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«Controversial plans to build three skyscrapers on the old Coopers BMW site in Reading look set to be refused this week. Lochailort Investments' ...»

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NEWSFLASH 27th April 2015

We are still taking bookings for the Summer BBQ at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall 30th June:Download Booking Form

Come and join us at Clerkenwell Design Week - 19th - 21st May - This year the BCFA shall be

exhibiting in the Design Factoryin the Farmiloe Building on the first floor.

Controversial plans to build three skyscrapers on the old Coopers BMW site in Reading look set to be refused this week.

Lochailort Investments' planning application, which was submitted to Reading Borough Council last month, is for the demolition of the former car dealership in King's Meadow Road to make way for three tower blocks up to 28 storeys tall. The development, dubbed Swan Heights, would include 352 apartments as well as office, retail and leisure space. The buildings would also include a reception, concierge, library, club room, community rooms, a business centre, residents' fitness centre, storage and other community facilities. In a report set to go before the council's planning committee on 29 April, planning officers have recommended the scheme be refused.

Greenland Group has chosen Kier to build the first phase of its Ram Brewery regeneration scheme in south London, worth £170m. The contractor today confirmed it had been selected as preferred bidder on the Wandsworth scheme. The Ram Brewery will be delivered in three phases and has a total value of £600m. Kier will deliver a 411,000 sq ft building with residential and retail space. Work will also include the refurbishment and remodelling of the 56,000 sq ft Grade II listed brewery complex for new restaurant and retail space as well as a micro-brewery, a brewery museum and residential units. Enabling works will begin this month, with the first phase scheduled for completion in early 2017.

Plans have been unveiled for a further extension to the £260m Broadway shopping centre currently under construction in Bradford. The plans could see a new cinema, dining and leisure development added to the project. Plans went on display this weekend by investment group Meyer Bergman, advised by Westfield. The Broadway shopping is set to open Autumn 2015. Almost 70% of the £260m shopping centre’s units have now been filled, with leading retailers including Debenhams, Next and Marks & Spencer already signed up to take space.

Urban regeneration specialist Muse has submitted plans for a £50m London Borough of Lambeth town hall redevelopment scheme. The Your New Town Hall project will preserve the historic town hall while reducing the council’s core office buildings from 14 to 2, saving at least £4.5m a year. It will see several buildings on the island site around the town hall demolished to make way for 120 flats and new civic offices while the historic Grade II Listed building is revamped. Subject to planning work is expected to start later this year.

Outline planning permission has been granted for the £3.5bn Silvertown Quay project on land neighbouring the Royal Docks in East London. The 62 acre Royal Docks site will provide offices, leisure and retail facilities and 3,000 homes including affordable housing. Chelsfield, alongside partners Imagination Europe and First Base are planning more than 3m sq ft of mixed-use space on the 50-acre docklands site owned by Government. The first phase, which aims to be finished by 2018 in time for the new Crossrail connections, will see the iconic 450,000 sq ft Millennium Mills site converted into a hub for technology, media and telecoms businesses. Work began earlier this year to strip out asbestos from the former flour mill as part of a £12m grant by the Department for Communities and Local Government. At the core of the new London Quarter will be a series of branded pavilions to showcase and exhibit products from leading global brands. The 10-year regeneration plan will see 7m sq ft of new residential and commercial space built.

This will include:

3m sq ft of brand spaces 2m of residential (up to 3,000 new homes) 2msq ft of commercial space The developers claim the re-enlivened dock will be the world’s first cluster of purpose-built centres for product innovation. As part of the Section 106 legal agreement, the developer would provide £10m to Workplace, Newham Council’s job brokerage scheme, this would be used to provide training and support for Newham residents to ensure they have the skills needed to take advantage of the 20,700 new jobs the development is expected to generate.The application will now be referred to the Mayor of London and then to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Secretary of State for Transport before a final decision can be issued.

Kier has gained reserved matters planning consent for its latest mixed-use project at the King’s Cross Goods Yard site in London.

Badged R7 by developer Argent, the 150,000 sq ft will rise to 13 storeys in a west tower of offices above a cinema and shops, while BCFA NEWSFLASH Page 1 the East tower will hold 11 storeys of offices above retail space at ground level. Located to the north of the Regents Canal opposite the Grade II listed Granary Building and Central St Martins school of art, the scheme is worth around £60m. Work on R7 will start immediately; completion is due in 2017.

The Original Bowling Company (TOBC) is set to acquire rival Bowlplex, which operates 17 ten-pin bowling centres across the UK.

Electra Partners, which acquired TOBC for £91m last September, said it will support its portfolio company's acquisition, the financial value of which was not disclosed. Founded in 1976, Bowlplex operates bowling in Basingstoke, Birmingham, Blackburn, Brighton, Bristol, Camberley, Castleford, Cwmbran, Dudley, Dunfermline, Glasgow, Nantgarw, Oxford, Poole: Branksome, Poole: Tower Park, Portsmouth and Tunbridge Wells.

Renegade craft brewer Brewdog is launching an ambitious new crowdfunding project to raise £25m from its international fanbase. It is bringing back its hugely successful Equity for Punks scheme, which has already helped the company to raise £7m from Brewdog drinkers. Brewdog will use some of the cash to launch a Brewdog Hotel near its brewery in Ellon, Scotland, which it hopes will turn the spot into a tourist destination and help to further boost the local economy. The company is planning to build a 300hectolitre brewery next to its original brewery to help it meet global demand. A distillery will also be installed on the site, creating craft spirits. Around £7m will be spent on launching between 15 and 20 Brewdog bars across the UK, which would double the size of its current portfolio. The company has also earmarked £2m to grow its international bar division. Berlin will be the next target for a Brewdog bar. In this latest fundraising round, Brewdog is making 526,316 shares available with a minimum investment of £95 for two shares. Equity Punks – Brewdog’s name for its investors – will own 23pc of the company if the whole round is subscribed. The round will close on April 20, 2016.

A Qatari investment vehicle has taken a majority stake in three of London’s most prestigious hotels in a landmark deal.

Constellation Hotels - which is owned by Qatar Holding, the sovereign wealth fund backed by the Qatari royal family - has bought a 64pc stake in Coroin, the holding company which owns the Maybourne Hotel Group, made up of Claridge's, The Berkeley and The Connaught. The sellers of the stake were the family interests of Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, and Irish businessman Derek Quinlan. Constellation Hotels has become a major investor in the luxury hotel market in recent years, including the Intercontinental London Park Lane in 2013 and Le Grand Hotel in Paris last year.

Willmott Dixon has won a £14m contract to convert the Matrix Building in Aldgate for Dorset Hospitality International. The 13storey hotel conversion project, which is located on Aldgate High Street next to Aldgate tube station, will provide 270 rooms along with a restaurant, fitness centre and 1,600 sq ft of meeting space. It is Willmott Dixon’s first project for Dorsett Hospitality International, which operates 22 hotels around the world including at locations in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and the UK. Dorsett International opened its first London hotel at Shepherd’s Bush in 2014. Work will begin on site next month and is set to complete in December 2016.

The Abu Dhabi-based Eagle Hills, which is led by Emaar founder Mohamed Alabbar, has clinched a deal to build a massive waterfront development in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. The developer plans to spend $3 billion building the Belgrade Waterfront development, which will include Serbia’s largest mall, hotels, office buildings and apartments for 14,000 people. The agreement between Serbia and Eagle Hills was signed on Sunday, it was reported, and construction works are set to commence in September. Belgrade Waterfront will span 1.8 million square meters and be 68% owned by Eagle Hills, with the rest held by the Serbian government, according to Bloomberg.

EPR Architects are working to design the hotel and spa – in collaboration with Barr+Wray – at the upcoming Poultry Hotel in London. The five-star offering will occupy the Grade I-listed former Midland Bank headquarters – the vault of which was portrayed as Fort Knox for the climax of the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Slated to open in 2016, the hotel is set to feature 252 bedrooms, a restaurant, health and leisure facilities, rooftop terraces and two pools. There will also be a bar in the bank’s former vault – where Goldfinger's lethal henchman Oddjob, played by Harold Sakata, famously met his demise when he was electrocuted by Bond. Originally built between 1925-1939, the Midland Bank building was one of the most expensive bank headquarters of its time. It is considered to be British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens’ finest commercial building. The refurbishment will include a spa with an elaborate thermal zone, which Barr+Wray will procure and install.

The MCC has lifted the covers on plans for the second phase of the £200m redevelopment of Lord’s Cricket Ground. The southwestern project, which is the biggest phase of the redevelopment plan, includes replacing the Tavern and Allen Stands. It will also see the Thomas Lord Building redeveloped and extensive internal improvements to the Pavilion, allowing more room for cricket teams and staff. The Tavern pub will also be rebuilt inside the ground to create a more welcoming refreshment centre. The new three-tier stand – which is a single structure replacing two – will have just over 1,400 more seats to better satisfy demand from MCC Members. In total, the capacity of the new stand will be 5,520. MCC aims to submit plans this summer ready for opening the stand in 2019 ahead of that year’s World Cup and Ashes series, with the Pavillion improvements completed in 2022. First phase plans for the new Warner stand are now before members for final approval before work starts in September. BAM Construction has been selected to build the £21m replacement stand, which will provide 2,832 seats with improved views of the ground and new catering and hospitality facilities.

BCFA NEWSFLASH Page 2 Plymouth City Council has approved plans from British Land for a £42m restaurant and 12-screen cinema development at Bretonside in Plymouth city centre. Bristish Land will build a cinema complex, including an Imax cinema, which will open in 2017.

The new complex will restore the links between the city centre and the Barbican and waterfront. The scheme includes 13 restaurants and parking for 420 cars on two levels.

glh is to launch a new budget hotel brand called Thistle Express, with the first of ten sites opening in London next year. Thistle Express will offer modern design, stylish bedrooms, friendly and efficient service, as well as super-fast unlimited free Wi-Fi for everyone, all at great value.

Privately-owned Appleby Manor Country House Hotel in the Lake District is set to launch a brand new £1m spa in October. The new spa will offer a pedicure/ manicure suite, two outdoor hot tubs, a thermal suite and a hydrotherapy pool.

The Bulldog Hotel Group has acquired the Best Western Royal Oak hotel in the centre of Welshpool in Powys. The Grade II-listed, 18th century hotel offers 25 bedrooms and becomes the eighth property in the company's portfolio. Best Western Royal Oak will now undergo a major refurbishment, which will include a revamp of all the bedrooms and the restaurant. The group's estate includes two other Best Western branded sites - Admiral Rodney Hotel in Horncastle, and Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough.

Splendid Hospitality Group-owned five-star venue, Grand Hotel & Spa is to invest £15m in the expansion, with the creation 107 new rooms. Plans have now been submitted to City of York Council for a two-year renovation project, which also includes upgrading rooms in the existing hotel, converting the former offices block into a new wing creating 107 executive suites. The scheme also includes a new 160-seater restaurant with outdoor terrace.

LDC, the private equity investment subsidiary of Lloyds Bank, has acquired leading holiday park owner and operator, Away Resorts from CBPE Capital for an undisclosed price. Away Resorts operates four sites - Whitecliff Bay in Isle of Wight, Mill Rythe in Hampshire, Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire (pictured), and Barmouth Bay in Snowdonia National Park. The sites provide restaurants and a range of accommodation choices from luxury holiday lodges and cottages to camping facilities. LDC will invest £18.5m to support the team in delivering their organic growth plan, capitalising on the buoyant market for ‘staycations’ in the UK and providing capital to support further high quality acquisitions to complement the current Away Resorts portfolio. The business will significantly invest in its parks, creating additional capacity by developing existing planning permissions and upgrading accommodation, as well as continuing to improve its central facilities, such as swimming pools, gyms, spas, bars and restaurants and water sports. The business was founded in 2008 by Managing Director Carl Castledine, along with Neill Ryder, Finance Director, and Greg Lashley, Operations Director. Based in Hemel Hempstead, the business has successfully grown sales to more than £22m.

Bounce, the ping pong bar concept, will open a second branch in London's Old Street this Autumn before expanding to the US in

2016. The brand opened its first outlet in Holborn - Europe’s first and largest social ping pong club - in September 2012.

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