City & Country to transform disused Victorian prison into housing complex
Portsmouth will be developing a new housing development at disused Victorian prison, previously built in 1877. Heritage developer City & Country will be behind the project.
Richard Winsborough, Associate Director (Planning) at City & Country, said: “Restoring these buildings was of paramount importance to us when we purchased Kingston Prison and we are pleased that members at Portsmouth City Council recognised the need of delivering a new future for the redundant site. As well as providing fantastic, characterful new homes, the development will open up the prison to the wider community and enable the enjoyment of these magnificent buildings for years to come.”
The project will incorporate 230 homes developed by Feilden Clegg Bradley, alongside apartments which will be constructed from the Grade II listed cell block. Proposals also feature a café, preservation of the listed walls and a gatehouse.
The business has bought several other prisons; HMP Shepton Mallet, HMP Gloucester and HMP Dorchester in the bid to roll out similar housing arrangements across the country after gaining planning permission.
City & Country was originally founded in 1962, “specialising in working with the very best of Britain’s architectural heritage and sensitive landscapes”, successfully collaborating with “local authorities, English Heritage, Natural England, landowners, our development partners and other key stakeholders”.
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Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.