Go-ahead for three London river crossings

go-ahead-for-three-london-river-crossingsThe Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has outlined his commitment to providing greener and more public transport-focused river crossings in the East and South East of London.

The Mayor has set out a package of new river crossings to be built in the next five to 10 years that will vastly improve travel across the capital, while supporting new affordable homes and business opportunities in East London.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s no secret that London has long needed more river crossings in the east. With new homes and economic growth across East London, it becomes even more important that we deliver new greener transport links that allow Londoners to cross the river quickly and more easily.

“But we don’t want these to have a damaging impact on our environment, and that’s why I’ve reviewed and improved plans for Silvertown Tunnel and why I’m pushing forward with crossings that encourage public transport, walking and cycling.

“As we continue to unlock the massive economic potential of East London, we must secure the very best transport infrastructure that improves the quality of life for everyone living and working in the area.”

Morgan Sindall gets £7.3m job at Heathrow

morgan-sindall-gets-7-3m-job-at-heathrowMorgan Sindall has been appointed by Heathrow Airport to carry out £7.3 million of refurbishments and improvements to its infrastructure, runways and stands.

Pre-contract enabling works have been carried out to ensure there is no damage to underground services and the project team has already completed the first phase of the scheme, which involved resurfacing the T5 end of the southern runway.

The runway was re-surfaced with a new polymer modified bitumen (PMB) asphalt, designed specifically for use in airports due to its high strength and resistance to cracking.

The next stage of the project involves working directly in front of the BAE line maintenance base to replace underground stone water-drainage pipes.

The site team is working during the night and has constructed a purpose-built route so that aircraft are able to access the base, ensuring there is minimal disruption to one of the airport’s busiest areas.

The work was awarded to Morgan Sindall due to its place on the Q6 Framework. It is one of four contractors appointed to deliver a £1.5 billion programme of upgrades and improvements at Heathrow Airport by 2019.

Keith Cannin, managing director of aviation at Morgan Sindall, said: “The work is expected to be complete by the end of 2017 and follows the successful refurbishment and resurfacing of the airport’s Sierra Taxiway as part of a £16 million contract completed last year.”

Go-ahead to £300m Chester Northgate development

go-ahead-to-300m-chester-northgate-developmentCheshire West and Chester Council unanimously accepted plans to develop the Northgate area of the city centre for a retail-led, mixed-use development that will boost economic growth.

The £300 million Chester Northgate scheme is set to deliver around 500,000 sqft of new retail, restaurant and leisure facilities over two phases of construction.

The first Phase will start in autumn 2017. Picturehouse will be the operators of a six-screen cinema providing more than 715 seats, on the upper levels of the scheme, with a ground-level foyer and café bar opening onto the new Market Square and Hunter Street.

A new market hall will replace the current Chester Market and a new, 167-bedroom, 4-star hotel and conference centre will be built as a replacement for the existing Crowne Plaza hotel.

Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member, Economic Development and Infrastructure said: “The development of Northgate has been a long held ambition.

When it became clear that the private sector was not going to deliver what the city needed, the Council took control with the view to progressing proposals to a stage where the private sector is willing to invest.  Obtaining planning consent is a major component.

This proposal delivers a new development that will feel like Chester and not just like any other city.”

Councillor Stuart Parker, Shadow Cabinet Member, Communities and Wellbeing added: “Northgate is the most significant regeneration opportunity to impact on Chester in many decades.

It will transform the city from its present state of retail and leisure decline. Granting consent today will send a powerful message that Chester is open for business in a truly spectacular style.”

In December 2013 the Council purchased the Forum Shopping Centre and now owns around 85 per cent of the 5.8-hectare site. Rivington Land is the development managers overseeing the development.

David Lewis, Chief Executive of Rivington Land, said: “Obtaining this resolution to grant planning consent for Chester Northgate is a massive achievement on the path to delivery of this significant scheme.

In combination with the level of occupier demand we are witnessing and the recent exchange of contacts with Picturehouse, this consent represents real progress and a major corner piece of the overall jigsaw.

The application on such a sensitive site was very complex and this decision is a huge compliment to the talented design team involved.”

It is anticipated that the whole development will be completed and opened during 2021.

More affordable housing approved

House building starts hit 7-year highThe number of affordable homes in Scotland has increased by 26% on the previous year, bringing the total number of approvals over the year to 8,067.

Official statistics published this week show that during 2015-16, the number of new house builds started, across the public and private sector, rose to 16,910, a 4% increase on the previous year and the highest number of starts since 2008-9.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the figures showed good early progress towards delivering the Scottish Government’s ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a new housing development in Edinburgh which will provide 236 affordable homes in the city, Mr Stewart said: “We have an excellent track record on housing. The number of affordable home completions from April 2007 to end March 2016 was 60,704 – on average 24% more per year than the 38,015 delivered between April 2000 and March 2007.

“In the previous session of Parliament, we exceeded our target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes, and our bold and ambitious More Homes Scotland approach will build on that achievement.

“We have committed to investing over £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years. This is accompanied by increased housing subsidy levels and a new Rural Housing Fund to boost the supply of affordable rural housing.

“We’ve also helped stimulate growing confidence in the private housing market and supported people into home ownership, in particular through our £500 million Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme.”

Wates reaches financial close on £63.5m job

Wates reaches financial close on £63.5m jobWates Construction has signed a contract to deliver a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art food and health research centre at Norwich Research Park, marking a significant step in the business’ growth in East Anglia.

The £63.5 million construction element of this project will see Wates build a new five-storey development that will bring together research teams from the Institute of Food Research (IFR), the University of East Anglia and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Designed by architects, NBBJ, the scheme will comprise a variety of specialist laboratories, lecture theatres and offices. Photovoltaic panels and ground source heat pumps have been incorporated into the building design to enhance energy efficiency.

The work adds to Wates’ growing East Anglia project portfolio and extends the business’ presence in the region’s science and research sector. Current projects also include the University of Cambridge’s North West Cambridge Development.

Wates has made a commitment to create opportunities for on-site industry skills training throughout the work, which is expected to include apprenticeship positions and partnership working with Norwich-based schools and colleges.

Ian Vickers, Managing Director at Wates Construction, said: “This project is undoubtedly significant for the development of science but it is also set to be an incredible catalyst for the region in terms of creating opportunities for local people.

At peak periods our site team will stand at 350 and this, along with our investment in skills training and our engagement with a local supply chain, will further contribute to the local economic benefit of this fantastic scheme.”

£47m plans approved to build new homes

£47m plans approved to build new homesPlans for building a £47 million Woodford Grange housing development in Winsford have been given the go-ahead by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Chosen developer, Keepmoat, will deliver 401 new homes on the 30 acre brownfield site off Woodford Lane West, where home hunters and first-time buyers will now have access to a collection of two, three and four bedroom properties under the government-backed Help to Buy scheme.

There will be 130 affordable properties built on behalf of the Council within the development; these are understood to be the first local authority houses built within the Borough for nearly 40 years.

A green corridor and a small central village garden will be created at the heart of the development. In addition significant investment will be made in outdoor play facilities at Hebden Green and Oakland schools and a state of the art 3G pitch at Winsford Academy.

Prior to submitting plans, Keepmoat hosted a public consultation event at Hebden Green Community School to hear any concerns and include local input.

Gareth Roberts, regional managing director for Keepmoat in the North West, said: “Working in partnership with the Council, we have identified key ways to regenerate a surplus piece of land and really invest in Winsford while creating housing solutions – particularly for first-time buyers.

This major new scheme will also create new job opportunities, which supports the Council’s aspirations for Winsford.  We’re delighted that this shared vision for Woodford Grange has been given the go ahead and we look forward to getting on site.”

Councillor Angela Claydon, Cheshire West and Chester Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “This is really good news for Winsford. The partnership will provide a true mix of properties including 130 homes built for the Council which will give people a real choice from a range of new build homes”

Morgan Sindall to restore Bleaton Hallet bridge

Morgan SindallMorgan Sindall has been appointed by Perth & Kinross Council to design and build a new road bridge over the Black Water with work expected to be completed before the end of this year.

The new £1 million bridge will be constructed using a single-span galvanised steel structure and has been designed to allow all road traffic to cross, with no weight restrictions.

The site team will be working around a four metre vertical face on the east embankment to construct new abutments, pouring 100 cubic metres of concrete.

The design also includes improvements to drainage to defend the bridge from severe weather damage in the future.

As with all of its projects, Morgan Sindall has taken steps to ensure that no damage is caused to the surrounding environment. Measures have been taken to ensure debris from the construction process does not fall into the Black Water and dry stone walling, due to be dismantled during the build, will be salvaged and reconstructed once the bridge is in place.

Morgan Sindall’s area director for infrastructure, Robert Ogg, said: “The C446 road provides a vital link between Alyth and the A93 to Glenshee and the local communities come to depend on the infrastructure network so heavily, often without noticing how vulnerable it can be.

“We are acutely aware of this reliance and are proud to be designing and building a new bridge to restore this critical access; our message to the many people who would usually use this route is that the end is in sight.”