Building work set to start on affordable homes for Leeds

imageLeeds Federated Housing Associationhas appointed partnership housing developer Lovell to build 33 new affordable homes in Belle Isle, south Leeds.

Construction is due to start on the new houses which will all be for affordable rent through the housing association. The £3.6 million scheme will create 20 two-bedroom and 13 three-bedroom houses.

The new housing will take shape on two Leeds City Council-owned brownfield sites in Newhall Gate and Newhall Walk. Designed to complement and fit in with existing homes in the area, the development is expected to be complete at the end of 2017. The scheme forms part of Leeds Federated’s Affordable Homes Programme and is supported by Leeds City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Steve Ellis, head of Assets and Development for Leeds Federated, says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Lovell to build 33 much-needed affordable homes for rent in Belle Isle.

“There is currently a national shortage of affordable housing. Leeds Federated plans to more than double the amount of homes it develops each year to help address the need for high quality affordable homes in the Leeds City region.”

Robert Adams, regional director for Lovell – which is based locally in Gildersome, Leeds – comments: “These much-needed properties will help address the serious shortage of affordable housing locally by creating high-quality modern homes for local people.

“As a Leeds-based company, we’re absolutely delighted to be bringing our expertise in delivering well-designed homes which achieve the highest build and quality standards to this important scheme.” In line with Lovell’s commitment to benefitting local communities, the company will also provide local job and training opportunities through the development.

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.

Jobs and growth to be at the heart of city devolution

Jobs and growth to be at the heart of city devolutionTransport and city leaders from Birmingham, Leeds, London, Greater Manchester and Sheffield have come together to set out how transport funding reforms could transform the prospects of the UK economy.

London’s Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy has thrown his support behind a new independent report which calls for reforms that would ensure a shift in power from Whitehall, enabling the creation of jobs across the UK and economic growth for the whole country.

Sir Peter Hendy said: “The current system of transport evaluation was developed in an era of under-investment, where governments managed the decline of cities. We are now in a very different world, where cities are the drivers of the country’s future growth.

We need a new system that enables cities to work together to realise their full economic potential. For that we need more control over the tax revenue we raise and changes in the way in which the real financial return of transport investment is evaluated.

If we are given the freedom to do so we will create new jobs and growth that will benefit the whole country.”

The report, which was commissioned by Transport for London and Transport for Greater Manchester, has been developed and delivered by leading economic consultants Volterra.

It states that the current approach to the evaluation and funding of transport projects is likely to lead to ‘damaging underinvestment’ unless it is tackled and that pay back in terms of economic growth and jobs would be optimised if the approach were changed.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Greater financial freedoms for our cities are absolutely central to their ability to better plan and finance the infrastructure they need to flourish.

Transport is no exception to this argument. It is a vital key to unlock the door to wider growth in our economy, helping to spur jobs, new homes and regeneration.

Working in partnership with other major cities I have been making the case for Whitehall to give us a greater say over our own futures and in turn boost the prosperity of UK plc.”

Hammerson announces start date for £150m retail scheme

April start for Hammerson’s £150m Leeds shopping centre Hammerson has revealed it will start main construction works at its £150 million Victoria Gate retail development in Leeds on 7th April 2014.

Breaking the news today, Hammerson’s Chief Executive, David Atkins delivered the announcement, marking another key milestone for the project which will create new jobs and boost the local economy.

Speaking on a Leeds & Partners panel to discuss the future of retail and the positive impact the scheme will have on the city, David Atkins, Chief Executive of Hammerson, said: “A huge amount of hard work and commitment from the team, the Council and John Lewis has enabled us to reach this point.

“As we begin the delivery phase our focus is now to ensure we attract the best retailers and to ensure that on opening in 2016, Victoria Gate becomes a thriving destination within Leeds.”

Leeds City Councillor Richard Lewis= said: “I’ve no doubt this will provide another welcome boost to city centre footfall, encouraging much needed economic growth and providing many new jobs and training opportunities for local people.”

The scheme will deliver a 21,000m² John Lewis store, a 21st century-inspired retail arcade with up to 30 stores, restaurants, cafes, casino and a multi-story car park.

Early stage contractors to save billions off HS2 project

HS2 ProjectThe HS2 scheme has revealed that procurement savings of £3.5 billion could be made to overall budget by getting contractors on board at early stages of the project.   

The projected savings follow the Government’s pledge that the cost of delivering the scheme, which will link Euston in London, to Birmingham before connecting to Manchester and Leeds, will not exceed £42.6 billion –  £14.4 billion of which is contingency.

Independent analysis recently carried out by KPMG shows that HS2 could boost the UK’s economy by £15 billion per year, and that the regions will be the biggest winners from the project.

HS2 Ltd – the company set up the Government to deliver both phases of the project – is aiming to save potentially 10 per cent by recruiting contractors, such as designers, surveyors and engineers, at the start of the project to work in an integrated way, rather than commissioning contractors on an individual basis as the scheme develops.

Beth West, HS2 Ltd Commercial Director, said: “Complex infrastructures schemes often become gold plated when a lack of co-ordination between contractors leads to parts of it being built to unnecessarily high standards. It can happen if you design your civil engineering before you recruit your contractors. Bringing in all parties early on will cut the overall costs and the risk of cost overruns.

“As part of these plans, we also hope to save hundreds of millions of pounds, if not a billion, by using computer simulations to design projects.”

HS2 will give Britain’s railways much-needed capacity by running up to 18 trains per hours to and from Euston Station, with each carrying as many as 1,100 passengers.

High Speed 2 offers new jobs and economic growth

High Speed 2 offers new jobs and economic growthWork continues apace on the development of the second phase of the planned high speed rail network that will create 100,000 jobs and boost the economy.

Temple, together with RSK has been awarded a £1.5 million contract to provide environmental services to HS2 Ltd.

As part of the contract Temple/RSK will assist HS2 Ltd in the completion of the Appraisal of Sustainability for routes north from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds.  This involves:

  • Supporting HS2 Ltd during consultation events
  • Logging consultation issues and responses
  • Undertaking environmental appraisals of scheme refinements
  • Supporting HS2 Ltd with activities post-consultation leading to final scheme selection

Beth West, HS2 Ltd commercial director said: “HS2 is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and it will give a significant boost to the engineering and environmental sectors through developing the expertise needed to work on such large projects.

“This contract award is a positive sign of the progress that continues to be made on phase two beyond Birmingham as we move toward the public consultation later in the summer on the initial preferred route that was published at the end of January.”

Temple and RSK Project Director, Chris Fry said: “We are delighted to be able to assist HS2 Ltd with further refinement of the scheme and welcome our new partner, RSK who bring additional specialist knowledge to expand our established appraisal team.”