Building plans for Acton Main Line station unveiled

Building plans for Acton Main Line station unveiledNetwork Rail has submitted proposals for a new station building at Acton Main Line to Ealing Council for approval that will create new facilities.

The proposals for a bright, modern, spacious new ticket hall are part of the Crossrail project in preparation for the arrival of Elizabeth line services.

The new glass and steel structure, designed by Bennetts Associates on behalf of Network Rail, will be located on Horn Lane.

The transformation of the station will be carried out by Network Rail as part of their Railway Upgrade Plan. From the end of 2017 the station will be run by Transport for London as part of London’s integrated transport network.

Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail said: “Our proposed design will completely transform Acton Main Line station and provide a greatly enhanced passenger experience for those using the station. The ticket office will be light and airy and the station will be fully accessible, with new lifts providing step-free access from street level to trains.”

Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director said: “The Crossrail project will provide a step change in public transport for people in the area – new trains, quicker journeys and a brand new station at Acton Main Line. The new service will provide fast and reliable journeys to the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz said: “It is getting very exciting as the arrival of Crossrail draws nearer. Ealing is one of only two London boroughs which will have five Crossrail stations.

It will bring huge economic benefits and we are working closely with Crossrail to ensure that the new stations are well-designed, innovative and accessible so that travelling is a speedy and pleasant experience.”

When the new railway fully opens in 2019, four Elizabeth line services an hour in each direction will serve Acton Main Line station, allowing passengers to travel right through central London without having to change trains.

Lagan lands London City Airport contract

Lagan lands London City Airport contractLagan Construction International has beeen given the go-ahead to build a multi-million pound airfield infrastructure project at London City Airport.

The runway overlay and taxiway widening scheme is expected to start in May 2016.

The main works include overlaying the existing runway surface with grooved Marshall Asphalt, widening of the taxiways Alpha, Bravo and Charlie and reinforcement of the taxiways Delta, Kilo, Lima and Mike.

Further works detail the refurbishment of the existing drainage network, installation of a new pit and duct network as well as upgrades to the AGL system to include LED lighting and the installation of new centre line lighting.

The project works will be undertaken outside of airport operating hours, to ensure there will be zero disruption to flights at the airport.

Steve Turner, Director of International Operations, Lagan Construction International, said:Having completed projects on over 50 airports across 5 continents, airport infrastructure works are a core part of our business and our teams are experienced in providing the engineering skills and technologies necessary to deliver both airside and groundside support facilities. 

We look forward to working collaboratively with our client, London City Airport. We have a fully committed team to ensure this contract is delivered with the highest safety standards, low environmental impact, within programme and cost requirements.”

The anticipated completion date of the project is November 2016 and the airport will maintain normal operations throughout the duration of the project.

New Enterprise Zone created to boost local economy

Welsh GovernmentEconomy Minister Edwina Hart has announced the establishment of the Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone to help create economic growth and jobs for the area.

The Enterprise Zone status will offer financial incentives to companies based there, including tax and business rate breaks, and was one of the key actions to come out of the Tata Steel Task Force to help support the steel industry.

The Minister said: “The recent announcement of job losses at Tata in Port Talbot is the latest blow to the steel industry in Wales.

As such a major employer this will have a knock-on effect for the local economy and we are determined to do all that we can to support the area and the local supply chain.

We will now work closely with the Swansea Bay City Region, the Local Authority, major employers and other stakeholders in the area to ensure Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone is a success.”

The Enterprise Zone will be based around the employment sites of:

  • Baglan Energy Park

  • Baglan Industrial Estate and

  • Habourside / Port Talbot Docks.

Port Talbot Waterfront Enterprise Zone is Wales’ eighth Enterprise Zone. As of end of September 2015, the other seven Zones had created, assisted or safeguarded over 7,795 jobs in Wales and paved the way for further investment and development.

HS2 to create thousands of jobs and boost economic growth

HS2 to create thousands of jobs and boost economic growthHS2 has announced significant progress on the design and development of HS2 including the shortlisting of companies in the race to win a package of work which will contribute to the creation of up to 14,600 jobs across the UK.

Through these major contracts, HS2 is creating high quality careers and giving young people the skills and experience needed to seize these opportunities.

This announcements include a shortlist of 9 bidders for between £7.1 and £11.8 billion worth of civil engineering work between London and Crewe.

Civil engineering contracts covering the 140 miles from London to Birmingham are expected to be signed in 2017 with the start of work on site one year later.

The following bidders have been shortlisted for at least one package each:

  • Align Joint Venture (Bouygues, VolkerFitzpatrick, Sir Robert McAlpine)

  • ASL (Acciona Infraestructuras, John Sisk & Son, Lagan)

  • BBV (Balfour Beatty, VINCI BeMo)

  • Catalyst (Bechtel)

  • CEK (Carillion, Eiffage, Kier)

  • Fusion (Morgan Sindall, BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman)

  • LFM (Laing O’Rourke, FCC Construccion, J. Murphy and Sons Limited

  • Momentum Infrastructure (Dragados, HOCHTIEF, GallifordTry)

  • SCS (Skanska, Costain, STRABAG)

Firms that deliver the best results in terms of value and efficiency will be eligible to bid for work on an additional 40 miles between Birmingham and Crewe, due to open in 2027.

The HS2 Bill is due to return to the Commons today, Wednesday 23 March, for the latest vote in the legislative process, before the Bill moves on to the Lords. Royal Assent is expected at the end of the year, with the start of construction in 2017.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “HS2 is an exceptional opportunity for businesses, creating thousands of jobs during construction and helping to rebalance our economy long before trains start running in 2026.

This major moment in the procurement process takes us a step further to getting spades in the ground next year, so construction can begin on this vital railway.”

Additional work covering stations and railway systems will follow over the course of the next year.

In total the first phase of the project is forecast to create 14,600 construction jobs and quality apprenticeships for our young people, the majority of which will be in civil engineering.

Thousands of new homes to be built as MOD releases more sites

House BuildingThe Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced the release of further land to provide thousands of new homes and generate around £140 million.

The 10 sites are expected to provide land for around 7,000 new homes – the vast majority of which will be released in time to contribute to the government’s target of building 160,000 homes by 2020.

The move follows the announcement of 12 sites for disposal in January. It means the Ministry of Defence has released land for up to 22,000 homes, expected to generate around £640 million.

It is part of the department’s plan to reduce by 30 per cent the size of its built estate, delivering a more efficient defence estate.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said: “Every pound we make by disposing of excess land will be reinvested into a defence budget that keeps Britain safe.

It will make the defence estate more efficient and better suited to the needs of our armed forces. And it will help thousands of people to own their own home.”

The defence estate currently spans one per cent of all UK land and covers 452,000 hectares. The department has committed to generating £1 billion through land sales during this parliament and contributing up to 55,000 homes.

The 10 sites released today are:

  • Thornhill Barracks (Part of Clayton Barracks, Aldershot)

  • Burgoyne Barracks (Part of Shorncliffe Barracks, Folkestone)

  • Clive Barracks (Tern Hill, Shropshire)

  • Fitz Wygram House – Royal Army Vet Corps (Aldershot)

  • Army Officer Selection Board Westbury (Wiltshire)

  • Defence Training Estate land near Cove (Farnborough)

  • Rylston Road ARC (London)

  • MOD Wethersfield (Essex)

  • Chetwynd Barracks (Chilwell, Nottinghamshire)

  • MOD Cheadle Hulme (Greater Manchester)

Willmott Dixon to build new home for Scarborough FC

Willmott Dixon to build new home for Scarborough FCWillmott Dixon will create a new ground for Evo-Stik First Division North team Scarborough Athletic Football Club as part of a £15 million leisure development.

The company has been appointed by Scarborough Borough Council under Scape Group’s Major Works framework to create Scarborough Leisure Village, which will house an eight lane 25-metre Olympic legacy swimming pool and fitness centre as well as all-weather football pitch and spectator stand that will become home to the town’s football team.

The scheme involves a developer, Wrenbridge Sport Limited, which is part funding the project following a land swap agreement with Scarborough Borough Council.

With enabling works complete, Willmott Dixon will have the leisure complex finished by summer 2017.

The project on the town’s former Weaponness coach park is close to where Willmott Dixon is also building a new £14 million campus for the recently opened Coventry University Scarborough Campus.

This purpose built campus will include a library, IT suites, café, mock law court, engineering and science labs, plus a careers team.

Anthony Dillon, managing director in the North West said: “We are very proud of our track-record in the leisure sector, providing first-class facilities for local people.

Scarborough is a fantastic town and we are looking forward to using our expertise in leisure projects to deliver a facility that will revitalise this part of Scarborough.”

Balfour Beatty bags £170m Tube extension scheme

Balfour Beatty bags £170m Tube extension schemeBalfour Beatty has been awarded a £170 million two-year extension scheme to its Track Partnership contract for London Underground.

Track Partnership, an alliance between Balfour Beatty Rail and London Underground, is responsible for delivering essential track renewal work across the London Underground network.

Balfour Beatty Rail was appointed to the initial contract in 2010, which included an option to extend for a further two years.

The Company will continue to provide design, labour, plant, and materials, as well as surveying, supervision and management of the works while boosting economic growth and creatiing new jobs.

The scope of works includes points & crossings and ballasted track renewal installation together with associated drainage, signalling, traction power and conductor rail works.

Throughout the two-year extension, which takes the contract to March 2018, there will be a focus on enhancing efficiencies including measures which will see Project Managers given more accountability for driving down costs whilst continuing to safely deliver the highest standard of work.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said: “With world-class expertise in track, electrification and power supply systems, Balfour Beatty Rail is a significant player in the UK rail infrastructure market.

We have utilised these market-leading skills and expertise working with London Underground over the last 13 years. This extension is a clear sign of London Underground’s confidence in the capability of Balfour Beatty within the Track Partnership”.

Go-ahead for London’s Lambeth council homes

Go-ahead for London’s Lambeth council homesLambeth Council’s Cabinet has given the go-ahead to redevelop the Cressingham Gardens estate under plans to build new homes.

The decision allows Lambeth to replace all the 306 homes, many of which are in a poor state of repair, and provide extra properties for council rent on the estate.

The redevelopment will provide a minimum of 464 new homes – a net gain of 158 extra homes.

Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Rebuilding Cressingham Gardens will mean all homes on the estate will be rebuilt, with no loss of social housing.

The proposal would provide a new home for each tenant, at council rent levels, with a lifetime tenancy and enough rooms to meet their needs.”

It will also mean at least 158 extra homes, 47% of which will be affordable homes. It will mean at least 75 extra homes for rent for families on Lambeth’s waiting list of over 21,000 people, and it would mean at least 27 extra family-sized homes for council.”

Cressingham Gardens is one of six estates on the Council’s estate regeneration programme, which has been set up to find ways to improve the quality and size of homes on Lambeth’s housing estates.

The programme also aims to invest in the wider neighbourhood and increase the number of homes on those estates. The programme will contribute towards the Council’s commitment to provide 1,000 extra homes for council rent for local families.

Government to create local growth and jobs

Government to create local growth and jobsLocal leaders wanting to boost skills, support business and build more homes will be offered the chance to apply for the latest round of Growth Deals worth billions of pounds, Greg Clark said today.

The Communities Secretary said the deals would boost the chances of areas securing significant inward investment from overseas – he will today chair an historic summit with Chinese regional leaders to highlight the opportunities available across the country.

Under the Growth Deals, England’s 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships – made up of council leaders and business representatives – will be able to apply for a share of £1.8 billion to support projects in their areas that boost local economic growth and create jobs.

The money forms part of the government’s £12 billion Local Growth Fund, which is already being used to support successful projects – chosen by communities themselves.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “We’re completely changing the way business is done in this country, ending the top-down, ‘Whitehall knows best’ mentality of the past and instead putting power back where it belongs – in the hands of local communities.

With this offer of a Growth Deal to communities across the country, we’re backing this devolution revolution with billions of pounds, releasing vital investment in projects across the country to boost local skills, deliver new homes and create jobs.”

Investment in employability and jobs

Persimmon set to build 80,000 new homesNew powers backed with £20 million of additional Scottish Government funding to help people into jobs.

New arrangements to support vulnerable groups and the long term unemployed, including those with disabilities and health conditions, towards employment for 2017/18 have been outlined.

This trebles the funding being made available to exercise new devolved powers on employability from 1 April 2017.

Scottish Ministers will replace Work Choice with a new contract with existing providers, for one year to provide ongoing support to disabled unemployed Scotland.

At the same time, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) will use the mechanisms currently in place through the Employability Fund to deliver a new devolved service for clients with a health condition and at risk of long term unemployment who want to enter work.

Both measures will operate on a one year basis until March 31, 2018 in advance of a Scottish Government-led procurement for a new employability programme to help unemployed Scots find – and stay in – work, based on the principles of fairness and respect.

The announcement follows an extensive consultation with stakeholders across the whole of Scotland on what they would like to see future services deliver.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham said: “New powers on employability are among the most exciting of the new areas to be devolved as it gives Scotland the chance to create something that works for unemployed Scots.

Figures released just last week show that the UK government’s Work Programme is still failing to deliver for the most disadvantaged jobseekers.

“The UK Government is targeting budget, benefit and service cuts at the most vulnerable in society. The Chancellor’s appalling withdrawal of most of the current budget to help disabled and long term unemployed people find work leaves us with a level of resource which is wholly inadequate.”

Beth Carruthers, Chief Executive of Remploy added: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has demonstrated its commitment to disabled people through these new arrangements and the allocation of additional funding.

“We are confident that by working closely together we can provide even better services across Scotland and support many more disabled people into transformational employment.”