Birmingham unveils £1bn investment plans for growth and jobs

birmingham-unveils-1bn-investment-plans-for-growthAlmost £1 billion of investment is being committed to redevelop a part of Birmingham that will pave the way for thousands of new jobs and homes.

The Curzon Investment Plan is an ambitious 30-year strategy to unlock and regenerate the 141 hectares of land around the planned HS2 Curzon Street Station, led by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP) and Birmingham City Council.

Creating 36,000 jobs, 4,000 new homes, unlocking 600,000 sqm of commercial floor space and connecting the eastside of Birmingham to the rest of the city and beyond; the investment is the first major financial commitment by any local area in the country to use HS2’s arrival as a catalyst for regeneration. It also has the potential to add £1.4 billion to the local economy.

Plans include the development of Curzon Street Station itself, several new neighbourhoods, offices and retail spaces. The creation of stunning public places such as the Curzon Promenade and Curzon Square – which will incorporate the original Curzon Station, a Grade I listed building.

In total £907 million is being allocated to a variety of projects, and is made up of £586.8 million from the GBSLEP, which draws funds from business rates within the Enterprise Zone and £137.2 million from the newly formed devolved government, West Midlands Combined Authority.

A further £183.3 million towards the cost of delivering Metro extension projects, connecting the eastside of the city to central Birmingham and out to Birmingham International Airport and Solihull, where another HS2 station, an interchange, is planned.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I’m delighted that Greater Birmingham is making this investment in the future, working to maximise the potential of HS2 by investing in jobs and housing – and encouraging more business investment.

It was in Birmingham where I outlined my plan to build an economy that works for all, with a proper industrial strategy that delivers prosperity, job creation and higher wages across the country, not just in London.”

Steve Hollis, Deputy Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP (GBSLEP), said: “The Curzon Investment Plan is the first major commitment by a local area to maximise the impact of HS2.

It outlines how we will use HS2 as a trigger to transform an area of untapped potential in Birmingham’s city core and create thousands of new jobs, homes and places for businesses to thrive.

This demonstrates clearly what we can achieve in this region by being given the right tools by central government, to unlock our own future economic success.

Our commitment to invest is a bold statement of intent for how we will utilise HS2 as a catalyst for growth at every step. By setting out our plans and investing now, we will begin to realise the economic benefits of HS2 far sooner.”

Councillor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “It is an unprecedented time for Birmingham and the wider region. By working with partners from across the region, we have fuelled an economic renaissance with significant inward investment and the implementation of major infrastructure schemes.”

Chancellor steps up industry engagement

Government to support UK industry In the run up to the Autumn Statement the Chancellor Philip Hammond will speak to British businesses in a series of high profile meetings.

As well as holding further discussions with the financial services sector in October, the Chancellor will chair roundtables with representatives from the world of technology, retailing and manufacturing as well as meeting investors, importers and exporters and hosting representatives from the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

From virtual reality to food, clothing and banking, the Chancellor will meet with representatives covering almost every aspect of the economy.

He will set out the government’s plans to support an economy that works for everyone and then lead a discussion with industry representatives on the underlying strengths of the UK economy as we enter a period of adjustment in the lead up to leaving the European Union.

Representatives will also be given an opportunity to contribute their views on the future of Britain outside of the European Union and offer input to how the government can best offer support to their industries and workforces leading up to the Autumn Statement.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “We want to ensure the continued investment that creates jobs and supports wage growth throughout this period of uncertainty ahead of the UK formally leaving the European Union.

“That means listening to businesses and organisations who represent working people all over the country, and taking the necessary steps to maintain economic stability.

“From manufacturing to new technology, exporters to small businesses, I am determined that industry and government work together to ensure that Britain takes full advantage of the opportunities Brexit presents. That means engaging in open and constructive dialogue with business leaders in the months ahead.”

Lovell starts work on 67 new homes for Norwich

Lovell starts work on 67 new homes for NorwichHouse building developer Lovell Homes has started construction of 67 high-quality brand- new homes in Hellesdon, Norwich.

The Firs Park development will create 57 homes for sale and 10 affordable homes in a sought-after residential area on the northern side of Norwich.

Building work has just begun on the scheme in Eversley Road which will transform the brownfield site – a former tile distribution warehouse – with a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom houses and two-bedroom apartments for sale as well as 10 affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments and bungalows.

Set for overall completion in spring 2018 – with the first new homes set to be available in spring next year – Firs Park will answer the growing need for new open market and affordable homes locally, providing modern homes designed and built to the highest standards.

Lovell regional director Simon Medler said: “We’re very excited to have begun construction of this fantastic new development for Norwich.

There is a pressing demand for new homes locally and Firs Park will offer the opportunity to live in a highly desirable residential suburb with excellent access to the local road network and the city centre.

With flats ideal for couples and first-time buyers plus two-, three- and four-bedroom houses, these well-designed homes will meet the needs of a wide range of residents whether you’re looking for the perfect family house, your ideal apartment or the right retirement property.”

Based locally in Thorpe Road, Norwich, national housing developer Lovell specialises offering quality and value homes and built to high energy efficiency standards.

Dudley residential scheme gets underway

£14m office residential scheme gets underwayDudley’s Falcon House has been bought by a developer who has set his sights on creating more than 140 flats as part of a £14 million regeneration scheme.

Arran Bailey, owner of ALB Black Country Properties, bought the outdated eight-storey office block at auction and has revealed plans to convert the 88,000 sq ft building in to 65 one-bedroom and 76 two-bedroom apartments.

Falcon House was set to be demolished to make way for a supermarket complex which would have included a café and petrol station, but plans were scrapped by Commercial Estates Group, paving the way for ALB Investments to step in and regenerate the building.

Bailey said: “The local area has been in need of new housing developments and we are excited to play a big part in the area’s regeneration.

“The project will be a great opportunity to bring more footfall to the town by attracting young professionals. This will help to boost the local economy and will improve the area’s image by updating outdated buildings.”

Headoffice3 has designed the development of Falcon House and will be managing the works to complete in 2017.

Glen Harding, chief executive of headoffice3, said: “We believe this project will genuinely improve the local demographics and breathe new life into a tired block in urgent need of renovation.

“The external façade alterations will create a new, vibrant and exciting feel to the building.”

£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

For information on the registered social landlords loan scheme, visit

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.”

GRAHAM bags £22m Student Accommodation scheme

GRAHAM bags £22m Student Accommodation schemeWork on the £22 million Buccleuch Place & Meadow Lane Student Accommodation Project for the University of Edinburgh is now underway.

GRAHAM Construction began preparatory work on the site in Scotland’s capital in December with the project completion expected by summer 2017.

The project involves the conversion and refurbishment of two grade B-listed tenement blocks and the construction of four new build accommodation blocks in the city’s Southside conservation area.

The conversion and refurbishment will see the current office accommodation at 1 to 6 & 7 to 13 Buccleuch Place transformed into 246 student bedrooms split into cluster flat arrangements.

Once completed, the project will create an outstanding centralised student accommodation at the heart of the University of Edinburgh.

Regional director at GRAHAM Construction, Neil McFarlane, said: “Securing this contract with one of Scotland’s most respected universities is a real boost for GRAHAM Construction, and the two-part dimension of refurbishing existing premises on site coupled with a new build construction poses an interesting challenge – one the team is looking forward to.

This latest project further underlines the strong relationship forged between GRAHAM Construction and the University in recent years.”

Kier appointed to £50m Bristol housing development

Kier 2Kier Living has been appointed Bristol City Council’s development partner for a major new £50 million housing development in south Bristol, which could see hundreds of properties being built.

The development of the 12.7 hectare site at Hengrove Park, off Whitchurch Lane for housing is part of phase one of the Park’s regeneration – the first three elements of which included the City of Bristol Academy, the South Bristol Community Hospital, completed in 2011; and the Hengrove Leisure Centre, which was delivered by Kier Construction in 2012.

Kier Living’s successful bid includes a proposal for 259 homes, ranging from one-bedroom flats to four-bedroom houses, with 30% affordable housing.

Chris King, managing director of Kier Living’s central operations, commented: “Kier has a proud history in delivering regeneration projects in Hengrove Park, having previously worked with Bristol City Council on the successful Hengrove Leisure Centre scheme, and we are delighted to continue this relationship as the developer partner for this priority strategic development opportunity.”

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “This is great news and finally unlocks Bristol’s biggest remaining opportunity for new family homes in the south of the city.

I’m delighted that we are going to be working in partnership with the private sector to deliver over 250 houses and flats, including 78 much-needed affordable homes.”

The scheme is subject to public consultation and planning consent. Designs for the site will be developed over the next few months with a target of April 2016 to submit the scheme for planning permission.