This is higher than both nuclear (33 per cent) and fossil fuels (28 per cent) for the first time, statistics published this week have revealed.

Renewable sources delivered 49.7% of gross electricity consumption in 2014 – up from 44.4% in 2013. This means that the 2015 50% renewable electricity target has almost been met one year ahead of schedule.

Scottish renewable generation made up approximately 29 per cent of the total UK renewable output in 2014. Scotland continued to be a net exporter of electricity, exporting 23.7 per cent of generation in 2014.

Welcoming the figures, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “The historic agreement reached at the global climate change summit in Paris earlier this month sends a signal of certainty about the global economy’s low carbon future, in the same way as Scotland did through our world-leading climate legislation in 2009.

Today’s figures show that Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do.

It is fantastic news that renewables are now Scotland’s biggest electricity generator, and that nearly half of gross electricity consumption comes from renewables.”

Wates gets £75m North West Cambridge student job

Wates gets £75m North West Cambridge student jobThe University of Cambridge has awarded a £75m contract to Wates Construction for the central square student buildings in the £1bn North West Cambridge Development.

Wates will build264 apartments for University key workers, and local shop units located around a market square designed by landscape architects Townshends. 

The site stands in the middle of the future local centre and will be a meeting point for the surrounding community.

Ian Vickers, regional managing director for Wates Construction, Home Counties, said: “Our appointment to the project complements our recent portfolio of high profile developments in the city and reflects a long-standing desire to work with the University of Cambridge.”

This is the final contract of the first phase of the North West Cambridge Development and completes the picture for the new neighbourhood.

Construction is already underway on areas in close proximity to the Wates site, including BAM which has been working on the construction of University homes, the supermarket and energy centre, and Graham Construction working on the post-graduate student accommodation. 

Farrans began its community centre project in September, and Willmott Dixon expects to complete a primary school at the end of 2015. 

There are phased completions for the North West Cambridge Development with the first phase of completion expected in 2017.

BAM Construction to build £36.2m Hull Venue

BAM Construction to build £36.2m Hull VenueHull City Council has appointed BAM Construction to build a new, state-of-the-art music, events and conference centre that will create new jobs and help the locl economy.

BAM Construction Limited was awarded the contract following a competitive tendering exercise, having demonstrated that it offered the best value in terms of quality and price.

Detailed feasibility studies and market testing show that the facility will inject £13.5 million into Hull’s economy annually, delivering 30 full-time jobs with 100-150 temporary jobs on event days.

Construction Director for BAM, Jason Pink, said: “BAM’s track record in the city of Hull has been outstanding and our appointment to build this prestigious arena is a testimony to years of successful work in many sectors here. “

The new centre will include a 3,500 capacity concert auditorium, with the flexibility to reduce to a 2,500 all-seated event and a 2,000m2 exhibition space, plus an 800 capacity conference auditorium.

Hull City Council has committed £36.2 million towards the cost of building the complex on the site behind Princes Quay shopping centre, where new retail facilities and a hotel are proposed. The investment will also modernise the adjacent Osborne Street car park.

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of the Council, said:”I am absolutely committed to this landmark project, which is critical to the development of the city and our plans to make Hull a world-class visitor destination.

“We will formally hand over the City of Culture title to another city in 2020, but this development will allow us to continue to attract events capable of delivering a big economic impact beyond that.”

Muse chosen for Colwyn Bay town centre development

Muse chosen for Colwyn Bay town centre developmentMuse Developments has been selected by Conwy County Borough Council as the preferred development partner for a town centre scheme in Colwyn Bay, North Wales.

The development will provide new office accommodation in the centre of Colwyn Bay and redevelop an existing Grade II Listed civic building to the east of the town.

The first phase has a gross development value of approximately £36 million, helping local economic growth and creating new construction jobs.

The project will enable the Council to operate more efficiently and improve services for customers, by consolidating staff and services onto fewer sites.

A proposed new four-storey, BREEAM Excellent, 95,000 sq ft office building could replace up to thirteen existing offices and reduce the Council’s accommodation and carbon footprint.

Wes Erlam, development director at Muse Developments, said: “We’re delighted to be chosen for this exciting project which will help the Council to operate more efficiently, reduce its carbon footprint and act as a catalyst for the wider regeneration of Colwyn Bay town centre.

We have an extensive track record of delivering similar successful schemes, and we’re looking forward to working closely with the Council to deliver an exceptional development for the benefit of the town and its residents.”

Council Leader, Cllr Dilwyn Roberts, commented: “We were determined to find the right development partner to help us achieve our goals; we’re looking forward to working with Muse on this exciting project.”

Balfour wins Hornsea substation scheme

Balfour wins Hornsea substation schemeBalfour Beatty has been awarded a £25 million job by DONG Energy to construct a new onshore substation, as part of the new Hornsea Project One offshore wind farm.

Work to construct the new onshore substation is planned to start in January 2016, with Balfour Beatty responsible for the build at North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire.

The facility will enable the transfer of electricity from the Hornsea offshore wind farm to the adjacent, existing National Grid substation.

The project includes the construction of core buildings and compounds, the installation of low voltage electricity equipment, low voltage cables, and communication cables as well as roads, paths, drainage and landscaping.

Balfour Beatty will be the principal contractor during the 2.5 year contract, which also includes the installation of high voltage electrical equipment by third parties.

Mark Farrah, Regional Managing Director for the North and Midlands, said: “Following Balfour Beatty’s successful completion of Westermost Rough and the current Burbo Bank project, the Hornsea Project One contract award is testament to the longstanding, successful relationships our project teams have established over the last 3 years.

We’re proud to work with DONG Energy in the construction of the onshore substation ensuring that our drive for safety, quality and innovation is at the forefront of our work”.

The wind farm itself, built by DONG Energy, will provide enough electricity to power well over 800,000 homes in the UK and is the third onshore substation in the UK from DONG Energy which has been awarded to Balfour Beatty.

Morgan Sindall starts work for Leeds Trinity University

Morgan Sindall starts work for Leeds Trinity UniversityMorgan Sindall has reached a key milestone in the construction of an £8.5 million student accommodation block at Leeds Trinity University.

The seven-storey building will include 228 en-suite bedrooms within its 29 ‘cluster’ apartments which each share communal amenities such as kitchens and living areas.

The building, which will enclose a private green courtyard, will be set within a newly landscaped environment with improved pedestrian access routes.

Each level of the building will typically include one seven-bedroom, one six-bedroom and three nine-bedroom clusters whilst a reception area, laundry, coffee lounge and games room will be situated on the ground floor. Two wardens’ apartments and 13 disabled access rooms will also be included.

The building will help the University accommodate its expected student growth numbers for the next five years. Existing buildings on the University campus have inspired the new building’s design and have been used as the driving influence on the form of the new accommodation block.

Chris Brown, operations director at Morgan Sindall’s Leeds office, said: “The new student accommodation is really taking shape. Today’s ceremony was a key milestone for us and a proud moment for everyone associated with the project. We have worked extremely hard to get to this point.

This is an important project for us and plays directly to our strengths and experience within the student accommodation market.

Professor Margaret House, Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University, said: “This project highlights Leeds Trinity University’s commitment to developing and sustaining a campus that reflects its ambitions as a growing institution, as well as providing an aesthetically pleasing, sustainable environment that our staff, students and the local community can be proud of.”

Carillion begins works at Paradise Birmingham

Carillion begins works at Paradise BirminghamCarillion has today started the external demolition works at Paradise in Birmingham city centre marking the beginning of the transformation of the 17 acre site.

The site will be cleared in phases over a two year period with the first stage concentrating on the east side of the site including the old Central Library.

The Paradise scheme is one of the biggest redevelopment projects Birmingham has seen in a generation and will dramatically transform a whole area of the city around Centenary and Chamberlain Squares.

The mixed use development includes; offices, shops, leisure and cultural facilities, a hotel and civic amenities. In total the development will comprise a gross internal area of some 1.8million sq ft.

Earlier this year, in preparation for the start of the demolition works, Carillion removed the statues of Joseph Priestly, James Watt and Thomas Attwood from Chamberlain Square which have been carefully stored before being returned later in the development.

Carillion operations director Simon Dingle said: “Today is a momentous day for Birmingham as we start the demolition which marks the beginning of a new phase for this part of the city centre. Paradise is a crucial project for Birmingham and Carillion is very proud to be part of the team working on the transformation.”

£10m renewable energy benefits

RenewablesScotland is set to benefot from a £10 million inverstmet every year thanks to renewable energy projects, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The £10 million milestone is recorded in the latest update of the Scottish Government’s Community Benefit Register, which records the income communities receive from renewable energy projects.

These range from large scale wind farms such as Whitelee, the UK’s largest onshore wind farm, to small farm and community projects.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our national guidance has encouraged developers to increase the value of the community benefits they offer. Communities across Scotland are now receiving over £10 million a year from onshore renewable projects. That figure is set to rise.

Local energy now helps to fund energy efficiency schemes, fuel poverty alleviation programmes and befriending projects which reduce isolation for elderly people. They meet local priorities because they are run by local communities.”

Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland manager said: “We are delighted to see that the income communities receive from renewable energy projects is now over £10 million per year and the register is available on our website.

We provide a range of support through the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme to help communities to maximise the local benefit from renewable energy whether that’s support to a community to build their own small hydro power scheme or help them to invest in a commercial wind farm.”