We’re feeling more than a little rebellious this week, what with protests against Donald Trump, a mixed-use tower in Paddington and the Garden Bridge. A contracts notice from the GLA does nothing to calm matters
An offer you can’t refuse - but then again …
Ever been confused about the value of a framework and questioned how much actual value you might get out of bidding for one? Here’s an example from the Greater London Authority (GLA) which definitely won’t help. In a contract notice for architectural services, engineering services and various other consultancy roles on the mayor of London’s RE:FIT programme - which provides a model for public bodies to implement energy efficiency in buildings across the capital - the GLA helpfully provided an upper and lower value for the amount of work likely to come through it. According to this it could be used to procure a whopping £1.5bn of work. But, then again, it might just be zero. Thanks guys, that’s really useful.
As you no doubt know, American presidential candidate Donald Trump is upset. Very upset. So upset in fact that his firm, the Trump Organisation, is threatening to end all future investments in the UK. This includes £200m plans to develop its Trump Turnberry golf course and a further £500m investment for Trump International Golf Links at Menie in Aberdeenshire. The reason - a possible prohibition from travelling to the UK after a petition calling for his entry to be refused was signed by over 570,000 people, triggering a parliamentary debate scheduled for 18 January. Trump previously threatened to pull investment from his Aberdeenshire golf resort if a planned coastal wind farm was given the go-ahead. Will it really be so great a loss? Trump’s plans have been protested against by local residents and environmental campaigners since he launched them in 2007.
Not so fast
In the face of heavy criticism over Sellar Property Group’s proposals for a 65-storey mixed-use tower in Paddington, the firm’s investment director John Davies has felt the need to fight the developer’s corner. In a letter to the Evening Standard last week, Davies was moved to respond to the accusation by the newspaper’s commentator Simon Jenkins that Sellar’s plans for the 31 London Street site had not been subject to sufficient public consultation. He says this is wrong and that “in fact, every effort has been made to make the process as accessible as possible”. Davies adds that 300 visitors attended the two consultation exhibitions and 6,768 letters were sent to local residents and businesses inviting them to attend. He makes no mention of the letters from the Royal Parks and Heritage England which criticised the company’s “haste” to get its planning submitted.
Wates and water
A huge number of communities were affected by the flooding over the Christmas period. So it’s good to see that Wates Giving, the charitable programme set up by contractor Wates, has donated money to help flood victims in York. The firm has chipped in £10,000 to the York Flood Disaster Fund, which was set up to help residents affected by flooding and with limited means, get back to normal as quickly as possible. The fund provides grants for essential household items and repairs. The appeal has so far raised £250,000 for the local community. Wates recently acquired large parts of York-based construction firm Shepherd Built Environment, and as such has strong links to the area.
Tiptoe through the tulips
New London Architecture’s exhibition of its housing ideas competition has attracted other ideas from visitors on its message board. The competition, organised in collaboration with the mayor of London, attracted over 200 entries from 16 countries ranging from practical to radical solutions to the UK’s housing crisis. Yet visitors to the exhibition seemed more interested in voicing their opinions on other developments in the capital than contributing to housing solutions. Above all, the proposed £150m Boris-backed Garden Bridge over the River Thames drew a deluge of comments - overwhelmingly hostile, it has to be said. Well, I suppose you can buy an awful lot of houses with £150m.
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