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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Building work is set to start today on the Swansea University’s second campus that will create 4,000 construction jobs with a further 6,000 indirect posts supported in the wider economy.
The First Minister made the announcement whilst on site to mark the start of construction of the new campus which took place on Europe Day.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said: “I welcome the opportunity to be here on this significant day not only to mark the start of construction but also, crucially, to acknowledge the benefits to Wales of our relationship with Europe, including EU funding.
“This EU investment will help drive forward the development of the new Science and innovation Campus, creating a cornerstone for world-leading research and employment opportunities in the construction industry as work gets underway.”
The EMC will include state-of-the-art facilities to enable Swansea University to carry out research and development, particularly through collaborative projects with industry. It will support a range of collaborations with businesses in sectors such as advanced engineering, the digital economy and low carbon technologies.
Finance Minister, Jane Hutt, said: “I am delighted we have been able to invest EU funds to pioneer innovation and deliver state-of-the-art education facilities, benefiting Swansea and beyond.
“We have a key commitment through our Programme for Government to enhance research and innovation to help increase Wales’ global competitiveness, and create jobs and growth. The European Structural Funds programmes in Wales are helping us to achieve this goal, having already generated a total project investment of around £400 million in R&D and innovation alone.”
EMC will accommodate the University’s Civil and Computational Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Materials and Mechanical Engineering as well as Printing and Coating activities.
The Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard B. Davies, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government for the Engineering Manufacturing Centre.
“The EMC will provide world-class research facilities and a resource for industry to access world-leading expertise to help improve manufacturing products and processes and develop new ones, thus contributing to the economic regeneration of the region.”
The Government has given the go-ahead to the £5.5 billion regeneration scheme in Liverpool that will create tens of thousands of jobs and boost the trades.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has today approved the ambitious Liverpool Waters scheme which will see the building of 9, 000 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial development,
including hundreds of offices, hotels, shops, restaurants and leisure facilities .
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, said: “Today’s announcement marks the start of a new era for Liverpool, paving to way to us delivering a world class development which will transform a part of the city that has been in desperate need of investment for decades.
“Liverpool Waters will create thousands of jobs and opportunities for local people, as well as providing new housing and attracting new businesses and visitors.
“It’s a huge boost for our city and yet more evidence that despite the recession, regeneration is forging ahead here. We can now look forward to the plans moving forward on this once-in-a-lifetime scheme which will bring huge, lasting benefits to future generations in this city.
“It’s vital that Peel delivers these plans in a way which meets the conditions set out by the planning committee and we’ll be working closely with them to make sure this is achieved.”
The go-ahead for the Liverpool Waters scheme adds further momentum to regeneration in the city, with a recent audit finding that hundreds of millions of pounds worth of projects are active in the city, despite the recession.
Development Director at Peel, Lindsey Ashworth, said, “This is a well-deserved reward and justice for all those who never gave up supporting this scheme – the Government is now demonstrating its support for Liverpool Waters too.”
The planning consent will open up opportunities and new prospects to link UK businesses with other international organisations from Asia and the rest of the world, making Liverpool become the UK’s second city to London.
What is your reaction to the Government’s decision to approve the ambitious Liverpool Waters scheme that will create 20,000 jobs and boost the trades? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Plans to regenerate a former factory site into the building of affordable housing and a social care home have been submitted to Leeds City Council.
The site sits on a former tannery and soft drinks factory which hasn’t been used for a number of years and is now run down and overgrown. The building work will be carried out by Mansell and LNT Construction.
The £10 million regeneration scheme has been partially funded by the Homes and Communities Agency. It is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the building sector and boost the trades.
Home Group’s head of development, Teresa Snaith, said: “The current site is overgrown and hasn’t been used for a number of years. At a consultation event we held with local residents they have said that they are keen to see the area regenerated and put to good use.
“We hope to build 51 homes which will be available for affordable rent and our partners Ideal Care Homes will also build a 64-bed care home specialising in residential and dementia care if the planning is approved.”
Craig Houston, Regional Director for Mansell’s Yorkshire Business Unit commented “We are excited to be involved with this major regeneration scheme, hopefully one of the first of many site-led opportunities to come to fruition in the coming months.”
The expansion programme also includes the regeneration of Swansea University’s Singleton Park Campus which will see further 6,000 indirect jobs supported in the wider economy.
Developer St Modwen will work closely in collaboration with its construction partner, Vinci, for building work to start in early 2013. The new campus and new student residences will be completed by autumn 2015.
Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Simon Brooks, said: “This scheme will not only benefit future generations of students, but develop specialist skills, drive innovation and enhance economic growth in Wales.
“The European Investment Bank is committed to funding leading research and educational excellence across Europe and is pleased to support this landmark investment.”
Swansea University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Davies said the University was grateful to the European Investment Bank and the Welsh Government for the investment which will create new jobs and boost the economy.
Professor Davies said: “The new Science and Innovation Campus is a transformational project for Wales and for the University.
“It promises to become a global exemplar for how a research intensive university can work effectively with industry, helping to drive economic regeneration and creating exciting employment opportunities for its graduates.”
Plans to build a new £600 million shopping centre in Leeds will create thousands of jobs in the building engineering industry as one of the of Britain’s biggest high street retailers, John Lewis, has secured a deal to build a 258,000 sq ft anchor store near the development of Eastgate Quarters in Leeds city centre.
The first phase of the development, which is called Harewood, would also create two new shopping streets leading to the Victoria Quarter which will include 30 shops, six restaurants, and a multi-storey car park on the site of Leeds’ former police station.
Work on first phase of the development is expected to start in spring 2014 and it could be open by 2016, if plans submitted to the city council next year are approved.
A low-carbon energy centre for the scheme has been consented which will provide heating, cooling and electricity required by the development, with the opportunity to also support neighbouring homes and businesses.
As a result of the multi-million development, the retail led scheme could generate up to 4,000 jobs in the building engineering sector, providing more employment opportunities for plumbers, electricians and gas engineers.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council, welcomed the announcement describing it as excellent news for the city centre and the people from Leeds as a whole.
Mr Wakefield said: “All the parties have been working behind the scenes for some months now to facilitate an agreement which enables work to begin on this important development. So to know that we now have a clear timetable from Hammerson is really exciting.
He added: “Eastgate Quarters is a hugely significant development for the city which will enable our retail sector to compete with other British cities and attract international visitors and investors. It will bring thousands of new visitors to the city as well as creating a significant number of jobs for local people.”
What is your reaction to the £600 million development in Leeds that will pave the way for more jobs in the building engineering sector and people working in the trades? Share your thoughts with us by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter page.
The Government has given the green light to a massive regeneration scheme that will build new homes and carry out extensive refurbishments to more than 650 council houses in Brunswick, an area of the inner city of Manchester.
The 25-year regeneration project will see significant investment to the area, paving the way for new jobs in thesector and trade professionals.
The Homes and Community Agency (HCA), which approved the regeneration plan, said it will include building an improved neighbourhood design with new road layouts and safe open space. The project will also build a new retail area including new shops and amenities coupled with a 60-bed accommodation facility.
Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Jim Battle, welcomed the announcement for Brunswick saying that residents have long waited for such good news that will transform their area and deliver new homes.
Mr Battle said: “We have a fantastic community here that will no doubt continue to prosper as the regeneration plans come to fruition. Being so close to the city centre, coupled with the promise of new homes and an improved neighbourhood layout, I can see a bright future for Brunswick.”
The Government’s approval for the project means the Council can now consider a variety of bidders who will be responsible for delivering the regeneration plan. The Council said it will evaluate final bids from both Fern and Solutions 4 Brunswick, before selecting the preferred bidder later this year.
What’s your reaction to the approval of the long awaited regeneration plans in Brunswick? How the Government’s decision to refurbish and build new homes will benefit you/ your business?
The Building Construction Industry will receive an £80 million boost as the government approves Hinckley’s regeneration scheme which will be a major source of work for contractors and people in the building engineering sector.
The news about the significant redevelopment of Hinckley’s town centre, Leicestershire, comes after 12 years of discussions about the future of the project.
As reported on BBC News today, the regeneration scheme will build 24 new retail and restaurant units, 111,000 square foot Sainsbury’s store and a new bus station.
Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council welcomed the decision of the government to give the green light for the project which will encourage future economic growth and create new jobs.
Stuart Bray, the leader of Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news for the town and means we shall soon start to see things happening. The exciting new shopping and commercial scheme will give the town centre a further boost, thanks to a superstore, cinema, fashion shops, family restaurants and a major new shoppers’ car park alongside a re-designed bus station. We are now looking forward to working with the developer on the construction programme.”
Although, an exact date wasn’t given for the start of the projects, the two developers behind the scheme, Wilson Bowden Developments and Ashcroft Estates, are to complete construction work in 2014.
Director for the joint venture, Tony Baker, said: “This is a crucial step in securing the delivery of this important project for the future of Hinckley. It will not only improve the retail provision in the town centre but provide much-needed new employment. Whilst there are a number of steps to be completed before work starts on site we are now able to move forward with confidence knowing that the entire site can be delivered.”
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Stockton Council is planning to build a new state-of-the-art library and customer service centre to match similar complexes in surrounding areas of Stockton and Thornaby.
The project is one of the largest improvement schemes among other construction projects in town. It brings the council’s investment in the area to more than £23 million in recent years with significant numbers of redevelopment projects and affordable housing schemes.
Stockton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and transport, Councillor Mike Smith, welcomed the decision of the council to build new facilities in town which will boost the local economy and create new jobs whilst offering a good service.
Mr Smith said: “This is tremendous news for Billingham and honours the council’s commitment to create such a facility in the town.
“The service centres have been hugely successful and popular elsewhere in the borough and also help attract many people to go into the town centres.” added Councillor Smith.
Recent investments in building and construction projects have been crucial measures for the government to secure economic growth and create new jobs.
What is your opinion to the decision of Stockton Council to build a new £2.5 million library? Do you think it will boost the local economy and create new jobs? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: