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Promising construction markets

Image Credit: Mulberry Developments

The East Midlands may not have a regional identity to match some other areas of the UK but it is emerging as one the country’s most promising construction markets.

The region’s good communications and recent new investment around major cities such as Nottingham, Derby, Northampton, Lincoln and Leicester have buoyed up construction activity. The value of construction starts in the region jumped by 17% in the quarter to May 2018 over the period last year and a stronger pipeline is expected to lift project starts this year, particularly in housing and industrial building.

Overall last year, the East Midlands saw a 5% rise in planning approvals led by a revival in industrial projects, private and social housing, retail and health. Moreover, in the opening four months of 2018 approvals have risen markedly in the region in hotel & leisure, education, infrastructure and utilities.

Central location

With its central location alongside the M1 and A1, the East Midlands is an attractive base for retail and distribution warehouses and the value of industrial detailed planning approvals in the region rose by 30% last year.

Earlier this Spring, construction work started on a £30.7 million speculative warehouse project at Mulberry Developments’ Midlands Logistics Park at Corby (Glenigan Project ID 17414640), where Volker Fitzpatrick is the main contractor. Meanwhile, work is set to start early next year on Isec’s £16 million XPO Logistics Site, a warehouse and office development at Grantham, near the A1 which is at the pre-tender stage (Glenigan Project ID 18161898).

The East Midlands’ status as a centre for the distribution sector will be underlined by the construction of the new £9.4 million Logistics Institute of Technology at Magna Park, at Lutterworth for South Leicestershire College. The scheme, which will accommodate up to 1,000 students, is at the pre-tender stage with work set to start next summer (Glenigan Project ID 18203948).

Tender opportunities in the region’s hotel and leisure sector are also picking up. The value of construction starts in the sector in the East Midlands rose 43% in 2017 and more than doubled in the first five months of 2018, compared to the period last year. Planning approvals in the sector have also been rising strongly in the opening months of this year.

‘World class’ heritage

One prominent scheme where work is set to start this autumn is a £17 million redevelopment of Nottingham Castle for the city council. Funded by the Lottery, it aims to create a ‘world class’ heritage attraction. Bills have been called for the project, where Artelia is the project manager (Glenigan Project ID 14201635).

Education construction activity is also on the rise in the East Midlands. In the first five months of 2018, the value of new construction project starts and new planning approvals in the sector, were both worth more than in the whole of 2017.

In recent weeks, work has started on a £10.73 million scheme of six student accommodation blocks for Nottingham Trent University Estates at Brackenhurst School, where Clegg Construction is the main contractor (Glenigan Project ID 18004220). Meanwhile, work is set to start this autumn on a £5.5 million extension at City of Leicester College (Glenigan Project ID 17453478), where VINCI Construction UK is the main contractor.

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