North Wales projects secure £16m EU funding

Welsh GovernmentMore than £16 million of EU funds will be invested in two North Wales projects, Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford has announced.

The funding will boost businesses in the marine energy sector and training programmes for people affected by long-term unemployment and economic inactivity.

Around 50 businesses will benefit from specialist research and development collaborations with universities and 2,000 people who are out of work take part in training programmes to develop new skills and improve their job prospects.

Mark Drakeford said: “This is a major investment of EU funding which will finance highly specialised-innovation in an important sector of our economy and target support to people who are finding it difficult to get into work.

These projects are also good examples of how EU funds are being used in Wales to grow businesses, improve people’s lives and strengthen our economy.”

Almost £12 million will support Bangor University’s £17 million SEACAMS 2 project, which aims to expand Wales’ marine energy sector over the next four years.

Experts at Bangor and Swansea universities will provide specialist research and development programmes to help businesses exploit commercial opportunities and create new products and patents.

The project aims to create new enterprises in the sector and accelerate job creation in existing businesses.

Professor Colin Jago, director of the SEACAMS project, said: “We will build on our five years of work with industry during the first SEACAMS funding phase.

In pooling expertise at Bangor and Swansea universities, we have the scope of knowledge to provide the detailed technical information required to support these exciting developments, which could change the way we resource our energy needs in Wales.”

Hull Uni secures £130m accommodation scheme

hull-uni-secures-130m-accommodation-schemeUniversity Partnerships Programme (UPP) has been appointed as preferred bidder to deliver a new student accommodation scheme for the University of Hull valued at around £130 million.

The 43-year partnership between the University and UPP will provide a further 1,450 students with a room, helping to meet the growing demand for high quality, on-campus accommodation.

The scheme will comprise a mixture of new build and estate transfer and UPP will raise the required investment and handle the design, construction and operation of the scheme. The construction value of the project is more than £80 million.

This latest partnership boosts UPP’s portfolio to around 31,500 rooms through long term partnerships with 15 leading universities across the UK.

Once the transaction is complete, UPP will have invested approximately £2.2 billion in universities across the UK since 1998, demonstrating the appetite amongst long term institutional investment for the higher education sector.

Sean O’Shea, Group Chief Executive of UPP, said: “We are committed to driving investment into the UK’s higher education sector and plan to invest a further £1 billion into universities over the next two years that will help deliver world class infrastructure and continue attracting the brightest and best students from across the world.”

Stephen Willis, Chief Finance Officer at the University of Hull, said: “The bold transformation well under-way on campus is a critical element in ensuring an outstanding student experience and a huge statement of confidence in the future of both the University and the city of Hull. We’re proud to be investing so significantly in making Hull a highly desirable place to live, work, study, visit and invest.”

Go-ahead to £110m Midlands shopping village

go-ahead-to-110m-midlands-shopping-villageThe building of a new shopping village for the West Midlands was given the go-ahead this week as development partners U+I and Rioja Developments confirmed receipt of full planning permission.

This is the biggest development of its kind in the West Midlands. It will inject a major investment into the area, provide a huge economic boost and put the area firmly on the designer outlet map.

The phased scheme will cost in excess of £110 million and will create over 1,200 jobs.

Nestled in a valley adjacent to a nature reserve the 26,505 sq m outlet village will provide up to 130 designer outlet stores, new restaurants and around 2,000 car parking spaces within easy access of the M6 and M6 Toll road.

Richard Upton, Deputy CEO, U+I, said: “This is a major investment that could generate more than £500 million of socio-economic improvements over the next ten years and create in excess of a thousand jobs, benefitting Cannock and the wider region and putting this outlet in the top five outlet centres nationally.

We intend to create a unique experience in factory outlet retailing which will complement the beautiful environment, including a real focus on sustainability.”

Giles Membrey, Rioja Developments’ Managing Director, said: “This is a key stage on our journey to make our vision for the Mill Green development become reality. It’s a unique location in terms of both the commercial opportunity and surrounding landscape.”

The area will also benefit from considerable investment in off-site improvements, including the widening of Eastern Way and the addition of much-needed pedestrian crossings. Moreover, Cannock will benefit from a further investment of circa £150,000 for town centre improvements.

Lovell gets £2.5m housing refurb scheme

lovell-gets-2-5m-housing-refurb-schemeNuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council (NBBC) in Warwickshire has appointed Lovell to carry out £2.5 million of housing improvement work for local council homes over the next three years.

The large-scale refurbishment programme will see Lovell transforming homes with new kitchens and bathrooms, as well as carrying out other improvements including installing level-access showers.

In the first phase of the work, 300 homes at the Grove Farm estate, Nuneaton, will be refurbished by May 2017.

Councillor Julie Jackson, Housing and Communities portfolio holder, said: “This is fantastic news for our tenants. NBBC will be delivering around 350 kitchen and bathroom replacements this year, an increase of approximately 40 properties on previous years. It has been possible to achieve so much as a result of a successful re-procurement process and reduced tender costs.”

Lovell has moved into new premises at the Attleborough Fields Industrial Estate in Nuneaton, which will be the project depot for the contract. Forty people are employed to work on the project with 90 per cent local to the Nuneaton area.

We’re delighted to bring our expertise in undertaking successful large-scale housing improvement programmes to this important scheme for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council” said Lovell regional director Steve Davis.

Our focus is always on ensuring that residents are at the heart of what we do. We have a strong record of delivering improvement work carried out to the highest standard and with the utmost consideration for householders.”

Capital & Centric unveils Manchester residential scheme

capital-centric-unveils-manchester-residential-schemeCapital & Centric has revealed plans for a £50 million residential scheme in central Manchester that will see the building of new homes.

The developer has submitted a planning application to convert a grade II listed mill complex near Piccadilly station into a residential scheme providing 201 one, two and three bed apartments.

The cluster of buildings is situated on Fair Street, Chapeltown Street, Congou Street and Baird Street around a central courtyard area.

The proposed scheme – known as Crusader Works – was designed by Shedkm and will provide 126 apartments in the existing mill and a further 75 apartments in an adjacent 10 storey building.

Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said: “Crusader Works is one of Manchester’s forgotten treasures and has been neglected for too long.

Our unique design led scheme will see the sensitive restoration of the mill using creative conservation designs to provide efficient and attractive living spaces and ensure the long term sustainability of the listed buildings.”

The developer is also responsible for Kampus – the £200 million mixed-use scheme on nearby Aytoun Street which is being delivered with joint venture partner, Henry Boot.

Work on Crusader Works is due to start on site next May, with the first phase of the apartments to be ready for occupation towards the end of 2018.

Loans to help make warmer homes

£1.9bn net benefit to improve energy efficiencyNew £10 million pilot scheme has been announced which will increase energy efficiency and help repair homes across Scotland.

More people will be able to make their homes warm and water-tight through a new £10 million fund that will also boost the building trades.

The pilot scheme in Glasgow, Argyll and Bute and Perthshire will provide equity loans of up to £40,000 to home owners on low incomes to help them make essential repairs to leaking roofs and building structures.

The funding can be used either as a single equity loan or with other existing Scottish Government grants to fund more expensive measures like solid wall insulation or a package of energy efficiency works.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced the pilot ahead of his attendance at the launch of Under One Roof. The new website will provide free and impartial advice to private flat owners and help them understand their obligations when it comes to property and shared spaces.

He said: “Making sure everyone has access to a warm and affordable home is a priority for this Government which is why we have committed half a billion pounds over the next four years, meaning over £1 billion by 2021, to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.

We know leaking roofs and poor building structures can drive up energy bills and make them more difficult to heat, but for low income households they can often be too costly to repair.

This £10 million scheme will provide households with loans to carry out essential repair work and install energy efficiency improvements.

This will help us make homes warmer and easier to heat, with our record investment already resulting in two fifths of Scottish homes now being in the top three energy efficiency ratings – an increase of 71% since 2010.”

Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of SFHA, said: “We welcome the announcement of the equity loan scheme. It is extremely important that we invest in the energy efficiency of existing homes to provide affordable warmth and reduce carbon emissions. It is also important that we invest in existing buildings and keep them in a good state of repair.”

Planning application submitted for Nine Elms Centre

planning-application-submitted-for-nine-elms-centreLambeth College – The Careers College and its development partners, Carillion and Arlington Real Estate, have submitted a planning application for the regeneration of its Vauxhall campus, which will create a world-class centre.

The redevelopment of the site will see more than £100 million invested in the area.  The scheme will benefit from up to £22 million of funding from the London Enterprise Panel.

The skills centre will create thousands of career and learning opportunities for young people, delivering in the region of 3,500 apprenticeships and 2,200 jobs.

The site will also feature a fully-operational training hotel and additional local housing and public realm improvements will also be delivered.

Replacing the existing college building will be the all new Nine Elms Skills Centre, a ground-breaking education and training facility with a focus on construction, hospitality and science and technology, which will work in close partnership with employers.

It will replace the current 1960’s buildings, which are no longer fit for purpose and fail to meet employers’ needs. The scheme will align to the skills and employment priorities in Lambeth, South London and the Nine Elms regeneration area.

Monica Box, Interim Principal and Chief Executive of Lambeth College said: “The local community has been really engaged with the college for this development and can see the benefits this skills centre will bring to the area’s education provision and the career and training opportunities for local young people.

It will be a landmark and transformational development for this area and reinforce our commitment to be London’s career college.”

Simon Eastwood, Managing Director at Carillion Developments, said: “This is a pioneering project for the UK’s Further Education Sector, which will utilise the expertise of employers, working in partnership with the college, to address skills shortages in sectors such as construction.

Carillion is the largest provider of construction skills training in the UK with over 2,500 apprentices in our training centres at any one time and the new Nine Elms Skills Centre will form an important part of our training infrastructure. We are proud to be part of such an ambitious scheme that will improve the long-term skills training opportunities for London.”