Go-ahead for Berkeley 3,750-home London gasworks scheme

Berkeley has gained outline planning to build 3,750 homes at the former Southall Gasworks site in West London

The London Borough of Ealing nodded through the 88-acre scheme, known as Southall Waterside, which weighs in as West London’s most ambitious regeneration scheme.

Berkeley said it plans to start significant enabling works early this year with the full mixed-use scheme delivered in several phases over 25 years.

The project will be delivered by Berkeley’s St James business, which has been advised by Mace on the site-wide construction management plan.

A sales launch for the first 600-home phase of development is scheduled for autumn 2016. Berkeley also plans up to 500,000 sq ft of commercial space, a two-form entry primary school and a health centre. 

The revised masterplan submitted after buying the site from National Grid Property will see over half the site dedicated to open space, which includes a substantial amount of landscaped public parkland, leisure and play spaces, and piazzas.

Sean Ellis, Executive Director, Berkeley Group said: “These gasworks closed almost 50 years ago, so approval of the Southall Waterside masterplan marks the start of an exciting new future for this 88 acre site.

“When 80% of new homes currently planned for the capital are in just three East London boroughs, this provides some welcome balance.”  

Berkeley Group is now preparing a detailed planning application for Phase A of the development, which is expected to be submitted shortly. 

Plans for the first phase include 618 new homes, of which 186 are designated affordable. It also features roads, parking, landscaping and access to public realm.

The homes will be positioned to the scheme’s north-east corner and benefit from a southern aspect that overlooks the landscaped open space and water features of the Central Park.


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Kier seals £52m Northampton Uni student halls

The University of Northampton has signed off a design and build contract for £52.5m with Kier to build student halls at the new Waterside Campus in the town centre.

Kier will build a mixture of student accommodation for up to 1,200 students, including five-storey flats and four-storey townhouses with landscaped courtyards.

The proposed designs aim to draw upon the industrial heritage of the site including the existing Grade Two listed Engine Shed to the south of the campus.

The student residences will be located immediately next to the new academic buildings and will incorporate a variety of additional facilities including a health centre, multi-faith chaplaincy, convenience store, bank and a small teaching hotel.

It is anticipated that the works will be completed by January 2018, in readiness for use at the start of the academic year commencing September 2018.


The project forms part of the new £330m campus being built at the former Avon/Nunn Mills site, where VolkerHighways is carrying out extensive civils works.

Bowmer & Kirkland is on board with a £90m contract to build five main teaching buildings – a Creative Hub, Learning Hub, Research and Enterprise Hub, Sports Hub and Logistics.

Mace is acting as project manager for the project, with CH2M Hill on board as consulting engineers and Couch Perry & Wilkes Partnership, the M&E consultants.

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London’s first timber skyscraper plan put to Mayor

London’s first timber skyscraper came a step closer to reality this week after researchers presented Mayor of London Boris Johnson with plans for an 80-storey building.

Researchers from Cambridge University have teamed up with engineers and architects to work up plans for a 300m high wooden building integrated within the Barbican.

At present, the world’s tallest timber building is a 14-storey apartment block in Bergen, Norway.

The proposal presented to the Mayor by Cambridge University working with PLP Architecture and engineers Smith and Wallwork pushes the boundaries to envisage a structure that could be the second tallest building in London after The Shard.

Simon Smith of Smith and Wallwork engineers said: “Timber is our only renewable construction material and in its modern engineered form it can work alongside steel and concrete to extend and regenerate our cities. It is only a matter of time until the first timber skyscraper is built”.

Dr Michael Ramage, Director of Cambridge’s Centre for Natural Material Innovation, said: “We’ve designed the architecture and engineering and demonstrated it will stand, but this is at a scale no one has attempted to build before.

“We are developing a new understanding of primary challenges in structure and construction. There is a lot of work ahead, but we are confident of meeting all the challenges before us.”

 The biggest concern for a timber frame building of such scale is fire, but the team said the proposed building would eventually meet or exceed every existing fire regulation currently in place for steel and concrete buildings.

The research team point to potential benefits, such as reduced costs and improved construction timescales and significant reduction in the overall weight of buildings.

The conceptual proposals currently being developed would create over 1,000 new residential units in a 1 million sq ft mixed-use tower and mid-rise terraces in central London, integrated within the Barbican.

Dr Ramage said: “The Barbican was designed in the middle of the last century to bring residential living into the city of London – and it was successful.

“We’ve put our proposals on the Barbican as a way to imagine what the future of construction could look like in the 21st century.”

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Go ahead for twin Wembley resi towers

Plans for twin residential towers in Wembley, north London have been given the green light.

Brent Council has approved plans by HUB and Bridges Ventures to transform a disused office block into twin residential towers containing 239 homes.

The 21 and 26 storey towers have been designed by Maccreanor Lavington Architects and will be the tallest in Wembley.

HUB has a pipeline of more than 1,200 homes across London including the futuristic Hoola London scheme in Royal Docks.

The Chesterfield House scheme in Wembley will include a range of one, two and three-bed apartments spread across the two towers.

A lower-level plinth creates a C-shape allowing a new public space to be provided off Park Lane, right in the heart of Wembley.

Steve Sanham, Development Director at HUB Residential, said: “We’re delighted the council has supported our bid to regenerate the centre of Wembley.

“Councillors have recognised the value of well-considered design, while ensuring the local community benefits from a range of amenities.

“Above all, the capital needs more mid-market homes accessible to Londoners. HUB’s mission has always been to cater for this silent majority and we’re delighted that Wembley will join our stable of projects across the city.

“Our aim is help drive new investment into Wembley while also providing vital new housing that’s within reach of people living in the local area.

“With a community centre, new public realm and a blend of rented and for sale housing, we see a genuine community emerging at Chesterfield House.”

A spokesperson for London Borough of Brent said: “The buildings, although tall, are appropriate in this area given that it is one of our key growth areas.”

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Barratt to build 1000 homes at West London Nestle site

Industrial estate developer SEGRO has selected Barratt London to deliver over 1,000 homes on the former Nestle plant in Hayes, West London.

The site will also be developed with around 230,000 sq. ft. of modern industrial and urban logistics warehouses

Both partners will work with Hillingdon Council now to obtain planning consent for the major scheme at the former coffee and chocolate factory site.

SEGRO bought the 30-acre site in January in 2015 as part of its strategy to provide high quality urban warehousing to meet the growing demand from occupiers.

Alastair Baird, Barratt London’s Regional Managing Director said: “This year we are set to complete around 2,000 new homes across London and this agreement with SEGRO will boost our pipeline of future projects.

“It demonstrates that our technical capability in delivering complex schemes continues to provide us with a competitive advantage in London.

“Working with SEGRO, we will draw on our experience to design and build a great place to live and work on this important regeneration site in Hayes.”

The site is in a prime location for business and residents located next to the Hayes and Harlington railway station which will become a Crossrail station in 2019. 

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Race starts for £29m Leeds University gateway project

Leeds University has started the hunt for a builder to deliver a £29m gateway building known as the Innovation and Enterprise Centre.

Firms are being given until the start of May to submit prequalification documents for the two-stage design and build tender race.

The planned 100,000 sq ft centre will be built off Woodhouse Lane on a plot in the south east corner of the main campus.

Leeds University is looking for firms with a proven track record of delivering office and/or education projects in the last three years worth more than £15m.

The centre will drive innovation in technology-led companies and stimulate new high-tech firm start-ups by providing ready access to the University’s research and innovation.

The winning contractor is set to be revealed in October. Firms interested in bidding can obtain information at the University procurement site.

It is the smaller of two projects due to go out to tender. The University is also preparing to start tendering for a new £87m science and computing building at its city campus.

The North Eastern Quarter building will house the Bragg Centre for advanced materials and imaging and create new homes for the schools of computing and physics and astronomy.

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£14m office to resi conversion deal for Dudley

An office block in Dudley is set to be transformed into 141 flats in a planned £14m conversion project.

Black Country Properties Ltd has bought Falcon House and now hopes to convert the 88,000 sq ft, eight floor building into 65 one bedroom and 76 two bedroom apartments.

Falcon House had been earmarked for demolition to make way for a supermarket complex but the plans were scrapped.

Arran Bailey, 29-year-old managing director of ALB Black Country, said: “The local area has been in need of new housing developments, and we are excited to play a big part in the area’s regeneration.

“The project will be a great opportunity to bring more footfall to the town by attracting young professionals.

“This will help to boost the local economy and will improve the area’s image by updating outdated buildings.”

Leeds based Headoffice3 has designed the development and will be managing the works to complete in 2017 with a start on site scheduled this year.

Glen Harding, CEO of headoffice3, said: “We believe this project will genuinely improve the local demographics and breathe new life into a tired block in urgent need of renovation.

“The external façade alterations will create a new, vibrant and exciting feel to the building”.

Income through property specialist Prosperity has acquired the site as part of its £100m buy-to-let investment portfolio.

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