Communities Minister Don Foster has announced that towns across England will benefit from £91 million to refurbish and bring back into use over 6,000 empty homes and derelict homes.
The Minister said that regions in the Midlands and North, where the problem is most acute, would especially benefit from the investment that will create new jobs and boost the building industry.
Speaking today whist visiting an empty homes refurbishment project in Stoke on Trent, Mr Foster said: “The government is doing everything possible to tackle the problem of empty homes and urban blight.
“Today I’m announcing we’re going to do even more, with towns across England benefiting from £91 million to refurbish over 6,000 empty properties to get them back into use.
“This will bring people, shops and jobs back to once abandoned areas, and provide extra affordable homes we so badly need.”
The funding will be spent on refurbishment in areas where empty properties have commonly led to problems such as squatting, rat infestation and collapsing house prices, driving remaining residents away.
The funding is being allocated under two programmes:
- £61 million from the second round of the empty homes funding programme, provided to successful bidders eligible from all areas across England (except London, which will be announced separately) with empty homes. Around two thirds of this (£41 million) is allocated by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to registered social landlords; and the remaining money to community and voluntary groups. Together the 187 successful organisations will bring around 3,200 extra homes back into use.
- £30 million second year award of Clusters of Empty Homes programme funding for twenty partnerships in areas of acute problems such as Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Middlesbrough which will bring around 3,500 homes back into use.
Andy Rose, HCA chief executive, said: “We had a very encouraging response to the funding across a wide range of types of property.
“This demonstrates a strong appetite and scope for bringing empty homes and properties back into use, which will help to reinvigorate our communities and towns. We look forward to working with housing providers to bring these homes forward.”
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The government has given the go-ahead for the building of Liverpool’s £425 million Royal University Hospital that will create 750 full-time construction jobs.
The multi-million development is set to employ local people, materials and services where possible to generate an additional £240 million for the local economy and boost the trades.
The Department for Health and the Treasury have approved the funding and the hospital is now assessing bids from two construction companies, Carillion and Horizon, that will design and build the hospital by 2017.
After the bidder is appointed, the hospital will obtain final planning permission and sign contracts, with building construction work expected to begin early next year.
Aidan Kehoe, chief executive, said: “I am delighted that we are now just weeks away from unveiling the design for our new hospital.
“The new Royal is at the very heart of our city and this is a significant step forward in the creation of our world-class hospital.
“It also brings us one step closer to the creation of the Liverpool BioCampus, which has the potential to transform the city, propelling us onto the world stage along with Boston and Singapore.”
What is your reaction to the £425 million funding for the building of new Royal Liverpool University Hospital that will create hundreds of construction jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raise your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
The HCA has devised the plan at Kings Dock which will boost the local economy and enhance opportunities for existing and future trade professionals.
The new development will also create a pleasant neighbourhood with attractive public squares allowing access to the water space.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, said: “This is an important piece of work, which will guide the future development of Kings Dock.
“It supports our recently launched Strategic Investment Framework for the city centre, which includes plans to drive forward the regeneration of the waterfront, increasing visitor numbers, boosting our economy and creating jobs.”
The new masterplan builds on the successful first stage of development of the northern half of the Kings Waterfront site that is home to the world class Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool, hotels, restaurants, multi-storey car park and apartments.
Deborah McLaughlin, HCA Executive Director for the North West, said: “The masterplan has been designed to help continue the transformation of Liverpool into one of the UK’s most business and enterprise-friendly cities and position the city as an international conference and events destination.
“The proposals are wide-ranging to ensure that the emerging development framework is relevant, realistic and deliverable in the current economic climate. As landowner, the HCA is committed to ensuring that the Kings Dock contributes hugely to the prosperity of Liverpool.”
Two student accommodation schemes at the University of Liverpool have been submitted for planning approval, paving the way for developers to start building work.
The £50 million project, part of an overall £600 million campus investment announced last year, will build 621 en-suite rooms and create new jobs in the trades.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said that this regeneration will not only improve the facilities at the University of Liverpool, but will also provide economic boost to the city and bring new employment opportunities for local people.
Mr Anderson said: “This development will increase the appeal of the University of Liverpool to potential students right across the country and the world, contributing to Liverpool’s growing status as a distinctive global city.
“It will also provide a much needed boost to the city in terms of jobs and training opportunities for local people.”
Preston based developer Worthington Properties, which was selected as a building contractor for the two sites in Liverpool city centre, is planning to demolish five accommodation blocks in Philharmonic Court and construct two six-storey buildings which will contain 354 student rooms.
The second proposed development in Great Newton Street will see Worthington build on a former car park and disused university property. The building will be between four and seven storeys and is expected to have 267 student rooms. Architect on the scheme is Manchester-based Leach Rhodes Walker.
Development director at Worthington Properties, Russell Worthington, said: “We are proud to work in partnership with Liverpool University and Liverpool City Council to design a product that will help the university attract national and international students to the city.
“In addition, the investment by Liverpool University will help to create employment as we will be looking to work with suppliers and recruit from the area.”
What is your reaction to the student accommodation scheme at the University of Liverpool which will boost the local economy and create new jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
You can listen to the full interview with Jonathan from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills
You can listen to the full interview with Robert from Train4TradeSkills Radio via AudioBoo at: www.audioboo.fm/train4tradeskills
The work will be split, with £350 million being spent on the two university campus’, the city centre campus and the Leahurst campus, which is situated on the Wirral. The remaining £250 million will be invested in the university’s student accommodation, which will involve building new halls of residences and thousands of new student rooms.
The first phase of the student accommodation has already begun, as Ocon are currently working on a £44 million project, which is expected to be completed in 2012.
The positive thing about this project is that it will potentially create thousands of jobs for plumbers and electricians in Liverpool. The Leader of Liverpool City Council, Joe Anderson, confirmed this, saying:
“These proposals will also provide jobs and employment opportunities for local people, not to mention the promise of apprenticeships to help people gain vital experience in their trade.
“They will leave a lasting legacy of training and up-skilling the people of the city. I want to welcome this project, and look forward to watching it develop.”
This news follows the announcement by student accommodation specialists Unite, who last week announced that despite the tuition fee rises in 2012, demand for more accommodation continues to grow, and they are set to build 4,500 new rooms all over the UK over the next year.
- Controversial tuition fee rises not going to stop demand for UK student accommodation (train4tradeskills.wordpress.com)
CN Plus report that the £4.5 billion Wirral Waters initiative has been approved by Communities secretary Eric Pickles after a series of delays that postponed the project for two years. Due to the size of the scheme, it has to be approved by the government as well as Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.
The project, which is being developed by Peel, will see 1,531 new homes built, four new towers, commercial office space and retail and leisure facilities in Liverpool and the North West. The aim is for Wirral Waters to become an “Ocean Gateway”, and to transform and regenerate the whole Liverpool docklands area.
The positive news about the project is that it will create 26,000 new jobs in Liverpool and North West. Wirral Council Leader, Cllr Jeff Green is behind the idea, saying:
“I am delighted the Government has demonstrated its trust in allowing local people to make the decision and will not ‘call in’ the Wirral Waters plan for national review.
“This is a £4.5bn project which will create many thousands of jobs over 10-15 years. It is a landmark day for Wirral and is tremendous news.”
What do you think about the Wirral Waters scheme – what effect will it have on Liverpool?
The work will see a new retail and administration development on the current site of Goodison Park and will see the Club Everton lounge at the Park End transformed into a new club shop, museum, cafe and a hospitality lounge, so the club can cater for corporate clients easier, as well as providing facilities for the general public.
The work is expected to be completed in Autumn 2011 and Everton’s Chief Executive, Robert Elstone, says:
“The new building is an exciting phase in the development of Goodison Park. It will help us grow our business by giving fans a new, purpose-built Club shop more than twice the size of Everton One, a new hospitality lounge targeted towards Evertonians wanting to socialise before and after games at Goodison and, at last, a proper home for the Everton Collection and other exciting attractions for our fans.”
Everton’s originally wanted to move to a new stadium but the government rejected their initial proposals. The extension of Goodison Park should create some trade and construction jobs for local builders, plumbers and electricians, as the work will have to be completed in a relatively short period of time.
What do you think – is Everton’s improvements to Goodison Park a good idea?
The Guardian reports that the coalition’s minister for business, innovation and skills, John Hayes, is emphasising the “wider social benefits” of acquiring skills and learning a trade. Mr Hayes spoke at a recent conference, saying that learning a craft or skills is far more valuable than the training undertaken for other jobs – as it has the “satisfaction of a job well done.”
Mr Hayes is saying that practical skills like plumbing, construction and electrical should not be seen as second-rate compared to academic achievements, and wants to see skilled craftspeople enjoy the same social status as a lawyer or teacher.
The government intends to radically overhaul the current apprenticeship scheme, bringing in level 4 and 5 qualifications (which would be the equivalent of getting a degree), which would allow apprentices to become experts in their chosen field. Apprentices working in the construction industry will reportedly be given the title of “technician” in the future.
The good news is that the government has promised to heavily invest in the apprenticeships scheme over the next few years. £250 million of funding will be made available to create around 75,000 new adult apprenticeships over the next four years, and encourage more businesses to take on apprentices. The National Apprenticeship Service has already started this, especially in Liverpool, where they have been encouraging local businesses to recruit new trades apprentices.
This has to be create news for those people wishing to become plumbers, electricians, or gas engineers, at Train4TradeSkills and other places, as the government is recognising vocational skills and wants to make more apprenticeships available.
What do you think about this – is the idea of calling apprentices “technicians” something that you like? And what do you think of level 4 and 5 qualifications?