Faster planning helps the building trades

Regeneration scheme to deliver thousands of new properties and jobsThe average time for a planning decision to be made on major developments has fallen by 17% on the previous year, paving the way for the building trades.

Annual statistics published this week show decision times for local and major applications have reduced, meaning more housing and business developments can start to build sooner.

Planning Minister Kevin Stewart welcomed the statistics, but said more must be done to improve planning performance.

The average decision time for major developments in 2015-16 reduced by more than 6 weeks on the previous year, while major housing development decisions are now almost two weeks faster than in 2013-14.

Decisions made on local housing applications also reduced by almost a week compared to the previous year.

Mr Stewart said:“Effective planning is crucial to promoting sustainable economic growth and ultimately to helping build more homes. Speeding up the planning system is a vital part of this.

“These statistics are very encouraging, particularly at a time where we are looking at the best ways to reform and improve our planning system.

“The reduction in decision making timescales can only be a good thing – it means we are open for business and helping create certainty within the building sector.”

Willmott Dixon wins £34m Plymouth contract

Willmott Dixon wins £34m Plymouth contractWillmott Dixon has been awarded a £34 million contract to build the History Centre in Plymouth.

Willmott Dixon will now work with Plymouth City Council through a pre-contract agreement to develop the building and construction elements of the project and prepare the site ready for a second-stage contract award later this autumn.

The conpany’s track record for restoring Grade 2 listed property and creating world famous heritage attractions was further underlined by this appointment.

It’s a continuation of the construction growth in the South West, following the opening of its Exeter office and the project to build a home for the Met Office’s new supercomputer.

Councillor Ian Bowyer, Leader of Plymouth City Council said: “Willmott Dixon were awarded the contract after a highly competitive tender process and we’re really pleased to have them on board.

As well as in-depth knowledge of the sector they demonstrated how they would inspire Plymothians to build for Plymouth and invest in the communities that support culture. This makes their appointment a great fit for the History Centre.”

Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture said: “Willmott Dixon has a wealth of experience in helping to create buildings that are both functional and iconic.

We were particularly impressed with their recent regeneration of a former Grade 2 listed building into a new home for the Gwent Records Office.

This was a project that breathed new life into a property of more than 100 years old – so much like our ambitions for the History Centre.”

Yorkstone facade for University of Huddersfield

Yorkstone facade for University of HuddersfieldMorgan Sindall has taken delivery of £210,000 of locally-sourced Yorkstone which will be used to clad elevations of the University of Huddersfield’s new Oastler Building in Huddersfield town centre.

The 7,500 square metre, six-storey building is being developed in a prime campus location opposite the Shorehead roundabout between Queensgate and Wakefield Road in the town.

The £27.5 million building will provide a new home for the University’s Law School and the School of Music, Humanities and Media.

It will also link into the University’s Student Central building which was completed in January 2014, at a cost of £22.5 million.

Around 166 tonnes of Yorkstone has arrived from Johnsons Wellfield Quarries in Huddersfield which was established as a local company in 1854.

Mark Heginbotham, project director from Morgan Sindall, said: “People will really notice a difference in the building now as we begin the installation of the stone cladding.

Yorkstone is a fantastic material to work with. It adds a distinctive quality to the building which is one of grandeur, solidity and tradition. But here, it is not being used to create a traditional style building.

The Oastler building is bold and modern and with its blend of traditional and modern materials, it will make a real statement in the town.”

The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Thornton said: “This blend of the modern and the traditional is representative of the University itself.

This year we celebrate our 175th anniversary – and proudly celebrate the pioneers who established higher education in the town – while continuing to be at the forefront of developments to meet the needs of today’s students.”

The eye-catching building, which will provide a new gateway building to both the university and the town centre, was granted planning consent by Kirklees Council in April 2015.

Morgan Sindall starts work on £13.7m project in Leeds

Morgan Sindall starts work on £13.7m project in LeedsMorgan Sindall has started work on a 65,000 sq ft leisure extension to White Rose Shopping Centre in Leeds.

The £13.7 million design and build contract is being delivered by Morgan Sindall’s major contracts team, which has its regional office in the Hunslet area of the city. The contract also provides for a 15-month maintenance period.

The latest project includes plans for an 11-screen cinema, operated by Cineworld IMAX, six additional family friendly restaurants and a raft of attractive public realm features.

The leisure-focused scheme will provide White Rose Shopping Centre’s loyal customer base with the full-day experience.

Once complete it is estimated that the extension will deliver 350 new full-time and part-time jobs to the area.

Barry Roberts, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “This is a fantastic project to be involved with and one which many people in West Yorkshire and beyond will benefit from. It will be a remarkable addition to the family leisure offering of the region and we understand our responsibility in making the vision of the developer a reality.”

Rob Jewell, Portfolio Director at Land Securities, said: “The decision to appoint Morgan Sindall to deliver this latest improvement to White Rose Centre was an obvious one given its exemplary previous work on the project.”

Land Securities is thrilled to provide the centre’s loyal catchment with prestigious and favoured leisure and dining brands, such as Cineworld IMAX, Wagamama and Chiquito.”

It is expected that the new extension will be operational in the summer of 2017.

Lovell chosen for 130-home Manchester scheme

Lovell chosen for 130-home Manchester schemeLovell has been appointed by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group (WCHG) for a £11.7m design-and-build contract to deliver 130 new affordable homes for local people in Wythenshawe, south Manchester.

The development – on a brownfield site at Greenbrow Road, west Wythenshawe – will create 52 houses for sale and shared ownership and 78 apartments for affordable rent through WCHG.

Construction work by Lovell – which has its North West regional office in Altrincham – recently got under way on land formerly occupied by five blocks of flats owned by WCHG. The new homes are set to be completed in January 2018. The scheme was awarded to Lovell following a competitive tendering process.

Nigel Wilson, Group chief executive of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, says: “We are delighted to launch this exciting new project and create much-needed affordable housing for this area. This will be another landmark development for the Group following on from Village 135.”

Lovell regional director Nigel Yates says: “We’re delighted to be working once again with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group helping deliver its major new-build housing programme.

This development will bring a mix of smart modern new homes, available for rent, shared ownership and sale, to an area which has a real shortage of family homes as well as housing suitable for single people and first-time buyers. High levels of energy-efficiency will be built into the new homes helping residents save on fuel bills.”

The new homes will be built to the equivalent of Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes incorporating high-efficiency boilers, high-specification floor and cavity insulation.

BAM secures £40m retirement village development

BAM secures £40m retirement village developmentBAM Construction in the Midlands has secured a second contract with BUPA-owned client Richmond Care Villages.

The construction business which is based in Birmingham will create a retirement village at Wood Norton near Evesham, Worcestershire. BAM is currently building a retirement village in Witney, Oxfordshire, also for Richmond Care Villages.

The £40 million development will create 48 village apartments for independent living, 46 suites for assisted living, and a 60-bed care home providing nursing and dementia care.

In addition, there will be a wellness spa, lounges, library, terrace café, restaurant and garden bar. It will be lavishly landscaped as is the norm for Richmond Care Village developments.

BAM Design is developing final designs for the scheme. Their expertise in 3D co-ordinated design working with the structural engineer and M&E subcontractor, has been fundamental to the integration of over 1,000 services holes through the steel frame.

Demolition work has included the team removing roof tiles to allow bats to escape and asbestos clearance to buildings in the former BBC Residential Training Centre. The team are currently undertaking groundworks to a 26,000m3 cut excavation for the basement.

Regional Director for BAM Construction in the Midlands, Rod Stiles, said: “We are pleased to be working with BAM again on this prestigious new retirement village for Worcestershire.

Richmond Wood Norton is an extremely complex development with a main Village Care Centre of 100,000 sq.ft, but I am confident that BAM have the expertise to deliver a fantastic building for us to provide the very best in retirement living and care.”

Balfour bags contract at £1bn One Nine Elms scheme

Balfour bags contract at £1bn One Nine ElmsBalfour Beatty has been awarded a pre-construction services agreement by Wanda One to act as the main contractor for the delivery of the One Nine Elms development.

Balfour Beatty and Wanda One will now work together to agree the details of the final contract award which is expected by the end of the year.

Tim Gawthorn, director at Wanda One (UK) told property website CoStar: “We are pleased to announce the arrangement of financing for One Nine Elms, which will support the successful delivery of this important mixed-use development.

On completion, One Nine Elms will bring high quality residential apartments, a 5 star Wanda Vista hotel, world-class amenities and public spaces for the community to enjoy.

Further to this announcement, we can confirm the PCSA agreement has been signed with Balfour Beatty, which marks another important milestone in the delivery of One Nine Elms, we are delighted to be working with Balfour Beatty on One Nine Elms and the delivery of this iconic London development.”

Dean Banks, managing director at Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction Services business said: “We are pleased to be awarded the pre-construction services agreement for One Nine Elms and to be partnering with Wanda One to get this fantastic project underway.

This reflects the depth and breadth of experience we have in this sector and builds on the success of similar projects across London.”