February 19, 2018

Flood management schemes backed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority


Two flood alleviation schemes backed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee, at their meeting Wednesday 3 January, will help reduce the risk of flooding for hundreds of homes and businesses across Leeds City Region, protect land for new development and provide a refuge for endangered animals.

The Natural Flood Management Programme and Wyke Beck Valley Project will be developed with partners to safeguard key areas of land by the River Aire, River Calder and River Colne as well as housing and brownfield sites across east Leeds.

The future of a number of vulnerable habitats will also be secured, helping to protect the native white clawed crayfish breeding population, six species of bat and a number of birds on the red and amber list of Birds of Conservation Concern, which have all been spotted in the supported areas.

West Yorkshire Combined Authority committed to invest a total of £20m into flood alleviation projects across the City Region following the Boxing Day floods of 2015. This is in addition to its £5m Business Flood Recovery Fund, which launched just weeks after floods hit to support SMEs affected by flooding to get back on their feet.

£4.5m Leeds City Region Natural Flood Management Programme  

Leeds City Region Natural Flood Management Programme will introduce a range of practical measures to mimic natural flood protection. They will look to slow the flow of water in the Upper Aire Catchment, Wessenden Valley, in Kirklees, Gorpley Reservoir and Hardcastle Crags, in Calderdale.

As well as providing long-term benefits for urban centres downstream – including reducing the risk of flooding to more than 1,000 homes and 200 business units – the programme will also increase biodiversity and boost local recreation and tourism schemes.

The programme is being developed by the White Rose Forest Partnership in close co-ordinationwith local authorities, the Environment Agency and the Aire and Calder Catchment Partnership. Yorkshire Water, National Trust, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, The Source partnership and the Woodland Trust are all playing leading roles in design and delivery planning.

The Combined Authority’s investment will eventually top £1.7m with other funders including Moorlife 2020.

£4.17m Wyke Beck Valley Project 

Also backed by the Investment Committee, this scheme will focus works on related sites in the Wyke Beck Valley in east Leeds, namely Killingbeck Meadows, Arthur’s Rein and Halton Moor. New embankments and flood storage areas will be created to help reduce the risk of flooding to 60 homes in the Dunhill Estate and make possible the development of 200 homes by 2025 on brownfield sites in east Leeds.

The project is being led by Leeds City Council in partnership with the Environment Agency. Combined Authority investment will eventually reach £2.6m.

Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee, said: “As we’ve seen in our region in recent years, flooding can have a devastating impact on our economy and people’s lives. By progressing the flood alleviation schemes, West Yorkshire Combined Authority can help reduce the risk of flooding to existing homes and businesses while also supporting the development of land for new homes and businesses and improving habitats that wildlife and local people can all enjoy.”

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, commented: “The 2015 Boxing Day floods showed just how critical it is that businesses have protection from flooding if jobs are to be created and safeguarded and our economy is to flourish. Through partnership working among the LEP, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and local councils, we have been able to help flood-affected firms get back on their feet, and this funding backed by the Combined Authority will do even more to protect homes and businesses currently under threat while also opening new areas of land for development and regeneration.”

Adrian Gill, Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “We have worked in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and a broad range of partners to develop the £20m of investment to reduce flood risk. The backing for these two initiatives really shows what can be achieved by working together, providing not only increased resilience to flood risk, but also a better quality of life through improved public spaces and catchment management.”

Galliford Try Partnerships awarded first multi-million-pound phase of construction works of regeneration scheme at Old Oak Common


Genesis Housing Association and championship football club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) have appointed regeneration specialist Galliford Try Partnerships to deliver the first phase of construction works at Oaklands – the first development being brought forward at the Old Oak Common regeneration site in north-west London.

The £155m contract will be undertaken over a 164-week construction programme, and will be the catalyst project of the UK’s largest regeneration scheme since work began to transform East London following the 2012 London Olympics.

Works comprise the demolition of derelict buildings to make way for a new west London neighbourhood consisting of 605 new homes, including a high proportion (40%) of social and affordable homes and the provision of 3,500 m2 of commercial space.

Genesis and QPR’s new residential-led development will make a major contribution to delivering the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation’s (OPDC) overarching vision for this area of London, generating an exceptional new neighbourhood for people to live and work.

Jeremy Stibbe, Executive Director, Assets and Investment at Genesis Housing Association, said: “We’re pleased to be bringing Galliford Try Partnerships on board to get works underway for getting this exciting new neighbourhood off the ground.  Our Oaklands development will deliver hundreds of new mixed-tenure homes as well as local services and employment opportunities, and is kick-starting the overall long-term transformation of the Old Oak Common area.”

Mark Donnelly, Chief Operating Officer at QPR said: “This is a significant moment for west London with the delivery of new homes, including significant numbers of affordable homes and jobs which will be a real boost to the area.  We are delighted to be working with Galliford Try Partnerships to deliver the Oaklands development and look forward to accelerating the delivery of more houses on other sites which will all help to deliver our long-term aim of a new stadium.”

Galliford Try Partnerships Chief Executive, Stephen Teagle, commented:  “We are delighted to be appointed as the contractor for this prestigious regeneration scheme at Old Oak Common, and to be working with our partners to deliver a vibrant new community and high-quality affordable homes which are so desperately needed across the capital.

“This contract adds to our growing order book across all regions and underlines our accelerated delivery programme for the provision of affordable homes across London, – bringing the total value of contracts awarded to our south- east business unit during the last quarter to over *£430m.”

Rochdale remains bullish over Riverside development future


A special meeting of Rochdale Council’s cabinet was held last night to discuss the future of the Riverside development, following anchor tenant M&S’s announcement that it intended to pull out of the scheme at the end of last year.

Last night Rochdale councillors vowed to press ahead with the £80m project with partner Genr8, and reiterated that the council intended to hold M&S to its commitment.

Council leader, Cllr Allen Brett, said: “As far as we’re concerned, M&S have signed a legally binding contract to take space in the Rochdale Riverside development and we fully expect them to honour that commitment.

“We’re not going to let this issue derail what will be a fantastic development for the people of our borough, bringing 24 shops and restaurants, as well as a six-screen cinema, to the heart of Rochdale town centre. We will continue to work with our partner, Genr8, to deliver this game changing development for our residents and visitors.”

M&S signed up as one of the anchor tenants in the scheme in 2015, and was due to move out of its Yorkshire Street branch in the town and relocate to a new 50,000 sq ft store.

However, in November the retailer said it would not be taking up the space, and would continue to operate its Yorkshire Street store, stating: “We’re adapting to changing customer habits and this means taking some tough decisions – we’re investing in new stores, relocating stores and, in some cases, closing stores. In this case, we don’t believe relocating the store is the right move.”

Next and Reel Cinemas are also signed up as tenants for Rochdale Riverside, which will include 24 retail and leisure units, 350 parking spaces, and a six-screen cinema over 200,000 sq ft.

Cllr John Blundell, cabinet member for regeneration at Rochdale Council, said: “We’re gearing up to make a number of high profile announcements about the scheme in the next few weeks and more extensive ground investigations, needed to assess conditions before construction starts, will be getting under way next week. This is about a new and exciting future for Rochdale and we fully intend to deliver it.”


Plans submitted for Merseyside Police Headquarters


Ryder Architecture and contractor Willmott Dixon have submitted a planning application for Liverpool’s 137,000 sq ft Merseyside Police Headquarters on Scotland Road.

The development will provide space for up to 1,175 staff across a main four-storey building and a single-storey annex, alongside meeting rooms, a lecture theatre and break-out spaces.

A multi-storey car park was originally cited to be built at the site alongside the police headquarters, but this has been scrapped in favour of surface car parking.

Willmott Dixon was selected as main contractor for the building on a design-and-build basis in September 2016 through Scape’s major works framework, and subject to planning approval, could start on the project in the first half of 2018 ahead of a 2020 opening.

The eight-acre site, which borders Scotland Road, St Anne Street, and the approach road to the Kingsway Tunnel, was picked from a shortlist of five, which also included Pall Mall, Liverpool Waters, Wirral River Streets, and Knowsley Community College.

The site was largely owned by the Council, which approved a compulsory purchase order in March last year to buy up parcels of the site to allow the development to go ahead.

The project will see Merseyside Police relocate from its current Canning Place HQ, built in the 1970s, and the Police said the move would cost £780,000 cheaper than refurbishing the existing building, and would save the force £380,000 a year in running costs.

The Canning Place site will be sold once the police relocates to its new headquarters.

Pre-application meetings were held with Liverpool City Council in October and November last year.


Etihad Campus expansion set for council sign off from Manchester City Council


Manchester City Council is due to give its final approval to the Eastlands Regeneration Framework tomorrow, paving the way for a sports and innovation zone, alongside fresh commercial and residential development near the Etihad Stadium.

The council’s economy scrutiny committee is recommended to sign off the proposals when it meets tomorrow, after the plans were approved by Manchester’s Executive on 13 December.

The proposals include an expansion of the Etihad Campus site westwards, which will now border Ashton New Road and the Medlock River. This expansion will accommodate Manchester Metropolitan University’s plans for an Institute of Sport adjacent to the Etihad Stadium.

The planned campus includes academic facilities, student accommodation, and workspace for start-ups. Discussions with local business over land assembly are already under way, with the council also potentially looking at compulsory purchase orders to acquire the land necessary for the expansion of Etihad Campus. Any CPOs will be brought before the Executive for approval once agreed.

Around the Etihad Stadium, there are also plans for a “high-density commercial frontage” along Alan Turing Way and a mixed-use development including hotels, retail, food and beverage outlets.

At Holt Town, earmarked for residential use and employment space, existing heritage buildings will be retained “wherever possible” to redevelop the area into a “high-density” residential area, alongside a cultural and entertainment cluster.

More homes are also planned for Beswick, and along Croft Street and Eccleshall Street at the north of the site, as part of the regeneration framework, which has been prepared by consultant Deloitte.

Proposals for the sport and innovation campus will be developed by the Eastlands Strategic Development Company. Former council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein rejoined the company’s board in November, and is now advising on development, community, and commercial initiatives at the site and its surrounding areas.