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News in brief: C&W to masterplan Birmingham Smithfield site; Newcastle Science Central secure approval

Birmingham Smithfield

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 18 April, 2017

Cushman & Wakefield to masterplan Birmingham Smithfield site

Birmingham City Council has appointed Real estate agency Cushman & Wakefield to regenerate the city’s 14-hectare Smithfield market site, home of the city’s wholesale market. It is described as “one of the largest city centre regeneration opportunities in Europe”. Cushman & Wakefield will masterplan and dispose of the site.

The council hopes that Smithfield, designated an Enterprise Zone in 2012, will act as a catalyst for the transformation of the city’s wider Southern Gateway area. Development of the site is expected to deliver more than 300,000 square metres of new floor space, 2,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs, with an investment value in excess of £500 million.

The aim is for the site to become a “landmark, sustainable, mixed-use development” including a “family and leisure hub”. Amenities will include a market and leisure hub (supported by independent retailers, restaurants and hotels), a public square, pedestrian boulevard, integrated public transport and a residential neighbourhood (offering “modern, sustainable homes in a green setting”).

Cushman & Wakefield will work with Birmingham City Council to develop the masterplan and appoint a delivery partner.


Newcastle Science Central secures approval

Plans for a £29 million Learning and Teaching Centre on Newcastle Science Central have been approved.

The flagship development by design team Sheppard Robson will seat 750 people in the auditorium and 200 more in a lecture theatre on the ground floor, plus a range of seminar rooms on upper floors.

The scheme includes the creation of a significant area of public realm, which will connect Science Square with a landscaped Knowledge Square. 

Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Newcastle University’s pro-vice-chancellor for learning and teaching, said the centre would feature state-of-the art learning facilities for up to 2,200 students across three floors as well as exhibition space, a café and expansive social learning spaces.


Persimmon set to build new homes in Derbyshire

Up to 250 new homes are to be built on the outskirts of Derby following a deal overseen by Midlands-based commercial property agency Innes England and developer Persimmon Homes. Situated three miles north-east of Derby city centre, the site has outline planning consent for up to 250 dwellings across some 18 acres. Persimmon Homes will start construction work once all necessary consents have been put in place. The scheme is set to include a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes.

Robert Hartley, chairman at Innes England, said: “Oakwood is a popular suburb on the outskirts of Derby city centre, which benefits from a host of local amenities including shops, good primary schools and a leisure centre. It is within easy reach of the city but also has lovely open countryside nearby and is adjacent to Chaddesden Wood. Breadsall Priory and Morley Hayes are also only a few miles away”.

The landowner is seeking planning permission for a second phase of development comprising 16 acres.


Europe's tallest modular tower nears completion

The final module of Europe’s tallest modular tower has been lowered into place at a site in North London. Apex House in Wembley is a 29-storey structure providing student accommodation developed by Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems.

The scheme comprises 679 modules and delivers more than 580 rooms that will be ready for students in September. The development also includes a cinema and an outdoor courtyard. Planning and housing minister Gavin Barwell and London mayor Sadiq Khan have made off-site construction a priority to help ease the strain on the capital’s housing supply. 

The government has pledged that 100,000 homes built will be delivered using modular methods. Last year’s autumn statement pledged £285 million for accelerated construction techniques through the National Productivity Investment Fund.


Rise of the £1 million flat

Million-pound apartment sales in England and Wales have nearly trebled in the past decade, according to research. Data gathered by Lloyds Private Banking showed 2,967 flats worth £1 million or more were sold last year, a 196 per cent jump from 1,002 in 2006.

A total of 96 per cent of the properties were based in London and where they made up 35 per cent of all million-pound addresses sold there. Westminster is home to the most expensive apartments in the UK, with an average price of £2,215,073, according to Lloyds.

Sales of million-pound-plus flats in London have similarly increased threefold, from 973 to 2,853 since 2006, said Lloyds.


Commuters show marathon effort getting to work

Commuters are far more active than they realise, with one in nine walking the equivalent of a marathon to work every fortnight, according to latest research. Macmillan Cancer Support found that 3.5 million workers spend 40 minutes a day walking to and from their work, including between trains, getting to and from stations and bus stops as well as climbing escalators.

The average commuter spends 28 minutes a day on foot, including eight minutes standing, 12 minutes walking, five minutes climbing stairs or escalators, and three minutes running.


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