New organisation to deliver 100,000 new homes
L&Q, The Hyde Group and East Thames have entered into merger talks with...
Making a real difference to the housing crisis in London and the South East
L&Q, The Hyde Group and East Thames have entered into merger talks with a view to creating one of the country’s top four largest house builders.
Together, the three organisations will be able to build 100,000 new homes across London and the South East - 35,000 more homes than they could have achieved alone, representing an investment of £25 billion over the next ten years.
Half of these new homes will be for people on lower incomes, making the new organisation the largest provider of affordable homes in the country. In total, 25,000 affordable new homes will be set aside for first time buyers and 25,000 new homes will be for affordable rent, with the remaining 50,000 new homes for market rent and sale.
The 35,000 additional new homes built as a result of this proposed merger represents an investment of £9 billion and is welcomed by the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, who said: “This shows what can be achieved by combining the strengths of each organisation. It will make a real difference to increase their capacity to build, house and help thousands of people across London and the South East. I welcome the added focus on helping our ageing population and the launch of a training academy for staff and residents. In my mind, this is exactly what housing associations should be doing.”
The proposed merger of three of the nation’s leading housing associations is a positive step for the sector. In addition to building 100,000 new homes, the new organisation will also be responsible for managing 135,000 homes.
The new organisation, worth an estimated £30 billion, will continue to provide good quality homes as well as better and easier access to services for residents, delivering these through a new regional structure to ensure continued local accountability.
The merger will also see the creation of a new training academy with a £5 million a year increase in investment over existing training budgets. This will provide nationally accredited apprenticeship schemes, greater career development opportunities for staff and training and employment options for residents in the communities they serve.
Webuild and Lane to build railway in Texas
Webuild, formerly known as Salini Impregilo, has announced a US$16bn agreement to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston in Texas. The project has been described as the “final step” before financial closure for the company, which Webuild said was“foreseen in the coming months”.
Passengers using the 236-mile long railway, which was developed by Texas LLC, will travel in Japanese Tokaido Shinkansen bullet trains at 200mph, making one scheduled stop at Brazos Valley near Texas A&M University. This aims to shorten the total journey time between the two terminals from almost four hours to around 90 minutes, Texas LLC claims. The company hopes commercial operations will begin in 2026.
According to Webuild, the new line will aim to target an estimated 100,000 “super commuters” who travel between the two cities by car and plane every week. Webuild said it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 101,000 tonnes per year.
This contract is an update on a preliminary design-build agreement signed with Texas Central LLC in 2019, valued at $14bn. The deal confirms the US as Webuild's single biggest market, comprising some 35% of the group’s total order backlog.
Around 17,000 new direct jobs will be created as a result of the project, as well as 20,000 indirect ones. U.S. suppliers from states aim to provide an estimated US$7.3bn of materials to construct the railway in conjunction with services provided by Italian suppliers.
Webuild and Lane will oversee the civil engineering works of the project. This includes the tracks themselves, the viaducts, and depot buildings.
Three facts about bullet trains
- The fastest commercially operated bullet train is not in Japan, but China. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 268mph… with passengers onboard.
- Bullet trains are one of the safest ways to travel. Over 10bn passengers have been on board a bullet train and no-one has ever been killed on one.
- The “tunnel boom effect” is powerful enough to blow a freight train over. When a bullet train exits a tunnel at over 200mph, the resulting sonic boom effect is so strong, it could blow a normal freight train off its tracks.
Image: Texas Central LLC.