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Milestone for South Shields regeneration

The £100 million South Shields town centre regeneration project has reached another important milestone that will boost the local economy and create new jobs.

As the main contractor, B&K and its client Muse Developments, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, are engaged in the regeneration of the town centre.

Matt Crompton, Joint Managing Director of Muse Developments said: “Today marks an important step in the regeneration of South Shields town centre. The Word will be an iconic, state-of-the-art building that sets the bar for the quality of development and architecture that people of South Tyneside deserve.”

This is just the first stage of the overall regeneration project that will have a positive impact on residents and everyone who visits the town and we are very proud to be partnering with South Tyneside Council in such a bold scheme.”

The Word development forms part of a phased regeneration scheme jointly funded by Muse Developments and South Tyneside Council and is due to open Autumn 2016.

Phase One of the £100m regeneration project is a part of a 10-year master plan. Work is now complete on improvements to the local Market Place, an integral part of the town’s identity.

The regeneration scheme will improve the town’s public spaces to improve internal and external access and connectivity whilst also respecting the rich urban heritage of the town and includes an ample amount of outdoor seating, tree-lined avenues with new level paving accessible to all.

Andy Kinnear, Bowmer & Kirkland’s Construction Director in the North East, said: “Bowmer and Kirkland is delighted to be involved in such a prestigious landmark scheme.

The building is set to become an iconic feature of the South Shields landscape and we are extremely proud to be involved.”

Jobs boost thanks to £120m infrastructure scheme

Up to 2,000 jobs are set to be created thanks to a £120 million capital investment for infrastructure projects across Wales during 2016-17, Finance Minister Jane Hutt announced this week.

Ahead of a debate on the Welsh Government Draft Budget 2016-17, the Minister confirmed a range of pan-Wales projects will benefit from the additional capital investment in line with the priorities set out in the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Jane Hutt said: “Investing in infrastructure is key to our approach to supporting sustained economic growth. Every part of Wales will benefit from this £120m investment of Capital funding in our infrastructure, and my announcement today has the potential to create around 2,000 jobs during the construction phase, boosting growth and supporting the delivery of more efficient public services.”

These include:

  • £50m for priority transport projects;

  • £10m for the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme to support projects that will enhance skills for post-16 students;

  • £10m for Intermediate Care Fund, focusing on ‘step-down’ and re-ablement facilities for people with complex needs to support independent living and reduce demand on health services;

  • £10m for the Wales Ambulance Service Trust for the replacement of vehicles;

  • £5m for Green Growth Wales, providing repayable energy efficiency grants across health, local authorities and education; and

  • £3m for Warm Homes / Arbed, to tackle fuel poverty through green growth by investing in domestic energy efficiency measures.

A further £10m will be allocated towards neonatal investment in developments across West, South and North Wales.

Work underway on £4m oil and gas facility

Minister for Business Fergus Ewing has broken ground on a new £4 million testing facility created by oil and gas supply chain firm Sonomatic in Aberdeen.

The overall investment will maintain 50 jobs within the construction industry to build the facility.

It is likely to create around 15 full time jobs in the short term with a predicted 70 full-time jobs in the longer term.

Sonomatic is a market leader in the development and provision of automated non-destructive (NDT) ultrasonic inspection and related integrity services for the oil and gas, power generation and defence sectors.

Sonomatic’s direct investment in the NDT and Rope Access facility is in excess of £4 million, including the land, building and fit-out costs.

Mr Ewing said:“While it is clear that the oil and gas industry faces severe challenges from a low global oil price, today’s investment from Sonomatic underlines the many opportunities which remain through our world class supply chain and I look forward to seeing this exciting project develop.

“Earlier today, the oil and gas industry leadership group – of which I am co-chair – published a refreshed oil and gas strategy offering a shared path for industry, governments and the Oil and Gas Authority to follow in working together to support the industry and its world class supply chain.”

Landmark ceremony for Royal Albert Wharf

The first phase of a riverside and dockside development which will ultimately create 1,500 homes has reached a major landmark with a topping out ceremony.

The development of Royal Albert Wharf forms part of the Royal Docks regeneration and will provide one, two, three and four-bedroom homes, as well as commercial space along both the dock and riverside.

The landmark ceremony marked the topping out of the first phase of 350 new homes offering great views overlooking the docks, 44 per cent of which will be available for shared ownership or affordable rent with more than a third of those being either three or four-bed family homes.

The site is being built by Galliford Try Partnerships and work is due to be completed in 2017.

Bradleigh Coker, project director for Galliford Try, added: “Great Eastern Quays is an exceptional mixed use regeneration scheme. Planning permission was granted in December 2013, demolition started eight months later and construction started in December 2014.

Just a year later we are celebrating the topping out of the last block in phase one, with the first handover of flats in May this year. It’s a huge achievement.”

Royal Albert Wharf is made up of Great Eastern Quays and Gallions Quarter, both in Newham and developed by Notting Hill Housing. In total, it will provide 1,500 homes and 8,700 sq m of commercial, retail, community and leisure space.

Ardmore secures £80m Canada Water job

Ardmore lands £80 million Canada Water deal

Ardmore has been awarded an £80 million contract to become the main contractor at the first phase of Project Light, Canada Water, by Notting Hill Housing and Sellar Developments.

Project Light is a major mixed-use development at Canada Water in Southwark, which will deliver a new town centre with 1,030 new homes and a range of commercial and community uses across a seven acre site.

The site is adjacent to Canada Water underground station and the dock, between London Bridge and Canary Wharf.

It will also include 150,000sqft of retail and commercial space, including a cinema, bars, restaurants, office space and a 100,000sqft Decathlon store.

Alongside this, a community sports facility and health centre will complement new public areas featuring open spaces, landscaped gardens, walkways and cycle paths with a new waterside town square.

The private rent homes will be available through Folio London, Notting Hill Housing’s private rented sector business. Project Light will be Folio London’s biggest development to date.

Chris Langdon, Ardmore Development Director, said: “We are thrilled to have been selected for the first phase of Project Light, which promises to be a landmark development for Canada Water.

I am delighted to build on our excellent relationship with Notting Hill Housing, and I am looking forward to working with Sellar Developments to help transform another part of London.”

John Hughes, Group Development Director at

Mayor opens London’s first super sewer

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has officially opened the Lee Tunnel, the first of two super sewers which will dramatically improve the health and cleanliness of the Rivers Lee and Thames in the capital.

The Lee Tunnel is the largest single project in the history of the privatised water industry in England and Wales and is the deepest ever bored under the capital at around 75 metres deep.

It is the width of three double decker buses and is the most significant development of London’s Victorian sewers since Sir Joseph Bazalgette originally built the network in the 1860s.

The five associated shafts are the deepest constructed in the London Basin. The project also includes 6 mega pumps of 3MW each. At its peak, MVB employed 750 people at the same time on this project.

The Mayor Boris Johnson, in partnership with Thames Water, the Environment Agency and London Councils recently launched the first London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan, identifying potential flooding hotspots across the city and proposing innovative ways of diverting rain back from the sewers into the soil with rain gardens or green roofs.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “This amazing new super sewer is providing the bold infrastructure needed to support the movements of our rapidly growing city. For years our historic Victorian systems have heaved at the seams, muddling along, battling to cope with the increasing rainfall and waste of a modern population.

Now the River Thames will benefit from vast improvements to its water quality with less pollution and overflow. Alongside my sustainable drainage work to reduce flooding, the investment in the Lee and the forthcoming Thames Tideway Tunnel are set to benefit Londoners for generations to come.”

Construction of Teesside Biomass Plant gets underway

Construction of Teesside Biomass Plant gets underway

Lagan Construction Group have started construction of a £160 million biomass plant at Port Clarence in Teesside.

The development at Port Clarence will create about 30 direct jobs and support a further 300 jobs at the peak of the build.

The Port Clarence Renewable Energy Plant will have capacity to treat an estimated 325,000 tonnes of waste wood per year.

Danish energy-from-waste specialist Babcock and Wilcox Vølund will operate the plant, with building work being carried out by Lagan Construction Group in partnership with Eco2.

The development was ceremonially started by Councillor Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Borough Council, who broke first ground on the site. Councillor Bob Cook, welcomed the investment in the region.

He said: “Glennmont’s investment in our borough is certainly welcomed as through the introduction of technologies such as biomass they can help grow our economy and create jobs for local people.

I am delighted to see the Port Clarence Energy project begin to come to fruition and I’m looking forward to residents and businesses benefitting from the energy it will produce.”

Uliving reaches financial close on £57m student scheme

Student accommodation provider, Uliving, has achieved financial close on its new scheme, in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire.

The development will transform the university’s Pittville Campus in Cheltenham which, until 2011, was a site for teaching and learning, into a new student village.

The project also includes the construction of 577 new student rooms, as well as the refurbishment of 214 existing rooms, supporting the increased demand for places at the university.

A full design, build, finance and operation scheme, the new village will be operated by Uliving for around 50 years.

The project is set to be completed ready in time for the start of the 2017/18 academic year. Bouygues UK, the main contractor on the project, has already commenced on site.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “Better infrastructure is about improving people’s lives, and that’s why we are determined to get Britain building again.

Our initial deal will deliver a modern, new student village to give the next generation of students the first-class facilities they deserve.

In my Spending Review we announced that we’re extending our UK guarantees scheme to March 2021 to help kickstart other exciting infrastructure projects like this one right across the country.”

Lendlease wins £80m Liverpool university job

LendLease secures £40m Ruskin Square construction contract

Lendlease has signed a new contract with Liverpool John Moores University for building works as principal contractor at the former Royal Mail sorting office at Copperas Hill.

Lendlease is the University’s preferred bidder for the whole project and already has staff on site surveying the existing structure, in order to strip it back to its frame ahead of developing it into a university building.

The Copperas Hill development is expected to create a significant focal point for LJMU, and for the area of Liverpool City Centre where it is located, opposite Lime Street Station.

It will create a gateway to Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter, and bring together the university’s Mount Pleasant and Byrom Street campuses.

Simon Gorski, Executive General Manager of UK Regions for Lendlease, said: “We’re really pleased to be getting underway with our work at Copperas Hill, which has been described as a “transformational” investment for LJMU.

The challenge of retaining the existing and very prominent structure and utilising it to create an iconic and inspirational multi-purpose facility is really exciting. We are delighted to be back in Liverpool”.

The new building will house the University’s three libraries, a central teaching unit with lecture theatres and seminar rooms, and study zones and IT suites.

Sports facilities on the site will include an eight-court sports hall, a gym and dance studios, while the building will also house offices for the Liverpool Students’ Union and spaces for other services including a careers centre and cafes.

Kier gets go-ahead for £79m Cambridge Uni lab

The University of Cambridge has been given the go-ahead for ‘Project Capella’ – a new £79 million research facility that will be delivered by Kier and designed by The Fairhursts Design Group.

The six-storey 18,000sq m centre will be located adjacent to the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute within the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and will provide state-of-the-art research laboratories in a collaborative environment to stimulate the exchange of ideas.

The facility, which aims to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, incorporates a variety of laboratory spaces alongside office and meeting suites, all set within a collaborative working environment.

Externally the building features a two-storey glazed box with gold metal detailing and double height entrance foyer, while the spine is to be clad in a flat-faced graphite panel.


Kier project lead, Shak Chowdhury, said: “This open and transparent approach has enabled an £79m complex research facility to progress from having no design to being on site in just 12 months.”

A variety of materials have been selected to define specific elements of the structure and to avoid the blank façades that a building of this scale can create.

Mark Adey, director at The Fairhursts Design Group, said: “The proposed building will provide a cutting edge facility appropriate for the complex research currently being carried out in isolated, outdated facilities across Cambridge.

Our design uses forms and materials that respect the existing built environment, and will further enhance the Cambridge Biomedical Campus through associated realm and landscaping in accordance with the ethos of development including the 2020 vision.”