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New homes in Flintshire set to bring local job boost

A major recruitment drive has been launched as Flintshire Council and Wates Residential, the council’s housing partner, look to ramp up employment and training across the county.

Wates and the local authority are working in collaboration with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and Coleg Cambria, they are inviting local people to express an interest in a range of employment, apprentice and work experience opportunities across all building trades, including window fitting and scaffolding.

The call for candidates comes as Wates Residential North begins building work to create 24 new council homes on the site of the former council depot in Dobshill, some of which will be available through affordable rent with North East Wales Homes.

The latest milestone forms part of Flintshire Council’s Strategic Housing and Regeneration Partnership (SHARP) programme, which will see the creation of 500 new homes across Flintshire.

Launched in 2015, SHARP has brought extensive opportunities for on-site training, including Wates’ industry-leading Building Futures programme. Carried out four times across the county, the course has seen local people secure jobs in a range of construction industry trades.

Further opportunities have been created through Flintshire Council’s Communities for Work and Communities for Work Plus programmes, which work with people who face the greatest barriers to becoming employable.

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Bernie Attridge, said:

“Working with partners such as Wates, CITB and Coleg Cambria allows us to offer training and apprenticeships which really help our residents and our local economy. 

We need to invest in local people so that they can take advantage of employment opportunities in the area.  I fully support this latest initiative.”

Paul Dodsworth, Managing Director, Wates Construction North, commented:

“Throughout the course of the past four years our team has worked tirelessly to fulfil our commitment to build high quality and affordable new homes, doing so while continually investing our time and resources into employment and training for Flintshire residents.

“The difference that this is making to the lives of local people is fantastic. I myself started my career as an apprentice brickie and I look forward to seeing even more local people join our team and take those exciting first steps in their careers in construction.”

Source: Deeside

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£30m loan brings new homes to Basildon

  • More than 760 new homes to be built across two sites
  • 210 homes and 7,000 sq m of commercial space to be created at Laindon Place
  • More than 550 new homes for Beechwood Village, including up to 110 affordable homes
  • Majority of homes will be built offsite using modular construction techniques

More than 760 new homes and almost 8,000 square metres of retail and commercial space are being built in Basildon following a £30 million funding boost from Homes England.

The loan from the government’s housing delivery agency will help to redevelop the Craylands Estate, renamed as Beechwood Village, and the Laindon Shopping Centre, which will become Laindon Place.

More than 550 new homes are being built at the Beechwood site, including up to 110 affordable homes, whilst 210 homes and over 7,000 sq m of commercial space will be developed at Laindon.

The funding will allow Swan Housing Association, who are working in partnership with Basildon Borough Council, to develop both schemes at the same time, enabling the final three phases of regeneration at Beechwood Village and new homes at Laindon shopping centre to be completed more quickly.

When completed, Laindon Place will include a new high street with shops, a supermarket, and a new health centre. The new homes to be built at Beechwood Village will be in addition to more than 400 homes, retail units and community centre completed in earlier phases.

Homes England has agreed the loan as part of its £290 million Estates Regeneration Fund, which offers finance to kick-start and accelerate the regeneration of estates.

Almost all the homes will be built off site at Swan’s factory in Basildon, using pre-manufactured modular construction techniques.

Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said:

“This funding not only supports more than 760 much-needed new homes, but further strengthens a community that residents can be proud of through new commercial and civic spaces for the people of Basildon.

“It’s all part of how this Government is supporting the delivery 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, helping a new generation to realise the dream of home ownership.”

Sir Edward Lister, Chair of Homes England said:

“The Beechwood Village and Laindon Place regeneration projects are key priorities for Basildon and we’ve worked closely with Swan Housing Association to ensure the new homes local people need can become a reality.”

“Homes England strongly supports the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) as a means of delivering good quality homes at pace, so it’s great to see these methods being used to build better homes faster in Basildon.”

It’s anticipated that work at both sites will be completed by autumn 2024.

Geoff Pearce, Executive Director – Regeneration and Development of Swan Housing Association, said:

“Swan Housing Association and our long-term partner, Basildon Borough Council, are delighted to receive this funding boost from Homes England. It will enable us to build much needed high-quality homes, more quickly, at both Beechwood Village and Laindon Place.  These homes will be built both using our state-of-the-art modular factory in Basildon and by traditional methods of construction. This partnership helps Swan towards our ambitious target of building an additional 10,000 homes by 2027 and Basildon towards its strategic growth goals for the Borough.”

By Johnny Jenkins

Source: Gateway

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Aberdeen progresses plans for 2,000 new council homes with approval of housing budget

Proposals to create new council housing on sites at Summerhill, Kincorth, Torry, Dyce and Greenferns are among those to have moved forward as part of ambitious plans to significantly increase the supply of social housing in Aberdeen.

The plans were at the heart of the Housing Revenue Account budget agreed by elected members at a meeting of full council yesterday.

The budget is funded by the income from council house rents and associated fees and charges. Priorities for revenue and capital spending were set, with a £40 million programme of upgrades to existing council properties also approved.

As part of the 2019/20 budget a 4.3% rise in council rents was agreed.

This will support investment in upgrades to properties, with the programme for the year ahead including more than £5m to be spent on window replacements, £4.5m on renewing heating systems and £2.75 million on improving insulation. Millions more will be invested in areas including lift replacements, modernising bathrooms and kitchens, electrical improvements and enhanced safety measures.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “Our work in housing is one of the most important aspects of the service we provide to the people of Aberdeen and the 2019/20 HRA budget supports the continuation of the vital work that we are doing in creating new homes and improving the existing residential estate.

“Housing, both in terms of quality and quantity, is fundamental to our vision for Aberdeen and a place where everyone can prosper. With that in mind, we are moving forward with incredibly ambitious plans to create 2,000 new council homes in the city and I am delighted we have taken the decisions that will accelerate the pace of that programme.

“In the past year we have marked the completion of the £13m development at Smithfield, bringing 99 new homes, and nearby at Manor Walk a further £13m is being invested to create 80 new council homes. The 2019/20 budget we have brought forward creates the next wave of council house construction in Aberdeen, on a level not seen in more than half a century.”

The budget includes approving the award of the contract for the development of 369 homes at Summerhill. The same model will be used to create a total of 389 units on sites at Craighill, Kincorth and Tillydrone. Progress will also be made with plans for two areas of land at Greenferns, with 350 homes earmarked for one of those sites.

The council is also working with private developers and landowners to lay the foundations for partnership working to deliver additional council houses and the 2019/20 budget outlines four private developments, with the potential for 680 homes, that have emerged through that innovative process. The first of those, the First Endeavour LLP development at Dyce Wellheads, will progress to contract award.

Co-leader Councillor Douglas Lumsden said: “Innovation runs through the council’s approach, with a major change in the way we deliver services and projects. Housing is no different and the partnerships we are building with the private sector will enable us to accelerate the housebuilding programme.

“Housing has been a challenge in the Aberdeen area for a generation and Aberdeen City Council is taking positive strides towards long term solutions to the supply issues, with a focus on the quality of provision as well as quantity.”

The council recently adopted an updated buyback policy, with the purchase of former council homes to return to the rental stock part of the wide-ranging housing strategy.

Source: Scottish Construction News

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UK construction activity falls for first time in 11 months

UK construction activity declined in February for the first time in eleven months led by a drop in commercial building work.

Civil engineering work also fell but residential construction continued to grow for the 13th consecutive month, according to the IHS Markit / CIPS Construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI).

The survey of businesses also found that a soft patch of new orders had also led to subdued job creation last month.

IHS Markit said firms had cited Brexit uncertainty for the slowed decision-making and subdued client demand as PMI fell below the no-change threshold of 50 to 49.5.

Low transaction volumes and a general drop in confidence across the housing market had also halted residential building, the survey revealed.

“The UK construction sector moved into decline during February as Brexit anxiety intensified and clients opted to delay decision-making on building projects,” IHS Markit economics associate director Tim Moore said.

“There were also reports that the more fragile housing market confidence has begun to act as a brake on residential work, which adds to signs that house building has lost momentum since the end of last year.”

UK head of construction at KPMG Jonathan White said: “Construction firms have their heads down in contingency planning for every outcome, but what this means for the long-term health of the sector is uncertain.

“It seems as though many businesses are in defensive mode and do not have the confidence or clarity to make future plans.”

BLP Insurance director Phil Harris said the long-term viability of Help to Buy was also a concern for the construction sector.

He said the success of Persimmon and a subsequent government review into the scheme could accelerate the collapse of Help to Buy.

“The scheme has been propping up the residential sector and keeping prices artificially high in an otherwise stagnating market.

“Its collapse could leave thousands of first time buyers in negative equity, with the aftershock having the potential to severely impact on the wider industry – blowing the government’s optimistic housebuilding targets out of the water in the process.”

Source: City AM

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Nearly 1500 new homes to be built at Festival Gardens


The Government’s housing accelerator – which brings experts and funding to areas to tackle the housing crisis – will give a grant of £9.9 million to Liverpool City Council.

The cash injection– which comes from Government’s £450 million Local Authority Accelerated Construction (LAAC) programme – will allow essential remediation work to take place on the site, paving the way for residential development to begin.

The news comes as Homes England officially opened new offices in the same building as Liverpool City Region Combined Authority at Mann Island, Pier Head – a move designed to help the two organisations collaborate more effectively to get homes built.

Sir Edward Lister, Chairman of Homes England, said: “We are determined to use all the resources available to us to make homes happen across England – so I’m thrilled our funding means work can move forward rapidly at this historic site, providing homes for hundreds of families.

“And with Homes England and combined authority experts now working side by side, we expect to further accelerate the construction of new houses across the region.”

Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “Delivering the homes Liverpool needs is a crucial element of our plan to build a successful and vibrant Northern Powerhouse.

“I was born and brought up in Liverpool and went to the original garden festival as a child, so I know how much this investment will regenerate a key area of this great city, transforming Festival Gardens site with desperately needed family homes.”

The council has long held ambitious plans for the site but, to date, a lack of funding has meant crucial remediation works have been unable to take place. Now, activity is expected to begin on-site in the spring, with the first homes being available by 2022.

In addition to owner-occupied houses, the site will also include privately rented apartments.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “We welcome this essential financial injection from Homes England. Festival Gardens is a much-loved waterfront location and people have very fond memories of spending time there. We are fully aware of the potential the Festival Gardens has and its transformation will be a game-changer for this city’s economy in terms of new homes, construction jobs and growth.

“Thanks to this funding, the council can start essential remediation works on site and move forward with the vision of creating a significant number of new family homes in South Liverpool at an iconic destination.

“Alongside this, we are testing feasibility for a leisure element on site – Festival Gardens will not only deliver a much sought-after housing development, but also a first class visitor and cultural destination.”

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I welcome today’s announcements from Homes England which demonstrate a real and ongoing commitment to the Liverpool City Region.

“I am particularly pleased to welcome the co-location of Homes England staff with the Combined Authority, which is the first arrangement of its kind in the country.  Being physically based together in the same building will facilitate even closer joint working and present opportunities for further projects across the whole city region.”

Source: The Guide Liverpool