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Enterprise zones get £100m building boost

Enterprise zone activity gets £100m building boost

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has announced to increase the Government’s infrastructure investment in enterprise zones by £100 million that will create thousands of local jobs in the trades.

The investment package will help the thirteen enterprise zones to receive more money for 18 projects to build new service roads, car parking and other infrastructure, transforming ‘shovel ready sites into job ready sites’.

The fund, originally £60 million, is designed to help zones reach their real growth potential faster as economic engine rooms of local economies. Following a competitive bidding process the successful proposals will now undergo further testing to ensure value for money for the taxpayer.

Enterprise zones have already created 3,000 new jobs, attracted 126 businesses, generated 105,000 square metres of new commercial floorspace and secured almost £229 million of extra private sector investment.

In addition to this, 5 enterprise zones are also receiving £24 million to tackle traffic bottlenecks and road congestion near their site through Department for Transport funding.

Eric Pickles said: “Enterprise zones are stimulating job creation and economic growth in different parts of the country with their special package of incentives to attractive new business ventures.

“The government is putting its money where its mouth is and making sure enterprise zones have the buildings and infrastructure they need to make sites ready for business to set up in.

“Enterprise zones are proving extremely popular with business – they have already created over 3,000 jobs for local people – a 75% increase in just 5 months – and many more will be coming down the pipeline because of this new support.”

Andy Rose, Chief Executive at the Homes and Communities Agency, which is administering the fund, said: “The response from the enterprise zones to this investment opportunity demonstrates just how crucial upfront infrastructure is to development.

“It is great news that this additional investment means more priority sites can be funded than first thought, creating more jobs in the areas that need them.”

Today’s announcement is just one of range of steps the government has taken to rebalance the economy and support local businesses to grow and create jobs.

The government has reformed the way councils are funded so they have new incentives to go for growth and support local businesses. It has established 39 local enterprise partnerships that along with enterprise zones are able to access millions in government investment to support their local economy, including the £770 million Growing Places Fund and £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund.

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Government Approves Northampton Enterprise Zone Site

CPO Powers Secure Enterprise Zone Site

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the development of a 2.4 hectares scheme in Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.

The CPO is set to kick-start the transformation of the area, boosting the construction industry and creating new jobs in the trades. Plans include the building of 40,000 sq metres quality office space and six-storey Innovation Centre, which begins construction this summer.

Councillor David Mackintosh, Leader of Northampton Borough Council said: “Across our town we are seeing exciting Northampton Alive projects breathing new life into areas as we unlock their potential.

“There are real opportunities to invest in Northampton and our Enterprise Zone. This is another positive step as we bring together another site for redevelopment and new employment opportunities.”

WNDC now owns all of the vacant land, 5 commercial properties and 10 residential properties in St Peter’s Waterside. In addition, the Corporation is in advanced discussions with National Grid about the potential to include two adjoining Gasholder sites in the development plans.

Government Approves Northampton Enterprise Zone Site

The CPO is one of two that the Corporation has launched in the Northampton Enterprise Zone, with the other Order covering the Avon Nunn Mills site. A decision on that CPO is expected later this spring.

Chris Garden, WNDC’s Director of Regeneration said: “With its central location and transport links, St Peter’s Waterside is a perfect location for high profile office development.  We have been buying land in the area for some time, but this CPO means we have consolidated various sites and can press ahead with our plans.

“There will be cranes in the skyline this summer, with work starting on the first phases of development and demolition. Meanwhile, directly opposite the site, construction will be underway on Northampton’s new railway station. It is a defining period in the regeneration of the town.”

What is your reaction to the Compulsory Purchase Order given by Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, to pave to way for new businesses as well as boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  

Relaxed planning rules will boost the trades

Planning measures will help the tradesThe Government has announced new development rights that will allow office buildings to be converted into homes without the need for planning permission.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles argues that the new planning measures will ensure empty and underused offices can be swiftly converted into much-needed homes for local people.

The proposals are expected to create jobs in the construction industry and provide significant boost for people in the trades.

Further reforms will also help boost rural communities and create jobs by allowing agricultural buildings to be converted for other business uses.

Buildings no longer suitable or needed for agricultural use could be transferred into new growth-boosting ventures that benefit rural areas, such as shops, restaurants, small hotels and leisure facilities.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “We want to promote the use of brownfield land to assist regeneration, and get empty and under-used buildings back into productive use.

“Using previously developed land and buildings will help us promote economic growth, provide more homes and still ensure that we safeguard environmentally protected land.

“We are absolutely determined to support people striving to bring life back to their communities and high streets.”

Planning Minister Nick Boles said: “These new changes ensure the very best use is made of our existing buildings to provide new homes and makes sure we get the most use we can out of our previously developed land.

“These changes are an important step in improving the planning system and making sure it is in the best possible shape to swiftly adapt to changes and opportunities that can provide a big boost to the economy.”

President of the Country Land and Business Association, Harry Cotterell, said: “We are very pleased with this announcement. It is something for which we have campaigned for years.

“It offers farmers and land managers the chance to find alternative sources of income by using their redundant agricultural buildings in new ways.

“This will underpin their farming businesses and boost the rural economy by helping to create new jobs and businesses at a time when they are greatly needed.”

Pickles grants the go-ahead for 2,000 new homes

A property development company, Cala Homes, has been given the go-ahead to build 2,000 homes near Winchester which will create new jobs and boost the building industry.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has approved the developer’s plan for building thousands of new homes at the 230-acre Barton Farm site to the north of Winchester.

The scheme is intended to provide 40% affordable housing. It would make a valuable contribution to local businesses and boost the local economy.

The decision by the Communities Secretary paves the way for Cala to begin developing the site. Plans include the building of around 800 affordable homes, with supporting infrastructure and community facilities to help meet Winchester’s housing needs.

Group land director for Cala, Robert Millar, said: “Local people will benefit greatly from this decision. It will be a major contributor to stimulating the local economy and creating long term jobs.

“It will make a significant contribution to the chronic shortage of affordable housing enabling key workers and other local people to live in their own City.”

Mr Millar said that Cala will be examining the detailed design for each of the phases of this development to ensure the housing scheme is delivered as soon as possible.

Solent Enterprise Zone Reaches Out For New Trade Jobs

Plans to invest £25 million in the Solent Enterprise Zone that will create 1,200 new jobs have been finalised by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.  

The proposed investment would also support the development of a new 25,000 sq ft manufacturing business centre which will pave the way for new employment in the trades.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, who visited the Enterprise Zone at Daedalus yesterday, revealed that £15 million of the investment will be used for building new homes and a community centre.

Hampshire County Council and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which are funding the project, have forecast that the development could create 1,182 jobs, of which 828 will be permanent.

Secretary of State Eric Pickles said: “This over £25m boost for the Solent Enterprise Zone will unlock its huge potential to deliver growth, homes and jobs and make a real difference to Gosport.

“It is local business and commerce that creates the growth and jobs this country needs and it’s this Government’s job to foster the conditions for those businesses to thrive.

“That is why through the Government’s Growing Places Fund and the setting up of Enterprise Zones, we have empowered local enterprise partnerships to drive forward their own local economic development.”

Colin Molton from the Homes and Communities Agency said: “This package of investment is great news for the local economy, which stands to benefit significantly from the ripple effect of new jobs and businesses coming to the Solent Enterprise Zone.

“This has been the result of partners working closely together to devise an innovative package which will maximise the use of the funds available to have a real positive impact on the ground.”

Government Approves £650m Chatham Docks Scheme

The Government has approved plans to transform a 26-acre site at Chatham Docks into a £650 million development set to create 3,500 new jobs.

Medway Council granted planning permission to the scheme, which has now been approved by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Construction work on the Peel Group’s project is scheduled to start next year, paving the way for jobs in the building sector and giving ‘a real economic boost’ to the region.

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Rodney Chambers, said: “This is a major step forward for the regeneration of Medway and is a clear indication of how the area is growing and continuing to attract significant investment from developers and businesses.

“Not only will it create thousands of jobs for residents in the near future, but it will provide opportunities for future growth and unrivalled facilities for residents and visitors alike to enjoy and benefit from.”

The major development will build hundreds of new homes, a hotel, a supermarket, office and retail space, as well as education and community facilities.

James Whittaker, Development Director at Peel said he was delighted the Government has approved outline plans for Chatham Waters.

Mr Whittaker said: “The plan will regenerate and breathe new life into a significant area of the dockland and give the region a real economic boost.

“We will now continue preparing detailed plans for the first phase and we hope to start building on the site next year.”

Mayor of London Gets £3 Billion Fund for Affordable Housing

 The government has transferred a fund of £3 billion to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to build more affordable houses as well as to oversee the long term development of the Olympic Park and the surrounding areas.

The new investment will give greater power and more responsibilities to the Mayor of London’s office. Boris Johnson welcomed the decision of the government which will create thousands of new jobs and boost the building construction sector.

Mr Johnson said: “We are now in a great position to drive forward vital investment that will deliver more affordable homes across the city, secure a lasting legacy in the Olympic Park and create thousands of new jobs.”

Some 55,000 new affordable houses are expected to be built by March 2015 as well as bringing 45,000 existing homes up to standard across London.

The announcement comes as the Communities and Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, is preparing to hand over functions from the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) to the capital and the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Mr Pickles said: “The funding will enable the Authority to support the housing programmes it will inherit from the Homes and Communities Agency, the closure of the London Development Agency, and transformation of Olympic Park  and legacy, as well as its existing functions.”

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson added that this agreement will enable for greater responsibility in housing schemes across London.

Mr Johnson said: “I will do all I can to grasp the fantastic opportunities this settlement provides and ensure that London becomes an even better place to live, work and invest in.”

What is your reaction on the Government’s investment for more affordable houses in London? Does the £3billion investment mean more employment opportunities for you/your business?  Let us know by leaving a comment on the Train4TradeSkills’ Facebook and Twitter pages:

Boris Johnson Approves a Huge Housing Boost for London

 The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced the first phase of a major housing redevelopment for the Greenwich Peninsula, South London, which will see 10, 000 homes built in the next three years.

Boris Johnson and the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, visited the Peninsula on Wednesday. They shared optimism about the regeneration of the area and all the benefits the project will bring to businesses and the Building Construction Industry.

Some 1,300 homes and 600 student accommodation units will be built later this year. The Building Sector is expected to benefit immensely from the project as a result of the building work which will be undertaken this year – Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles suggested.

Mr Pickles said: “Today the Mayor and I can announce we’ve unlocked this once stalled site in Greenwich that will now get workers back on site, construction back on track and help get our city building in 2012 the new homes Londoners needs.”

The Mayor of London said he is delighted for the project to be given green light. Mr Johnson said: “The transformation of Greenwich Peninsula is undoubtedly one of the most exciting development opportunities in London.”

He added: “This latest phase of regeneration will seal its future as a thriving, well-connected new district, combining vibrant new residential areas and fantastic leisure facilities.”

After detailed planning applications are submitted to Greenwich Council in April, construction work on the first phase of the project is set to begin in autumn later this year.

 

What is your reaction on the housing boost given to Greenwich Peninsula in South London? How beneficial for you or your business the project is going to be? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below:

 

What effect will the UK Riots have on the construction industry?

This week has seen chaos come to the streets of London and several UK cities as rioters and looters run amok and send large parts of the UK into lawlessness.

Thousands of youths have burned, looted and vandalised their way through London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Wolverhampton and Nottingham – projecting a negative image of the UK to billions of people around the world.

The cost of these riots are bound to spiral into millions of pounds and have left many people with no homes or no business – all to cause anarchy on the streets of the UK and to get their hands on a new pair of trainers, TV or mobile phone.

The government yesterday announced they will help riot victims rebuild their homes and businesses, with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and the Mayor of London getting involved.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched a £50m fund to make major improvements to the capital’s town centres and high streets damaged by the recent riots across the capital.

This fund will go towards rebuilding businesses damaged and destroyed by the riots and the work will be completed by local contractors.

Mr Johnson said: “We have always recognised the importance of improving London’s town centres and clearly after the destruction caused by the recent events across the city this is a bigger challenge than ever.

“That is why I am allocating £50 million to ensure that these areas are regenerated quickly and transformed into safe, attractive, vibrant and economically successful places to live, work and invest in.

Eric Pickles also announced that £30 million of government money will go to help those in need. £20 million of this will be in the form of a high street support scheme, with the remaining £10 million to be used as a recovery fund to help clean up the streets and damaged buildings.

As the Riots seem to have died down as the police step in and arrest those responsible, what affect have the riots had on the construction industry?

It could be said to have an indirect effect, particularly as foreign companies or overseas developers may be reluctant to invest in London or other UK cities and may choose to take their construction projects elsewhere, in the fear of being vandalised by out-of-control youths.

The other factor to consider is the security of building sites. There were stories of youths stealing tools from construction sites in Liverpool to use as offensive weapons. Paul Martin, contract manager for Linbrook, said in a statement earlier this week:

“It’s unprecedented the way this has spread. We’re doing what needs to be done by four o’clock and taking plant and materials off-site so they aren’t endangered.”

Construction economist Brian Green made a good point this week, saying whether the construction industry should beef up security in case any similar event happens again. He said: “The bigger question is whether contractors have to change their security practice if this type of behaviour becomes widespread in the long term.”

Hopefully these riots are a one-time thing, and the policing will be improved to allow them the proper number of officers so they can stamp out the trouble and stop the needless violence and looting quickly.

What are your thoughts about the issue of the UK riots in London, Manchester and Birmingham etc.? Do you think the construction industry will pay the price of thousands of out-of-control youths? Let us know what you think by commenting below…

Pickles’ “Cash for planning” idea slammed by construction experts

New proposals in the Localism bill which could make government cash a key factor in granting planning permission has been criticised by planning experts.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles introduced an amendment of the Localism Bill and the New Homes Bonus (which is currently going through Parliament), which would effectively give councils cash for making positive planning decisions.

This initiative has been criticised by several groups, notably the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), who say that it could distort planning decisions.

Neil Sinden, the Director of Policy for CPRE, said in a statement:

“This amendment is a brazen attempt to legalise cash for sprawl. Many may have criticised the UK planning system in the past, but at least decisions were, on the whole, made on merit and not money.”

The Town and Country Planning Association’s Hugh Ellis, also isn’t a fan of the proposed changes, saying, “While the Government claims this is a minor change to reinforce the New Homes Bonus, in fact it means direct cash payments will become the first amongst equals of considerations for new development.”

Both of these claims have merit and government cash should not be a factor in planning permissions. Yes, once the new homes have been built, local councils should be given cash under the New Homes Bonus, but not before planning permission has been granted, as this could lead to a number of under the table deals and local councils favouring certain contractors’ request for planning permission.

Yes, local councils should be in favour of building new homes, as it would boost the local economy and create construction jobs, but the prospect of government cash should not be the only reason why councils favour new projects.

Any amendments to the Localism Bill are set to be debated on and voted for next week, when the bill reaches the third stage.

What do you think about the whole “cash for planning” debacle? Let us know and comment on the blog or on the Train4TradeSkills Facebook and Twitter pages.