First new Crossrail tracks laid in South East London

First new Crossrail tracks laid in South East London

Work to install a new two-mile section of track between the Crossrail tunnel portal at Plumstead and Abbey Wood station is now underway.

More than a mile of new track has been laid by Network Rail so far, representing the first section of dedicated Crossrail track to be installed anywhere along the route.

Work has included the re-alignment of the existing North Kent line, which serves trains between London and Kent, and the replacement of the Church Manor Way footbridge.

Ahead of Crossrail services beginning in 2018, the tracks will now be used to support the fit-out of the new tunnels to create a fully functioning railway beneath the streets of London.

Matthew White, Crossrail Surface Director said: “Crossrail will help to transform Abbey Wood, providing a step change in public transport and encouraging investment and development in the local area.

At peak time, 12 Crossrail trains an hour will make it significantly quicker and easier to get to range of destinations across London and the South East.”

Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail, said: “Completing this section of track on time is important because it means that Crossrail can get on with the job of fitting out the new tunnels.

Once fully open in 2018, the new tracks will link Abbey Wood to the rest of London like never before, providing local people with a dramatically improved rail service.”

Crossrail represents the single biggest addition to the local rail network since the North Kent line was built in 1849. From 2018, a train every five minutes during the peak will allow residents to travel right through the capital without having to change trains.

The journey from Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf and Bond Street will be around 20 minutes quicker and passengers travelling to Heathrow will be able to cut around 40 minutes off their journey.

Sunderland Wear Crossing gets go-ahead

Sunderland Wear Crossing gets go-ahead

Sunderland City Council has been given the go-ahead from Government to build the Wear Crossing road bridge that will bring more investment to the city.

The council has also confirmed that the £117 million project will be a Farrans and Victor Buyck joint venture.

Sunderland’s new bridge and its approach roads will link the strategic transport corridor from the Port of Sunderland, through the city centre, past key riverside regeneration sites and out to the A19.

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The bridge and its approach roads are going to open up regeneration and development sites along the River Wear and bring more investment into Sunderland.

“As a piece of infrastructure, it is one of the region’s biggest civil engineering projects and an investment that is going to help create more jobs and more economic growth.

“By improving links between the A19, the city centre and the Port of Sunderland, a new bridge has always been a key part of Sunderland’s ongoing regeneration.

“This announcement is great news for Sunderland and the wider region. There has been talk for a long, long time that Sunderland has needed a major new road crossing over the River Wear and it’s an issue that has not gone away.

“We have now secured a development that is going to further the regeneration of our city.

“The bridge and its approach roads are about bringing significant economic, regeneration and transport benefits to our city and the wider North East region.”

Sewell Construction wins £30m Hull Uni contract

Sewell Construction wins £30m Hull Uni contract

Local Hull contractor Sewell Construction has been given the go-ahead to build a £30 million student accommodation complex for the city’s university.

A series of five storey blocks will provide rooms for 560 students while boosting economic growth and helping create new jobs in the building trades.

The project represents the latest investment in the University’s campus master plan, following the £28m refurbishment of the Brynmor Jones Library, completed last year, and the current redevelopment of the Middleton Hall theatre and conference space.

Professor Pistorius said: “Improving the campus – including the provision of more accommodation – is pivotal to the University’s future. In order to be competitive in higher education and be well placed to attract quality students and staff from the UK and around the world, we must ensure that the estate meets our academic and business needs.

Students are at the heart of everything we do here at the University and this new accommodation demonstrates our commitment to providing an outstanding student experience.”

Paul Sewell, Managing Director of Sewell Group said: “It is a pleasure and a privilege to be carrying out such a significant and prestigious project for our own University, in our own city. The benefit of the completed project to the University will match the benefit to the local economy.”

The project has been designed in partnership with GSS Architecture.

Amey gets £235m Trafford Council job

Amey gets £235m Trafford Council job

Amey has been selected to deliver a £235 million contract to provide Environmental and Infrastructure Services for Trafford Council.

The contract will run for 15 years, with a potential extension of eight years, and will deliver major savings for the council through innovative service delivery, including a £2.25 million saving in 2015/16.

Amey will deliver a wide range of environmental and infrastructure services including commercial and domestic waste collections, street cleaning, grounds maintenance, highways services, bridges, road safety, street lighting and furniture, drainage and property services from July 2015.

Mel Ewell, Amey’s Chief Executive, said: “Trafford Council is taking a pioneering approach to the way services are provided and we are delighted to be working with them on this contract. Combining these services allows us to support Trafford Council with efficiency savings whilst ensuring a high quality service is delivered to local residents.”

Leader of Trafford Council, Councillor Sean Anstee, said: “Trafford Council is pleased to be working in partnership with Amey and I am confident that, following the 12-month tender process, they are the right contractor to fulfil this brief.

“I was impressed with their tender response which demonstrated a great approach to partnership working which will be of benefit to both the residents and the Council as well as satisfying a whole range of requirements which will ensure the continued high-quality maintenance of the borough.

“Our priority has always been to protect jobs and maintain a high-level of service and I am confident that Amey is the right partner to be working with to achieve this aim.”

Amey’s new contract with Trafford Council adds to the company’s presence in the North West, where it delivers utilities services for a number of areas, street lighting services for neighbouring Manchester City Council, as well as being home to one of the company’s principal Consultancy Hubs for Rail, Highway Design and Asset Solutions.

Shepherd Group transfers housing assets to Galliford Try

Shepherd transfers housing assets to Galliford Try

Shepherd Group has agreed to sell its Shepherd Homes business to Galliford Try in order to take advantage of future trading opportunities that will boost the housing sector.

Shepherd Group and Galliford Try have exchanged contracts and expect to complete the sale of Shepherd Homes’ assets, comprising six current sites and five sites in planning, at the end of May.

Shepherd Homes employs around 60 people who are expected to transfer to Linden Homes once the deal is completed.

Shepherd Group chairman David Williams said: “This was not an easy decision for the Group Board, particularly given the recent strong performance of Shepherd Homes, but this transaction represents an exciting opportunity for both the business and its employees for the long-term. Galliford Try, through Linden Homes, is exceptionally well placed to build on Shepherd Homes’ considerable progress and achievements.

Growth and continuing success in the homes market demands ongoing large-scale capital investment which it was felt would be better achieved with a Group which has significant scale in the housing sector as well as a desire to grow its presence in the North.

Galliford Try was a natural partner for Shepherd Homes and the Group Board considers that this decision will prove beneficial for Shepherd Homes and its employees while enabling the wider Shepherd Group to continue to pursue its strategy of focusing future investment on distinct areas of the Group, including the development and further expansion of our successful Portakabin business.”

BAM Construction gets £73m Manchester job

BAM Construction gets £73m Manchester job

Developer Allied London has appointed BAM Construction to deliver its £73 million design and build contract for No.1 Spinningfields, Quay Street, in Manchester.

Set within the heart of Spinningfields, Manchester’s premium business district, the impressive 24 storey building is set to deliver a world-class business environment and will be the finest and highest specified building in Manchester.

Designed with true flexibility, amenity and choice in mind, the office development has over 260,000 sq ft of space and floor plates of up to 25,000 sq ft.

The Grade A office accommodation includes ground floor and mezzanine reception areas, which will provide space for restaurants, cafés and a business lounge.

The roof-top restaurant of 6,738 sq ft will open onto a garden terrace. The two basement levels have parking for 115 cars, 10 motorcycles and secure storage for 120 bicycles with showers and lockers provided.

Chief Executive of Allied London, Michael Ingall said: “Spinningfields is now established as the heart of Manchester’s business district, and with new developments under construction, we aim to bring more high profile businesses to the city.

No.1 Spinningfields takes the amenity available for occupiers and visitors to another level whilst providing an iconic backdrop to the popular Hardman Square. We are looking forward to delivering this landmark building with BAM and completing our Spinningfields masterplan.”

This striking glazed façade building will be constructed to BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. The development comprises a podium that dramatically cantilevers over Quay Street and Byrom Street, with a smaller cantilever over the Hardman Square entrance, which further enhances the public realm aspect.

Lovell to build new affordable homes

Lovell to build new affordable homes

Building work is set to start on a £2.2 million development at Window Lane and Island Road South in Garston that will see the building of new affordable homes.

The new homes are set to be completed in March 2016, supported by funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) that will boost the trades.

The scheme, designed by John McCall Arichtects, will transform vacant brownfield sites by creating 11 two-bedroom houses at Window Lane and 12 two-bedroom houses at Island Road South, all for affordable rent.

Lovell regional director Nigel Yates said: “We’re delighted to be continuing our strong working partnership with South Liverpool Homes and excited to be starting construction on this important scheme which will help answer the demand for high-quality new homes for rent locally, providing modern and attractive properties within easy reach of Liverpool South Parkway and only about five miles from Liverpool city centre.”

South Liverpool Homes deputy chief executive Wayne Gales said: “This exciting development is great news for the local community. It will provide much needed homes for people on our waiting list as well as existing tenants who want to downsize.

The homes will be built to a high standard of both design and environmental sustainability, making them cost effective to run and maintain.”

The contract awarding the scheme to Lovell was negotiated following Lovell’s successful delivery of the Church Fields housing development at Garston under the Bridge which created homes for sale by Lovell and 91 houses and apartments for South Liverpool Homes.

Government commitment to extend Birmingham city centre Enterprise Zone

Government commitment to extend Birmingham city centre Enterprise Zone

The Government is planning to extend the Birmipngham city centre Enterrise Zone to cover the whole of the development zone around the HS2 scheme.

The extension would be a huge boost for the region and a key enabler of the plan to further drive local growth, create new jobs and boost economic prosperity.

Since the launch of the national Enterprise Zone (EZ) initiative in 2011, the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), in partnership with Birmingham City Council, has been pioneering approaches to unlocking development, stimulating investment and delivering jobs.

This proactive approach to enabling development has seen 938 jobs, 60,700 sq metres of floorspace and £203m of private sector investment attracted to the EZ since 2011.

A further 2,000 jobs and 70,000 sq metres of floorspace will come forward in 2015/16. Major long term development schemes are also being boosted as a direct result of the EZ with work on the £500m Paradise development, which will see 10,000 jobs and 170,000 sq metres of floorspace, commencing in 2015.

Public transport improvements are also being targeted as part of the EZ Investment Plan, with the £37.95m extension of the Midland Metro tram system to Centenary Square and the £30m city centre public realm improvement programme.

With the EZ extension in place exciting new regeneration and development schemes will be triggered. The location of the EZ extension, to include the Birmingham Curzon development zone, will provide a catalyst to unlocking development, attracting significant inward investment and generating additional jobs.

By extending the EZ to cover the Birmingham Curzon area, further commitments will be made to delivering major investments in local infrastructure which could see more than 50,000 jobs and £1.7bn of private investment attracted to the region.

Liz Peace CBE, chair of the Birmingham Curzon Regeneration Company Shadow Board, said: “The extension of the Enterprise Zone in terms of both time and geographical coverage will be hugely valuable for us in enabling investment in infrastructure and unlocking growth in the Curzon area.

We will be able to make long term plans that will support further local investment across a much wider area – and that will be really important as we seek to maximise the local economic benefits from High Speed 2.”

Patrizia unveils first 500-home UK project

Patrizia unveils first 500-home UK project

Property developer Patrizia has revealed plans for a private rental scheme in Manchester’s First Street regeneration area that will create new jobs and boost economic growth.

The site has capacity for the development of up to 1 million sq ft of office space and approximately 500 new apartments.

The development will be a Grade A BREEAM ‘Excellent’ building with a Weighted Average Lease Term of nine years and is let to high quality occupiers such as Ford, Auto Trader and Jacobs Engineering.

A key cultural, sporting and business hub, Manchester is one of the most sought-after cities in the UK for property investment.

There is particular appetite for PRS development, driven by a lack of good quality private rental accommodation, a thriving employment market, and a city council focused on the benefits of regeneration.

James Muir, Managing Director of Patrizia UK, said: “We have been carefully implementing our strategy of investing in high-growth locations across the UK.

With this investment, our property assets under management in the UK now amount to more than a billion pounds. Driven by attractive economic and demographic fundamentals in Manchester, and the growing trend for urbanisation, we are anticipating strong demand for this centrally located, high-quality accommodation which will be tailored to the private rental sector.

Together with the new commercial buildings we expect to create an attractive investment opportunity for institutional investors. We see this project as an ideal first investment for our planned Patrizia UK PRS Fund.”

Building work to start on Durham University job

Building work to start on Durham University job

Construction work is due to start next month on a new £11.5 million research centre for Durham University, designed by the architect behind the redevelopment of New York’s World Trade Center.

The new Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics will house two research institutes that are world leaders in their field – the Institute for Computational Cosmology (ICC) and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP).

It is a top priority because of the Institutes’ rapid growth and academic success, enabling them to maintain their leading global positions in the decades ahead.

Durham University selected the renowned international architect, Daniel Libeskind, of Studio Daniel Libeskind (SDL), who produced the master plan for Ground Zero, New York, to design the building.

The project has been made possible thanks to a generous donation of £3.35 million from The Ogden Trust, whose Chairman is Durham Physics alumnus and entrepreneur Sir Peter Ogden, and a further £1.5 million from the Wolfson Foundation.

The new centre will be built next to the University’s Department of Physics. Work will begin in early June and the building is expected to be completed by Autumn 2016.

Professor Tom Ward, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at Durham University, said: “The University is excited to be embarking upon the next phase of this project to develop an iconic new building that reflects the high international standing of the Institute for Computational Cosmology and the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology.

The new centre will enable both institutes to remain at the forefront of research as they seek to advance our understanding of particle physics and the structure and evolution of the Universe.

Its unique design will also make an important contribution to the architectural heritage of the University and Durham City.”