Darin buys at Stockley Park

Darin Partners has bought 5 The Square, at Stockley Park, from M&G Real Estate for around £29m.

CoStar reports the building, occupied by Canon UK, Samsonite and Mitsubishi, has been sold close to the asking price of £29.4m. The 72,000-sq-ft building, originally built by Stanhope, is fully let at around £35 per sq ft. M&G bought the building in 2013.

Canon has recently moved its UK headquarters to Stockley Park from Reigate, signing for 37,000 sq ft at 5 The Square in 2020.

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Hounslow Council announces extra support for businesses

A new programme of business support is being launched to help town centre businesses trade safely and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The 12-week programme will help support the self-employed, pre-start, start-up and small businesses across all industries.

Online workshops, networking events, business clinics and one-to-one support will be offered free of charge to enable local businesses to access expert advice from specialist consultants.

The support will cover a range of issues including digitalisation, creating a new business model for growth, and the impact of Brexit on importing and exporting. The support will be provided online and is open to all businesses in the London Borough of Hounslow. Funding for this programme will be provided by the European Regional Development Fund, through the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund.

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, said: “The coming weeks and months will continue to be very challenging, and businesses in Hounslow are having to work very hard to adapt to this difficult environment. That’s why we’re announcing today’s extra support to help local businesses access the funding and specialist advice they need to put their businesses on a more sustainable footing.

“Hounslow Council has very ambitious plans to support the recovery of the borough as we come out of the pandemic. Central to that vision is thriving local businesses, so I want to say again to the self-employed and local businesses: we’re here for you. We will continue to listen to your needs as we work through this crisis together and we’ll deliver more support wherever there is the opportunity to do so.”

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Peabody to acquire 142 affordable homes at Television Centre

Stanhope, Mitsui Fudosan and AIMCo have exchanged contracts with Peabody who will acquire 142 new affordable homes in two new buildings at Television Centre in White City.

The buildings form part of the wider Television Centre development which will eventually have around 950 homes in total. Stanhope is also the development manager for the JV.

Designed by Maccreanor Lavington Architects, the new buildings will replace the existing former BBC multi-storey car park on Wood Lane, W12, opposite Westfield. The new buildings will provide 71 London Affordable Rent, 34 London Living Rent and 37 homes for Shared Ownership.

The existing car park will be demolished in 2021 with construction starting in 2022, and delivery expected in 2024. As well as the homes, the project will provide new public realm and retail space fronting Wood Lane. The retail will be retained by the JV. Peabody will be responsible for managing the homes when completed.

The JV is working closely with Transport for London, who own the adjacent arches below the elevated Hammersmith & City line, to help improve the wider area for the local community.

Jonathan Trout, Property & Commercial Director at Stanhope said “We are delighted to have exchanged contracts with Peabody and are looking forward to delivering much needed affordable homes for residents in Hammersmith & Fulham. Peabody share our long-term commitment for the area and we look forward to bringing forward the next phase of the project in due course.”

Simon Barry, Regional Development Director at Peabody said “This represents a fantastic opportunity to deliver high quality affordable homes in an excellent location. We have been closely involved through the early stages of design and look forward to working alongside the JV to help create great place to live within a thriving community in West London”.

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Dominvs get Wembley consent

Plans for a redevelopment of the Euro House site in Wembley close to London Designer Outlet have been approved.

The plans, submitted by Dominvs, were designed by AHMM, and will produce a 540,000 sq ft development on the 2.8-acre Fulton Road site. The existing industrial buildings will be replaced by four new buildings, rising from 11 to 21 storeys, which will provide 493 new homes, 94 of which will be affordable, along side commercial space, roof gardens, and new public space.

The development has been designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.

Husnell Ahluwalia, Director of Dominvs Group says: “Dominvs Group is delighted that our flagship £250 million mixed-use regeneration project on the Euro House site has received planning consent. This major urban regeneration scheme is located within Wembley Park, a leisure and retail destination which had over 20 million visitors last year. Our new Euro House development will provide high quality housing, retail and makerspace units and is on the doorstep of the iconic Wembley Stadium and the adjacent London Designer Outlet retail village, which has over 7 million visitors per annum and is one of the most popular designer outlet villages in the UK.”

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Park Royal to get new studios

Arts Alliance is to open the Garden Studios in Park Royal, a 62,000 sq ft learning, research and production space.

The facilities will include three sound stages along with a specialised virtual production stage, along with workshops, technical facilities, and offices. The virtual production stage is already available to use.

Garden Studios aims to provide a sustainable environment – it will use local suppliers and encourage recycling, making set design more sustainable through reuse and carefully sourced materials. The facility’s virtual production offering is also aimed at reducing the need for multi-location shoots.

Garden Studios also aims to create entry-level jobs and training opportunities, including the launch of an apprenticeship programme in partnership with MetFilm School and West London College.

Thomas Hoegh, founder and CEO of Arts Alliance, said: “This will be an owner-operated business, spearheaded by people who have long and deep experience across many aspects of the film industry. Like all Arts Alliance companies, we seek to demonstrate an innovative and passionate drive for inclusive community building, learning, and opportunities for all.”

Garden Studios Manager, Marnie Keeling, added: “We are creating a unique space and hub that will be a leader in new technologies while creating a space that will feel like home.”

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Air-filtering moss means better air for Lyric Square

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is pioneering a new air filtering system using ground-breaking biotech.

The new ‘City Tree’ has been installed in Lyric Square, where its moss-filled panels absorb polluted air from Beadon Road and blow out fresh, clean air the other side.

The distinctive honeycomb structure is one of the first in London and marks the borough’s commitment to tackling the climate emergency and improving air quality in town centres.

“Our brilliant City Tree is already drawing attention for its distinctive appearance, but its best feature is its ability to pump out clean air where we need it most,” said Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Environment.

“We’re investing in the most innovative technologies to clean our air and make the borough greener and more pleasant.

The City Tree technology was created in Germany by Greencity Solutions. While the technology is used in several cities across Europe, H&F is one of the first areas in London to use them.

The City Tree has eight panels covered in different kinds of moss. Those panels sit in front of eight powered fans. The moss panels absorb and digest particulate matter – like the small molecules found in car exhaust fumes – while pumping out oxygen-rich cleaned air.

The moss also has a cooling effect, by using the large surface area of the moss panels to store and evaporate large amounts of water in the air.

The intelligent ventilation technology filters the equivalent of 7,000 peoples’ breathing every hour removing up to 80 per cent of fine dust.

The unit’s overall design has been made to have a minimal carbon footprint.

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Engitix Therapeutics to relocate headquarters to White City Place

Engitix, a biotechnology company with a portfolio of programmes in fibrosis and solid tumours and two significant partnerships based on its proprietary human extracellular matrix (ECM) platform, has announced that it is relocating its headquarters and operations to WestWorks, part of Stanhope’s White City Place.

The move follows announcements of high-profile collaboration agreements with Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Morphic Therapeutic, to leverage the benefits of Engitix’ human ECM-based discovery platform to improve the success rate of drug discovery and development.

The collaborations with major pharma industry players have prompted the expansion, which starts with it moving to the 8,000 square feet facility of bespoke office and laboratory space in WCP.

Engitix joins GammaDelta Therapeutics, Autolus and Synthace, as well as Novartis, in the emerging White City bioscience cluster.

Stephen Brindle, COO of Engitix said:“Our move and expansion into this new, inspiring hub in White City is a significant milestone for Engitix. Here, we will have the ideal premises to accommodate further growth as we look to double in size in the coming years, driven by progess with both our proprietary programmes and major partnerships. As it emerges as a new centre in the field of life sciences, White City also gives us access to excellent facilities and networking opportunities for industry players.”

David Camp, CEO, Stanhope PLC, the developer and owner of WCP, stated: “We are delighted that Engitix have decided to relocate their head office to the growing life sciences cluster at the WestWorks building in White City Place. The addition of Engitix Therapeutics helps further enhance White City Place’s status as the number one location of choice for innovative, forward thinking companies in the life sciences and biotech sector.”

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Heathrow expansion Supreme Court ruling

The UK Supreme Court has reversed a previous Appeal Court ruling on Heathrow expansion plans, putting a third runway back on the horizon for the country’s main airport.

The Appeal Court had ruled that the government’s airports strategy didn’t meet up-to-date UK climate targets, but the Supreme Court has now ruled that the strategy was legitimately based on previous climate targets at the time it was agreed.

Heathrow Airport could now begin the process of seeking a Development Consent Order to allow construction of their proposed new North-West runway. It would still need to go through the planning process, which would include a public enquiry. Reports suggest a full application from Heathrow may be over a year away, as the Airport will need to reassemble its planning team, and as it continues to deal with the impact of the pandemic.

A Heathrow Spokesperson said: “Demand for aviation will recover from Covid, and the additional capacity at an expanded Heathrow will allow Britain as a sovereign nation to compete for trade and win against our rivals in France and Germany. Heathrow has already committed to net zero and this ruling recognises the robust planning process that will require us to prove expansion is compliant with the UK’s climate change obligations, including the Paris Climate Agreement, before construction can begin.

“The Government has made decarbonising aviation a central part of its green growth agenda, through wider use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel as well as new technology. As passenger numbers recover, our immediate focus will be to continue to ensure their safety and to maintain our service levels while we consult with investors, government, airline customers and regulators on our next steps.”

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Two Brent Meet the Buyer events to take place in early 2021

Square Stone Hub and United Living will be meeting with Brent-based businesses and contractors at two Meet the Buyer events early next year.

The two events will allow for Brent businesses to play a part in the borough’s regeneration.

The events are being hosted by Brent for Business – a Brent Council initiative – which showcases the opportunities for business growth in the London borough, which is currently undergoing a multi-billion-pound programme of regeneration.

Square Stone Hub will be taking part in a session on 27 January and looking for dryliners, carpenters, tilers, painters and plumbers to work on their Wembley Link development.

Wembley Link is a 256-home development, made up by two 17- and 19-storey apartment towers.

HUB was established in 2012, initially delivering single building apartment schemes in London’s mid-market before developing into a regeneration company, delivering complex multi-phase schemes covering a range of residential and commercial tenures across the UK. With a portfolio of more than 4,100 homes for sale and rent, as well as 300,000 sq ft of commercial space, HUB is big enough to make a difference, while being nimble enough to create bespoke solutions for each development opportunity.

United Living will be looking for roofers, Brickworkers, Dryliners, Cladding specialists, Balustrading experts and carpenters for their Honeypot Lane development on Wednesday 10 February.

Honeypot Lane is a 61-home, independent living development, providing one-bedroom self-contained flats as part of Brent’s New Accommodation for Independent Living project. The new properties will benefit from communal facilities including a lounge and a dining/cafe area, multi-use room, assisted bathroom, buggy store, kitchen and an external landscaped courtyard. There will also be mobility scooter storage and parking. United Living will also be carrying out improvements to the communal gardens of the neighbouring NHS Kingswood Centre, a new pump and safety fencing for the existing pond and paving works as part of the development.

To sign up and book your place, email info@brentmeetthebuyer.co.uk

For more information on Brent Meet the Buyer, visit www.brentmeetthebuyer.co.uk and if developers of Brent-based sites are interested in hosting a similar event, email info@brentmeetthebuyer.co.uk

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Ealing launches Greenprint

Ealing Council have launched their ‘Greenprint for Economic Recovery and Renewal’.

Led by the economic growth service, officers from across the council have collaborated on drafting this Greenprint to shop how they are focussing efforts and prioritising resources to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Ealing’s local economy.

The Greenprint includes a short summary of the council’s collective emergency response and showcases some of the council’s ongoing economic recovery work. It purposefully focuses on goals and objectives for the shorter term, over next 18 months, which is realistic given the trajectory of the pandemic and in balancing the council’s current priorities and resource constraints.

This version of the Greenprint is a ‘working draft’, which allows the council to engage with its partners, existing and hopefully many new, to stress test the objectives and explore how they align with the objectives of partner recovery strategies. The council hopes this collaborative approach will enable the council and its multiple partners to share expertise and resources in co-delivering objectives.

In particular, the Greenprint is intended to complement and supplement recently published recovery documents, including the West London Alliance’s Build and Recovery strategy, Heathrow’s Local Recovery Plan and the soon to be published Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation’s (OPDC) Recovery Mission. Following partner engagement, a final version of the Greenprint will be published by Spring 2021.

Ultimately the Greenprint lays the foundations on what a future economic growth strategy might look and feel like for Ealing, a strategy that will be co-developed with stakeholders from across the borough and investors who have passion for improving the health and wellbeing and prosperity of Ealing’s residents. If we get this approach right, we will have greater success in addressing disadvantage by creating a more sustainable, more inclusive and socially just economy and society that will be much better prepared and more resilient to future economic shocks, similar in magnitude to COVID-19.

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Woolbro gets Alperton consent

Woolbro’s plans for a 100 home development in Alperton have been approved.

The plans involve the demolition of the existing commercial building and its replacement by two buildings up to seven storeys high containing 100 flats of which 50 would be affordable. There will also be commercial floorspace on the ground floors with a commercial yard as well as soft landscaping. This project also includes associated infrastructure works and access roads.

The scheme was desgined by HWO Architects. Lichfields handled planning. Works are anticipated to commence onsite by summer 2021 with completion by 2023.

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Morrisons join Ballymore in Brentford

Ballymore has now exchanged contracts with Morrisons for a store in their Brentford Project scheme. The 36,000 sq ft store on Brentford High Street will open in 2023.

The new supermarket will include Market Street counters, Nutmeg clothing and a new Barista Bar, and provide basement parking for around 130 cars. The Brentford Project spans 11.8 acres on the southern side of the high street. It will ultimately deliver 876 homes alongside new public space, and new commercial, retail, leisure and cultural opportunities. Reconnecting the High Street with the waterfront via a series of pedestrianised yards and lanes, Ballymore will also deliver extensions to the Thames path, opening up new waterfront walking routes. Work is already under way.

John Mulryan, group managing director at Ballymore, comments: “Our partnership with Morrisons represents a significant milestone in our vision to establish a revitalised high street for Brentford, and one which delivers on everything needed for modern life. Welcoming this market-leading retailer to The Brentford Project will offer the local community convenience and choice, and will be a great addition to the thriving retail scene we are creating across the neighbourhood.”

Morrisons senior asset manager, Georgina French said: “We’ve always been committed to Brentford so we’re delighted to have secured the store’s future as part of Ballymore’s development. This new scheme means that we will retain a presence on Brentford High Street and offer our customers a new look store with improved layout and additional popular and useful services.”

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London Designer Outlet signs more space

Global sports brand adidas is set to greatly expand its store in London Designer Outlet, adopting its new design format which will be a first for UK outlets, while quality handbag retailer Radley is to open a 1,440 sq ft store in the centre in Wembley Park.

adidas, which has been at London Designer Outlet (LDO) since it first opened in 2013, will bring a more experiential offer to its enlarged store with its new retail format. It will focus on selling sports performance apparel and footwear, and feature high res interactive displays and active participation spaces, which will be in keeping with the urban outlet centre’s emphasis on high quality fit-outs and visually appealing displays.

adidas, which is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, is one of the longest-serving brands in London Designer Outlet, the capital’s leading fashion and lifestyle outlet centre, and will increase its floor space by 63% to 10,550 sq ft.

Sue Shepherd, Realm’s General Manager for London Designer Outlet, said: “It is always encouraging when retailers like adidas upsize since it highlights how much our guests enjoy these brands and emphasises that they have been trading well.We also have a good mix of stores that have been with us since our first few months, including Villeroy & Boch, The North Face and Replay alongside more recent signings such as Radley, Police and NICCE. Between the enhanced safety measures we have in place and the wide, open spaces of Wembley Park, we are confident that once we can welcome our guests back again after lockdown that they will feel safe in returning, so that they can shop their favourite brands at affordable prices in a secure, accessible environment.”

An adidas spokesperson said; “We’ve been pleased to have had adidas as part of the London Designer Outlet since it opened in 2013 and be part of its continued success. After fantastic feedback on our existing store we have taken the opportunity to expand our footprint and enhance the brand experience. We look forward to serving our consumers in our new store at London Designer Outlet and continuing to be a part of the growing Wembley Park community.”

Kevin Morris, Head of Retail at Radley, said: “We have a passion for crafting beautiful handbags and accessories that blend creative design, quality materials and immaculate craftsmanship, with plenty of personality to finish. As a brand, we draw on the heritage, energy and eclecticism of the Capital to inspire every design. With the city in mind, we felt the London Designer Outlet provided the perfect backdrop for us to expand our retail portfolio and we can’t wait to welcome visitors, inviting them to discover the quality and style of Radley for themselves. By bringing our handbags to the iconic location of Wembley Park we can serve our customers who live in, work in and visit the area every year – all while being part of one of London’s most dynamic and exciting new neighbourhoods.”

London Designer Outlet, which celebrated its seventh birthday in October, has some 265,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space including 70 outlet stores, restaurants and coffee shops. It also benefits from serious year-round discounts of up to 70% off RRP, the surrounding Wembley Park, excellent transport links and ample car parking.

While the new stores aim to further meet customer needs, the London Designer Outlet team has also been working to improve guests’ experience. As well as offering fluent foreign language speakers in Guest Relations, cultural appreciation training for all retail and restaurant staff, and a Mystery Shopper programme, LDO has implemented technological solutions to support guests. The retail destination was the first UK shopping centre to offer Dropit, the app-based, store-to-door delivery service. Through Dropit, which is offered free of charge to LDO’s guests, all purchases bought at any of LDO’s 50 stores can be gathered together and swiftly delivered to customers’ homes, hotels or workplaces at a time and date of their choosing, with same-day deliveries available within the M25. Additionally, it recently launched The LDO Edit, a new click-and-reserve online platform that brings together the best of online and in-store shopping.


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Mayor launches creative jobs fund

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new £1.3m fund to help increase employment and training opportunities in the creative industries for Londoners.

As part of the Mayor’s Creative Enterprise Zones, the fund will support jobs and small businesses by providing skills and training to under-represented groups in the industry in Hounslow.

It will particularly help create opportunities for young Black, Asian and minority ethnic Londoners and women, through work placements, training and mentoring delivered in partnerships in the boroughs. These Londoners are already under-represented in the industry and are likely to have been further disadvantaged by the impact of covid-19.

The fund is designed to help more than 225 Londoners into education, training or employment between April 2021 and June 2023, and a further 120 creative sector employees to improve their career prospects.

The Mayor created his Creative Enterprise Zones programme in 2018 to support artists and creative businesses, and develop skills and jobs for Londoners in distinctive zones across the capital. The zones are providing funding and creating affordable workspace to help innovation and create jobs that will help accelerate the economic recovery.

It comprises £650,000 from the European Social Fund, £450,000 from the Mayor’s Creative Enterprise Zones programme and £200,000 from Hounslow and Lambeth.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Culture and the creative industries are at the heart of our city, and they will play a huge role in our economic and social recovery. That’s why we must do all we can to support jobs and small businesses at this challenging time, and that includes ensuring there are opportunities available to all. Our Creative Enterprise Zones are designed to inspire innovation and nurture talent across the capital, and this funding will help to provide further education, training and employment to develop the next generation of creative leaders.”

Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO at Creative Industries Federation said: “With the impact of Covid on the creative sector, it is more important than ever that we invest in the next generation of creative talent and continue to nurture and support young people to access opportunities, regardless of their background. These funds are a lifeline for local creative clusters, and a great example of the important work being done through the Mayor’s Creative Enterprise Zones. It will support jobs and training in the sector, help drive economic recovery and ensure that our world-leading creative industries continue to thrive.”

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council and Cabinet Member for Strategy, Planning and Regeneration said: “I’m delighted Hounslow will be receiving this funding from the Greater London Authority through the Creative Enterprise Zone programme. Continued investment in our local creative businesses forms an integral part of our economic recovery planning. It will support a key objective for our CEZ in helping our residents, many from BAME communities who may not previously have considered a career in the creative industries, into work. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hounslow is forecast to be one of the hardest hit boroughs in London, this financial support will provide a timely boost.”


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Mayor of London launches new fund to help local communities drive Covid recovery

​Communities across London will be able to access a share of £500,000 to help them recover from the Covid-19 pandemic under a new fund launched today by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

From securing new uses for vacant high street shops to creating new walking routes, Make London will support the delivery of a range of recovery projects led by the city’s communities. The initiatives will help improve public spaces, support community hubs and town centres, promote grass-roots culture and bring people together safely.

Open to Londoners, mutual aid groups, charities, business improvement districts and social enterprises, the scheme will use the well-established crowdfunding model – this also enables groups to secure additional funding from other bodies including local authorities, private companies, and a range of voluntary and philanthropic organisations.

Smaller-scale projects will be able to pitch for support up to £5,000, while larger initiatives will be eligible for as much as £50,000. The money will be drawn from Sadiq’s £6.6 million Recovery Fund, which is part of his wider work to support London’s long-term recovery from the impact of coronavirus.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Coronavirus has had an impact on every Londoner and every area of our city, often with lower-income and ethnically diverse communities the hardest hit.

“We’ve already seen an incredible response to this challenging time from Londoners of all backgrounds. I firmly believe it is our communities who have the most innovative ideas on how to emerge from the pandemic and bring our city together.

“Creativity flows through London and it will get us through this crisis. That’s why I’m proud to launch this new fund which will allow Londoners to play a vital role in helping their local areas recover and tackle the inequalities which exist in the capital.”

Mellezia, visual artist and Director of The RENA Initiative – which was supported though Culture Seeds – said: “With a grant from the Mayor of London we launched ‘The Women of White City (WoWC)’ project to reduce loneliness and improve the mental health and wellbeing of socially isolated, unemployed and older women in my community.

“Our intergenerational painting workshops create a fun, safe and inclusive environment where women from diverse cultures can form meaningful friendships. This grant has helped us to access further funding opportunities and expand services to deliver online and offline activities to marginalised communities across London.”

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AEG Presents, citizenM and Hyatt sign for Olympia space

A state-of-the art live music venue and two hotels will move into the £1.3bn Olympia regeneration scheme from 2023.

Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International (DFI) – together the investors in and developers of the £1.3 billion regeneration of Olympia London into a world-leading cultural destination – have announced three major agreements with leading names in entertainment and hospitality, marking the first occupiers to commit to the landmark scheme, four years ahead of its scheduled completion. With construction work underway at the 14-acre site, live entertainment company AEG Presents, global hotel group Hyatt and affordable luxury lifestyle and hotel brand citizenM have all signed long-term agreements to operate out of the west London venue.

AEG will operate a 4,400-capacity live music venue, to be located above the existing west exhibition hall. citizenM London Olympia, the brand’s fifth London destination, will feature 145 rooms, three societyM meeting rooms, and an interpretation of the citizenM Living Room in the historic listed Apex Room. Hyatt Regency London Olympia will feature 196 rooms and suites, four meeting rooms, a bar and deli, and be connected to a new restaurant to be developed in the historic Pillar Hall.

The £1.3 billion Olympia redevelopment project will create a new cultural hub in west London. Yoo Capital and DFI are also in advanced talks with other potential occupiers with strong interest being shown for the development’s four-screen arthouse cinema, 1,500-seat theatre, restaurants, shops, cafés, hotels and 550,000 sq ft of office and co-working space. The Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC-designed project will also see the enhancement of the existing exhibition halls and 2.5 acres of new public space created.

Chairman of Yoo Capital, John Hitchcox, said: “It’s been a challenging year for the events, live entertainment, retail and hospitality sectors – but having these three partners on board is a real positive for London and a clear indication of confidence in both the city and this iconic landmark as a destination for culture and creativity. The Olympia project will give a real boost to the local economy, bringing in an extra £9m per year in consumer spending to Hammersmith & Fulham, so we are very pleased to be taking another big step towards the realisation of a new vision for this area.”

Yoo Capital Managing Partner, Lloyd Lee, added: “We made a commitment in 2018 to the community, government leadership and the creative industries that we would deliver a new district dedicated to the performing arts, entertainment and exhibitions in 2024. In these incredibly challenging times, we not only welcome our new partners but, on their behalf and our own, we also would like thank the literally hundreds of industry professionals who have worked with us tirelessly every day to achieve this next major milestone and keep us on track to bring Future Olympia to life in less than four years from today.”

Oliver Gardiner, Development Director at DFI, commented: “To have secured three such high-profile and recognised brands for Olympia against the current market backdrop, and four years ahead of completion, is a ringing endorsement of the enormous potential that is set to be unlocked through this project. Our plans are on schedule and it’s gratifying to have reached this milestone as we work to assemble a world-leading occupier line up.”

Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, added: “Olympia is a crucial part of our mission to make Hammersmith & Fulham a global hotspot in STEM industries, the arts, fashion and culture, that is already bringing some of the best careers and start-up opportunities to our residents’ doorsteps – something that will continue for generations to come. I welcome news of Yoo Capital Management’s latest progress and will continue to work with them and local residents on this important project.”

Alistair Wood, EVP Real Estate & Development at AEG Europe, commented: “We are very impressed by the scale and ambition of Olympia’s vision for this site. This will become a real hub for events and entertainment for the west of London and we are delighted to be able to play a part in delivering that vision with a venue that will fill an identified gap in the London live music market.”

The Olympia London redevelopment is due to be completed in 2024.

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Financing agreement confirmed for Crossrail project

The Mayor of London, Transport for London (TfL), the Department for Transport (DfT) and HM Treasury have confirmed an agreed funding and financing package for the final phase of the Crossrail project. This means work on the railway can continue at pace.

Crossrail announced in August that it expected the Elizabeth line to open through central London in the first half of 2022 and that they would require funding beyond the agreed funding envelope. Crossrail says it is continuing to work hard to reduce its funding shortfall, and TfL is ensuring that further independent analysis of costs is carried out.

The shortfall will initially be covered by the Greater London Authority (GLA) borrowing up to £825m from the DfT which will be given by GLA to TfL as a grant. The GLA will repay this loan from Business Rate Supplement (BRS) and Mayoral Community Infrastructure Levy (MCIL) revenues.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Securing this financing package enables us to press full steam ahead with getting the central section of the Elizabeth line open as soon as possible. I do not want this project to be stalled so it is vital that we dig deep to get the railway up and running. I will continue to monitor progress closely and do everything I can to minimise costs – helping ensure London and beyond can enjoy its many benefits sooner rather than later.”

Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “I have been very clear that it is my priority to get the railway open as soon as possible and all those working on the Crossrail project are focused on that too. Confirming this financing is an essential step in ensuring the team can fully concentrate on safely delivering the Elizabeth line, which is so vital for boosting rail capacity and supporting the economy.”

Mark Wild, Chief Executive, Crossrail Ltd, said: “Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages. Good progress continues to be made with completing the remaining infrastructure works so that we begin intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity in 2021. Many of the stations are now nearing completion and we will shortly commence an enabling phase for Trial Running which allows testing in the tunnels to be undertaken with an increased number of trains, further helping to build operational reliability. We are doing everything possible to deliver the Elizabeth line as safely and quickly as we can.”

Governance of Crossrail transferred directly to TfL in October, helping to simplify responsibilities and ensure decision making is seamless and fully aligned at this crucial stage. A special purpose committee of the TfL Board, the Elizabeth Line Committee, provides high-level oversight of the project, the first meeting took place last week. The project remains a jointly sponsored by TfL and the DfT and an independent DfT representative will attend the committee meetings.

When fully open, the Elizabeth line will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent, able to carry more than half a million passengers per day and will support new journeys through central London out to Essex and Berkshire. The new railway is expected to support thousands of new homes and new jobs and will boost the UK economy by £42 billion.

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Hounslow’s creative sector receives a welcome boost for job creation

Hounslow’s creative sector has gained half a million pounds in a creative industries jobs boost. A timely win for the borough’s economic recovery ambitions, the fund will help people into creative careers, and support small businesses.

The new £500k pot comes from the Mayor of London (under Hounslow’s Creative Enterprise Zone designation), the European Social Fund and the Council’s own Section 106 planning receipts. The process to identify a delivery model for the project has begun, where a consortium approach to include local stakeholders such as the education sector and creative specialists, has been encouraged. The programme will launch early in 2021.

Hounslow is home to big players in the creative sector such as Sky, Paramount and Disney, but also to many small, innovative businesses and start-ups that are vital to the local economy. The pandemic brought unprecedented challenges in the cultural and creative industries, but we expect the sector to be key to economic recovery.

The project will support residents into employment in a sector often overlooked as a career choice and will also help aspirational female and BAME creatives to find work in areas where they are often underrepresented.

Councillor Steve Curran, Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Strategy, Planning and Regeneration at Hounslow Council said: “Continued investment in our local creative businesses forms an integral part of our economic recovery planning.

“It will support a key objective for our CEZ in helping our residents, many from BAME communities who may not previously have considered a career in the creative industries, into work. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hounslow is forecast to be one of the hardest hit boroughs in London, this financial support will provide a timely boost.”

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Mayor outlines new Affordable Homes Programme

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has outlined his plans for a new generation of social housing for Londoners.

Sadiq’s new £4 billion Affordable Homes Programme for 2021-26 aims to build new safe, green, well-designed social housing, and to deliver on his ambition that high-quality homes shouldn’t be the preserve of the rich.

The new Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) will run concurrently with the current 2016-23 programme, which has been extended by one year due to the pandemic, and together they aim to produce 82,000 new homes from April 2021 onwards.

The Mayor has long argued that the most acute need in London is for low-cost homes to rent and has persuaded the Government to allow more than half the new programme to fund social rented homes.

This will be the Mayor’s second AHP. He has hit every single one of the delivery targets in the current Homes for Londoners: Affordable Homes Programme 2016-2023. Last year, the Mayor says London saw the highest number of affordable homes starts since Greater London Authority records began in 2003. This included a greater number of new council homes started than in any year since 1983.

The Mayor has set ambitious targets for London to be a zero-carbon city by 2030 and expects homes built with AHP funding to be environmentally sustainable. The new sustainability standards include requirements for all developments of ten or more homes to be net zero-carbon and to incorporate sustainable urban green spaces.

Housing providers wishing to bid for funds from the new AHP will also have to meet new conditions on building safety and design, including the installation of sprinklers or other fire suppression systems in new blocks of flats; a ban on combustible materials being used in external walls for all residential development, regardless of height; minimum floor-to-ceiling heights and a requirement for private outdoor space; a ‘sunlight clause’ requiring all homes with three or more bedrooms to be dual aspect, any single aspect one- or two-bedroom homes to not be north-facing and at least one room to have direct sunlight for at least part of the day.

Providers must also live up to new equality, diversity and inclusion standards, with training for all employees, a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and a commitment to recruiting from diverse and under-represented groups. In addition, they will also be expected to publish details of their gender and ethnicity pay gaps.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Despite significant progress over the last four years to build the homes our city needs, the reality is too many Londoners still can’t afford a decent home to rent or buy.

“This is why I have put the twin goals of affordability and quality at the centre of my new Affordable Homes Programme. All Londoners deserve a safe, secure home with enough space to live comfortably, and private outside space to enjoy fresh air. I want to deliver a new generation of social housing in London that sets the standard nationally when it comes to excellent design, safety and sustainability.

“Despite Government Ministers failing to provide London with the full funding our city needs, I’m determined to help build the high quality, genuinely affordable homes that Londoners so desperately need and deserve.”

Helen Evans, Chair of the G15 and Chief Executive of Network Homes, said: “Whilst the G15 strongly support The Mayor’s ambitions for the programme, there are many factors including building safety remediation costs and the economic outlook which may influence our appetite for this programme.

“We welcome the clarity on the bidding process in the guidance, which will help our members’ plans for the future delivery of new affordable homes in the capital.”

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TfL and Barratt get Wembley approval

TfL and Barratt London – working together as a joint venture – have been given the green light by Brent Council to bring forward their new development by Wembley Park London Underground station.

The proposals will deliver 454 new homes, including 40% affordable housing, a retail unit, improvements to the public realm, and new operational space for TfL.

The scheme, which covers a 1.6-acre site, has been designed by TateHindle architects and will be delivered across five buildings. The new homes will be a mixture of studio, one, two and three-bedroom properties. The affordable homes will be offered as a combination of intermediate housing, such as shared ownership, and London Affordable Rent. The scheme is car-free.

The location of the development, next to Wembley Park station, enables new residents to easily use sustainable modes of transport, as it is serviced by both the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines as well as a number of bus routes.

With green and biodiverse roofs, the planting of new trees and hedges, as well as wildlife-friendly landscaping such as bird boxes and bee bricks included as part of the scheme, the designs aim to positively enhance the local environment.

The development will also use renewable forms of energy through solar panels and air source heat pumps. The homes have been designed to encourage natural light within them and reduce energy usage; 70% of the homes are dual aspect and the remainder have been designed to ensure that they are not north facing.

Not only will the development provide a new retail opportunity next to Wembley Park station, it will also make the public realm more appealing through additional planting, widening the pavement alongside the development – making it easier to walk – and providing play space for children in the community.

Emma Hatch, Senior Property Development Manager at TfL, said: “We are thrilled to get the go-ahead for our development at Wembley, which will deliver hundreds of new homes as well as a new retail opportunity and improvements for the local community.

“This is the second project with Barratt London and builds on our track record for delivering new homes in the capital.”

Jim Wood, London Operations Managing Director at Barratt London, said: “This is an exciting project for us and we are particularly pleased to be able to deliver such a high percentage of much needed affordable homes for the borough, alongside retail and train crew accommodation.

“We are looking forward to starting work onsite for the project in 2021.”

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