PM and Chinese President unlock UK investment

PM and Chinese President unlock UK investment

The north of England will forge new partnerships with China and unlock the potential of the Northern Powerhouse that will boost economiv growth and create new jobs.

The announcement comes as the Prime Minister and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, embark upon a tour of Manchester, as part of the China State Visit.

The Prime Minister said: “We are committed to rebalancing our economy and building a Northern Powerhouse.

China is a key trading partner for the UK and the partnerships being made today will see real investment going into the north.

“This is all part of this government’s plan to attract more investment and deliver economic growth to an area of huge potential.”

Partnerships set to be agreed include:

  • Hainan Airlines announcing the first direct flights from Manchester Airport to China – the first outside London. The deal is estimated to provide a £50 million boost to the Manchester economy and open up links from China into the Northern Powerhouse.

  • Beijing Construction and Engineering Group (BCEG) being appointed as main contractor for the Middlewood Locks regeneration project in Manchester.

  • As announced on the Chancellor’s visit to China last month, Hualing Group is signing an agreement with UK real estate company Scarborough Group International to invest in 3 major regeneration projects in the north: Middlewood Locks in Manchester, Thorpe Park in Leeds and Sheffield Digital Campus.

  • The University of Central Lancashire establishing a joint innovation and entrepreneurship competition with the Shenzhen government in south eastern China

  • Uppingham School in Rutland setting up 5 schools in China in a partnership with Hainan Airline and Tourism Group.

  • Hong Kong based company Netdragon Websoft finalising the acquisition of the educational supplies company Promethean World Plc, based in Blackburn, for £84.8 million, securing 671 jobs.

Hinkley Point C to create 25, 000 jobs

Hinkley Point C to power six million UK homes

EDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) have committed to Hinkley Point C during this week’s landmark China State Visit.

The project will provide a vital boost for the national and local economy – creating 25,000 jobs, up to 1,000 apprentices and landing UK businesses billions of pounds worth of supply chain contracts.

Hinkley Point C will provide low carbon electricity to six million homes, twice as many as the whole of London, for around 60 years – and consumers won’t pay a penny until the plant is up and running.

The companies have signed a Strategic Investment Agreement which marks a critical moment for the site in Somerset. EDF has confirmed it will take a 66.5 per cent stake in Hinkley with CGN taking 33.5 per cent, demonstrating a clear commitment from both parties.

The Government and EDF have finalised the detail of the Contract for Difference which offers increased price certainty for the electricity produced from Hinkley Point C.

The Funded Decommissioning Programme has been approved and will make sure that the tax payer doesn’t pick up the cost of decommissioning the plant in the future.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m pleased to announce that today we are signing an historic deal to build the Hinkley nuclear power station, providing reliable, affordable energy for nearly six million homes and creating more than 25,000 jobs, all while working together to build a low-carbon future.”

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We are tackling a legacy of under-investment and building energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century as part of our plan to provide the clean, affordable and secure energy that hardworking families and businesses across the country can rely on now and in the future.

The UK is open for business and this is a good deal for everyone – Hinkley Point C will continue to meet our robust safety regulations and will power nearly six million households with low-carbon energy, creating over 25,000 jobs and more financial security for working people and their families.”

The Government will support new nuclear power stations as we move to a low-carbon future. Hinkley Point C will kick start this and is expected to be followed by more nuclear power stations, including Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. This will provide essential financial and energy security for generations to come.

EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “Hinkley Point C and successive nuclear projects will guarantee the UK the reliable, secure low carbon electricity it needs in the future.

Nuclear power will save customers money compared with other energy options and provide a huge boost to British industrial strength, jobs and skills both in Britain and abroad. Today’s announcements are also good news in the fight against climate change.”

Ealing Council announces plans for new homes

Ealing Council announces plans for new homes

Ealing Council‘s cabinet has revealed plans to redevelop its current head offices in Ealing Broadway that will pave the way for building new homes.

Councillors agreed to proposals to redevelop the Perceval House site to make way for new homes and an improved customer service centre and library, as well as smaller replacement office accommodation for the council.

Under the proposals around 360 new homes would be built on the site at 14-16 Uxbridge Road with the council potentially retaining a substantial number to provide affordable housing.

The development may also include some commercial and retail space to compliment Dickens Yard and the new cultural quarter.

Revenue generated through the project will pay for a new customer service centre and new library to replace the current badly located Ealing Central Library, as well as replacement offices.

With property prices across London continuing to rise, the council’s Perceval House offices are now a valuable asset and the council is seeking to unlock the site’s potential by redeveloping it for housing, commercial space and replacement council facilities.

Council Leader, Councillor Julian Bell, said: “We’re sitting on top of a potentially very valuable site and when you consider the tough times we’re in financially and the desperate need to provide more affordable homes, it makes perfect sense for us to release the site’s value.”

Morgan Sindall wins £60m science centre contract

Morgan Sindall wins £60m science centre contract

Morgan Sindall has been appointed to build a £60 million Array Multiplex science research building at Granta Park in Cambridge.

The building is being constructed for BioMed Realty Trust, which owns, manages and operates scientific research centre Granta Park.

It will act as the new European headquarters for biomedical company Illumina, a world leader in genomics focused on improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome.

The facility will provide Illumina with a collaborative environment and access to the highly skilled workforce in the dynamic research cluster anchored by Cambridge University.

Illumina and BioMed Realty’s commitment to building a new state-of-the art facility in Cambridge is great news for our area,” said George Freeman, UK Minister for Life Sciences.

This is a strong endorsement of the UK’s Life Science Industrial Strategy and leadership in driving forward better treatments for people with cancers and rare diseases.”

Bob Ensch, area director from Morgan Sindall, said: “The building will utilise next-generation ‘smart’ technology and help to ensure the building operates at optimum capacity throughout its lifetime.

Our project team will draw on knowledge gleaned from its extensive experience delivering world-class research facilities and will be bringing that insight to bear on this development.”

Sustainable features including brise soleil vertical solar shading panels will help to maintain the building’s temperature and prevent overheating. The building will also feature a three-storey winter garden.

Wates Construction starts work on £26m Walton High campus

Wates Construction starts work on £26m Walton High campus

Construction work is set to start on a £26 million Walton High Brooklands Campus which is due to create hundreds of new school places in the autumn of 2016.

The project by Milton Keynes Council is an expansion of Walton High academy to provide 1200 secondary and up to 400 Post-16 places for Brooklands and Broughton Gate.

The three storey building is being built by Wates Construction on a 9.36 hectares site and the grounds include sports pitches and fenced and floodlit multi-use games area and all weather pitch.

The first 270 students (90 in each of years 7, 8 and 9) will be able to attend the new Walton High Brooklands Campus in the autumn of 2016.

Cllr Norman Miles, cabinet member responsible for Children and School Improvement, said: “The building of this campus is part of our wider aim to provide an extra 10,000 places across the borough by 2018.

This build is part of the council’s ambitious £160 million programme which will see the creation of seven brand new schools and the expansion of 12 more by 2018, cementing the borough’s reputation as one of the leading school builders in the country.”

Ian Vickers, Regional Managing Director for Wates Construction, said: “The start of construction at Walton High Brooklands Campus is a huge step forward in Milton Keynes Council’s ambitious investment in the town’s schools and marks a significant milestone in the creation of what is set to become a first class educational environment.”

TfL releases land for 10,000 homes across London

London Mayor Boris Johnson

Transport for London (TfL) is to release more than 300 acres of land to help build more than 10,000 new homes across London, paving the way for new construction jobs.

The new land-release programme is in addition to the work of TfL’s £360 million growth fund, which is creating more than 50,000 homes and 30,000 jobs by supporting 14 transport projects across London that are directly unlocking development.

The TfL land will be developed over the next decade to provide vital new homes, offices and retail units to support London’s rapidly growing population and the Capital’s contribution to the economy of the country. Sixty-seven per cent of this phase of development is in travel Zones 1 and 2.

The Mayor of London has pledged to have an exit strategy for all City Hall owned land by the end of his term in 2016, with 99 per cent now freed up for development to help deliver thousands of much needed new homes.

The London Land Commission, driven by the Mayor, will also map all land owned by public authorities in London for the first time, to identify further opportunities for housebuilding.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: ‘TfL’s plans will build on the great efforts we’ve already made at City Hall to ensure brownfield land that has laid empty for years is put to productive use in providing much-needed housing for Londoners.

‘It’s important that all key agencies work together to accelerate the rate of housebuilding across the Capital and redevelop land and assets wherever possible to deliver more homes.’

Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at TfL, said: ‘We’re determined to use our assets to help create more homes and jobs for Londoners. As the custodians of some of the best assets in the Capital, it is right that we explore every opportunity to maximise the use of our land.’

Contract awarded to deliver rail upgrade

Bam Construction

BAM has been appointed as a principal contractor for a £170 million upgrade of the railway line between Aberdeen and Inverurie

The Scottish Government-funded enhancement will transform journeys on the route introducing a half-hourly commuter service while creating new jobs and boosting the building trades.

BAM, which recently completed the on-time, on-budget £294 million Borders Railway, will now oversee the delivery of the Aberdeen-Inverness Improvement Project – the first phase of which is due for completion in 2019.

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, said: “I am pleased to witness the award of the contract to BAM for the first phase of the Aberdeen to Inverness Improvement Project.

This project is especially valuable for the region for, as well as the clear benefits to passengers and freight users, it will also support jobs and growth, providing an economic boost to the cities and communities along the entire length of the route.”

Jerry Dickson, Operations Director for BAM, said: “Together with our partners AECOM, CH2M, Stobart Rail and Siemens, we are looking forward to commencing work on the Aberdeen to Inverness Enhancement Programme.

This essential programme of works will improve connectivity between the major cities of Aberdeen and Inverness, with wider enhancements for the local communities in the north of Scotland.

We are particularly proud to have been awarded this contract in our 150th anniversary year, which has also seen BAM and Network Rail successfully re-open the Borders Railway, which is now providing an essential rail link between Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders”.

Engineers are currently carrying out ground investigation, site survey and vegetation clearance works on the line as part of the project and main construction works will begin in spring 2016.

Willmott Dixon gets £20m Oxford homes retrofit

Willmott Dixon gets £20m Oxford homes scheme

Willmott Dixon Energy Services will upgrade hundreds of homes in Oxford to create a healthier living environment and reduce fuel bills for residents.

Oxford City Council has selected Willmott Dixon’s energy efficiency business for a £20 million contract to refurbish five high-rise residential tower blocks.

Willmott Dixon‘s team of energy specialists will carry out work including structural repairs, cladding and extra insulation, replacement of windows, new heating systems and lift refurbishments.

The communal electrics and fire safety systems will also be updated as well as work car parks, fencing and front entrances.

The project will extend the life of the homes for at least 30 years and enable residents to live in healthier, warmer and cheaper to heat homes.

Sarah Campbell, who lives in Windrush, said: “The improvements cannot come quick enough; we often suffer from chest problems which the doctor has said is from the damp in the flat.”

Mike Rowley, Oxford City Council board member for housing and property services said: “This is a very important and much awaited project for the council and residents in the blocks.

We welcome the appointment of Willmott Dixon Energy Services and will be consulting tenants and leaseholders on the forthcoming programme of repairs.”

Rob Lambe, managing director for Energy Services said:“Our work to install energy efficiency improvements at these tower blocks will help residents reduce their fuel bills and live in warmer, healthier homes.”

Go-ahead for Manchester St John’s Quarter first phase

Go-ahead for Manchester St John's Quarter first phase

Developer Allied London has been given the go-ahead for the first phase of its £1.3bn redevelopment of the St. John’s neighbourhood in Manchester.

Allied London will commence the project in Autumn 2016, expecting to create new jobs in the building construction phase of the project.

The new neighbourhood will consist of 2.8 million sq ft. of workspace, events space, riverside parks, gardens, hotels, arts venues, independent shops, cafes, restaurants, including 1,450 homes, which will come together to form St. John’s, one of the key projects in the Northern Powerhouse initiative.

Designed to provide a real counterbalance to the Capital’s cultural hub the development will see a new calibre of culture in the North emerge and become the new home for The Manchester International Festival.

George Osborne chose St. John’s Old Granada Studios building to host the Government’s Northern Powerhouse talk last week, revealing business reforms that will make a huge difference for the future of modern enterprise in the North and North West.

Michael Ingall, Allied London’s Chief Executive, said; “Allied London has long been championing Manchester and are fully supporting the Northern Powerhouse initiative, which now even has its own elected Minister in the Houses of Parliament.

It is a mission of the utmost importance. Manchester has always been at the heart of enterprise, arts and culture and St. John’s will provide a platform for the city to cluster creative enterprise and activities and flourish with workspace, theatre, music, performance, events, craft workshops and independent retail at the heart of our new neighbourhood.”

Tesco sells 14 south east sites for housing

Tesco sells 14 south east sites for housing

Tesco has agreed the sale of fourteen Spenhill development sites across London, the South East and Bath, to a fund and clients advised by Meyer Bergman that will see the building of new homes.

The transaction, worth £250 million, is for sites suitable for mixed-use and residential development and marks further progress against Tesco’s strategic priority of protecting and strengthening its balance sheet.

Tesco and Meyer Bergman have reached completion on eleven sites, with the remaining sites due to complete in due course.

Dave Lewis, Chief Executive said:“We are very pleased to have agreed a deal with Meyer Bergman that will bring forward significant investment for these local communities, including opportunities for residential development.

We will be working with Meyer Bergman and local Councils in the coming weeks to complete a formal handover and look forward to the delivery of investment on these sites.”

Markus Meijer, CEO at Meyer Bergman, said:“We see this investment as an opportunity to give new impetus to the Spenhill projects, to make Tesco’s place-making ambitions for the sites happen and to make an enduring contribution to local communities.

Backed by long-term and prudent global institutional capital, Meyer Bergman has a wealth of experience and expertise in the development and asset management of mixed-use properties.”