The much anticipated new Civic Centre and Library for Whitnash moved a stage closer this week with a unanimous agreement by the Town Council to sign a contract with Deeley Construction, which will make way for work on the new building to commence soon.
The project, which is being led by Whitnash Town Council in partnership with Warwick District Council and Warwickshire County Council, will see the creation of a vibrant new hub to replace the town’s existing community hall bringing a number of local services together. The new building will include a multi-use sports hall, library, community café, meeting room and offices for the Town Council.
Whitnash’s new £2million Civic Centre is being funded by grants from Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council, Sport England and a public works loan taken by the Town Council. An additional £20k for external elements such as landscaping, parking, electric vehicle charging points and bike racks was raised through a successful local Crowdfunding campaign.
District and Town Councillor for Whitnash, Tony Heath commented;
“A Civic Centre and Library on Acre Close has been a priority for our local community since it was identified by public consultation in our Neighbourhood Plan. I am therefore very pleased that thanks to the support from Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council and the efforts of local businesses and residents, we will soon have this vital multi-functional facility for the benefit of everyone in our town.”
The Leader of Warwick District Council, Cllr Andrew Day commented;
“A community hub is an essential part of every town, especially one as vibrant as Whitnash. This welcome new facility not only brings benefits to local residents, but provides jobs at a critical time in our recovery plan for Warwick District. Working in partnership with Whitnash Town Council we’re delighted to play our part in bringing this important and ambitious scheme to life.”
Steve Jones, Estimating Director at Deeley Construction, commented:
“As a trusted local contractor, we have worked closely with Whitnash Town Council and their partners to bring this scheme forward. For more than 80 years we delivered developments and engaged with community groups in Warwick District and will continue to do so to ensure the new civic centre and library respond to the needs of local people. We have been working on this scheme throughout lockdown and are looking forward to getting started on site in the near future.”
Councillor Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer & Transformation, commented;
“We have worked closely with our Town and District Council partners to fund and develop this project, so it is wonderful to hear that the new Civic Centre, including a new Library for Whitnash, is now one step closer.
“We’re delighted that our library service will be a key part of what will become a vibrant hub of activity for the community, bringing together a number of local services in a central location in Whitnash.”
The site of a former school in Wyken, Coventry is set to be re-developed as affordable housing after planning permission was granted for 39 homes.
The site was formerly the home of Dartmouth School and was then a temporary home for The Seva School up until September 2015.
Since Seva School moved to its new home in Walsgrave, it has been a redundant brownfield site for almost five years.
Planning permission has now been granted for 23 affordable rented and 16 shared ownership properties to be built on Tiverton Road, by Coventry-based family firm Deeley Group for leading housing provider Stonewater.
The site was originally purchased from Coventry City Council and upon completion will feature 39 brand-new homes comprising a mix of two, three and four-bedroom houses.
Stonewater and Deeley Group previously worked together on the successful development of another affordable development at Feather Lane in Nuneaton, which completed earlier this year.
The Deeley Group has a proud history of projects in the area with founder George Deeley building nearby St John Fisher school in the 1950s – who was also joined by a young Peter Deeley, now managing director, who drove a dumper on the site.
Peter went on to help build St John Fisher Church in the 1970s, and current Deeley Construction managing director Martin Gallagher was on-site to build the parish hall in the 1990s.
Now Eleanor Deeley, as part of Deeley Affordable Living, has secured the planning for the delivery of this new housing for the community.
Peter Deeley, Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “There is a genuine need for more housing of this type in Coventry and we are pleased to be able to deliver this development alongside our partners.
“We have a strong relationship with Stonewater and we are looking forward to working closely with them again, after the great success of our project in Nuneaton.
“With planning now approved, work will be starting on site in the coming months.
“This scheme will provide vital affordable housing for the community in Wyken and surrounding areas and makes good use of what would otherwise be a redundant brownfield site.
“Deeley Group has a history of development in the area, building St John Fisher Catholic Primary school in the 1950s and St John Fisher church and hall in the 1970s. Many years ago I drove machinery on the nearby site as I began my career in construction.
“We have great expertise in delivering developments of this type for local people, and it is the latest in a string of affordable housing schemes we have worked on in Coventry, Warwickshire and further afield.”
Matt Crucefix, Director of Development (West) at Stonewater, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Deeley Group on another regenerative project so that we can make better use of this brownfield site.
“Trying to manage the spread of Covid-19 over the last few months has shone a light on just how important it is that everyone has a place to call home and has really amplified the importance of our work as a social housing provider.
“We’re looking forward for work to get underway at Tiverton Road, so we can support the local community and bring more much-needed affordable homes to Wyken.”
A Midlands-based construction company has started work on a multi-million retail unit near Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire.
Deeley Construction, which is headquartered in Coventry, has begun work on the 22,000 sq ft unit at Wolstanton Retail Park, which will be home to nationally renowned home furnishing retailer Dunelm Mill.
The unit, which is expected to be completed later this year It is being built between the existing Matalan and Marks & Spencer stores at the retail park, and when Dunelm Mill opens its doors it is expected to create up to 50 jobs for local people.
The unit will be purpose-built for Dunelm Mill and feature a café, alongside the typical homeware and home furnishing goods sold by the retaile which has 169 stores across the UK.
Work is being carried out on site during the Covid-19 pandemic, with workers adhering to strict social distancing guidelines.
Deeley Construction’s work will also include improvement of the foundations of the Matalan unit, whilst still maintaining a fire safety route from Marks & Spencer.
Martin Gallagher, managing director of Deeley Construction, said: “Our team are now set-up and working on site to deliver this retail project, which is part of the continued development of Wolstanton Retail Park.
“The retail park is still busy, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and our team will be operating social distancing measures, while providing as little disruption as possible the general public.
“Deeley Construction has great experience with working in live retail environments and delivering purpose-built units.
“The new Dunelm Mill store will provide a boost to the local economy and provide new jobs for people in the area and we’re delighted to be working on this project.”
Ledbury residents are being encouraged to have their say on a new community-led development scheme before it is submitted for planning permission.
The scheme, known as Leadon Vale, is being developed by Midlands-based Deeley Group and the family-owned company is engaging with the local community through an online public consultation.
The new development will feature a community medical centre, locally-run children’s day nursery and a Lidl food store.
It is proposed to be built adjacent to the Old Wharf Industrial Estate, where Leadon Way meets Dymock Road.
There will be just under 200 car parking spaces at Leadon Vale, with the development offering a range of amenities and employment opportunities for existing and new residents in the south of Ledbury.
The energy-efficient buildings are designed to respond to the surrounding area with fitting design, including a green roof on the 23,412 sq ft Lidl store.
A public consultation was planned to take place in May however due to Covid-19 this will not be possible, so the event will be taking place online.
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “The Deeley Group always make a priority of engaging with communities wherever we work to ensure we create a sustainable footprint on the local area.
“Leadon Vale is in a fantastic location to provide support to local people and is within walking and cycling distance of those who live on the south side of the town.
“We would like to hear feedback from residents on the proposed development and ensure it responds to the needs of the community before submitting for planning permission.”
Woodlands Nursery will be operating the day nursery and it will be the site of their third pre-school, with other sites at Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.
The nursery will offer at least 23 full and part-time jobs to qualified and apprenticeship staff, while also providing in-house training opportunities for local people who are interested in a career in early years.
Oliver Marshall, Director of Woodlands Nursery, added: “We are delighted to be able to take forward these plans for a new purpose-built nursery school at Leadon Vale.
“We have been searching for a site near Ledbury for a number of years, having been told by local people and businesses that they desperately need an early years facility like this in the town.
“Leadon Vale is a really well thought out proposal, and as a local business we are delighted to be involved. We believe it will be a credit to the area.”
To find out more about Leadon Vale and to provide feedback on the proposal visit www.deeley.co.uk/properties/our-developments/leadon-vale/
Deeley Construction has landed a £2.1 million contract to create a test facility which is set to transform car parking and help shape the future of motoring.
Nuneaton-based global automotive engineering and development consultancy HORIBA MIRA is creating the UK’s first facility to test and support the development of automated parking solutions.
The ‘Trusted Autonomous Parking’ project is being delivered in partnership with Coventry University.
HORIBA MIRA has appointed Coventry-based Deeley Construction as the main contractor for the development.
It will feature a multi-storey car park consisting of four levels and off highway and on highway parking to replicate different types of car parking at the facility.
The facility will provide real-world parking situations to further support the development of self-parking solutions and is located on HORIBA MIRA’s existing City Circuit test facility.
Deeley Construction’s work will also include associated infrastructure, such as roads, cycle lanes and roundabouts, in the area.
It marks the 10th project that Deeley Construction has worked on at HORIBA MIRA and completion is expected for Autumn 2020.
Martin Gallagher, managing director of Deeley Construction, said: “We have a fantastic relationship with HORIBA MIRA, stretching back to our first project on the MIRA Technology Park in 2010.
“Our team are due to start work on site in the next couple of weeks and we’re delighted to be involved in this exciting project which could change the face of car parking for years to come.
“We will ensure the strict tolerances set in the specification are met to ensure HORIBA MIRA can carry out precise autonomous vehicle testing.
“The site is located on the existing, busy Proving Ground and our on-site team will ensure minimal disruption to the day-to-day operations at the facility, whilst also operating safe social distancing measures.
“We look forward to working alongside HORIBA MIRA to complete this very exciting project over the course of the next six months.”
Chris Reeves, Head of CAV Technologies at HORIBA MIRA said: “This new facility will deliver a comprehensive testing environment for the development of autonomous driving and autonomous parking solutions, enabling us to test the next generation of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies in a safe and repeatable way.”
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, on how construction is adapting to a limited return to site working
There is no doubt that parts of the economy are beginning to show signs of life – but the tap is only being turned on very slowly.
I was on one of many recent video calls when someone said that as we end lockdown it will be a little like when you have had your boiler repaired. When you turn on tap it splutters as the pipes refill and takes a while for the flow to be resumed.
On the construction side of the Deeley Group, the announcement of lockdown and social distancing meant our tap was tightly turned off and we closed our 11 sites.
I fully appreciate that it is very difficult for Government to be clear and concise bearing in mind the myriad of unprecented measures they are bringing in at the moment but there was, at best, uncertainty as to what was essential working.
Also, the advice that work would continue also came with a heavy hint that there was little understanding as to how a site works and that did cause concern in the industry.
Slowly the sector got to grips with exactly how we could continue working to a level while strictly adhering to the social distancing rules. That has, inevitably, meant big changes in how we work.
For example, signing in is now by text rather than an electronic fingerprint system; canteens are closed; site times, break times and lunch times are staggered; we can only have 10-30 per cent of the number of people on site to allow for social distancing.
There have been struggles getting materials – especially plasterboard – and many of the builders’ merchants were closed until very recently. That is all easing and the supply of UK-produced goods is getting much better, but there will be times when we are held up by the absence of products such as lifts or air-conditioning units, which have to be imported.
Interestingly, in a world of sub-contractors, there has been a total regard for the health and wellbeing of staff, which has been refreshing to witness particularly when, at the same time, there were images from major construction projects where workers paying no attention to the guidance.
Sub-contractors are only coming back to sites where they are confident that social distancing can be maintained and, when it can’t, there is suitable PPE used by all.
But no-one should be under the impression that this means we are back to normal. Social distancing is likely to remain in place for many months to come and this means that the rate of construction is going to remain low because of the limited numbers on site.
As ever, industry is going to have to find a way to overcome the hurdle. We might need
to extend working hours as we have the longer evenings arriving, almost operating a two-shift system to maximise the number of working hours on site.
I think an increase in weekend working is almost inevitable, but that will not only allow us to maintain progress as much as possible but it will also allow sub-contractors to earn, which will very welcome after the last two months.
Equally inevitable will be increased costs because efficient sequencing of a build will not be possible given the restrictions in place and the equipment shortages.
There are also other more trivial, but still important, consequences. Spirit on a site is always important but with people working alone we simply cannot interact in the same way.
There is going to be part of our morale that is absent as we miss the joke that we don’t hear, and the catch up over a coffee during a break.
But that is a small price to pay.
Eleanor Deeley, Deputy Managing Director of the Deeley Group, casts her eye over how the planning system is adjusting to life in lockdown
At a time when people have been panic buying shopping for toilet rolls, cutting their own hair and congregating for karaoke parties during the lockdown, it is refreshing – and indeed rare – to highlight the planning structure as a model of good sense.
Despite the tragic events which have crippled countries across the globe and robbed families of loved ones, other aspects of life have to try to operate as normal or at least adapt to the unique circumstances in which we find ourselves.
I think everyone has been pleasantly surprised, for example, how quickly people have adjusted to working from home and meeting virtually.
It would have been all too easy for development and construction to grind to a total halt. While many of the aspects of the profession have been rendered impossible through restrictions, the Government flexing planning regulations has allowed a great deal of work to continue when otherwise it would have been forced to cease.
The change has allowed more planning matters to be agreed under delegated powers which means that there continues to be a flow of applications being processed.
As with all aspects of business during the lockdown period, precise preparation and clear communication are vital in ensuring officers have as full a picture as possible allowing them to be comfortable they are able to make the right decisions.
The changes to planning regulations have also given council’s certain freedoms to decide the best ways to operate within guidelines.
Planning meetings can, for example, be held remotely with members logging in over the internet or on the telephone. The location of a meeting can now be defined digitally such as a web address or video conference call rather than a physical place.
As long as committee members, officers and applicants can hear and be heard then a meeting can go ahead. Contributions from the members of the public if they are allowed to speak can be registered in advantage.
I wonder how many times committees would like to have had a “mute facility” at their disposal in real meetings!
Public consultations are, by their very nature, far harder to carry out during lockdown yet the Local Government Association Planning Advisory Service has urged local authorities to press on employing social media, interactive maps and online information, and utilising virtual groups through channels such as Facebook.
These are still early days relative to public consultations and there are more formal and structured elements to the process which may not be able to be conducted remotely, and there is talk of guidance being flexed to make that possible should this situation continue.
There are elements which have proved trickier to overcome. Some smaller councils do not have it within their constitution to make decisions without a physical meeting while traffic counts – a key factor in planning applications and consents – are impossible to measure when we are restricted to essential journeys only.
Again, if lockdown continues then the system will have to adapt and research has shown that more than three quarters of councillors are behind the process continuing virtually until the crisis is behind us.
What this dreadful time has shown is that, when the pressure is on and needs must, the planning system, which at times seems massively inflexible, can be shaped and moulded to mutual benefit.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that spirit of understanding and mutual working continued long after this horrible period is over?
Leading housing provider Stonewater has been working with construction and development firm Deeley Group and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council to develop much-needed affordable housing as part of the town’s wider regeneration project.
Feather Lane is a brand-new development of 27 homes built in partnership with The Deeley Group, which has been at the forefront of regeneration in Bermuda over several decades – aiming to boost economic growth across the town.
The scheme, which has benefited from Homes England grant funding as a result of Stonewater’s strategic partnership with Guinness, consists of eight two-bedroom and eleven three-bedroom affordable rent homes, as well as four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom shared ownership homes.
The average home in Nuneaton is currently priced at around £176,284, which is more than seven times the typical local wage. However, shared ownership is a part-buy part-rent scheme offering an affordable route to home ownership for first time buyers and local people struggling to get a foot on the property ladder.
Matt Crucefix, Director of Development (West) at Stonewater, said: “We are absolutely clear on our vision of giving everyone the opportunity to have a place that they can call home at Stonewater and we are always striving to find opportunities to make that vision a reality. It has been a pleasure working with The Deeley Group to transform this site and not only meet local housing needs, but support Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council with improving the local economy.”
Peter Deeley, managing director at the Deeley Group, said: “We are thrilled to have worked in partnership with Stonewater and Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council to bring forward much needed affordable housing for the local community.
“Bermuda is an area which is very close to our hearts as a company as we have been working on the regeneration of this part of Nuneaton for decades and this is another welcome addition.”
Clare Golby, Councillor for Arbury at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said: “I was invited to the official opening of the housing scheme at Feather Lane and was really impressed with what has been delivered. Stonewater’s development is well thought-out, and the homes are all spacious and lovely. Most importantly, the residents we spoke to were very happy with their new homes. This development compliments the earlier phases of the Feather Lane estate too, so overall I was really pleased.”