Page 1

BBLBNEWS / Issue 12 / Autumn 2012



BUILD TO LET - SAVIOUR OF THE HOUSING MARKET? Renewable Energy: Made in Britain Nigel Lomas Award 2012 The Littleton Centre Focus on: Walsall

Renewable Energy: Made in Britain ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain,’ a ground-breaking new report from the REA and Innovas, leaders in the low carbon economy field, was launched earlier this year. This report marks the first time that the turnover and employment figures of the entire UK renewables sector have been quantified and brought together in one place. The report finds that in 2010/11, the UK renewables industry was worth £12.5 billion and supported 110,000 jobs, with 400,000 in total required to meet the 2020 renewables targets.

Renewable energy: made in BRitain Jobs, turnover and policy framework by technology (2012 assessment)

The report also reveals: ƒƒ The overall increase in market value from 2009/10 to 2010/11 was 11% - outstripping economic growth over the same period (1.4%) by a factor of eight; ƒƒ Meeting our renewable energy targets would displace fossil fuels with a cumulative value of £60 billion to 2020, giving a significant boost to the UK’s balance of trade.

These findings came just days after the European Commission identified the green economy as a “key sector” offering “important job creation potential,” with renewables alone claimed to provide up to 3 million jobs across the EU to 2020. The report makes it clear that the UK is facing challenges on several fronts, but that taking a joined-up approach which treats all of these problems together will create the single most important economic opportunity of this generation.

Smart Money is on Renewables The United Nations Environment Programme revealed in June that renewable energy investment around the world has reached record levels despite widespread economic malaise. REA Head of External Affairs Leonie Greene comments: “Our recent report ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain’ quantified the big benefits that renewables are already bringing to UK plc. in terms of jobs and investment revenues. The UK urgently needs to develop a rounded

understanding of renewables investment, looking at benefits, not just costs. Failure to wake up to the vast opportunities and get fully behind the domestic industry will leave us lagging even further behind our international competitors.” “If Government is looking for a road out of the economic doldrums, it could hardly do better than strengthening our position in this booming global market.”

SOURCE: Renewable Energy Association:, Renewable energy: Made in Britain:



Aberdeen Street, Birmingham This 0.59 acre site is located on Aberdeen Street in the inner city area of Winson Green and had the challenge of retaining two large TPO trees at the front of it. BBLB’s design for housing and care organisation Midland Heart has successfully turned this scheme into an opportunity to create a distinctive and contemporary scheme which enhances


the local area. The development of 8 no. mix of 3 & 4 bedroom homes has improved passive surveillance and security on a previously vacant piece of land and provides accommdodation that both meets the local current need and is adaptable to meet the future needs of occupants.

Welcome to the Autumn Issue of BBLB News, we hope that you will enjoy reading this issue. In addition to pieces about BBLB and our projects we have also included articles about topical subjects which we hope will be of interest to you. If anyone else in your organisation would like to receive a copy please let us know. If there is anything you would like more details on, or you are interested to find out more about how BBLB could assist you with current or upcoming projects, please call Debbie Ward on telephone: 01384 880550.

The Old Library, Hagley Road Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 1QH Telephone: +44 (0)1384 880 550

Private Rent / Build to Let

Could this be the ‘next big thing’ for the UK housing market? There have been predictions for several years of an influx of institutional capital into the fragmented and mainly owner-occupied UK housing sector. In the last 12 months there have been a few developments that indicate a slow shift from prediction to reality including: ƒƒ Bouygues / Grainger £180M partnership to seed a new build to let residential fund ƒƒ Swedish foundation Akelius coming into the UK residential market acquiring a 16-unit portfolio with plans to acquire 10,000 units within 5 years. ƒƒ Survey conducted by the Investment Property Forum (IPF) that revealed more than 50% of pension funds and insurers plan to invest in the private rented sector within the next three years ƒƒ Potential introduction of a separate planning class for new-build residential property that will be rented out ƒƒ Government review, undertaken by Sir Adrian Montague, on the barriers to institutional investment in private rented homes1. The recommendations are due to have a formal response by the government later this year. Provision cuts across three main streams: • affordable with grant – requiring adherence to HCA guidelines re. DQI, Lifetime Homes etc • affordable without grant - non HCA • private rent – also does not require HCA compliance but market may demand a higher specification re. fixtures and fittings and service packages (eg broadband/satellite TV and maintenance)

In many ways the UK is ripe for investment in the build to let sector: ƒƒ Pent up demand for housing ƒƒ Affordability issues including those not able to pull together a deposit to buy ƒƒ Housing high on the government agenda ƒƒ Underlying strength to the rental market. However with several hurdles still to get over, not least the reticence of ‘who is going to test the market first’, and some feeling that the rental market is currently somewhat inflated, many large scale institutional investors are hanging back. Once a handful of schemes have moved forward and proven that the model works the tide may change with funds coming not only from the UK but also abroad where investment in residential real estate is more commonplace. A key factor for investors, at stated in the Montague report, is that despite an overall total return for residential property of 9.6% over 10 years – compared with 6.8% across all commercial property – land, construction and management costs will have to come down to meet income return targets. Design of the schemes will play a key role in ensuring that building and/or units are attractive to tenants, are of the right quality and robustness to deliver on requirements and crucially be economically viable. BBLB has been tracking the Private Rent/ Build to Let market with interest for some time, and we have developed ideas and concepts as to how the design and layout could differ from the ‘standard’ existing rental offer and could be adapted to suit people’s lives rather than them having to move for every change.

“With getting on to the property ladder now being out of reach for so many ‘inbetweeners’ the private rented market is a logical way to address demand for good quality, well serviced accommodation. Our design approach is flexible so that units could target both intermediate renters such as young professionals and early nesters and also longer term, potentially grant assisted, renters - with the offer being differentiated by service packages as well as design and layout. Simon Jones, Partner, BBLB

We have reviewed a mix of options such as ‘pods’ with shared living off a small number of large ensuite bedrooms, ‘crash pads’ for Monday-Friday city living (and weekends back with parents), two bed apartments with two double rooms allowing for the possibility of shared tenancy, flexible on site storage and ‘pick and mix’ options such as interiors/furnishings, communications, and car parking. Layouts for housing should also cater for shared tenancies such as double rooms and a large main bathroom instead of boxrooms and ensuites. Given the long term nature of investment in these schemes, service levels will also be important with onsite maintenance being key. 1. ‘Review of the barriers to instutional investment in private rented homes’ paper, was published by the Department of Communities and Local Government in August 2012, and is available for download on the departments website.



Nigel Lomas Award 2012 This years Nigel Lomas Memorial Award, presented annually to an outstanding student at the Birmingham School of Architecture by BBLB, has been won by post graduate student Maria Vrahimi. According to one of the judges, Mark Cowley, a part time tutor at the school and an Associate of BBLB architects, the competition was fierce at this year’s exhibition, with the work on display being of an exceptionally high standard. The Nigel Lomas Memorial Award was created to celebrate the life and career of a former Partner at BBLB, himself an award winning architect and a graduate of the Birmingham School of Architecture. BBLB architects and the Lomas family sponsor this Award, which is presented to a student whose

exploration through 3 Dimensions shows innovation in design work which, in the opinion of the judges, keeps the design philosophy of Nigel Lomas alive. Entries take the form of a 3D drawing, a model or a computer generated image. However, the finished design is not considered in isolation. Judges looked at how the design was reached and in particular how the design process was used to explore the concept ideas. Maria’s work epitomised what the judges were looking for and her work utilised several forms of media in order to progress her project. The winner of the Nigel Lomas Memorial award received travel vouchers, a prize that reflects Nigel’s lifelong passion for travel and adventure.

Left to Right: 2012 Winner Maria Vrahimi, Mark Cowley, part time tutor and Associate of BBLB architects


Department of Health ‘Care & Support Housing Fund’ of ‘up to’ £240M is Open for Bidding The Government has announced that bidding is now open for up to £240m of capital funding aiming to widen the housing options for older people and adults with disabilities by delivering thousands of new affordable and market sale homes. The Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund marks the first time that the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) - which will be administering the Fund - has run such a programme on behalf of the Department of Health. The fund is split into two phases, focusing on affordable housing in phase one, and market sale homes in a later second phase and run over five years from 2013/14. The fund will be managed as a separate programme to the HCA’s £1.8bn Affordable Homes Programme, and will build on the existing good practice identified by the HCA with the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government through the 2009 HAPPI Report.

The fund calls for innovation in developing housing opportunities, asking local authorities, and developers to work collaboratively with health providers to identify the best local solutions. This may well include using local authority land or existing health facilities to work with the fund to achieve the best value results that can be achieved between, housing health, care and support. HCA chief executive Pat Ritchie said: “This fund recognises the benefits which high quality housing opportunities for both older and disabled people can have in allowing them to remain independent for longer - raising their quality of life and helping reduce the burden on the health service.We are already delivering around 10% of our Affordable Homes Programme for supported housing and housing for older people, and the Fund is a good opportunity to build on this.” Minister of State for Care Services Norman Lamb added: “Most people want to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, and as the population ages more and more of us will need housing that supports us.


The Prospectus for the Fund, which includes full details on how to bid for phase one, can be downloaded from the HCA website. Deadline for phase one bids is noon on January 18, 2013.

“Our Fund will help create thousands of homes, providing people with more choice and an alternative to residential care.” Phase one is now open for bidding, will be for affordable housing and open to Registered Providers. The announcement also opens the opportunity for providers and the private sector to submit expressions of interest that will help the HCA and the Department of Health to develop a second phase of funding, focussed on encouraging delivery of a wider range of high quality, attractive housing opportunities in the private market. This will in turn help a greater range of homeowners to plan positively for their future.

“This mixed tenure development has been a great success in providing well-designed, energy efficient homes to local people. Buying a home in this part of the West Midlands is very difficult so it is satisfying to be able help first-time buyers to buy a home in their local area through shared ownership.” Anthony Riley, Group Director of Development and Operations at Waterloo Housing Group

Steve Boyd (SCH), Councillor Ian Courts, Anthony Riley (Waterloo) and Dr Ashley Lane (Chair, SCH)

Masons Close Opening Ceremony A host of organisations have joined arm’s length management organisation (ALMO) Solihull Community Housing (SCH) and Waterloo Housing Group to celebrate the official opening of a new-build development in the popular Olton area of Solihull. The development, called Masons Close, cost around £2 million and has been a joint venture between SCH and Waterloo. It has delivered 19 new homes; 15 houses with two or three bedrooms and four apartments with two bedrooms.

Ten of the homes are owned by SCH and have been let to people on Solihull Council’s housing register. The other nine homes, comprising five houses and four apartments, are owned by Waterloo Housing Group. They were sold through shared ownership by its lowcost home ownership team, Waterloo Homes. All plots achieve enhanced energy performance delivering both a sustainable development and lower energy bills for residents. This has been done by incorporating a number of approaches including solar PV

panels and water saving technologies along with increased building fabric insulation. All units have also been developed to meet the changing long term needs of residents through the inclusion of the Lifetime Homes standards. SCH Chief Executive, Steve Boyd, said, “With rising fuel prices and winter approaching, the enhanced energy-saving measures achieved in the new scheme will benefit our tenants enormously. This is the sort of development we have ambitions to repeat in future.”



Innovation Centre


Focus on: Walsall The Metropolitan Area of Walsall is located in the County of Staffordshire in The Midland Counties of England, it covers an administrative area of 104Km² and in 2001 was home to a population of 252,800 persons, representing 0.51% of that of England and 0.43% of the population of the United Kingdom. Walsall’s concrete Hippopotamus statue has become a much-loved landmark that has attracted international attention.

Ridiculed by many when first unveiled in 1972, the hippo statue’s popularity has never been higher .

BBLB works across both the public and private sector and has, since establishment in 1988, worked with many of the Local Councils in the West Midlands area including Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, Solihull, Dudley, Wolverhampton City, Redditch and Birmingham City Councils. Our team has worked successfully on a number of projects with Walsall Council, most recently under their consultants Framework, assisting the team to achieve the Council’s vision and objectives. For 2010/11, the Councils nine priorities were: 1. Improving health 2. Reducing crime and feeling safe 3. Developing strong and dynamic communities 4. Improving education and skills 5. Improving housing choice 6. Improving the quality of our environment 7. Reducing worklessness and creating opportunity and potential 8. Increasing enterprise and making Walsall a vibrant borough 9. Working smarter. Taken together, these nine priorities aim to create pride in Walsall as a place to live and work. Walsall has been in the forefront of redevelopment in West Midlands. Larger projects have included Walsall Manor Hospital


Leicester Street apartments

redevelopment, Walsall College, Waterfront South development worth and St. Matthew’s Quarter. Future plans which have given the ‘go ahead’ by the Government include the £500 million Walsall Gigaport which is a high-speed fibre optic internet environment for national and international businesses. Projects on which BBLB has worked with the Council include: ƒƒ myplace Youth Centre (above right, complete): A new, two-storey stand alone building located immediately adjacent to a new school, providing flexible spaces for training and a variety of activities as well as a health clinic.

ƒƒ Eldon House Respite Centre (due for completion 2012): A ‘home from home’ facility designed to welcome children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 18 with learning and/or physical disabilities ƒƒ Barr Beacon Language College (complete): First floor extension and refurbishment of an existing single storey building providing a new drama studio and music technology & digital arts facility. ƒƒ The Innovation Centre (above left, complete): A 14-19 centre specialising in the Health and Social Wellbeing diplomas and offering learners of all ages and abilities opportunities to develop enterprise, IT, personal, learning and thinking skills through ‘Hands on Health’ experiences, and vivid simulations which replicate real life situations in health and social care. ƒƒ Streetly Childrens Centre (complete): Adapt, remodel and extend existing accommodation to provide facilities for the wider use of children under 5 and their families. The new facility offers a high quality environment for family support activities, information sharing, fun and learning ƒƒ Various feasibility studies including: ‚‚ Chuckery Youth Centre ‚‚ Delves Nursery & Infant School ‚‚ Park Hall Nursery ‚‚ Rushall School Additionally BBLB has also worked on several residential projects, both private and affordable, with schemes at Leicester Street, Bridge Street and Butts Court involving conservation and conversion from other uses into residential accommodation. We are currently working with local developer Cordwell Property Group on the ‘Littleton Centre’ a leisure and retail venue in the centre of Walsall which will serve the town not only during the day but as a vibrant place to visit during the evening (further details on back page).


Staff Profiles

Christmas Gift Fayre and Swish! November 29th, Holiday Inn, Telford


Kick start the festive season and catch up with colleagues and friends over a mulled wine and mince pie, browse for gifts and even do a bit of swishing! Shepherd, Cyril Orchard Group, PCB Solicitors and BBLB are sponsors for this event which is being organised to raise funds for the Shropshire RCC charity. Equally as important is the opportunity to explain who they are to a different audience as many people that live and work in the county have never heard of them. We hope this event will encourage more people to get involved with the charity be it through volunteering, donations or directing those in need to the valuable support services they provide, such as the Carers Support service, Wheels to Work and Sensory Resources projects. And when someone mentions swishing eyebrows may well be raised... but it’s a less racy affair than you might imagine, though some regular swishers can apparently get quite passionate about it! SWISHING is simply ‘bringing along your preloved, gorgeous gear and swapping it for something else absolutely fabulous’ - recycling at it’s very ecoglamorous! The Shropshire RCC is a leading local charity working with individuals and groups to improve quality of life and strengthen communities in the

county. Together with a network of volunteers, they develop and deliver projects and services for a wide cross section of the county’s residents. “This event may seem like one for the ladies but we are encouraging the guys to pop in as well to support our fundraising and use the opportunity to get in early and purchase a few Christmas gifts from the stalls. There will be a wide variety of gifts on sale including handmade chocolates, cakes, homewares and handbags & accessories, as well as a few Christmas songs from a local choir.”

Favourite piece of Architecture The Glasgow School of Art completed in 1909 designed by the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. CRM was an architect, interior designer, furniture designer, painter and graphic artist, a true renaissance man. All his skills are in evidence in the bold simplicity, stunning design and architectural detailing that this magnificent building demonstrates. This robust building still functions in its unselfconscious way as successfully now as it did when it first opened its doors to art students over 100 years ago and whilst its architect has been much copied over the years, in his day he was a gifted and innovative architect and artist.

Debbie Ward, BBLB architects In addition to raising funds for the Shropshire RCC the event will also be supporting the Haven Refuge through clothing donations. Call Debbie Ward on 070971 042659 for more information, to book your tickets and / or to offer assistance with ticket sales - thanks in advance for your support!


BBLB Project Updates Malinslee Surgery, Telford Funding for a Primary Care Facility comprising GP Surgery, Dental Facility and Community Pharmacy at Malinslee has been finalised. The scheme is part of a masterplan which includes the already completed Old Park Primary School and Children’s Development Centre and its enhanced service provision will enable further promotion of healthy living whilst continuing to improve quality and service.

Residential development, Canley, Coventry BBLB has been instructed by Taylor Wimpey Midlands to assist with the preparation of the planning application for the development of a 13.3 acre site in Canley, Coventry. The 200 unit development comprises a broad mix of house types on this prime location to the east of Coventry city centre.


Favourite piece of Architecture Triangular Lodge in Northamptonshire by Thomas Tresham. It’s a gorgeous little building – an intriguing folly that has a triangular plan, 3 storeys, 3 gables to each façade (each 33 ft long), it has trefoil windows and anything else you can think of relating to the number 3. It was built as testament to Tresham’s faith at a time of repression in the late C16th and is full of religious symbolism, but it’s done in a playful and quirky manner. There’s not much to it inside but the windows and building form create lovely light and shade on the stonework.



E.ON Humber Gateway BBLB has recently drawn up designs and plans with which planning permission has been secured for the Operations and Maintenance Facility for the Humber Gateway Offshore Wind Farm project. The site is located on Grimsby Docks and the facility will consist of 17,000 sq.ft of warehouse and over 4,000 sq.ft of office accommodation with access to the docks for efficient transit for the construction and ongoing maintenance of the wind farm. Careful consideration was given to the design due to the proximity of the sea and the flood

risk issues. The site on the bank of the Humber estuary and programme and ecology issues have influenced the decision for the building to be pre-fabricated off site and erected on site which will reduce the on site activity and help to ensure that the building is delivered to the highest quality. The office accommodation has been designed to maximise daylight and renewable technologies including turbines and a photo voltaic array which will ensure that the building achieves an EPC A rating.

Humber Gateway offshore wind farm will be located 8km off the East Yorkshire coast, just north of the mouth of the river Humber. The wind farm will have 73 turbines and together the turbines will have an installed capacity of up to 219MW. Once complete, the wind farm will be capable of generating enough electricity to power up to 170,000 UK homes – more than one and a half times the number of homes in Hull. Work on the O&M facility is due to start on site in the new year for completion summer 2013.


Littleton Centre, Walsall BBLB is working with Midland property developer Cordwell Property Group on a landmark mixed use scheme in Walsall, the Littleton Centre. This high profile site is located on the Littleton Street ring road and adjacent to a brand new 85,000 sq ft Tesco Extra. The site will consist of 45,000 sq ft of retail and leisure uses over two floors, and there has been strong interest from both retail and leisure operators for new space within the town centre.


The team aims to put in a planning application within the next few months and start on site later this year for occupation end of 2013. Leader of Walsall Council, councillor Mike Bird, said: “Cordwell Property Group is one of the UK’s leading commercial property developers and we are delighted to have them on board with this project... Cordwell Property Group share our vision for creating a venue which will become a beacon for business, leisure and entertainment.”

Malcolm Wilcox of Cordwell Property Group said: “We are delighted to have been selected by the council and Tesco to create this leisure and retail venue which will serve the town centre not only during the day but as a vibrant place to visit during the evening. Its position next to Tesco Extra and the college, and its high profile position on the ring road will no doubt make it an attractive location to operators, which has been evident in the enquiries we’ve received to date.”

BBLB architects llp

BBLB News Issue 12  
BBLB News Issue 12  

Latest edition of BBLB News Issue 12, in which we feature a story on Private Rent / Build to Let. There have been predictions for several ye...