Loans to help make warmer homes

New £10 million pilot scheme has been announced which will increase energy efficiency and help repair homes across Scotland.

More people will be able to make their homes warm and water-tight through a new £10 million fund that will also boost the building trades.

The pilot scheme in Glasgow, Argyll and Bute and Perthshire will provide equity loans of up to £40,000 to home owners on low incomes to help them make essential repairs to leaking roofs and building structures.

The funding can be used either as a single equity loan or with other existing Scottish Government grants to fund more expensive measures like solid wall insulation or a package of energy efficiency works.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced the pilot ahead of his attendance at the launch of Under One Roof. The new website will provide free and impartial advice to private flat owners and help them understand their obligations when it comes to property and shared spaces.

He said: “Making sure everyone has access to a warm and affordable home is a priority for this Government which is why we have committed half a billion pounds over the next four years, meaning over £1 billion by 2021, to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.

We know leaking roofs and poor building structures can drive up energy bills and make them more difficult to heat, but for low income households they can often be too costly to repair.

This £10 million scheme will provide households with loans to carry out essential repair work and install energy efficiency improvements.

This will help us make homes warmer and easier to heat, with our record investment already resulting in two fifths of Scottish homes now being in the top three energy efficiency ratings – an increase of 71% since 2010.”

Mary Taylor, Chief Executive of SFHA, said: “We welcome the announcement of the equity loan scheme. It is extremely important that we invest in the energy efficiency of existing homes to provide affordable warmth and reduce carbon emissions. It is also important that we invest in existing buildings and keep them in a good state of repair.”

Planning application submitted for Nine Elms Centre

Lambeth College – The Careers College and its development partners, Carillion and Arlington Real Estate, have submitted a planning application for the regeneration of its Vauxhall campus, which will create a world-class centre.

The redevelopment of the site will see more than £100 million invested in the area. The scheme will benefit from up to £22 million of funding from the London Enterprise Panel.

The skills centre will create thousands of career and learning opportunities for young people, delivering in the region of 3,500 apprenticeships and 2,200 jobs.

The site will also feature a fully-operational training hotel and additional local housing and public realm improvements will also be delivered.

Replacing the existing college building will be the all new Nine Elms Skills Centre, a ground-breaking education and training facility with a focus on construction, hospitality and science and technology, which will work in close partnership with employers.

It will replace the current 1960’s buildings, which are no longer fit for purpose and fail to meet employers’ needs. The scheme will align to the skills and employment priorities in Lambeth, South London and the Nine Elms regeneration area.

Monica Box, Interim Principal and Chief Executive of Lambeth College said: “The local community has been really engaged with the college for this development and can see the benefits this skills centre will bring to the area’s education provision and the career and training opportunities for local young people.

It will be a landmark and transformational development for this area and reinforce our commitment to be London’s career college.”

Simon Eastwood, Managing Director at Carillion Developments, said: “This is a pioneering project for the UK’s Further Education Sector, which will utilise the expertise of employers, working in partnership with the college, to address skills shortages in sectors such as construction.

Carillion is the largest provider of construction skills training in the UK with over 2,500 apprentices in our training centres at any one time and the new Nine Elms Skills Centre will form an important part of our training infrastructure. We are proud to be part of such an ambitious scheme that will improve the long-term skills training opportunities for London.”

Carillion selected by Centrica for £90m scheme

carillion-selected-by-centrica-for-90m-scheme

Carillion has been selected by Centrica plc as its preferred partner to deliver facilities management and project services for an initial period of five years, which can be extended to seven years.

The contract has an estimated value to Carillion of some £90 million over five years with service delivery scheduled to start in December 2016.

Carillion has worked in close partnership with Centrica for over a decade as managing agent, helping to deliver significant value to Centrica’s British Gas business.

The new contract builds on this successful relationship with an extension of scope to a Total Facilities Management (TFM) service.

Under the new contract Carillion will provide a wide range of hard and soft facilities management services, including asset surveys and planning, planned and reactive maintenance, cleaning, security and catering for Centrica’s 115 locations in the UK and Republic of Ireland, together with the delivery of certain construction projects for Centrica.

Carillion’s Chief Executive, Richard Howson, said: “We have worked closely with Centrica since 2005 and built a strong partnership. We are delighted to be extending this relationship, which is based on a one-team approach in which Carillion and Centrica work together to deliver award-winning standards of facilities management and customer service across all Centrica and British Gas sites.”

Housing boost for the Islands

Up to 100 affordable homes will be built in island communities through a new £5 million fund.

Speaking during a Scottish Parliament debate Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced the Scottish Government will establish a new Islands Housing Fund – backed by up to £5 million funding over three years – to increase the availability of affordable housing in the islands.

This investment is in addition to the £25 million Rural Housing Fund which is supporting the building of new homes and refurbishment of existing properties in rural areas.

Mr Stewart said:“Scotland’s islands have rich and vibrant cultures and make a huge contribution to Scottish life but we know people living there can face challenges when it comes to accessing the home they want.

Our new £5 million Islands Housing Fund will increase the supply of good quality affordable housing which is an essential part of attracting and retaining people in our islands.

Investment in this support for the islands and through the Rural Housing Fund will help us deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of this Parliament and ensure we are reaching across all of Scotland in our ambitions.

“Our Islands Housing Fund demonstrates our strong and continued support for our islands, with the forthcoming Islands Bill set to provide lasting benefits for these communities for generations to come.”

Go-ahead to £300m Chester Northgate development

go-ahead-to-300m-chester-northgate-development

Cheshire West and Chester Council unanimously accepted plans to develop the Northgate area of the city centre for a retail-led, mixed-use development that will boost economic growth.

The £300 million Chester Northgate scheme is set to deliver around 500,000 sqft of new retail, restaurant and leisure facilities over two phases of construction.

The first Phase will start in autumn 2017. Picturehouse will be the operators of a six-screen cinema providing more than 715 seats, on the upper levels of the scheme, with a ground-level foyer and café bar opening onto the new Market Square and Hunter Street.

A new market hall will replace the current Chester Market and a new, 167-bedroom, 4-star hotel and conference centre will be built as a replacement for the existing Crowne Plaza hotel.

Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member, Economic Development and Infrastructure said: “The development of Northgate has been a long held ambition.

When it became clear that the private sector was not going to deliver what the city needed, the Council took control with the view to progressing proposals to a stage where the private sector is willing to invest. Obtaining planning consent is a major component.

This proposal delivers a new development that will feel like Chester and not just like any other city.”

Councillor Stuart Parker, Shadow Cabinet Member, Communities and Wellbeing added: “Northgate is the most significant regeneration opportunity to impact on Chester in many decades.

It will transform the city from its present state of retail and leisure decline. Granting consent today will send a powerful message that Chester is open for business in a truly spectacular style.”

In December 2013 the Council purchased the Forum Shopping Centre and now owns around 85 per cent of the 5.8-hectare site. Rivington Land is the development managers overseeing the development.

David Lewis, Chief Executive of Rivington Land, said: “Obtaining this resolution to grant planning consent for Chester Northgate is a massive achievement on the path to delivery of this significant scheme.

In combination with the level of occupier demand we are witnessing and the recent exchange of contacts with Picturehouse, this consent represents real progress and a major corner piece of the overall jigsaw.

The application on such a sensitive site was very complex and this decision is a huge compliment to the talented design team involved.”

It is anticipated that the whole development will be completed and opened during 2021.

Construction set to begin on The Mill

The Mill – an 800 home urban village complete with a neighbourhood centre, community hall, and parks – is being developed by Tirion Homes on the site of the former Arjo Wiggins Paper Mill site in Canton.

The construction programme is expected to create over 1,000 jobs, many for people living locally.

The site remediation has been carried out by Alun Griffiths. The construction of the new homes will be undertaken by Lovell.

The Group is currently working on two other sites in the region; the 500-home Whiteheads development in Newport, and the planned 225-home Parc Eirin site in Tonyrefail.

Peter Mathias, chairman of Tirion Group, says: “The Mill is a ground-breaking development that will not only transform the local community around it, but hopefully become a blueprint for high-quality housing communities across South Wales.

As we prepare for the start of construction it is an honour to host AMs, MPs and councillors, and to be able to outline our vision for the site and our future vision for housing developments across Wales.”

At The Mill, Tirion has unlocked the potential of the long-disused paper mill site by acquiring and cleaning up the brownfield land with financial backing from the Welsh Government and Principality, securing planning permission and then developing the site in partnership with Lovell.

Lovell regional director Kate Rees says: “We are delighted to be working with the Tirion Group, Cadwyn Housing Association, the Welsh Government and Principality to deliver this landmark housing scheme for Cardiff and look forward to starting construction of these new high-quality homes for sale and for rent.

The Mill will create a brand-new community in an extremely desirable riverside location close to the city centre.”

Peter Hughes, managing director at Principality Commercial, said: “Supporting this development goes to the heart of our purpose in helping people access quality affordable housing in an attractive environment, with excellent links to the city centre.

In recent years we have invested heavily in local communities through a variety of both commercial and residential projects. The Mill project will hopefully pave the way for similar schemes across Wales.”

Apache in joint venture with Moda Living

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Apache Capital Partners has announced a joint venture with Moda Living to plan and build projects of approximately 5,000 homes and a gross development value of £1 billion.

This strategic joint venture makes Apache Capital the long term funding partner of Moda Living. The partnership is expected to create the largest owner of regional purpose-built PRS and one of the largest owners of PRS overall in the UK.

The portfolio concentrates on regional centres where population growth and an undersupply of residential accommodation looks set to trigger rental and capital growth over the next few years.

A focus on prime locations attracting the ideal tenant profile for PRS developments; 20-44 year olds with disposable income who demand locations and buildings that come with high quality services and amenities.

Richard Jackson, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Apache Capital Partners, said: “We at Apache Capital have seen a strong demand from our Middle Eastern investors in the UK’s Private Rented Sector.

This is partly because PRS is already an established sector in the region, the sector’s continuing supply/demand imbalance in the UK, but also coupled with the prevailing lifestyle shift toward flexible living that delivers high quality amenities and services.

“The 5,000 unit secured portfolio provides us immediate scale and Apache Capital and Moda Living will currently be the largest owner of regional purpose-built PRS and the second largest owner overall in the UK.

“This strategy builds on the success of Apache Capital’s Social Infrastructure investment platform, where we have aggregated an institutional grade portfolio of assets in the student accommodation and healthcare sectors.”

More affordable housing approved

The number of affordable homes in Scotland has increased by 26% on the previous year, bringing the total number of approvals over the year to 8,067.

Official statistics published this week show that during 2015-16, the number of new house builds started, across the public and private sector, rose to 16,910, a 4% increase on the previous year and the highest number of starts since 2008-9.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the figures showed good early progress towards delivering the Scottish Government’s ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a new housing development in Edinburgh which will provide 236 affordable homes in the city, Mr Stewart said: “We have an excellent track record on housing. The number of affordable home completions from April 2007 to end March 2016 was 60,704 – on average 24% more per year than the 38,015 delivered between April 2000 and March 2007.

“In the previous session of Parliament, we exceeded our target of delivering 30,000 affordable homes, and our bold and ambitious More Homes Scotland approach will build on that achievement.

“We have committed to investing over £3 billion to deliver at least 50,000 affordable homes over the next five years. This is accompanied by increased housing subsidy levels and a new Rural Housing Fund to boost the supply of affordable rural housing.

“We’ve also helped stimulate growing confidence in the private housing market and supported people into home ownership, in particular through our £500 million Help to Buy (Scotland) scheme.”

SES Engineering Services gets two London projects

ses-engineering-services-gets-two-london-projects

SES Engineering Services is building on its major success at the heart of the redevelopment of King’s Cross after winning a duo of central London new build projects.

The company was appointed to deliver mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services on the 12-storey S2 Grade A office building as part of the King’s Cross regeneration scheme.

The company has been awarded an £18.6 million MEP contract to deliver Barts Square Phase One, a new £110 million high-end residential development in the St Bart’s Hospital area in Farringdon.

SES will continue work with Carillion on the commercial King’s Cross project – and will be working with client Helical Plc for the first time to deliver 144 luxury apartments with a selection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses located in seven property blocks.

The dual wins represent a major milestone for SES’ London and South East operation and are testament to SES’ reputation for delivering innovative, cost and time saving off-site manufacturing solutions on logistically challenging city-centre projects.

SES’s engineering expertise was fundamental to its appointment on the King’s Cross S2 project, in response to the client’s requirement to deliver the very latest Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology.

Tim Cunningham, SES Regional Director, London and South East also said: “This is a truly exciting time for our London and South East operation and the growth of our business is down to our teams’ exemplary work and innovative off-site approach.

We’re tremendously proud of our work on The Plimsoll Building and the Gasholder residential schemes at King’s Cross so we’re thrilled to continue that relationship for the S2 office project.

Likewise, our ability to deliver these critical city-centre residential schemes on time and on budget has been essential to winning the innovative and prestigious Barts Square project.”

SES Engineering Services gets two London projects

ses-engineering-services-gets-two-london-projects

SES Engineering Services is building on its major success at the heart of the redevelopment of King’s Cross after winning a duo of central London new build projects.

The company was appointed to deliver mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services on the 12-storey S2 Grade A office building as part of the King’s Cross regeneration scheme.

The company has been awarded an £18.6 million MEP contract to deliver Barts Square Phase One, a new £110 million high-end residential development in the St Bart’s Hospital area in Farringdon.

SES will continue work with Carillion on the commercial King’s Cross project – and will be working with client Helical Plc for the first time to deliver 144 luxury apartments with a selection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses located in seven property blocks.

The dual wins represent a major milestone for SES’ London and South East operation and are testament to SES’ reputation for delivering innovative, cost and time saving off-site manufacturing solutions on logistically challenging city-centre projects.

SES’s engineering expertise was fundamental to its appointment on the King’s Cross S2 project, in response to the client’s requirement to deliver the very latest Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology.

Tim Cunningham, SES Regional Director, London and South East also said: “This is a truly exciting time for our London and South East operation and the growth of our business is down to our teams’ exemplary work and innovative off-site approach.

We’re tremendously proud of our work on The Plimsoll Building and the Gasholder residential schemes at King’s Cross so we’re thrilled to continue that relationship for the S2 office project.

Likewise, our ability to deliver these critical city-centre residential schemes on time and on budget has been essential to winning the innovative and prestigious Barts Square project.”