Chancellor pledges £100bn by 2020 for infrastructure

Chancellor George Osborne will today launch the National Infrastructure Commission and promise to stick to his pledge to spend £100bn in this Parliament for new roads, rail, flood defences and other vital projects.

He will set out plans to ‘get Britain building’, saying that infrastructure will be at the heart of next month’s Spending Review.

In the review, the Chancellor will set out plans to raise billions of pounds from a suite of asset sales that will be ploughed back into infrastructure projects.

Later today in York, Osborne will also confirm the seven commissioners who will help former Cabinet minister Lord Adonis run the independent National Infrastructure Commission.

The line-up includes Lord Heseltine and experienced industry bigwig, Sir John Armitt, who backed the formation of the commission in a Labour policy document before the last election.

NIC commissioners

  • Lord Heseltine – the former deputy prime minister who has long championed the regeneration of Britain’s inner cities through infrastructure investment
  • Sir John Armitt – the former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and next year’s President of the Institute of Civil Engineers
  • Professor Tim Besley – a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and the LSE’s Growth Commission, which recommended an independent infrastructure body
  • Demis Hassabis – artificial intelligence researcher, neuroscientist and head of DeepMind Technologies
  • Sadie Morgan – a founding director of dRMM Architects and Design Panel Chair of HS2
  • Bridget Rosewell – a senior adviser at Volterra and former Chief Economist and Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater London Authority
  • Sir Paul Ruddock – chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the University of Oxford Endowment

The Chancellor said: “I am determined to shake Britain out of its inertia on infrastructure and end the situation where we trail our rivals when it comes to building everything from the housing to the power stations that our children will need.

“At the Spending Review, I will commit to investing £100bn in infrastructure over the next five years and we are creating an independent commission to give us a long-term, unbiased analysis of the country’s major infrastructure needs.

“We need to think long-term and deliver a cross-party consensus on what we need to build.”

The commission will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament, offering recommendations for priority infrastructure projects and  hold governments to account for their delivery.

Its initial focus will be in three key areas.  These include  identifying priorities for future investment in the North’s strategic transport infrastructure to improve connectivity between cities, especially east-west across the Pennines.

London’s transport system, particularly reviewing strategic options and identifying priorities for future investment in large scale transport improvements – on road, rail and underground – including Crossrail 2.

Energy, particularly exploring how the UK can better balance supply and demand, aiming for an energy market where prices are reflective of costs to the overall system

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Chinese builder backs £500m Croydon skyscraper

Developers Guildhouse UK and Rosepride Properties have signed up a Chinese contractor to deliver plans for a 200m-plus residential tower close to the Whitgift shopping centre in Croydon.

It marks the latest in a series of major deals to be unveiled during the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit this week.

The China Building Technique Group Company brings a strong reputation in high-rise buildings, which is one of the key reasons it was selected to work on the design and engineering consultation for One Lansdowne Road tower.

Earlier plans for a 55-storey tower and accompanying 15-storey block, which were to have contained offices, a hotel and flats, have been redrafted.

The latest plan, which is understood to have involved consultations with CBTGC, will comprise of a dual tower block rising to 57 floors and 35 floors, now containing 900 homes.

One lansdowne croydon

If this more ambitious project gains planning, it would be one of the tallest residential buildings in the country at over 200m.

Founded in 1987, China Building Technique Group Company is a subsidiary of the China Academy of Building Research, the largest R&D organisation in China’s building industry.

Wang Wei, leader of CBTGC’s UK team, said: “Through the cooperation with local government and developers in the new Croydon project, CBTGC can bring its technical expertise in building industry to the UK.

David Hudson, chief executive of developer Guildhouse UK, said: “In the UK, the high-rise is a fairly new phenomenon, and many people are sceptical about whether Croydon can finish such as magnificent project.”

“But with a partner like CBTGC, we know it is deliverable. CBTGC has already contributed a lot to the building, making it more efficient.”

Mark Waterstone of Rosepride, said: “As a local developer who has worked in Croydon for many years, it gives me great pride to bring forward a scheme of such ambition and promise. I am delighted we have teamed up with CGTGC and I am extremely confident that we will deliver one of the most iconic landmarks to London.”

Earlier this week another Chinese contractor Citic Construction signed a deal with developer ABP to turn the Royal Albert Dock into London’s next business district, aimed at Chinese companies looking to open UK headquarters. The 4.7m sq ft scheme is expected to cost around £1.7bn to deliver.

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Take a glimpse at construction in 2045

Equipment hire specialist Hewden has taken a peak into the future of construction to predict how the industry will look in 2045.

The report envisages a world of 30km tall buildings with spaceports, driverless vehicles and mini-cities in the sky while site workers will have super-strength exoskeletons creating half-man, half-machine operatives that can utilise a range of attachments.

Hewden’s 2045: Constructing the Future report has been developed by renowned futurologist Ian Pearson and was launched today to coincide with the date Marty McFly and Dr Emmett Brown time-travelled to in the ‘80s blockbuster movie, Back to the Future II.

The report takes a look at what the UK might look like in another 30 years, covering areas such as building design, transport, technology and health and safety.

Pearson said: “While we’re not all flying around in cars, there are a number of things, such as the use of drones, video conferencing and some of the physical structures that were portrayed very accurately in the movie.

“The acceleration of new technology has and will continue to be the biggest driver for change. As will look forward another 30 years we can expect to see a very different but exciting world.”

Some of the key findings of the report include:


The London Skyline in 2045 will have super-tall structures and a spaceport


In 2045 driverless vehicles will be the norm.  Unlike the more futuristic curved look, vehicles will likely be box shaped to maximise on-street capacity.

Builders will have super-strength exoskeletons creating half-man, half-machine workers that can utilise a range of attachments.

Pearson added: “Augmented reality will play a major role in the aesthetics of a building.

“It’s likely that many buildings will actually be very plain, instead using AR to create visually appealing environments for those that visit.”

Heavily populated cities such as London are likely to change the most, according to the report, with space travel and development of new cities within cities some of the major changes.

Pearson said: “The use of super-strong carbon-based materials will enable us to build incredibly tall structures, some even up to 30km high.

“This will make space travel more convenient and for major transport hubs like London, going into space will be a regular occurrence in 2045.

“A few of these structures may be so large that their capacity enables them to function as small cities in their own right, with all the usual city functions mixed within the same building,.”

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Sellar unveils £1bn West London ‘Skinny Shard’

Irvine Sellar’s property company has unveiled plans to transform Paddington in West London with a £1bn mixed-used scheme.

The focal point of the plan will be a slender 65-storey tower of flats and offices, already dubbed the ‘skinny Shard’ after the property tycoon’s landmark skyscraper at London Bridge.

The 224m cylindrical tower would be the fourth tallest building in the capital, equalling in height the Cheesegrater.

Sellar said: “We believe this exciting proposal will tap into the potential of Paddington and will prove to be a major catalyst for the continuing enhancement of the area, especially Praed Street – in much the same way that The Shard did for London Bridge.

“This site shares much of the same DNA with its proximity to a major transport hub with tube, railway lines and bus routes, a neighbouring leading teaching hospital and the potential to provide much needed quality public realm.”

Skinny Shard

A planning application will be submitted to Westminster Council next month and if all goes to plan construction could start late next year at the site of the former Royal Mail office next to the railway station.

As well as 150,000 sq ft of offices and 200 luxury flats the scheme known as 31 London Street, will boast restaurants on the 60th-62nd floors with a public roof garden.

Architect Renzo Piano designed the building, which is being backed by Singapore’s Hotel Properties.

Chris Lim, group executive director of Hotel Properties, said: “By partnering with Sellar Property Group on this truly transformational project, we are committed to playing our part in revitalising the area.

Skinny Shard
Proposed retail and transport hub beneath public realm

Skinny Shard
New public realm and ‘gateway’ to Paddington Station

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Luxury London Home Prices Seen Rising 21.5% in Next Five Years

  • Savills says values to fall 2 percent this year on tax charges
  • Home prices in other prime areas to increase 2% this year

Luxury-home values in London’s central neighborhoods will climb 21.5 percent over five years as global economic growth and the increasing fortunes of wealthy buyers boosts demand.

There will be a dip in values of 2 percent this year in the capital’s best locations, where average prices start at about 5 million pounds ($7.75 million), because of higher taxes, according to a report by London broker Savills Plc. In other prime areas, which are less affected by new stamp duty charges, prices are expected to rise by 2 percent this year and by 18.2 percent through 2020.

Sales of luxury homes have slowed since Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne increased the sales tax in December. The levy escalates to 12 percent on every pound a buyer spends above 1.5 million pounds, with the purchaser of a 5 million-pound home paying 513,750 pounds in duty, almost 164,000 pounds more than before.

“The stamp duty reform of December 2014 was a defining moment for the top end of the prime London market, particularly as it was looking fairly fully priced having grown significantly to outperform the rest of the market over a 10-year period,” Lucian Cook, head of U.K. residential research for Savills, said in the report.

The tax changes took the market by surprise and leave little room for price increases while the market adjusts to the new regulatory environment, according to Cook.

Source: Bloomberg

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Ready to rise

London, 9th October 2015.

Despite uncertainty in the global stock market, little to no impact has been felt to-date in the property market which remains steady. This is very specific to the City local market having caused sellers expectations to remain high in the second hand market and applicant numbers are climbing. Buyers however, looking for second hand stock remain cautious, and offers are low. We expect this to continue with many buyers and sellers now holding off for the New Year.

The Bank of England’s base rate remains at 0.5%, albeit likely to rise in the next 12 months. Additionally, mortgage lenders’ rates remain competitive and we expect them to adjust their rates to be even more attractive as the end of year targets loom.

Borrowing has already increased considerably year on year, however, transaction levels within the re-sale market in Canary Wharf and the City have levelled off suggesting that many of these new mortgages are in the form of re-mortgages. looking to lock in before any rate rise.

Newly launched developments have seen record sales levels over the past month, as purchasers look to secure property within the new schemes along Marsh Wall.

Marsh Wall has seen the release of two Landmark towers marketed by JLL. South Quay Plaza by Berkeley Homes is a 68 Storey tower set on the water’s edge of Canary Wharf’s South Dock and The Madison which is a 53 Storey Tower with a striking Moiré façade.

Marsh Wall falls just outside of Canary Wharf’s financial district. With the expansion of the estate and demand for quality apartments set to soar in the coming years, location and quality are fast becoming the most important commodities within E14 residential sector.

Properties within walking distance to Canary Wharf have always attracted a premium with professionals so the new towers set on Marsh Wall have become the epicentre for the discerning investor and home owner alike. The ability to walk to the Jubilee or DLR offers a practical solution to someone working further afield, whilst the desirability of having fantastic shopping, bars and restaurants on your doorstep is an obvious attraction.

Source: JLL
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Chinese submit 67-floor Canary Wharf resi tower

The redevelopment of Hertsmere House at West India Quay will deliver 869 flats within a 240.5m tall building, designed by architect HOK around a clover shaped footprint to maximise views for each flat.

When built it is expected to hold the record as the tallest block of flats in Europe.

The basement runs to a depth of just 11.7m as the site sits above Crossrail running tunnels, although all piling will be outside the Crossrail exclusion zone. Affordable housing will be included in the western wing of the building.

Around half the building facade is to be fitted with vision glass and the remainder will be fitted with highly-insulated metal panel backed glass curtain wall known as “shadow boxes” to give the building the appearance of being fully glazed from the exterior while reducing solar gain.

Hertsmere House Canary Wharf

The demolition and construction phase will employ over 900 construction workers during a 55 month programme.

Planning permission was previously granted for a 242m 63-storey commercial tower on the site but these plans were superseded by the new residential scheme.

The Shanghai-based developer is also developing the high-rise Ram Brewery scheme in Wandsworth, London where Kier is carrying out phase one works.

Client team

Hertsmere House Canary Wharf Chinese

  • Architect: HOK
  • Landscape Architecture: Gillespies
  • Engineers: WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Project management: AECOM
  • Planning consultant: Bilfinger GVA


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