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.”

£14m fund to boost energy efficiency in Scotland

The Scottish GovernmentUp to 4,000 Scottish households could benefit from a new £14 million interest-free loan fund to make their homes more energy efficient.

For the first time, housing associations will be able to apply for loans from the government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) Loan Scheme.

Until now, the scheme has been open only to owner-occupiers and private landlords.

The cash will help meet the cost of installing energy efficiency measures, like internal or external wall insulation or hard to treat cavity walls.

Individual households or private sector landlords looking for a loan should call 0808 808 2282 FREE, or visit www.homeenergyscotland.org

For information on the registered social landlords loan scheme, visit http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/heeps-loan-for-RSLs

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “For the first time the HEEPS loans scheme will be open to housing associations. This will help ensure their homes meet the higher standards for energy efficiency that have been set by the Scottish Government.

Last year more than £8 million was saved in fuel bills thanks to the HEEPS scheme, covering 30,000 households.

Since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds on a raft of measures to help the most vulnerable people in our society heat their homes affordably.”

HS2 appoints Phase One Engineering Delivery Partner

HS2 appoints Phase One Engineering Delivery PartnerWith construction due to start next year, HS2 has selected a team consisting of CH2M, Atkins and SENER as Phase One Engineering Delivery Partner.

The CH2M/Atkins/SENER team will be fully integrated within HS2 Ltd in order to drive long term efficiencies across the design and build process.

Their role will focus on providing expert engineering and construction management support as well as assisting with preparation for the procurement of the main civils contracts for the London to Birmingham stage of the route.

All three companies have significant experience of driving project innovation and efficiency, with CH2M and Atkins involved in London’s challenging Crossrail project, and SENER bringing recent experience from Spain’s extensive high speed rail network.

Welcoming the news, HS2 Ltd Managing Director – Construction, Jim Crawford, said: “Today’s contract award marks an important milestone as we continue to move towards the start of construction in 2017.

It is vital that we constantly challenge our suppliers to ensure we deliver long-term value for money for the taxpayer as well as a world-class railway for all our passengers, stakeholders and communities along the line.

That’s why I’m pleased to welcome CH2M/Atkins/SENER to the team, and look forward to seeing HS2 benefiting from their considerable skills and experience of delivering world-class infrastructure on time and on budget.”

Commenting on the appointment, Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The Engineering Delivery Partner will play a key role in bringing HS2 to fruition and CH2M/Atkins/SENER bring clear expertise.”

Galliford Try gets major new office project in Reading

Galliford Try gets major new office project in ReadingGalliford Try has been appointed to build the second phase of the Forbury Place development in Reading by clients M&G Real Estate and Bell Hammer in a £40 million contract.

The contract follows on from the successful first phase of Forbury Place, in the heart of Reading adjacent to the mainline rail station.

The new building will create an additional 185,000 sq ft of Category A office space, over seven floors, to be built on top of the basement car park already established in phase one.

Peter Truscott, Chief Executive of Galliford Try, said: “It is excellent news that M&G and Bell Hammer have trusted us once more to build the second phase of the prestigious Forbury Place.

The commercial sector remains a key driver for us, particularly in the south east, and we look forward to adding to our record of success with this major development.”

Fusion21 announces £300m maintenance work

Fusion21 announces £300m maintenance workFusion21 has announced the contractors and suppliers appointed to its national planned maintenance framework – offering a combined worth of up to £300 million over a four year period.

A total of 50 contractors have successfully secured a place on the Installation Works framework, worth up to £200 million over a four year period – whilst 47 material suppliers have been appointed to the Supply of Materials framework, worth up to £100 million over a four year period.

The Installation Works framework has four lots including: kitchen replacements; bathroom replacements; windows and doors and communal door installations – whilst the Supply of Materials framework covers 18 lots, and offers a variety of materials required for use in kitchen and bathrooms, heating, and windows and doors programmes.

Specific lots on the Supply of Materials framework range from kitchen units; to flooring and electric showers; in addition to smart heating systems; tiles; water treatment and communal entrance doors.

Nick Verburg, Procurement Manager at Fusion21, said: “Achieving a place on these frameworks is significant, as they will not be renewed until 2020.

For the first time, these frameworks offered installation elements split over two value bands – and as a result, we are delighted to see a number of small and medium sized enterprises appointed to the frameworks, and eligible to win work.”