Mayor names London’s first Housing Zones

London Mayor Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today named London’s first Housing Zones that will pave the way for thousands of new jobs in the construction industry.

In nine boroughs, the new Zones will bring forward enormous regeneration and transform key areas of the capital, with £260 million of new investment to deliver 28,000 much needed new homes across the capital.

London’s first Housing Zones will unlock the redevelopment of 1897.42 hectares of brownfield land across the capital, the equivalent of 2,656 football pitches.

The special status has been awarded to areas identified by London boroughs as key opportunity sites, to maximise development, fast track homes and deliver much needed infrastructure to boost development. The Housing Zone status will remain until 2025.

Part of the Mayor’s commitment to double housebuilding as London’s population continues to boom, the first of the new Zones will create more than 56,000 construction jobs on 52 schemes across the capital.

Creating first class new neighbourhoods, measures agreed within the Zones include: 5 station upgrades; 5 new schools; 4 new bridges, 2 new civic centres; a new park, a new ‘3G’ football pitch, shops, restaurants, and libraries. They will also include more than 9,000 low cost homes, for some of the capital’s most essential workers.

The Mayor’s announcement comes on the day he and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, outlined a package of measures to boost the city’s economy and support infrastructure including housing.

London’s first Housing Zones will be in the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Ealing, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Lewisham, Wandsworth. More across London are currently being considered with around 20 expected to be designated by later his year. Together they will provide over 50,000 new homes across London.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “As London’s population continues to boom, already at its highest since records began and with more growth predicted, housing is a huge challenge. We need to double housebuilding and provide a million more homes by 2025.

These innovative new Housing Zones, the first of their kind in the UK, will trigger regeneration and turbo boost the transformation of the capital’s brownfield sites, creating tens of thousands of new homes for hard working Londoner in first class new neighbourhoods.”

House building continues to climb

House building continues to climb

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis has welcomed new figures showing a rise in the numbers of homes being built across the country.

The latest house building figures show starts on new homes in 2014 totalled 137,010 – 10% higher than in 2013 and at their highest annual total since 2007.

New figures show that overall 700,000 new homes have been delivered since the end of 2009 – and over 200,000 of which have been since the launch of the Help to Buy scheme.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We inherited a broken housing market in which builders couldn’t build, lenders wouldn’t lend and buyers couldn’t buy. We’ve done a lot to help get the housing industry back on its legs, but there’s more to do.

Today’s figures show we’re on track and turning this around. Now, house building levels are at their highest annual total since 2007, and first-time buyers are getting on the property ladder in record numbers.

This is thanks to our long-term economic plan and efforts to tackle the deficit we inherited, which are keeping interest rates at their record low and mean now is the best time on record to take out a mortgage.”

Homes built across the country

Croydon, where starts increased by 251% from 593 in 2013 to 2084 last year

Cornwall, where starts increased by 58% from 2,465 in 2013 to 3,892 last year

Leeds, where starts increased by 84% from 1,349 in 2013 to 2,480 last year

Bradford, where starts increased by 171% from 523 in 2013 to 1,417 last year

Selby, where starts increased by 296% from 279 in 2013 to 1,106 last year

Morgan Sindall to build new Wirral Met College

Morgan Sindall to build new Wirral Met College

Morgan Sindall has been appointed by Peel Group as the principal contractor of the new Wirral Met College Campus in Birkenhead that will create jobs and boost the trades.

The new campus will be dedicated to delivering training and education for construction and the built environment, embracing renewable energy and training the future workforce that will create the transformational Wirral Waters.

Richard Mawdsley, project director at Peel, said: “We’re delighted to be working with an experienced contractor with local Wirral connections. This is the first of a number of building projects we are progressing under the Wirral Waters umbrella.

This project aligns with our skills agenda, to create a place with local jobs for local people.”

Wirral Waters is a 30 year vision by Peel Group to transform 500 acres of Birkenhead dockland, and is one half of the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone. When completed in September 2015, the Wirral Met College will be the first key landmark in the Wirral Waters scheme. It will also provide a Skills and Enterprise Centre for local employers.

Barry Roberts, area director at Morgan Sindall said: “We are proud to be working with Peel Group on this fantastic new campus for the college at Wirral Waters. This is my home town and the college has enhanced the prospects of Wirralians for generations and it is gratifying to help them continue their work. We hope to leave a long-term legacy by introducing local economic benefits and opportunities for local people at the college.”

Sue Higginson, Principal of Wirral Met, said: “This project will create life changing opportunities for thousands of people, as we establish a Centre of Excellence for Enterprise and the Built Environment. We will provide a pipeline of skills for employers who will be investing in Wirral by locating into the new Enterprise Zone.”

Major school rebuild gets underway

Major school rebuild gets underway

Construction work at Mesne Lea Primary School in Salford has started, paving the way for 39 more schools in the North West to be rebuilt under the government’s priority school building programme (PSBP).

The school is 1 of worth £2.4 billion, which will address the needs of 260 of the schools in England in the worst condition.

Thanks to the PSBP, pupils and teachers attending the school are set to benefit from a £3.9 million, fit-for-purpose rebuild that will improve the existing outdated facilities.

The new 2-storey primary school will include a large multi-purpose hall, and a shared teaching space between reception and nursery for combined groups.

Schools Minister David Laws said: “The start of construction work at Mesne Lea Primary School marks a key milestone for the priority school building programme in the North West and an exciting phase in the development of the school.

Delivering great new schools will help to build a stronger economy and a fairer society, so that every young person across the region can get on in life.

Vital building work is taking place at schools in the worst state across the country. We are making good progress with 16 school buildings now open – 55 are under construction and the remaining projects are well into the development or planning stages.”.

Government drives forward development at MIRA Enterprise Zone

Government drives forward development at MIRA Enterprise Zone

MIRA Technology Park will be able to attract even more world-class businesses to the West Midlands after the Government gave the go-ahead to extend its flagship Enterprise Zone.

The move will pave the way for an additional 250,000 square foot of work space for cutting-edge research and development with the potential to create hundreds of new jobs and draw down millions of pounds in private-sector investment.

MIRA is home to some of the biggest names in the automotive business and is central to the Government’s Enterprise Zone programme that is playing a vital role in driving forward our economy.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “MIRA is leading the charge for Enterprise Zones. It’s a fantastic set-up and that’s why world-class companies like GKN, Continental and Goodyear and Haldex are moving there.

This extension will cement its place as the number one site for automotive research and development in the UK. It also has the potential to create up to 300 new jobs and draw down an extra £50 million in private sector investment that will have knock-on benefits for the local economy and community.”

GKN, Continental and Goodyear will move into the recently completed 27,500 square foot Technology Centre that includes secures workshops and office space.

The Government has also invested £12.9m from its Local Infrastructure Fund to support growth of the Enterprise Zone.

The Government opened the Enterprise Zones in April 2012 as part of a 25-year project to rebalance the economy, offering tax incentives, simplified planning and super fast broadband to companies. Latest figures show they have created 12,530 jobs, attracted 434 new businesses and generated over £2 billion worth of private investment since opening for business

Travelodge to create 3,000 new jobs and boost the trades

Travelodge to create 3,000 new jobs and boost the trades

Hotel chain Travelodge has revealed an eight-year plan to 3, 000 jobs across the UK with the opening of 150 new hotels that will boost the construction trades.

The new hotels include four London locations, cementing Travelodge’s position as the capital’s biggest hotel brand; a new central Glasgow property and key regional locations including the Thames Valley tech corridor, Southampton and Bristol.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne visited Birmingham Airport Travelodge had welcomed news that Travelodge is set to create more than 3,000 jobs across the UK as it looks to boost its estate by opening more than 150 new hotels over the next eight years.

George Osborne said: “Our long-term economic plan for the Midlands is to make the area an Engine for Growth by backing business and supporting growth. The expansion of a great British brand like Travelodge within a growing hotel and leisure industry in the UK, is fantastic news.”

“Travelodge’s expansion is not just reliant however on tourists as increased demand from business customers and families have also boosted growth.”

Peter Gowers, Travelodge Chief Executive said: “We are well underway with our plans to build new Travelodge. We’re investing more than £100m in modernising our hotels for our customers and we now have 87% of guest rooms upgraded to our new look. In 2015 we are opening 15 new hotels, creating 400 new jobs and extending our network still further.

“With our modernised hotels and unbeatable value, we are well placed to serve the rapidly growing demand for low-cost travel. We see the potential for more than 150 further hotels across the UK and look forward to creating more great places to stay and thousands more jobs over the years ahead.”

New investment in Welsh housing sector

Welsh Government

The Government is investing a further £20 million to improve the Welsh housing stock and bring thousands of derelict and inhabitable properties back into use.

Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, launched the Home Improvement Loans scheme, which will offer loans to home owners and landlords to improve poor quality housing across Wales.

Funding of £10 million will be provided over two years to offer interest-free loans of up to £25,000 per property, which will be recycled by local authorities and provided to homeowners across Wales to maximise the funding and improve the standard of Welsh housing.

The Minister also announced a further £10 million for the Houses into Homes scheme, bringing the total investment in the programme to £30 million.

The additional funding will expand the programme which provides re-usable, interest-free loans to owners of empty run-down properties, to bring them back into use for sale or rent.

To date, 4471 empty and run-down properties have been turned into homes so far this Assembly term, only 529 short of the Welsh Government’s ambitious 5,000 target for the whole term.

Lesley Griffiths said: “The success of our flagship Houses into Homes scheme must also be acknowledged. As well as bringing 4471 properties back into use, the scheme is also creating jobs in our construction industry.”

Kier gets five-year contract extension with Barnsley Council

Kier 2

Kier has extended its repairs and maintenance contract with Barnsley Council for another five years with Berneslai Homes Construction Services.

The extension, which was approved by Barnsley Council’s cabinet members, has a value to Kier of £55 million over the five years.

PRIP carries out all repairs and maintenance works to 19,000 homes on behalf of Barnsley Council and since it was established in 2010, tenant satisfaction with repairs and maintenance has increased to 98%.

The contract extension follows a robust review by Barnsley Council, where performance and value for money were some of the key subjects, and also included members of the Barnsley Federation of Tenants and Residents.

As part of the new contract, Kier has committed to further developing its Employment and Skills Training Programme, which will increase the number of apprentices employed by the programme by 25%. This adds to the partnership’s existing policy of investing heavily in the training and development of local people.

It currently employs 21 apprentices and holds over 4,000 training events per year for staff engaging with local communities to deliver training and education programmes. Of the 366 people directly employed by PRIP, 80% of them live within the borough, which brings an estimated £7.4m into the local economy each year.

Phil Oades, Kier operations director, said: “It is extremely rewarding to secure this extension with Barnsley Council, following the past five years of successfully working together. The extension means we can further deepen and develop our partnership with Berneslai Homes and the Council to deliver an even more efficient service to tenants across Barnsley.”

Cllr Roy Miller, cabinet spokesperson for Place, said: “Barnsley Council is delighted to continue its partnership with Kier and Berneslai. They have delivered an excellent service to our customers over the past four years and are committed to improving both the economic prosperity of this town, and its residents, by using local labour and supplies wherever possible.”

ISG secures £10m Cambridge Community Centre

ISG secures £10m Cambridge Community Centre

ISG has secured a £10 million project to build a multi-use community facility at the new Clay Farm development that will boost the local economy and create new jobs.

Positioned at the heart of Cambridge’s Southern Fringe growth area, the centre will ultimately serve a community of around 4,000 homes, with a new secondary school and two primary schools.

The five-storey, mixed-use building will provide a comprehensive range of public services for local residents, including a medical centre, library, community rooms and 20 flats.

At ground floor level of the concrete frame structure, ISG will create a spacious and light reception area, leading into the lower level of the two-storey library, a café and social space.

A large double-height multi-use hall and a smaller community room are also located on this level, along with offices and a secure internal bicycle storage area.

Liam Duffy, ISG’s regional director – East, said: “The extension of Cambridge’s guided busway and the creation of public realm space at Clay Farm has paved the way for this next stage in the development of the city’s Southern Fringe growth area.

This new facility is a signature building and a major investment by the council in the creation of a vibrant and sustainable new community and we are delighted to be playing a key role in the realisation of this exciting vision for Cambridge’s future.”

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Community, Arts and Recreation at Cambridge City Council, said: “The Clay Farm multi-use community facility is an ambitious project that will be the jewel in the crown of the new Southern Fringe development, bringing together a new neighbourhood under one roof.

Cambridge City Council is proud to take a leading role in the development, investing in a facility that will be sustainable and of very high quality – and will deliver a long-lasting benefit to the community and the city of Cambridge at large.”

Long term growth and jobs boost for the Midlands

Long term growth and jobs boost for the Midlands

Jobs, skills, transport, science, and quality of life are at the heart of the six-point long term economic plan to make the Midlands the Engine for Growth in the UK, announced today by the Prime Minister and Chancellor.

The Prime Minister and Chancellor today set out their six-point long term economic plan for the Midlands showing what has been delivered, what is underway and what more can be done to make the Midlands an engine for growth.

In a speech at Bombardier in Derby, David Cameron and George Osborne set out the detailed plan as part of a two day tour of the region.

The plan aims to raise the long term growth rate of the Midlands to at least the forecast long term growth rate of the whole UK – adding an extra £34 billion to the Midlands economy in real terms by 2030, equivalent to over £3,000 per person.

It will also create 300,000 extra jobs in the Midlands by backing the core strengths of the local economy like advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Prime Minister, David Cameron said: “We are building a more resilient economy to benefit hard working people across the Midlands, from its great cities to the stunning countryside of the Derbyshire Dales.

We are already seeing more jobs and greater growth in the region, but we want to see more. That’s what our long term economic plan will do – it will help the region build on its success and create new opportunities through massive investment in infrastructure and housing.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said: “Our long term economic plan for the Midlands aims to make it an engine for growth in the UK to ensure that we have a truly national recovery.

Under this government, the Midlands has been growing and creating jobs faster than the average for the whole of the UK.

The challenge now is to sustain this which is why the Prime Minister and I are here today setting out our long-term plan to create 300,000 new jobs, boost the Midland’s growth by over £30 billion and significantly improve the quality of life.”