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Work begins on 2.8MW solar farm

March 31st, 2014 Comments off

Nearly 10,000 solar panels are being installed on farmland in Monk Sherborne,

The solar farm is being built by Lightsource Renewable Energy at Hill End Farm, in Aldermaston Road, after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council approved the company’s plans in December.

The 6.37-hectare site is now being transformed into a 2.8megawatt solar farm, which will generate enough power for 806 homes.

The site will generate enough renewable energy to save around 1,375,220kg of CO2 emissions per year – the equivalent of removing 305 cars from the road each year.

Lightsource, which has installed solar panels on the roofs of over 100 schools in the UK, has been granted permission for a temporary solar farm.

At the end of its operational life, of between 30 and 35 years, all equipment associated with the farm will be removed, including associated infrastructure such as a storage shed, transformer units and substations.

A total of 9,450 photovoltaic panels are being installed at the site.

They are 1.650m high and attached to mounted frames at an angle of 20 degrees, with a maximum height of 2.5m above ground level.

A two-metre-high security fence and CCTV cameras will also be installed to prevent theft and vandalism, and stop unauthorised access.

The electricity generated from the site will be entered into the local grid network and will be used at the closest points of demand, meaning that more of the electricity used by Monk Sherborne will be from a clean renewable source.

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£500m Builders Finance Fund for small housing projects

March 28th, 2014 Comments off

The Chancellor set out plans to give smaller house builders access to a £500m fund to stimulate small local projects.

housingThe finance pot formed part of a set of measures that George Osborne claimed would support building of 200,000 new homes.

Until now Government guarantee schemes were limited to support for major infrastructure projects being developed by major house builders.

In 1988 two-thirds of all new homes were built by small and medium sized builders, but that figure now stands at less than a third.

The Builders Finance Fund hopes to galvanise local housing projects with  loans to smaller housing developers.

It estimated that the fund will unlock 15,000 housing units stalled due to difficulty in accessing finance.

He said that the Government would also back three vast housing schemes: a garden city at Ebbsfleet, and schemes at Barking and Brent Cross to help get Britain building again.

He reiterated plans to extend Help to Buy to 2020, supporting construction of an estimated 120,000 new homes.

Osborne said the second element of Help to Buy, the mortgage guarantee for buyers, will now run until 2016.

“Taken all together, the housing policies I announce today will support over 200,000 new homes for families. We’re getting Britain building.” said Osborne.

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Green light for Birmingham 625-bed student halls

March 26th, 2014 Comments off

Alumno Developments has been granted planning permission for a major student accommodation project at the Eastside Locks in Birmingham.

Construction of three buildings, ranging in height from 9 storeys to 13 storeys to provide 625 student bedrooms can no start later this year.

The City Locks scheme designed by Glenn Howells Architects is expected to cost around £40m to build and will be located near to the site of the proposed HS2 terminus.

Alumno Birmingham

David Campbell, managing director at Alumno, said: “ Eastside Locks is one of the largest regeneration projects in the country and the student accommodation developments will kick start the further developments set to emerge on the site.”

Contractors Balfour Beatty, GB Building and Shepherd have each worked with Alumno on previous student projects.

Last week the developer also gained planning for another student scheme in Stratford in London, worth £45m.

Alumno stratford

Its 26-storey Three Mills West redevelopment will involve clearing a derelict petrol station site in Stratford High Street to make way for 431 student rooms in a single tower block.

Due to the scale of the project final planning approval is needed from the London Mayor’s office.

 

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Costain plans to build its own solar farm

March 24th, 2014 Comments off

Costain is seeking planning permission to develop a major solar farm on disused land north of Heathrow.

solar_farm1The proposed scheme on land owned by Costain since the early 1960s could generate 5.5MW of energy, enough to power around 1,650 homes.

The 37-acre site, near Sipson Road and Holloway Lane in the London Borough of Hillingdon, was originally used for gravel extraction.

Later it was used by the local council for landfill and sealed and reinstated in 1972 before being returned to Costain.

Due to its poor state, the land has since been unused and undeveloped.

Costain said a solar farm could be a viable proposition, in the light of new planning guidance encouraging energy from renewable sources.

Ian Shervell of Costain’s Investments Team, said: “A number of projects have been looked at over the years but none of them were viable.

“We believe the solar farm ticks all the boxes. The intention is to seek planning permission to develop a solar farm which will not only generate green renewable energy but also enhance the site’s poor biodiversity and ecology.”

If approved, the project is expected to take three months to build and have a life of 30 years, after which the solar farm will be removed.

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Major 31,000 new house and office plans for Durham

March 20th, 2014 Comments off

Durham County Council says it will recommend for approval a plan that promises 31,400 new homes; 9500 sq m of new retail floorspace and land for warehousing and offices.

Planning

Planning

The County Durham-wide plans, which include proposals for each of the county’s 12 main towns and for rural areas, are expected to be agreed next month and set the agenda leading up to 2030.

If approved, the strategy would be referred to the Government for approval and could be adopted by 2015.

Cllr Neil Foster, Cabinet member for economic development, said: “We welcome the positive feedback and appreciate the time everyone has taken to give us their comments. This is a hugely important document and we look forward to it getting the formal go-ahead and are ready to make sure it is implemented over the next few years.

“The aim is to set the framework for a vibrant and prosperous County Durham where people want to live, work, invest and visit. We believe that the proposals we are putting forward represent the best and most effective way of delivering growth for our communities.“

Key housing development is proposed in Durham City, Peterlee and Newton Aycliffe as well as major employment sites at Aykley Heads and Newton Aycliffe, including the Hitachi site.

Consultations so far on the plans have yielded nearly 4,000 comments from more than 1,200 people and 116 organisations.

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Green light for first Canary Wharf resi tower

March 18th, 2014 Comments off

Canary Wharf Group has received planning to build its first major residential tower on the east London Docklands site.

The 58-storey Diamond Tower takes its name from the repeat pattern of the shell supporting steelwork, which will  soar 218m into the sky.

newfoundland_canary wharfThe London Borough of Tower Hamlets has granted planning permission for the tower and it will be referred to the Mayor of London who is expected to rubber stamp final approval.

The development marks a new stage in the evolution of Canary Wharf, which first opened in the early 1990s.

It is the first of several major residential tower block schemes  to get the green light planned around Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs.

The tower will include 566 apartments, as well as shops and a health club. Canary Wharf Group plans to begin construction this summer, with completion in 2018.

CWG’s Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Sir George Iacobescu said: ”This means the group will, for the first time, be able to offer residential space within the foot print of the Canary Wharf Estate and adjacent to our 800,000 sq ft of retail and transport modes.

“I firmly believe that Canary Wharf is an attractive place to both work and live thanks to the incredible retail and restaurant offering, and the robust transport links.”

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Lift-off for £46m Brighton i360 viewing tower

March 17th, 2014 Comments off

Building of a planned 170m viewing tower in Brighton will start in the summer after councillors agreed to take out a government loan for the scheme – and pass it onto developers.

110_view_of_i360-390x259The ambitious plan to draw in tourists with a new south coast attraction looked set to crash when a private backer withdrew a £15m funding offer last year.

But now the council has agreed to provide extra top up lending of £21.4m on top of the £14.8m previously agreed to get the scheme off the ground.

The elevating viewing platform project is to be built near the ruined West Pier and is expected to earn the council three times more than it needs to cover its loan repayments.

The extra £21m in interest payments and fees could be ploughed into crucial infrastructure such as repairing seafront arches, structures, sea defences and retaining walls, currently facing repair bills up to £70m.

It is hoped work could start in early summer to allow the tower to open for the 2016 summer tourist season.

Jacobs are the structural engineer for the project with Gardiner & Theobald aboard as cost consultants. A contractor has not yet been named for the job.

The observation tower will be able to take up to 100 passengers at a time to the top in a glass and steel pod, where there will be panoramic views stretching up to 25 miles.

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Worker killed in Crossrail tunnel by falling concrete

March 14th, 2014 Comments off

A construction worker was killed in a Crossrail tunnel last Friday morning by a piece of falling concrete.

The 43-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering head injuries ten metres below ground in the tunnel at Fisher Street, Holborn.

He was spraying concrete onto the floor of the tunnel when a piece fell from the ceiling.

Main contractor on the western tunnels section is BAM, Ferrovial, Kier (BFK).

Six fire rescue units, three fire engines and over 50 firefighters and officers were called to the scene.

A Crossrail statement said: “Sadly, at approximately 5am this morning a contractor working at our site in Fisher Street, London was fatally injured.

“Our first and foremost thoughts are with the family and friends affected by this. The family has been informed.

“Crossrail has suspended all work at Fisher Street and associated works across the project.

“A full and thorough investigation into this tragic incident is being undertaken. The Metropolitan Police and the Health and Safety Executive remain on site.

“Safety is our number one priority and Crossrail sets the most stringent safety requirements in the industry.

“Despite this terrible incident, Crossrail’s accident rate is below the industry average.”

It is the first fatality on the £15bn project.

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Building surveyor wins beauty contest

March 12th, 2014 Comments off

Building surveyor Sophie Lydia Smith has been crowned Miss Cheltenham and will now compete in this summer’s Miss England pageant.

Lydia Smith works for Stroud District Council after completing a two-year course in construction and civil engineering.

Ms CheltenhamShe told the Gloucestershire Echo: “I work in building conservation and construction so I don’t always look glamorous at work.

“This was my chance to look glamorous.”

Her mother Sonia added: “I think she can inspire many other young women and that you don’t have to be a man to work in her industry.”

 

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CRANE LIFT SPECTACLE COMPLETES ICONIC BRIDGE JOB FOR BRITCON

March 11th, 2014 Comments off

A spectacular crane lifting exercise to put in place an iconic 65 metre long bridge in Boston town centre marked the successful completion of an £850,000 contract for Lincolnshire County Council. =

St Boltoph's BridgeBuilding, civil engineering and structural steelwork contractor Britcon completed the precision exercise over the River Witham in front of a crowd of spectators last week and officially opened the bowstring arch footbridge, complete with decorative lighting to provide an impressive new gateway to the town.

Britcon was appointed to design and build the new, contemporary bridge in 2013 by Lincolnshire County Council after funding was allocated to replace the existing 1970’s structure.

Andy Newell, Project Manager at Britcon, said, “We hosted a number of workshops to finalise the design details and resolve the many issues of building a bridge on such a confined site.  The new structure is wider than the existing bridge and has an elliptical deck allowing people to admire the nearby Boston Stump without obstructing the crossing. Key features include a non-slip surface and improved access for pedestrians, wheelchair users, dismounted cyclists, pushchairs and mobility scooters. The bridge also colour matches the yellow lighting of the octagonal lantern in the church tower, which is believed to have been used as a marker to guide travellers on land and sea. There is also a tri floral motif installed into the parapet which will replicate the nearby Town Bridge.”

Pre-construction by Britcon included major trenching works to reveal utility locations and a major dilapidation survey was undertaken for the surrounding area and buildings.  It was necessary to construct a mini anchor piling system to avoid vibration adjacent to nearby properties.  Laboratory testing was also undertaken to provide ground information to aid the foundation design.

The bridge components, comprising the central span and two end ramps were fabricated and painted off site and early foundation and ducting works were undertaken while keeping the old bridge operational to minimising disruption. Britcon removed the old bridge using a 500 tonne crane and new steel parts for the central span were assembled in a car park adjacent to the river in preparation for lifting into its permanent position. The lighting installation was also undertaken during this phase with LED lights running through the handrails of the bespoke parapets and up-lighters attached to the main structure.

A 1000 tonne crane was required to lift the bridge in place and the two ramp sections which were transported with Police escort.

The final phase works are now underway to upgrade public realm areas on both sides of the bridge. High quality block paving will be laid to replace the existing and new bollards, ornate street lighting and seating areas will be provided to enhance the area.

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