Eric Wright wins 20m building job for McLaren

Eric Wright wins 20m building job for McLaren

Eric Wright has been given a new contract to build 326-unit student accommodation scheme in York for McLaren Property.

The deal follows the sale of the city-centre site by previous owners Maple Grove Developments and Yorvale to McLaren Construction Group’s property arm.

Work will start on the site in Hallfield Road next month to build two blocks, each with four storeys.

The 18-month build programme is due to complete in time for the 2016/17 academic year student intake.

Chris Evenson, managing director of Maple Grove Developments said: “We knew that this site had significant potential for development as student living and, by delivering the public consultation and securing planning consent prior to negotiations, we were able to maximise its value.

We are delighted to have attracted a developer of McLaren’s stature to the project and the deal demonstrates our ability to acquire sites that can attract interest from major property development and investment names, feeding our continued growth.”

John Gatley of McLaren Property said: “We are pleased to announce the acquisition of the site in Hallfield Road which adds another strong location to our portfolio of student accommodation.

We continue to search for development opportunities in similar top tier university towns and cities.”

John Wilson, managing director, Eric Wright Construction added: “This deal demonstrates how the breadth of disciplines within the Eric Wright Group can be leveraged to drive growth across our business units.

The Hallfield Road scheme will build on our portfolio of successful student accommodation projects, which also includes the £18 million Opal Court Phase 2 in Leeds, reiterating our expansion in Yorkshire.”

New homes set to be built in Manchester

New homes for rent in Greater Manchester

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis has announced a multi-million pound deal that will provide nearly 800 homes specifically for private rent in Greater Manchester.

The minister welcomed this latest deal through the government’s £1 billion Build to Rent scheme, which is well on track to build 10,000 new homes for private rent.

The move is the latest in a series of steps this government has taken to get Britain building – creating jobs and providing homes while boosting the building trades.

New homes in Manchester and Salford

The Build to Rent fund is designed to help developers produce large-scale, quality homes, specifically for the private rented sector.

Under the terms of today’s agreement, developers Renaker will receive £55 million to build 779 new homes across 2 sites in Manchester and Salford.

Each site will include a mix of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom properties. Work is already underway, and is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Millions of people use the flexible option of renting so I’m determined to create a bigger, better private rental market offering greater choice for tenants.

This extra money will not only create 800 more homes for the people of Manchester and Salford, it will also create jobs and security for hardworking people – a vital part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain.”

Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency Andy Rose said: “This is a major investment in the private rented sector in Manchester. It demonstrates how the HCA, working closely with partners, is combining financial and local expertise to increase the private rented choice in areas where there is a high demand for homes.”

Boris Johnson unveils £220m homes funding boost

London Mayor Boris Johnson

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced funding for two new schemes to help Londoners into affordable home ownership and accelerate the building of new homes.

The Fund aims to accelerate the delivery of 4,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020 and is being made available on a recoverable basis so that money can be reinvested to provide more opportunities for affordable home seekers.

The Mayor is also giving up to £40 million of loan finance to Gentoo’s Genie for a new innovative housing product where buyers will need no deposit or mortgage to purchase their home and at the end of the agreement customers own 100 per cent of the home outright.

The scheme aims to deliver 2,000 new homes over the next 10 years, helping people who would struggle to get on the property ladder while boosting the building trades.

The Mayor has already made considerable efforts to help Londoners to own their own home with over 50,000 people expected to be helped into home ownership through his First Steps scheme over the course of his two Mayoral terms.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Shared ownership is crucial in helping the unprecedented numbers of people in London desperate for good quality low cost housing.

Families need larger properties and Erith Park is testament to the number of well-designed affordable three bedroom family homes with gardens that can be delivered with good planning, major regeneration and investment.

I want the funding announced today to help thousands more Londoners own homes and create more developments like Erith Park delivering excellent affordable properties.”

Laing O’Rourke gets work on proposed cancer hospital

Laing ORourke gets work on proposed cancer hospital

Laing O’Rourke has been selected to design-and-build a major new cancer hospital in the heart of Liverpool by the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust.

The Trust, which provides the specialist cancer service for Merseyside and Cheshire plans to expand its services with a new hospital on the same site as the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the University of Liverpool.

Laing O’Rourke will provide construction and other technical expertise that is vital in developing this outline business case. They will also work closely with staff from The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, patient representatives and the architects BDP to begin the detailed design process.

Tom Higgins, Laing O’Rourke Director, said: “This is a very exciting project for us and the confidence The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust has in us is testament to our expertise in the health sector.

The immediate priority is to now work closely with the architects and Clatterbridge Cancer Centre staff as well as patient groups to finalise the project’s design.”

The project includes the redesign of the Trust’s existing Wirral site, as well as designs for the new hospital in Liverpool. If the project receives full business case approval, Laing O’Rourke would also build the new hospital in Liverpool.

The agreement with Laing O’Rourke – which followed a formal tender issued in May 2014 – is on a staged basis which provides flexibility while also ensuring good value for taxpayers.

It means the NHS is not tied into an ongoing contract if at any stage the project does not go ahead.

The project is largely being funded by NHS and government sources, with some money also planned to come from a public fundraising appeal, so is not funded by PFI.

Andrew Cannell, Chief Executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, said: “Getting the design right will be one of the most important factors in its success and the input of our staff and patient representatives working with Laing O’Rourke and the architects will be invaluable in this. We are also committed to maximising the wider community benefits of a project of this scale.”

Bouygues UK confirms two new Welsh contracts

Bouygues UK confirms two new Welsh contracts

Bouygues UK has announced details of a further two contracts in Wales – adding to its recent tally of award wins in the western region over the last couple of months.

The contractor confirmed details of a new deal, worth just over £21.1m, with The City & Council of Swansea; for the internal and external refurbishment of 238 flats spread out across two high rise towers and a residential block, in the districts of Sketty and Penlan.

The construction company won the contract under the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework and is collaborating once again with architects Stride Treglown and engineers Aecom. Work is due to begin on site shortly and the project is scheduled for completion in April 2017.

Separately, and following news of the Taylor Wimpey deal in London, Bouygues UK has now added a second 150-home development to its order book; this time in the Welsh capital, Cardiff.

Bouygues UK confirmed details of the new scheme which will provide a combination of 146 flats and 12 townhouses as part of the affordable housing element of a Section 106 agreement, governing the wider regeneration of the International Sports Village site in the Cardiff Bay area.

Bouygues UK’s Managing Director for Western, Chris Stevens, said: “We are winning repeat business and leveraging our strong credentials with clients and local authorities in the area to secure new contracts, based on our reputation for delivering high quality and sustainable schools, educational facilities and mixed-use housing schemes.

These recent wins underline Bouygues UK’s continued commitment to reinforcing our presence here in the region and the value we place on its potential for future business. Going forward, we also intend to expand our work in the West to increase our market share and further strengthen our position and brand on a wider, regional basis.”

Work go-ahead for £440m Westgate Oxford centre

Work go-ahead for £440m Westgate Oxford centre

The Westgate Oxford Alliance today confirmed that it will proceed with work on its £440 million Westgate Oxford development, with preparatory works to begin imminently and construction set to start in spring 2015.

The development is expected to generate up to 1,000 construction jobs with a further 3,400 retail positions opening up once the centre is completed in 2017.

The announcement follows more than four years of preparation, extensive public consultation and the approval of a reserved matters application by Oxford City Council. It also coincides with several leasing commitments from leading national and international retailers.

Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “This is an important day for the city of Oxford. As a key regeneration project for the city, Westgate Oxford will not only create many new jobs, it will also support the whole region including existing businesses, by increasing footfall in the city – I am delighted to hear that construction will begin imminently.”

The joint venture, in the heart of Oxford city centre, is between Land Securities and The Crown Estate is due for completion in autumn 2017.

The highly anticipated shopping centre development will see the existing Westgate in the west end of Oxford transformed to include over 100 new stores, 25 restaurants and cafes, a boutique cinema, roof top terrace dining and a wealth of new public spaces.

With Oxford already topping the wish list of cities in which retailers want to secure space (PROMIS), today’s announcement will be welcomed as a rare opportunity for retailers and leisure operators to reach a broad audience in a truly historic setting.

Robert Noel, Chief Executive for Land Securities said: “Today we’ve taken a significant step towards creating our vision for a world-class retail and leisure destination in Oxford, having worked hard with our customers and the community to shape the right scheme.

Alongside our growing list of customers, we are committed to creating a new Westgate Oxford which not only complements the city’s beauty and heritage status but also enhances its global reputation as a great place to spend time.”

Paul Clark, Director of Investment and Asset Management at The Crown Estate said: “This significant milestone underscores our commitment to this ambitious redevelopment which will totally transform the retail and leisure experience in Oxford and stand out as one of the best schemes of its kind in the UK.”

£20m fund to keep homes warm

£20m fund to keep homes warm

An additional £20 million will be invested to cut fuel poverty and improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil confirmed this week.

£6 million is earmarked for home energy efficiency programmes that will support measures such as solid wall, cavity or loft insulation.

An additional £14 million will be invested in low cost home energy efficiency loans available to households in the private sector to supplement existing grant schemes to help install energy efficiency measures.

This additional funding will take the Scottish Government‘s investment to tackle fuel poverty and boost energy efficiency over the three years 2013/14 to 2015/16 to around £300 million.

Details of the loan schemes will be announced in due course.

Mr Neil said: “This Government is determined to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency head on, as this additional £20 million investment for energy efficiency measures demonstrates.

Fuel costs have risen six times faster than incomes since 2003. In 2013, fuel prices rose by seven per cent, pushing more people into fuel poverty. The fact that this is happening in an energy-rich country is outrageous.

Given the recent reductions in energy costs, all energy providers must implement price cuts now and not wait until the Spring.

This additional funding means we have allocated over half a billion pounds since 2009 to make Scotland’s homes more energy efficient”.

Over 700,000 households have benefited from measures like new boilers or insulation targeted in particular at those in or at risk of fuel poverty.”

Plans approved for Cornwall’s custom build housing project

Plans approved for Cornwall's custom build housing project

People can soon design their dream home at one of England’s biggest dedicated custom build sites after proposals to bring nearly 150 new and affordable homes to Cornwall were backed by planners.

Cornwall Council‘s approval of Carillion-Igloo and Coastline Housing’s planning applications to build 144 homes beside the Heartlands regeneration project at Trevenson Park, Pool, enables construction work and marketing to start later this year.

The development includes 54 Custom Build plots, which will offer people from across Cornwall the chance to design and build their own home with a manufacturer chosen from Carillion-igloo’s specialist panel.

This site is one of the Homes and Communities Agency‘s biggest Custom Build projects and is set up by Government to boost house-building by unlocking a wave of new homes designed and built by their owners.

Coastline Housing will also develop 90 new and affordable homes, which includes a well-designed block of 23 flats for older people overlooking the Heartlands Park.

It is estimated that around 200 full time equivalent annual jobs will be created by the construction work, with the majority of jobs going to people who live in Cornwall.

HCA area manager Paul Britton said: “This project clearly demonstrates one of the many approaches we are taking to provide more opportunities for people to get the homes they can afford in Cornwall.

Custom Build offers people a more accessible route onto the housing ladder whilst providing an opportunity for people to design the home of their dreams. We know there is high demand for more homes in Cornwall, which has a history of ‘self build’ housing.

This scheme from Carillion-igloo and Coastline will make a positive contribution. I look forward to seeing the new homes come forward on this important and exciting site.”

Carillion-igloo head of custom build housing Jon Sawyer said: “Carillion-igloo are very excited about securing planning for 54 Custom Build homes in Cornwall, which is an important milestone for this project and the custom build housing sector as a whole.

We are grateful for the support of our partners HCA and Coastline and the pragmatism of Cornwall Council in adopting a new approach to approving the appearance of homes, the first of its type in the UK.

We will now be working hard to make the first serviced plots available in the spring and we aim to see the first custom build homes coming out of the ground by the end of 2015.”

Balfour Beatty gets £800m Thames Water contract

Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty announced this week that its joint venture with Skanska has signed a five year contract with Thames Water, with an option to extend for a further five years.

The initial £800 million contract covers the AMP 6 regulatory period, running from April 2015 to March 2020, paving the way for new jobs and economic boost in the trades.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said: “Through our joint venture and by collaborating in the Alliance, we bring our deep expertise to bear on this major investment in water infrastructure.

This contract will help to ensure the resilience of the vital water infrastructure in Greater London and the Thames Valley for future generations. Balfour Beatty is committed to support Thames Water in delivering on its commitments to its customers and the regulator.”

As a one third partner in the SMB joint venture, the value to Balfour Beatty is approximately £265 million over the initial five years. This follows on from a two year Early Contractor Involvement phase that started in March 2013.

The SMB joint venture is providing water asset solutions as part of Thames Water‘s ‘super-alliance’, known as eight2O.

AMP6 involves creating and maintaining the necessary water infrastructure across the Thames Water’s network, including pipes, pumping stations and water treatment works, in order to meet commitments to Thames Water’s customers and the water regulator, Ofwat.

Enterprise Zones to benefit from £40m funding injection

Businesses to benefit from Enterprise Zone Business Rates Scheme

Businesses moving to Enterprise Zones will benefit from improved access and even better facilities after a funding boost of more than £40 million from the Government.

The money is part of the Government’s £12 billion Growth Deals to fire up local economies and is on top of the £195 million that benefited Enterprise Zones during the first round of deals last July.

It means a total of 17 Enterprise Zones have benefited from more than £235 million through the programme.

Growth Deals are a revolution in the way our economy is run. For the first time ever, infrastructure, housing, and other funding has been brought together in a single pot, and put directly into the hands of local authorities and businesses to invest with their knowledge of what is needed in their area to maximise their potential economic growth.

Local Growth Minister Penny Mordaunt said: “Enterprise Zones are playing a vital role in driving forward our economy. That is why we have invested an extra £40 million to make sure these sites continue to flourish and attract the kind of top-class companies that create high quality jobs.

Through the Government’s £12 billion Growth Deals we are placing the power and money in the hands of the people who know how to spend it best and investing in projects which will make a real difference to local communities.”

Enterprise Zones are central to the Government’s plans to rebalance the economy. The 24 enterprise zones are at the heart of the Government’s ambitious long-term economic plan. They have created over 12,500 jobs, attracted 434 new businesses and generated over £2 billion worth of private investment since opening for business.