Balfour selected for Gatwick Airport development plan

Balfour Beatty secures landmark care scheme in Ireland

Balfour Beatty has been selected by Gatwick Airport to deliver a range of projects under its new £1.2 billion capital investment programme, which will deliver expansion in scale and passenger capacity.

The company has been appointed to two frameworks, the Low Complexity Build and Low Complexity Civils Framework, as well as the Medium Complexity Build Framework.

It is expected that projects delivered through these frameworks will be procured over the next five years, paving the way for new employment opportunities in the building trades.

Balfour Beatty has a long standing relationship with Gatwick, for which it has delivered in excess of 500 projects, including upgrades to the security lanes, the Pier 11 build, and the £50 million refurbishment of the North Terminal.

Go-ahead for Sheerwater Regeneration Scheme

Plans to redevelop the Sheerwater Estate scheme near Woking with 922 homes and community facilities have been given the go-ahead by the local council.

The regeneration scheme is a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Pinnacle housing association for Woking Borough Council, paving the way for new jobs in the construction trades.

Phase one of the four phase scheme is expected to get underway later next year and consists of nearly 100 new homes and a leisure centre.

Cllr David Bittleston, Woking Borough Councils Portfolio Holder for Strategic Housing Development, said: “The decision to grant planning consent is crucial to the regeneration of Sheerwater.

The scale and nature of the overall development, as well as detailed plans of the first phase of residential development and community leisure facilities, have been established and rigorously tested against local and national planning policy.

It is my belief that the regeneration of Sheerwater will make a significant improvement to the quality of life for existing and new residents of Sheerwater.

The new housing stock, roads, community and leisure facilities will all ensure the area is a sustainable and desirable place to live for years to come.”

Northern Powerhouse minister begins first tour since appointment

Ambitious plans to build a Northern Powerhouse remain a key government priority, two of the key ministers tasked with driving forward the work confirmed this week.

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Jim O’Neill and Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy, both proud Northerners, will lead the work across the whole of government to help make the north a powerhouse for the UK economy once again and build on the strong progress of the last two years.

The ministers’ comments come ahead of the first official tour by Mr Percy to the North since his appointment and today he will visit Hull, Manchester and Liverpool to hear for himself how devolving greater power from Whitehall to Town Halls and greater investment is already leading to the creation of jobs and stronger economic growth.

Key achievements for the Northern Powerhouse to date include:

  • five historic devolution deals have been agreed across the Northern Powerhouse – in Sheffield, Greater Manchester, North-East, Tees Valley and Liverpool
  • 55% of the population of the Northern Powerhouse will vote in an elected Mayor next year, giving each area a powerful new voice in national life
  • major investment in transport has been committed including a new rail franchise on the Northern network delivering 2,000 extra services each week, £200 million for Transport for the North and a £60 million package for exploring work on HS3
  • attracting foreign investment – there has been 127% growth in the number of foreign direct investment projects in the Northern Powerhouse over the last two years with the North-West outperforming every other region in the UK
  • the employment rate in the Northern Powerhouse is close to its record high, and since June 2014 unemployment has fallen faster in the North than in the South

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Jim O’Neill said: “Making our great northern towns and cities a powerhouse for the economy once again is the reason I joined government, and there is evidence everywhere you look that our plans have already made a real impact.

It is fantastic to be able to continue to champion the Northern Powerhouse within the very heart of government and there will be no let-up in our commitment to fuel the local economy through encouraging foreign investment, improving transport and creating new jobs.”

Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said: “Building the Northern Powerhouse is a long-term government priority and central to our plans to rebalance the economy.

As a proud Northerner, I am determined to ensure that people in every part of the North – from large cities to small rural communities – enjoy greater control over their lives and stronger, more sustainable economic growth.

That’s why this government will continue to support major investments to unlock the potential of the North and ensure that every area benefits from a growing economy.”

London City Airport expansion hailed by the Government

In a major boost to support British jobs and investment, Chancellor Philip Hammond, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid have today announced the go-ahead for a brand new £344 million expansion programme at London City Airport.

The three ministers announced the approved plans for an extended terminal, new aircraft taxiway and parking spaces for planes in one of the capital’s fastest growing airports.

Set to improve passengers’ journeys, these new plans will increase connections within the UK and Europe and support business opportunities and investment.

London City Airport also estimates that the scheme will create 1,600 airport jobs for staff, together with 500 construction jobs, and could potentially contribute £1.5 billion to the UK economy by 2025.

There will be new space for planes to taxi to and from the runway, so more planes can use it, and new stands for planes to allow bigger, more modern planes to use the airport.

London City Airport will also make a number of investments in transport links around the airport, including funding the cost of additional DLR rolling stock (£2.6 million), investing in a bus and taxi access scheme and improving walking and cycle routes to the airport.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond said: “London City Airport’s ambitious growth plans will boost international connections, strengthening the City of London’s links to destinations across the world, and send a clear signal that Britain is open for business.

“This is a real vote of confidence in the resilience of our economy, creating over a thousand new jobs.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This is fantastic news for London and Britain as a whole. I am determined to invest in the infrastructure this country needs, to help people get around more easily, boost investment and create opportunities.”

Building plans for Kingston Prison approved

The Planning Committee at Portsmouth City Council has approved City & Country‘s development of 230 new homes at the site of the former Kingston Prison.

The consented scheme will see the Grade II listed cell block restored and converted into apartments. The proposals also include the retention of the listed walls and gatehouse, which will feature a small café.

This is the first significant prison conversion into residential in the UK that City & Country is aware of, and is the first of our four prisons to gain planning permission.

Before the application was submitted to Portsmouth City Council the local community was invited to a series of public consultation events, with over 5,000 residents and community representatives attending and providing feedback on the evolving proposals.

Richard Winsborough, Associate Director for planning at City & Country, said:Restoring these buildings was of paramount importance to us when we purchased Kingston Prison and we are pleased that members at Portsmouth City Council recognised the need of delivering a new future for the redundant site.

As well as providing fantastic, characterful new homes, the development will open up the prison to the wider community and enable the enjoyment of these magnificent buildings for years to come.”

HS2 will go ahead says new Transport Secretary

New Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has confirmed he has no plans to scrap the HS2 high-speed rail contract.

The news will be a huge relief for contractors and consultants looking to win billions of work on the scheme.

It has also been viewed as a bellwether for the new-look Government’s approach to infrastructure spending

Grayling told BBC Radio 4’s The World This Weekend: “I have no plans to back away from the HS2 project.”

He added: “The thing that’s important for people to understand is that HS2 is not simply a speed project, it’s a capacity project.

We have lines at the moment which have seen huge increases in the number of passengers, the amount of freight in recent years.

Of course it makes sense if we’re going to build a new railway line for it to be a fast railway line, to increase travel times or reduce travel times from north to south – that’s logical.

But actually we need a better transport system for the 21st century and HS2 is part of increasing the capacity of our transport system.”

Phase One of the scheme is expected to cost £27.4bn and the green light for work to start is due later this year.

The first round of contracts worth £11bn are due to be awarded in the coming months.

Morgan Sindall gets place on National Grid’s framework

Morgan Sindall

Morgan Sindall has secured £800 million contract on National Grid’s onshore electricity cable framework that will continue over four years.

The framework is effective from June 2016 and will involve the design, construction and commissioning of 11kV to 400kV cable systems across National Grid’s network.

Morgan Sindall is one of four companies to have been appointed to the Engineer, Procure and Construct (EPC) framework.

Projects awarded under the framework will typically vary in value from between £2 million and £50 million.

Simon Smith, managing director of Utility Services at Morgan Sindall, said: “We are delighted to have secured a position on this framework.

Morgan Sindall has been working in the electricity transmission market for a number of years and this opportunity further enhances our growing capability with National Grid and in this specialist sector.”

Faster planning helps the building trades

The average time for a planning decision to be made on major developments has fallen by 17% on the previous year, paving the way for the building trades.

Annual statistics published this week show decision times for local and major applications have reduced, meaning more housing and business developments can start to build sooner.

Planning Minister Kevin Stewart welcomed the statistics, but said more must be done to improve planning performance.

The average decision time for major developments in 2015-16 reduced by more than 6 weeks on the previous year, while major housing development decisions are now almost two weeks faster than in 2013-14.

Decisions made on local housing applications also reduced by almost a week compared to the previous year.

Mr Stewart said:“Effective planning is crucial to promoting sustainable economic growth and ultimately to helping build more homes. Speeding up the planning system is a vital part of this.

“These statistics are very encouraging, particularly at a time where we are looking at the best ways to reform and improve our planning system.

“The reduction in decision making timescales can only be a good thing – it means we are open for business and helping create certainty within the building sector.”

Willmott Dixon wins £34m Plymouth contract

Willmott Dixon wins £34m Plymouth contract

Willmott Dixon has been awarded a £34 million contract to build the History Centre in Plymouth.

Willmott Dixon will now work with Plymouth City Council through a pre-contract agreement to develop the building and construction elements of the project and prepare the site ready for a second-stage contract award later this autumn.

The conpany’s track record for restoring Grade 2 listed property and creating world famous heritage attractions was further underlined by this appointment.

It’s a continuation of the construction growth in the South West, following the opening of its Exeter office and the project to build a home for the Met Office’s new supercomputer.

Councillor Ian Bowyer, Leader of Plymouth City Council said: “Willmott Dixon were awarded the contract after a highly competitive tender process and we’re really pleased to have them on board.

As well as in-depth knowledge of the sector they demonstrated how they would inspire Plymothians to build for Plymouth and invest in the communities that support culture. This makes their appointment a great fit for the History Centre.”

Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture said: “Willmott Dixon has a wealth of experience in helping to create buildings that are both functional and iconic.

We were particularly impressed with their recent regeneration of a former Grade 2 listed building into a new home for the Gwent Records Office.

This was a project that breathed new life into a property of more than 100 years old – so much like our ambitions for the History Centre.”

Yorkstone facade for University of Huddersfield

Yorkstone facade for University of Huddersfield

Morgan Sindall has taken delivery of £210,000 of locally-sourced Yorkstone which will be used to clad elevations of the University of Huddersfield‘s new Oastler Building in Huddersfield town centre.

The 7,500 square metre, six-storey building is being developed in a prime campus location opposite the Shorehead roundabout between Queensgate and Wakefield Road in the town.

The £27.5 million building will provide a new home for the University’s Law School and the School of Music, Humanities and Media.

It will also link into the University’s Student Central building which was completed in January 2014, at a cost of £22.5 million.

Around 166 tonnes of Yorkstone has arrived from Johnsons Wellfield Quarries in Huddersfield which was established as a local company in 1854.

Mark Heginbotham, project director from Morgan Sindall, said: “People will really notice a difference in the building now as we begin the installation of the stone cladding.

Yorkstone is a fantastic material to work with. It adds a distinctive quality to the building which is one of grandeur, solidity and tradition. But here, it is not being used to create a traditional style building.

The Oastler building is bold and modern and with its blend of traditional and modern materials, it will make a real statement in the town.”

The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Thornton said: “This blend of the modern and the traditional is representative of the University itself.

This year we celebrate our 175th anniversary – and proudly celebrate the pioneers who established higher education in the town – while continuing to be at the forefront of developments to meet the needs of today’s students.”

The eye-catching building, which will provide a new gateway building to both the university and the town centre, was granted planning consent by Kirklees Council in April 2015.