House builders get £40m Cambridge Uni new town deal

The University of Cambridge has awarded contracts to two residential developers, Countryside and Hill, to build the market housing on the North West Cambridge Development.

The combined investment will see the house builders delivering 400 homes in the first phase of the development that will boost the trades and create new jobs.

Brian Nearney, Commercial Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “Our partnerships with Countryside and Hill mark another major chapter in development.

Both developers have demonstrated to the University that they will create new homes that will meet our objectives of sustainable living and exemplar design. We look forward to working with them in delivering this new quarter of the City.”

All 400 market homes as well as the 700 University key worker homes that are part of the first phase of the development will be designed to high levels of sustainability meeting the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.

They will be integrated into the Sustainable Urban Drainage System including the UK’s largest non-potable water recycling system, as well as the district heating network, and make extensive use of photovoltaics.

Hill, working with Pollard Thomas Edwards and Alison Brooks Architects, and Countryside, working with Proctor and Matthews Architects, will deliver a mix of housing types, including apartments, terraces, semi-detached and detached houses for the scheme.

Graham Cherry, Chief Executive of Countryside’s New Homes & Communities division said: “We are delighted to have been selected by the University of Cambridge to help create a dynamic new district that will form the next chapter in the evolution of Cambridge.

Working with Proctor and Matthews we will use our design and place making skills to create a quarter that will set new standards for 21st century living.”

Brian Buckingham, Partner of Bidwells said: “It is exciting to have worked with the University to secure two strong local developers from the competition to deliver the market housing – they will set the benchmark for the quality of homes for the later phases of the scheme and underpin the ambitions of the University to create a long-lasting place.”

Warmer homes for pensioners with energy bill discount

Warmer homes for pensioners with energy bill discountAn extra 200,000 pensioners will get money off their energy bills this winter, as the Warm Home Discount scheme expands for the fourth year.

In total, more than 2 million people will receive the subsidy – an increase of 200,000 on last year and around twice as many as when the scheme was first launched in 2011.

The initiative, which exists to help vulnerable and low income households with their energy costs, has now been expanded to everyone in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit, including those also in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit with Savings Credit.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of the poorest working age people will also qualify for the subsidy to help them keep their homes at a comfortable temperature throughout the cold weather season.

DWP Minister Steve Webb said: “It is this coalition government’s mission to build a fairer society, and ensuring our poorest households get the support they need with their energy costs is a key part of that.

“As we approach winter, no-one should have to go without heating because they can’t afford the bills. That’s why we have significantly extended the Warm Home Discount scheme – and increased its value – to give people peace of mind that they can keep their homes comfortable throughout the coldest months.”

In addition to expanding the eligibility criteria for the Warm Home Discount scheme every year since its introduction, the government has also increased the level of the discount year-on-year. For 2014/15, it will be set at £140, compared with £120 in 2011/12.

The discount is funded by participating energy companies and is available to customers of these suppliers. They include the ‘big 6’ energy firms which, collectively, account for over 90% of the domestic market.

The vast majority of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit recipients will receive the discount automatically and will not have to take any action. Pension Credit claimants who are unable to receive the discount automatically will be sent a letter from the government explaining how to apply.

Anyone not in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit but who feels they may be eligible under alternative criteria should contact their energy supplier to check.

Customers who use pre-payment meters or pay as you go electricity meters may also qualify for the discount.

Receipt of the £140 discount does not affect any Winter Fuel Allowance, Cold Weather Payments or other benefits that an individual or household may receive.

BDP wins £80m Liverpool city centre scheme

BDP wins £80m Liverpool city centre schemeBDP has won the commission to design a £80 million scheme to remodel the former Royal Mail Centre on Copperas Hill in Liverpool city centre for Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).

LJMU acquired the Copperas Hill site in 2011 and announced plans to redevelop the site as part of a vision to develop a connected campus by locating all students and staff in the city centre.

The Copperas Hill project is part of a master plan that covers the university’s entire portfolio of properties and it is anticipated that the whole estate will benefit from improved facilities as a result.

Architect director Sue Emms says: “This is a hugely exciting and unique project, which has the ability to transform a redundant city centre building, regenerate a city quarter and create a vibrant, student-focused heart for LJMU.”

The former postal sorting office is situated near to Lime Street station and close to the university’s existing buildings.

The building extends to 25,000 sqm over several floors and includes offices, storage and a loading area.

Its redevelopment will be pivotal in the regeneration of the surrounding area resulting in the creation of improved streetscapes, upgraded highways, landscaping and new open spaces.

A full planning application is programmed for the summer of 2015 with a view to starting work on site early in 2016. Full completion is expected in 2018.

Christal Management will be project manager for the scheme and Sweett Group is quantity surveyor. Civil & Structural Engineer is Curtins and Building Services Engineer is Arup.

Report: Sustainability vital for business success

Carillion logoSustainability is vital for business success in today’s challenging markets according to Richard Howson, Chief Executive of leading integrated support services company Carillion.

Speaking at the launch of the company’s annual Sustainability Report, Richard Howson said: Surprisingly we still hear discussions that sustainability is either a ‘nice to have’ or, worse, something that companies can’t afford, but this misses the point.

“Our report demonstrates that sustainability can make a powerful contribution to profit as well as operational delivery and it creates real benefits for the communities in which we work.”
Carillion’s Sustainability Report updates progress on its 2020 Sustainability Strategy, which was launched in 2011 and delivers six positive outcomes across the three pillars of environmental, social and economic responsibility, including creating lasting social value and supporting sustainable communities across the UK, the Middle East and Canada.

The Report launch was held at the Battersea Power Station regeneration project, where Carillion is delivering Phase One of the project, a mixed residential, retail and leisure development.

David Picton, Carillion’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “At Battersea we will generate up to 500 new jobs and employ 114 apprentices, with a commitment to recruit from the local community and to help the long-term unemployed.

“We have a detailed sustainability plan for the full project, including innovative approaches like using the Thames to transport excavated material away from the site by barge. This one initiative alone saved the equivalent of 750 lorry journeys on local roads, cutting CO2 emissions by 45 tonnes.

“Our role in regenerating this iconic area of London demonstrates our sustainability programme in action and our commitment to creating lasting social value in the communities in which we operate.”