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Engineering+Equality

Daily News update Wednesday 9 April: Government issues new plan for compensation; Mace completes famous soap opera landmark

New Coronation Street set completed; Scheme promoter comes up with new packages for property owners affected by High Speed 2 (HS2).

Lafarge Tarmac’s proposed acquisition of Tarmac Building Products (TBP has been approved by the newly established Competition and Markets Authority, which last week replace the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission.

The firm proposed to buy TBP from Anglo American last year.

“TBP enlarges Lafarge Tarmac’s offer and will help us get closer to our customers’ needs,” said Lafarge Tarmac chief executive Cyrille Ragoucy. “It is a close fit with our existing business and TBP clearly opens up new opportunities for Lafarge Tarmac particularly in the house-building sector.”

 

Mace has completed ITV Studio’s new production facility at Trafford, MediaCityUK that includes the set for long-running soap opera Coronation Street.

Originally appointed as project manager to oversee design and gain planning permission for the site, Mace’s remit expanded to construction manager for delivery of the project.

The new 3.2ha facility provides film, production and support facilities for one of ITV’s most well-known shows, Coronation Street.

A total of 54,000 cobbles have been used, many recovered from canal side developments in Salford and Eccles and there are over 400,000 facing bricks on the lot, of which 144,000 were reclaimed from a derelict Salford street. Every last idiosyncrasy of the set had to be duplicated - so, for example, if the brickwork was “bad” on a particular building on the old set, it had to be equally “bad” on the new one.

“The project has been challenging but extremely exciting for us to be involved in. It has taken over 60 organisations and over 3,000 people to create and build Coronation Street’s new home,” said Mace project director Steve Gillingham. “The Mace Corrie team has done a great job in faithfully replicating the old set and the reaction from the cast, fans and the public to the new set has been incredibly positive.”

 

The government has today published what it says is an improved compensation and assistance package for property owners close to the route of HS2 on phase one from London to Birmingham.

Some elements of the improved package will be available from today and others following a further short consultation later this year.

From today:

  • an Express Purchase scheme is being launched for owner-occupiers of properties closest to the line, in the area known as the ‘surface safeguarded area’ (generally within 60 metres from the proposed line). Under this scheme, the government could buy properties at the full unblighted market value, plus 10% (up to £47,000) and reasonable moving expenses, including stamp duty. The scheme is designed to be quick, clear and as straightforward as possible to make it easier for owner-occupiers to sell their property to the government, if they wish to do so;
  • a Rent-back option will also be available from today, which will mean that those people who want to sell their properties (under any of the schemes being announced) but carry-on living where they are, may be able to do so; and
  • the Exceptional Hardship scheme will also continue to be available for those who have an urgent need to sell their home but are unable to do so because of HS2. The government has already bought 114 properties at a cost of around £67m from owner-occupiers living near the route. This is under the discretionary Exceptional Hardship Scheme for people with a pressing need to sell.

Following the further short consultation, the government also intends to introduce a Voluntary Purchase scheme by the end of this year for owner occupiers in rural areas outside the safeguarded area and up to 120m away from the line. Eligible owner-occupiers would be able to apply to sell their property for its full unblighted market value. Alternatively, if these owner-occupiers do not want to move, they can await the outcome of the further consultation to begin later this year on a Cash Payment of 10% of the value of their home (from a proposed minimum of £30,000 to a maximum of £100,000).

“I believe this package of compensation and assistance will enable us to help people more,” said transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin. “But I want to get it absolutely right, so I am asking for further views on some aspects before we finalise the plans.”

 

 

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