July 2019 Newsletter Main Image

July Newsletter 2019

July 2019 Newsletter

 

‘Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows, Research shows basic repair skills gap, Go-ahead for eight-storey student scheme in Derby, Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands, Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market.’

 

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Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows

Companies that recruit apprentices can see a return on investment (ROI) as soon as year two of the apprenticeship programme, according to new figures from The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership.

Using scenarios based on low, medium and high charge-out rates for unskilled and skilled work, the overall net costs and benefits of apprentice recruitment have been projected.

At the lowest rates, an apprentice delivers a net benefit of around £11,400 over the four years, and starts to make a return in year three of the apprenticeship. At higher charge-out rates, the apprentice begins to pay for themselves in year two, and by the end of year four, has created a net total benefit of just over £34,000 at medium charge out rates and £56,700 at high rates.

Research specialist, Pye Tait Consulting, carried out the analysis on behalf of TESP after speaking to 20 companies of different sizes and specialisms. Each company was asked about the weekly wages of apprentices over the course of the apprenticeship, as well as additional costs for course fees, travel, equipment, in-house training and the time spent by supervisors and other skilled staff for mentoring and support.

The calculations take into account the weekly costs of an apprentice and supervision, the percentage of time spent on supervision, and the increasing amount of time the apprentice spends completing the work of a qualified electrician.

With 95% of training costs in England now funded by the Government for apprentices of all ages, these new figures provide a strong case for employers to consider apprentices as a means of bringing new skills into the business.

For smaller companies that often struggle with the resource for managing the apprenticeship and initial impact of productivity, TESP believes these projected returns demonstrate that, with the support of a quality training provider, an apprenticeship will eventually pay off.

“Although it is a commitment, which can be daunting to small businesses in particular, investing the time and resource into apprenticeships will ultimately drive business growth,” says Ruth Devine, Managing Director of SJD Electrical and Chair of TESP. “As a small business owner, I have experienced first-hand that, over time, apprenticeships increase capacity and strengthen the business culture.

“A strong relationship with a quality local FE college or training provider is vital, however. Industry organisations such as the TESP partners are also happy to help and give advice. When I first started at SJD, I found the supportive network of fellow ECA members invaluable to navigate some of the challenges of managing apprentices and providers; it’s always good to benefit from others’ experience.”

Leading apprentice training providers, JTL and Focus Training, also welcomed the release of the ROI figures to support their employer recruitment efforts:

“The report is really helpful to us as a training provider. We’ve never been under any illusion about the value of apprentices, but the analysis will help us to convince employers of the tangible benefit to taking on an apprentice,” comments Liam Sammon, JTL’s Director of Learning and Innovation.

Bernard Collins, Curriculum and Quality Director at Focus Training Group, adds, “It is great to see evidence that having an apprentice not only delivers an individual who fits in with the companies’ ethos and work ethic, but also provides an appreciable financial return, even after making allowances for support and expenses.”

To read the report in full, visit www.the-esp.org.uk/ourwork/lmi

 

Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows

Apprentices deliver clear ROI, new research shows

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Research shows basic repair skills gap

Young Brits haven’t been taught basic home repair skills, according to new research. Less than a third (31%) of 18-24 year olds know how to how to change a light fitting, compared to 60% of over 55s. Just over a third (37%) of young adults know how to replace a shower head, whilst 65% of over 55s would be confident with the same task.

The survey, commissioned by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (WRAS), found that adults born after 1985 are increasingly unable to take on simple tasks.

Only one third (31%) of 18-34 year olds, both millennials and Gen-Zs, would know how to bleed a radiator – whereas an impressive 79% of over-55s would be able to do this quick job.

In fact, across the board of basic home repairs, those born in the 1960s and earlier are more capable of repairs than younger generations.

On average, the home repairs Brits feel most capable of are:

  • Bleeding a radiator – 57%
  • Fixing a squeaky door 54.5%
  • Replacing a shower head – 53.3%
  • Fixing a blocked toilet – 44.6%
  • Replacing a light fixture – 44.5%
  • Fixing a hole in a wall – 43.9%
  • Fixing wobbly furniture – 43%
  • Fixing a leaky tap – 30.2%
  • Fixing a leaky loo – 21.1%

Julie Spinks, managing director of WRAS, said: “There is a clear generational divide when it comes to doing repairs in the home. ‘Generation Rent’ seems to have created a nation of people who aren’t confident in dealing with straight forward DIY tasks, from changing a light fixture to even bleeding a radiator. Knowing how to do some of these tasks can save time and money.

WRAS is urging people to know which repairs can be done by themselves and which ones require professional advice.

What’s reassuring is that most people wouldn’t tackle more technical plumbing jobs themselves, regardless of age. A small leak can cause havoc in the home and is something most homeowners, renters or landlords don’t want to deal with, given the emotional and financial impact it could cause if it’s not fixed properly. It’s always advisable to use an approved plumber to resolve any leaks,” she added.

 

Research shows basic repair skills gap

Research shows basic repair skills gap

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Could an electrician be Britain’s top tradesperson 2019

In its tenth year, Screwfix is proud to announce that its Britain’s Top Tradesperson competition is now open, and electricians can put themselves forward for the top prize.

The annual competition by Screwfix, aims to celebrate the outstanding work and professionalism of UK tradespeople, resulting in one exceptional individual winning a £20k trade bundle, comprising of £10k worth of tools, £5k tech and £5k to go towards future training.

Screwfix will shortlist the UK’s top tradespeople to take part in a semi-final, before picking the top 10 finalists, who will travel to Screwfix LIVE at Farnborough to meet a panel of judges.

Caroline Welsh, Director of Brand and Marketing at Screwfix said: “As Screwfix celebrates the 10th anniversary of Britain’s Top Tradesperson, our goal is to find someone who is the embodiment of their trade. The search is on to crown someone who not only champions their trade, but also acts as an ambassador to help futureproof the industry and encourage future generations.

“Since we launched the competition in 2009, we have seen record levels of entrants year on year and we are excited to see what this year has to offer. We know from talking to our trade customers how much they enjoy taking part, and with such strong competition we will be looking for one high calibre individual”

Darren Staniforth, from NICEIC, the leading certification body for registered electricians, will be a part of the 2019 judging panel. Darren said: “Britain’s Top Tradesperson gives electricians and all tradespeople the chance to receive the recognition they deserve. We’ve been supporting this campaign for the past decade, and would encourage our registrants and other electricians to apply to represent the best of the electrical trade.”

Past winners include Plumbing and Gas Engineer, Michael Cairns from Edinburgh and 2018 winner, Carpenter, Stuart Roache from Northampton.

Speaking from experience on how winning the competition can transform your livelihood, 2012 winner, Michael Cairns said: “Being named Britain’s Top Tradesperson was such an achievement. It has allowed me to lay a stable foundation and further invest in my business; I now employ 15 people and continue to see year-on-year growth. It genuinely changed my business for the better. ”

2018 winner, Stuart Roache added: “Winning the competition last year changed my business forever and created so many fantastic opportunities. The accolade is the ultimate recognition a tradesperson can receive. I would definitely encourage others to enter; the rewards are life changing!”

Entries are open until 4th August 2019 and you can enter at: Screwfix.com/btt.

 

Could an electrician be Britain's top tradesperson 2019

Could an electrician be Britain’s top tradesperson 2019

 

Source: Electrical Times

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Plumbers too busy for time off

A Glow-worm survey reveals nearly a third of gas engineers and plumbers’ workloads prevent them from taking time off.

The survey found that on average, plumbers and gas engineers only take 18 days of holiday per year, compared to other UK full-time workers who are entitled to a minimum of 28 days’ paid holiday.

Glow-worm, in association with OnePoll, quizzed 300 tradespeople on their work-life balance and holiday preferences and found the amount of time they have off falls well short of the national average.

When asked which factors stop them from going on holiday, 39% of electricians and 30% of gas engineers and plumbers stated it was down to their busy work schedule. Cost is also a barrier for 39% of gas engineers/plumbers and approximately a third of builders, carpenters and electricians.

This struggle to take a break, combined with money worries, can have serious consequences on mental health. In fact, 49% of ‘general tradespeople’ and 45% of gas engineers/plumbers agree that ‘taking regular holidays is necessary for good mental health’.

Reasons such as these are why Glow-worm recently relaunched its Mystery Trip, it said, allowing 80 lucky heating engineers to be whisked away on an all-expenses paid trip to the now-revealed secret location of Vietnam. Installers can secure their place by hitting their personalised target of Glow-worm installations via Club Energy.

Spencer Clark, commercial director at Glow-worm, said: “Time off should be viewed as an investment in your wellbeing, rather than a detraction from your usual earnings. It doesn’t have to be a full week. Even just a day spent winding down and doing something enjoyable can help to re-set your mind and make you more productive when you do return to work.

“We know that time away from work can help to improve wellbeing and increase productivity, making initiatives like the Mystery Trip invaluable to tradespeople who feel as though they can’t any time off the job.

 

Plumbers too busy for time off

Plumbers too busy for time off

 

Source: HPM Magazine

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Go-ahead for eight-storey student scheme in Derby

Plans to develop an eight-storey student accommodation scheme in Derby have been approved by the city council.

Godwin Developments will transform the Agard Street site into 142 studio apartments for students from the University of Derby.

Gurdeep Gill, associate director at Godwin Developments, said: “We are excited to develop this site which will be the perfect location for students, as it’s just a stone’s throw from the University of Derby’s law school.

“As developers, we work closely with universities to ensure our developments contribute as much as possible to improving the wellbeing of students.

“The property will be designed to encourage social interactions as students are now looking for an environment that has a sense of community and provides both private and social spaces.

“At Godwin Developments, we strive to meet the demands of students themselves, by ensuring accommodation has high-quality personal space that allows them to concentrate on their studies in a space they feel safe in – enabling them to get the most out of their university experience.”

The Agard Street site is one of the latest projects to be added to Godwin Developments’ growing portfolio, which contains a diverse range of commercial, residential and mixed-use property assets in key regional locations.

The developer now has 3,000,000 sq ft of development space across the UK totalling £600m GDV.

 

Go-ahead for eight storey student scheme in Derby

Go-ahead for eight-storey student scheme in Derby

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Construction’s best performing “ultra sites” revealed

The UK’s best-performing construction jobs have been revealed at this year’s Considerate Constructors Scheme’s 2019 National Ultra Site Awards ceremony.

Highways England’s A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme was crowned with the highest honour winning the coveted ‘2019 Ultra Site of the Year Award’.

There were a total of ten Ultra Site award categories and, for the first time, the top-performing supplier within six of these award categories were also honoured with a special individual recognition award.

Hundreds of guests from the UK’s top-performing Ultra Sites gathered at the Plaisterers’ Hall in central London yesterday for the awards ceremony, which was presented by Ann Bentley, the Construction Leadership Council lead on Supply Chain and Business Models.

The aim of Ultra Sites is to achieve ever greater integration of a contractor’s supply chain to meet and exceed the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice.

Considerate Constructors Scheme Chief Executive Edward Hardy said: “Ultra Sites represent a real turning point for the construction industry, by providing a way for the industry to work more collaboratively and realise the benefits of this greater integration for their workforce, community and environment.

“The winners and finalists of these awards range from small scale local projects through to large scale regional multi billion pound projects. This clearly shows how the Ultra Site model can be embraced by any type of construction activity, no matter the size, scale or budget.

Click here to view the 2019 Ultra Site Award winners.

 

Construction’s best performing “ultra sites” revealed

Construction’s best performing “ultra sites” revealed

 

Source: Construction Enquirer 

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Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands

Developer Rockwell has submitted plans to transform Quay House in London’s Docklands  from a three-storey building into a 40-storey tower.

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets will now consider plans put together in partnership with FirethornTrust.

The proposals include a 400 bedroom hotel and 279 serviced apartments which will create 300 construction jobs during the building phase.

Jonathan Manns, Head of Planning & Development at Rockwell said: “We are extremely proud of our proposals, which will maximise employment and training opportunities whilst significantly enhancing South Quay and the surrounding area.

“Rockwell is committed to the redevelopment of Quay House and we are excited to transform the currently vacant building into a landmark mixed-use development.

“This application follows extensive engagement with the local community and, drawing on inspiration from New York’s “highline”, the proposed public realm responds directly to the feedback we received from our consultation events.”

 

Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands

Plans go in for 40-storey tower in Docklands

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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ECIC urges electrical contractors to declare diversification

As new laws have been announced to guarantee payment for solar homes providing excess electricity, demand for solar panel technology from homeowners is expected to increase. This will in turn present a number of new opportunities for electrical contractors looking to broaden their contract opportunities.

ECIC, the specialist insurer for the building services sector, is encouraging electrical contractors who are diversifying into renewable technology to make sure that their insurance reflects the new work they are undertaking, to help ensure they are adequately protected if they need to make a claim.

New government legislation states that all new solar homes and businesses exporting electricity to the grid will be guaranteed a payment from suppliers. What is being described as the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) will ensure that the owners of small-scale electricity generators with a capacity up to 5MW will be paid for each unit of electricity they sell to the grid – tracked by a smart meter.

Consequently, demand for renewable technology that generates this electricity is anticipated to grow, creating an opportunity for electrical contractors to fulfil this demand. However, change in work changes the insurance risk and under the Insurance Act 2015, contractors are under a duty to ensure that they present a ‘fair presentation of risk’ to their insurer. This means declaring changes in the type of work contractors are taking on.

Richard Forrest Smith, CEO of the ECIC, comments, “This new legislation has the potential to create a number of new business opportunities for electrical contractors. However, these opportunities can only be capitalised on if the contractors themselves are properly accredited and insured. Fitting solar panels and other renewable technologies have different risk factors, so insurance covers need to be adapted accordingly. Declaring these changes to their broker or insurer is essential to ensure the contractor is properly protected in the event of a claim.”

 

ECIC urges electrical contractors to declare diversification

ECIC urges electrical contractors to declare diversification

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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IGEM seeks installer feedback on low pressure gas supplies

IGEM’s Low Pressure Supply Working Group is seeking industry comment on a number of recommendations designed to address the root cause of low supply issues on the gas distribution network.

Following a series of cross-industry meetings, IGEM’s Low Pressure Supply Working Group has concluded that low pressure is not a widespread issue and that the design of the UK distribution network remains fit for use with the majority of gas appliances currently on the market. However, it has acknowledged that over recent years there has been a progressive increase in the capacity of domestic boilers.

“The major reason for this is the increase in the average net heat input of domestic boilers being supplied, largely driven by the requirement for instant hot water for showers and baths,” said Ian McCluskey, IGEM’s Head of Technical Services & Policy.

“As a result of the discussions, the group concluded that procedures put in place to deal with incidents of low pressure can vary dramatically across the industry. This can sometimes mean the customer is unable to use certain appliances once they are installed.”

The group also concluded there is a need for greater cooperation across the industry to improve communication and to increase the level of understanding of all aspects of the gas system across the board.

“In particular, the group has identified a need for clarification on the pressure requirements for the low pressure supply system and for processes and procedures to be agreed across the industry,” said Ian.

“It is hoped this will enable the various industry standards and guidance to become consistent in their requirements and will mean manufacturers’ instructions match those requirements,” he added.

The working group has developed a set of proposals to address the concerns of the industry, which cover limits on the normal kW capacity of a domestic gas supply service, harmonise procedures for installing appliances, and cover precommissioning, commissioning, post commissioning, conditions for reporting low pressure supply, how emergency service providers should respond and downstream testing methods for low pressure.

The Low Pressure Supply Working Group was formed by IGEM in response to a request from the Standards Consultation Forum (SCF), back in 2016.

It is made up of representatives from British Gas, Cadent, DNV GL, Energy Assets, Global Energy, Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC), HomeServe, Health & Safety Executive, National Grid, Ofgem, OPGO, SGN, Tuffentech, and Wales & West Utilities.

Following an increase in the number of complaints from installers concerning incidents of low pressure on the gas distribution network, the SCF instructed the operators of Cadent, SGN, Northern Gas Networks, and Wales & West Utilities, to investigate and formulate a response.

Unfortunately, many in the industry felt the resulting Energy Networks Association (ENA) gas industry bulletin did not sufficiently address the issue and IGEM was subsequently approached to carry out further work in this area.

The full proposals and industry comment form can be found at www.igem.org.uk/technical-services/comment-on-draft-standards. Those working in the gas industry are invited to read the proposals and supply comments by 26 August to technical@igem.org.uk or send them for the attention of Peter Hurst, IGEM Technical Officer, IGEM House, 26 & 28 High Street, Kegworth, Derbyshire, DE74 2DA.

 

IGEM seeks installer feedback on low pressure gas supplies

IGEM seeks installer feedback on low pressure gas supplies

 

Source: HVP Magazine

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Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market

According AMA’s latest electrical wholesale research report, prospects for the electrical wholesale market are taking a positive turn, and a lot of it is credited to a growth in online sales.

Despite the uncertainty that came with Brexit in 2016 and a slower output growth in 2018, the research report suggests that the market has undergone a steady period of growth.  In 2017, for instance, the market saw improved growth particularly in the domestic sector.

Factors supporting the market include sales growth in niche markets; innovation in product development; the establishment of new, specialist services and non-core products; and new legislation and regulations leading to a requirement for higher specification of products.

The research report highlights the factors which are negatively affecting market growth to be: continued public-sector budget constraints; uncertainty over the outcome of the Brexit process; price competition with many products in the mature phase of their life cycle; threat from other distribution channels, and longer product life-spans which have affected the replacement market.

Online sales of electrical products, however, are becoming an increasing important area of the electrical wholesale market. The growth in online sales between 2012 and 2017 was around 300%, compared to around 20% for the electrical products market as a whole.

Forecasts indicate that online sales growth will continue to perform strongly and achieve double digit growth each year from 2019 to 2021, when they are predicted to account for over 10% of all electrical product sales having represented just 3% in 2012.

The growth of e-commerce solutions among electrical wholesalers has aided the large nationals in particular, as they move towards adopting multi-channel sales. Most of the large national wholesalers now offer electronic versions of catalogues online and are operating online trading facilities.

 

Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market

Positive prospects for the electrical wholesale market

 

Source: Electrical Contracting News

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Heating tops the list of cost-effective home improvements

New research from self-storage experts Safestore has revealed that upgrading a property’s boiler and heating system has the highest return of investment when it comes to increasing a property’s value and is more cost-effective than other renovations and refurbishments.

The study looked at the typical cost someone would be expected to pay for various types of home improvements and the estimated value increase it might deliver.

  • With an average cost of £1300, new boilers/heating systems can boost your home’s value by almost 2% and have the biggest return on investment in our study.
  • Refurbished kitchens and lofts can bolster a home’s value by over 8% but their respective level of investment places them slightly lower.
  • A renovated garage or storage area can set you back up to £7000 but offer less than 1% of a home value increase in return, which ranks only above solar panels in terms of ROI (0.5%).

You can find the full study here

 

Heating tops the list of cost-effective home improvements

Heating tops the list of cost-effective home improvements

 

Source: Pham News

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Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

Leeds-based Town Centre Securities has got the planning go-ahead to build a 17-storey office and retail tower in the heart of the Merrion Centre in Leeds.

The new tower is planned to be built near the existing 12-storey Wade House and forms part of wider plans for the phased redevelopment and refurbishment of the Merrion Centre to make it a mixed-use destination.

The proposed new building will sit above the Home Bargains store and offer 170,000 sq ft of offices over 16 levels.

A four-storey disused cinema building, currently known as 100 Merrion Centre, will be demolished to make way for the commercial block.

Edward Ziff,  chief executive of TCS, said: “We have identified considerable latent opportunity within our Merrion estate which we believe provides a platform for future growth.

“We firmly believe we are on the right track with Merrion and will continue to invest in and develop the asset, broadening our offer and delivering more for Leeds from this important mixed-use city centre destination.”

Ziff added: “A critical pillar of our strategy is to create long term future value by building a significant development pipeline.

“Our pipeline now has an estimated development value in excess of £600m.”

Last month GMI Construction completed the developer’s joint venture PRS scheme Burlington House in Manchester.

 

Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

Leeds Merrion Centre 17 storey office block approved

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Six firms win £1.5bn Oxford Uni framework

The University of Oxford has named its preferred building contractors to deliver a £1.5bn pipeline of projects over the next decade.

The shake-up sees Morgan Sindall take top honours with places on all three framework lots covering small projects up to £5m, medium-sized projects up to £20m and large-scale builds.

BAM Construction and Wates also share the major project lot, while long term University builder Laing O’Rourke and McAlpine had to be content with reserve status.

Projects will include a mixture of new developments and refurbishment of some of its existing 237 buildings.

Capital Projects Partner Framework
Projects up to £5M £5m-£20m Over £20M
EW Beard Morgan Sindall Wates
Kingerlee Willmott Dixon Morgan Sindall
Morgan Sindall Midas BAM
Reserves Reserves Reserves
Speller Metcalfe BAM Sir Robert McAlpine
Stepnell EW Beard Laing O’Rourke

The UK’s oldest university tendered the framework to support its estates strategy and will route around £150m of construction work annually through the selected builders.

The first tranche of work is expected to be tendered through the framework imminently.

James York, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “The University of Oxford has an ambitious estates plan, and they have made the bold move to change how they operate to get the best from the market.

“We are extremely proud that they have chosen to put their faith in us. Providing valuable up-front advice, designing and building modern facilities fit for 21st century higher education, and doing so in a sympathetic fashion befitting Oxford’s heritage, is a brief that we are relishing.”

 

Six firms win £1.5bn Oxford Uni framework

Six firms win £1.5bn Oxford Uni framework

 

Source: Construction Enquirer

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Plan to expand Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park

Sheffield City Council has signed up developer Scarborough International Properties to lead the expansion of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park.

The developer will spearhead the major regeneration project in the lower Don Valley area, initially aiming to build 750,000 sq ft of business space for the sport, health and well-being sector.

This will be built on 70 acres of land around existing buildings such as the Fly DSA Arena, the English Institute for Sport, Sheffield, the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the Oasis Academy Don Valley.

Scarborough’s role will be working with the Council and all Legacy Park Limited stakeholders to assemble the site and lead the project team through the whole design, development, letting and funding process.

Scarborough is already under contract with Sheffield City Council to bring forward a £6m Community Sports Stadium at the park, incorporating more than 20,000 sq ft of business and conference space, which is planned to complete next summer. 

Among other teams, the stadium will be home to Sheffield United Women’s football team.

Scarborough plans for its first project as preferred development partner a building of around 40,000 sq ft of office space, close to Sheffield Hallam University’s ‘Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre’ which is due to open this Autumn.

Scarborough expects to commence work on its building early in the New Year.

Kevin McCabe, chairman of Scarborough said: “We have been building our commitment to the project over the last two years, signing up in 2018 to develop and run the Community Stadium, and we now look forward accelerating the delivery of Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park to bring jobs and economic growth back to the Lower Don Valley area”.

He said the vision was for the park to become one of the world’s leading locations for innovation in sport, health and wellbeing.

 

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