£1.2m jobs boost for Torquay

£1.2m jobs boost for TorquayEnvironment Minister Dan Rogerson has announced a £1.2 million worth of funding to help a South West company create new jobs and build a stronger economy in Torquay.

Gooch & Housego – which design, manufacture and supply fibre optic solutions used across the aerospace, defence, industrial, life science and scientific research sectors – will receive the award towards an £18 million expansion project providing a major boost to the region.

The Minister toured the company to see first-hand how the cash from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is creating new jobs and boosting growth across the region through investment in their research and development, and production facilities.

Mr Rogerson said: “This company is a great example of how the Regional Growth Fund is helping to build a stronger, more resilient economy and a fairer society.

“Gooch and Housego will use this £1.2 million investment to grow and create 60 new jobs, no doubt securing long-term success for this ambitious business.”

Dr Andrew Robertson, Senior Vice President System Technology Group at Gooch and Housego, said: “The Regional Growth Fund has enabled us to further strengthen our capabilities in Torbay and facilitate sustainable strategic growth over the next decade and beyond.

“With the ongoing support of the Torbay Development Agency, the fund has allowed us to recruit six new people already and we hope to add thirty more to the team in the coming three years with this number growing to 60 in the next ten.

“This will allow us to add many new skills to our R&D team, build our talent pool of Photonics Engineers and continue to expand of our production facilities, crucial to securing our long-term growth.”

Through the RGF, companies commit to creating jobs and investing in their regional economy in return for Government funding.

So far £210 million of RGF money has been invested in businesses across the South West, helping to create 36,000 new jobs as companies have committed to investing an additional £700 million.

RGF Round Six, which will make at least £200 million available to companies across England, has just closed with 174 applications totalling more than £800 million. Thirty two bids worth £109 million were received from the South West. Successful bidders will be announced in the New Year.

Bowmer & Kirkland gets One New Bailey scheme

Bowmer & Kirkland gets One New Bailey schemeEnglish Cities Fund (ECf) has appointed contractor Bowmer & Kirkland to deliver One New Bailey, a 125,000 sq ft, eight-storey office development situated on the banks of the River Irwell.

Funded by Legal and General, the development marks a key milestone in the New Bailey scheme, which also includes a 615 space multi storey car park, currently under construction, and a 143-bed Premier Inn.

The Ralli Courts building, which formerly occupied the One New Bailey site has now been demolished and work started on October 20th 2014.

One New Bailey provides large floorplates of up to 17,212 sq ft and will be developed to the latest BREEAM Excellent standard. There are a number of leisure opportunities to the ground floor for a vibrant mix of cafes, bars and restaurants, as well as an enhanced public realm to the exterior in the form of a new public square, extensive landscaping and an outdoor events space, which can be accessed by the existing pedestrian bridge from Spinningfields.

Neil Brook, Bowmer & Kirkland North West Regional Director, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed on the next phase of the New Bailey development and look forward to furthering our relationship with ECf on what is a very important project being the first office development.”

Phil Mayall, development director at ECf, said: “Appointing a contractor on One New Bailey is another giant step forward in developing this exciting scheme, which will deliver much-needed, high quality office space in an excellent city centre location.

“We are very pleased to have appointed Bowmer & Kirkland on One New Bailey as they have already completed the Premier Inn to the agreed timescales and budget. We look forward to continuing to work with the team going forward.”

Buro Four is the contract administrator and DTZ and JLL are joint agents on the scheme, which is due for completion in spring 2016.

ECf is a joint venture between Muse Developments, Legal and General and the Homes and Communities Agency.

PM and Chancellor give green light to develop HS3

HS2 As part of the government’s long term economic plan for the north, the Prime Minister and Chancellor gave their backing to develop the high speed rail link HS3.

The high speed rail link will connect the north’s great cities which will significantly reduce journey times across the region, boost the construction industry as well as create new jobs.

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor were responding to a report published by HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins which sets out proposals for how to maximise the benefits of HS2 in the north and how transport links can be improved in the north of England more widely.

In the report, Sir David identifies the vital importance of improving east west connectivity across the north and considers the central role a high speed rail link could play.

He concludes that with a high speed link the journey time between Leeds and Manchester could be cut from around 55 to between 26 and 34 minutes.

The government, working with Transport for the North, will now produce a comprehensive transport strategy for the region. This will include options, costs and a delivery timetable for a HS3 east west rail connection. An interim report will be produced next March.

By combining the strengths of the north’s great cities, the government believes that the proposals will help transform the economy of the north of England and play a key role in delivering a northern powerhouse.

The government is also launching a review into the costs and time it takes to build high speed rail, drawing on international experience to find ways to bring down the costs of Phase Two and future high speed rail projects.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Improving connectivity and reducing journey times between our great northern cities is a crucial part of our long term economic plan for the north to boost businesses and create more jobs and security for hardworking people. That’s why we are backing HS3.

“I welcome Sir David Higgins’ report which will help our work to create a northern powerhouse and ensure that HS2 delivers the maximum economic benefits.”

Chancellor George Osborne said: “The vision I set out earlier this year of the northern powerhouse we could build is rapidly taking shape. I asked Sir David Higgins to look at how we deliver the better transport links across the north that would make a reality of that powerhouse.

“I’m delighted with the rapid response and the report. Today we take another big step forward in delivering both the HS2 links from north to south and the HS3 link across the Pennines.”

New homes for the Highlands

The Scottish GovernmentFinance Secretary John Swinney has announced a deal to deliver new affordable homes for rent in Inverness, providing a boost to the local construction sector and wider economy.

The deal, for nine new homes at Balvonie Braes, is being delivered by Albyn Housing Society through the Scottish Government’s innovative National Housing Trust (NHT) initiative.

This will bring the total number of NHT homes in the Highlands to over 175. Almost 100 of these homes are already complete, with households settled in their new, high quality NHT homes.

It is estimated that the NHT in the Highlands is unlocking around £24 million in housing development, and supporting approximately 225 jobs.

When complete, the homes at Balvonie Braes will be available for rent at mid-market rates for a minimum of five years.

The Society has paved new ground by being the first registered social landlord to benefit from signing a Scottish Government guarantee, representing a further evolution of the NHT initiative.

Announcing the deal at the Convention of Highlands and Islands in Inverness today, Mr Swinney said: “This deal for new affordable homes for rent in Inverness brings the total number of homes delivered under NHT in the Highlands to over 175, and provides a further boost to the local construction sector, which is already benefiting from our support for affordable housing development.

“Not only is this investment helping support jobs, but it is also providing people and families with access to good quality, affordable homes where they can be safe and warm.”

Douglas Russell, Chair of Albyn Housing Society, said: “Albyn is pleased to be at the forefront of delivering new models of affordable housing supply, once again. There is huge demand for housing in Inverness at all tiers of the market, and by developing new and innovative schemes such as the NHT initiative we can assist more people to secure quality affordable accommodation and make the next steps towards home ownership.

“This £1 million project at Balvonie Braes will also provide a welcome boost to the region’s construction industry by employing local contractors. At Albyn Housing Society we aim to build strong communities, not just quality homes, and by supporting local jobs the project will bring benefit to the local community, even before we hand the keys over later next year.”

Councillor Thomas Prag, Chair of The Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “We congratulate Albyn in becoming the first housing association to be landlords within the National Housing Trust initiative.

“This programme, which has helped us meet at least some of the demand for new housing within the Highlands, is a real help for those looking to rent decent, affordable accommodation and complements the rest of the work we are doing to increase the housing stock in Inverness and other areas of the Highlands.”

HS2 calls on industry to prepare for one of world’s largest construction projects

HS2 ProjectDelegates from 500 firms across the country have converged on Manchester Central conference centre this month to hear from High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd about what will be needed from the industry.

The HS2 scheme is set to offer an investment of £10 billion worth of contracts available for first phase between West Midlands and London, paving the way for new jobs in the trades.

Preparations are made to start building the first section of Britain’s new north-south high speed rail network that will get underway in just over two years’ time.

HS2 Ltd gathered together representatives from the rail, construction and associated industries to get them geared up to bid for work building Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

Commenting on the conferences, HS2 Ltd Chief Executive Simon Kirby said:“The pace of HS2’s development is accelerating so we’re ready to hit the ground running, assuming Royal Assent in 2016.  It is excellent to see such massive support and interest from industry in making HS2 a reality and this is a great opportunity for us to meet companies from across the country.

“To build HS2 between the West Midlands and London is a huge undertaking: £10bn worth of contracts and at peak construction we’ll be employing around 40,000 people to deliver the first part of this strategically important piece of infrastructure that is an investment in the country’s future stretching decades ahead.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 is a vital part of the government’s long-term economic plan, creating tens of thousands of job opportunities for people and businesses across the country.

“This supply chain summit is crucial to ensure UK industry, people and businesses are well placed to take advantage of the tremendous opportunity the new railway presents.

“It is imperative we make the best use of our skills and workers in building the high speed rail network and squeeze every possible benefit from HS2.”

Bidding opens on £800m of affordable homes investment

Bidding opens on £800m of affordable homes investmentHousing providers in England will be able to bid for a share of £800 million through the HCA’s continuous market engagement approach.

The second phase of bidding under the Homes and Communities Agency’s £1.7 billion Affordable Homes Programme will see the building of 43,821 new affordable homes.

The £1.7 billion total investment will make a significant contribution to the government’s ambition for 165,000 new affordable homes by March 2018, while boosting overall housing supply and local economic growth.

Opening up to bids under this approach will allow housing providers further opportunities to bring forward schemes for delivery during the 2015 to 2018 period.

These will include specialist, supported or rural housing, which can often require a longer lead time, and these, along with schemes making use of advance housing manufacture, are especially encouraged under CME.

HCA Chief Executive Andy Rose said: “We have already set in place a solid delivery programme that puts us on track to make a significant contribution towards government’s aspirations for up to 165,000 new affordable homes by March 2018, while supporting overall housing supply and local people and places. It will also help ensure a smooth transition from our current Affordable Homes Programme, delivering firm schemes that can start on site promptly.

“Opening for bidding for the remaining funding under CME will give new and existing partners the opportunity to bring forward bids to meet their future development aspirations.

“We will use our strong relationships with local authorities to ensure that allocations under the Affordable Homes Programme continue to support local priorities.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The government is delivering on affordable housing for the communities and people of this country with more than 200,000 new affordable homes since 2010.

“Our latest investment is a clear sign of the government’s continued commitment to increasing the overall housing supply and affordable housing in particular. As well as building homes this funding is also a key part of our long-term economic plan, creating construction jobs as we deliver a further 165,000 new affordable homes from 2015.”

Work on site in Leeds Enterprise Zone gets undderway

Work on site in Leeds Enterprise Zone gets undderwayConstruction and engineering work started this week on two of the key sites in the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone where 260,000 sq ft of employment space is now in the pipeline.

The scheme will provide a major boost for the city region’s manufacturing sector and the regional industrial property market.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for transport and the economy said: “The Enterprise Zone offers unparalleled advantages in terms of its scale, connectivity, its proximity to Leeds city centre and to one of the UK’s biggest concentrations of manufacturing.

“That’s why the council has taken this proactive approach to secure funding in order to accelerate development, stimulate private sector investment and attract growth and jobs to the zone.”

Two new industrial units are being built at Thornes Farm by Stainforth Construction on behalf of Wilton Developments, providing 50,000 sq ft and a 30,000 sq ft of modern manufacturing space.

The £5 million speculative development is scheduled for completion in Summer 2015, paving the way for new jobs in the local area.

Engineering and ground remediation also gets underway this month at Temple Green. At 72 hectares, it is the largest of the development site within the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone.

Road infrastructure and ground engineering work costing over £7 million will deliver access to a series of development platforms with the ability to accommodate buildings up to 500,000 sq ft. Construction work on the park and ride facility is scheduled to start in Autumn 2015.

In November, work will begin on developing an 80,000 sq ft industrial unit at Logic Leeds site, where Muse Developments has planning permission for a total of 1.6m sq ft of industrial, distribution premises and supporting uses including offices and hotel development.

New investment will build thousands of affordable homes

New investment will build thousands of affordable homesHousing associations can bid for a share of around £800 million of government funding to help provide thousands more affordable homes across the country.

This builds on the £886 million available through the first funding round in July and which resulted in initial allocations for 2,697 firm schemes that will provide 43,821 new affordable homes.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “As well as building homes this funding is also a key part of our long-term economic plan, creating construction jobs as we deliver a further 165,000 new affordable homes from 2015.”

Today’s second funding round takes the total figure for government investment in affordable housing to more than £1.7 billion for 2015 to 2018.

Taken together with private finance this will result in total investment of around £23 billion and lead to the fastest rate of affordable housebuilding for 2 decades with 165,000 new affordable homes from 2015.

Mr Lewis said the programme has already been a key part of government efforts that have got Britain building, and will ensure this success continues for years to come.

Government delivers on affordable housing

Housebuilding is a critical part of the government’s long-term economic plan – turning around the after-effects of the 2008 housing crash that led to the lowest level of housebuilding for any peacetime year since the 1920s.

Since 2010, the government has provided 204,000 new affordable homes, while the first phase of this latest investment has funded schemes that will provide a further 43,821 new affordable homes from 2015.

We are also keen to promote greater use of innovative construction methods, for example advanced manufacture technologies and bids from providers which make use of such methods are encouraged.

Mr Lewis said: “The government is delivering on affordable housing for the communities and people of this country with more than 200,000 new affordable homes since 2010.

“Our latest investment is a clear sign of the government’s continued commitment to increasing the overall housing supply and affordable housing in particular.

“The fund will be managed through an open ended bidding process allowing housing associations to apply for funding at any time rather than by a fixed deadline.

“This will enable them to bring forward schemes for delivery during the 2015 to 2018 period which will include specialist, supported or rural housing, which can often require a longer lead time.”

Go-ahead for new affordable homes in Swindon

Go-ahead for new affordable homes in SwindonBuilding work got underway on 48 new affordable homes in Swindon that will help the local economy and boost the trades.

Provided by Jephson Homes Housing Association, which has a local office in Swindon, the £6.2 million development in Highworth Road is supported by Swindon Borough Council and backed with a £330,000 investment by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Due for completion in summer 2015, the scheme will have a mix of homes from one to four bedrooms, which will all be let and sold to local people in housing need. The brownfield site was formerly a Council works depot, which laid unused for several years.

Built by independent, Bristol-based contractors mi-space, the project will also include a natural play area for children as part of the planning agreement.

Jephson’s regional director for the south and west, Roger Glennie, said: “It’s good to get this scheme underway after getting planning permission on appeal. We’re creating some really attractive, modern homes for local people.”

Tracey Hancock, area manager from the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “We support the building of many thousands of homes across England, so we know how important new properties like these are to local people. It’s great that work has started on the scheme and I look forward to seeing the homes complete and lived in soon.”

Lex Cumber, business development director at mi-space, said:“We’re really enjoying working with Jephson on this scheme. They allowed the time for us to design the homes to exactly match the site.

“For example, we’ve been able to build in extra sound insulation. We try to create as much social value as we can from our projects, so we’re mainly using local firms from within the SN postcode area for materials and supplies.”

BAM Construction to begin work on Derbyshire college

Bam ConstructionBAM Construction is to build an £8.6 million University Technical College in the East Midlands that will boost the local economy and help the trades industry.

The project is due to start on site later this year and is due for completion next September.

The contractor, which has offices in Derby, will deliver the Burton and South Derbyshire UTC (BSD UTC) with the refurbishment of an annexe at Burton Town Hall, in addition to the construction of a new building on adjacent land.

The BSD UTC is sponsored by Burton and South Derbyshire College and Coventry University, as well as key employers: Nestle, Royal Derby Hospital, Queen’s Hospital Burton, St. George’s Park and FA Learning.

Set to open in September 2015, the UTC will combine core GCSE and A Level subjects with the technical specialisms of Bio-medical Sciences and Design Engineering.

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are government-funded schools that offer 14–18 year olds an innovative learning environment. They teach students technical and scientific subjects in a whole new way and are educating the inventors, engineers, scientists and technicians of tomorrow.

UTCs integrate technical, practical and academic learning and create an environment where students can thrive and develop the abilities that industry needs.

BAM construction director David Ellis said: “We are delighted to be delivering this important facility for Burton and South Derbyshire. This UTC will prepare pupils to fill valuable engineering and science jobs. We will use all our skills to ensure this project delivers benefits for pupils, teachers, local businesses and the wider community and environment.”

BAM won the right to negotiate the job when it secured the £10.5m contract to build the Nottingham University Academy of Science and Technology earlier this year. The contractor is also working on further UTCs at Derby and Sandwell.