Lovell has started work on a major new regeneration scheme with the aim of providing quality new homes in Woolwich.
Demolition work on the Morris Walk North and South estate marks the launch of a new housing development on the site of former 1960s council blocks.
The six-year project aims to transform the area into a vibrant mixed community of over 900 one, two, three and four-bedroom homes comprising a mix of houses and apartment blocks.
Lovell has appointed specialist contractor Squibb to carry out the demolition of the old buildings and have commenced the soft strip, which includes removing all furnishings and asbestos from inside the buildings.
Hard demolition on the concrete frames and precast facades will begin in August and will take around 12 months to complete. Lovell says the materials will be segregated during the process and the majority of demolished material recycled.
The redevelopment will see over 1,500 new homes built over a 13-year regeneration programme.
Over the last five years, Lovell has already delivered 580 new open market and affordable homes at Trinity Walk, which is close to Woolwich centre, and will complete the final 100 homes by Spring 2021.
Over a third of the homes on the new Morris Walk North and South development will be affordable housing for rent or shared ownership through a housing association, with the remainder being for open market sale.
The partnership vision is to create a unique urban environment that is integrated with its surroundings, providing new homes and public spaces for the current and future communities.
It is anticipated that the construction on the main build will look to start in Autumn 2021 but is dependent on a number of factors including securing full planning permission.
Commenting on the development, Chris Wallace, Lovell’s construction director, said: “The demolition work is a very complex procedure which has to be carefully planned due to the height and layout of the estate, the vicinity of the rail lines and proximity of the local community.
“As usual, health and safety is our key priority and we will communicate to the local residents on a regular basis.”
Stuart Gibbons, managing director for Lovell London & Southern, said: “This is another major regeneration scheme for Woolwich which will bring state of the art, energy efficient homes to the borough whilst also driving job creation, apprenticeships, and economic growth over the next six years.
“Lovell was chosen for its flexibility and collaborative approach to long term partnership. This is a dedicated program of investment, partnership working and housebuilding.
“We are proud of what we have achieved so far with our partnership with Royal Borough of Greenwich at Trinity Walk in Woolwich.
“These fantastic new homes will provide further opportunity for people living and working in the locally [sic] to live in these homes at accessible prices.”
Danny Thorpe, leader of Royal Borough of Greenwich, added: “It is good news that these poor-quality houses are now being demolished, paving the way for high-quality homes in the future.
“The council remains committed to doing what it can to deal with the housing crisis and is delivering on its pledge to start 750 new council homes by March 2022 with its Greenwich Builds programme.”
Economic impact of COVID-19
Lovell’s parent company, Morgan Sindall Group plc – the construction and regeneration group – released its prelimary results for the first half of 2020 earlier this week.
Morgan Sindall delivered results for the half year to 30 June 2020, showing the company had been economically hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adjusted profit before tax was down 57% to £15.7m and revenue was down 4% to £1,363m.
However, the group says its balance sheet remains strong, with average daily net cash in the period increasing to £153m and period end net cash of £146m. With its secured workload up 5% to £8.0bn, the group says it is confident of future success and growth.
In the period, Lovell revenue was down 31% on the prior year to £165m. While the first quarter renenue was up 11% on the prior year, the second quarter fell significantly by 60% due to 93% of sites being temporarily closed at the peak of lockdown.
Operating profit is at £3.0m, reflecting the additional costs and lower unit completions from COVID-19.
Lovell says the second half of 2020 will yeild higher levels of construction activity across its sites and higher unit completions, with profit for the full year expected to be “up towards” its prior year result.
In addition, increased investment in existing developments is expected, and based upon the current profile, the average capital employed for the full year is expected to be c£165m.
Lovell regional managing director, Stuart Gibbons said: “As we announced our year end results back in February we could not have anticipated the deep and sudden impact of COVID-19.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, the strategy we put in place at the start of this year to work with leading housing associations and local authorities in long-term, trusted partnerships remains unchanged.
“While our construction sites were temporarily suspended during the pandemic, we worked closely with clients and partners to ensure a successful restart under new, safe working practices.”
He added: “The need to build affordable homes and establish new, vibrant communities has never been more relevant, it is our wide-ranging expertise and trusted relationships that will ensure the much-needed homes across the region will continue to be built this year.
“What COVID-19 has reinforced is that ‘community’ is more relevant today than ever before and we have a duty to ensure the homes we build with our partners enable families to thrive and new communities emerge.”