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Investment in new Hartlepool student accommodation complete

Thirteen’s design and delivery team have worked in partnership with Forrest to convert the existing facilities at Titan House, on York Road into specialist accommodation for students attending The Northern School of Art in Hartlepool.

The work has seen the existing one and two-bedroom flats reconfigured to provide 44 open-plan and one bedroom flats with their own private kitchen and bathroom. A new communal room has been created as part of the new design on each floor with a lounge, kitchen and laundry area.

The project itself was not without its challenges, ensuring that the accommodation was ready in time for the new academic term, but these were overcome due to the commitment of the team working together.

Thirteen’s director of asset management and sustainability Paul Jenkins said: “We’ve worked closely with the college, contractors and partner organisations to ensure that the students have modern, secure and safe accommodation.

“While there is a visible difference throughout the building, a lot of essential work has been done that you can’t see, including new fire safety systems, a plant room to boost the water pressure and essential mechanical and electrical work.”

Darroch Baker, divisional director at Forrest said: “The completion of this refurbishment and fire safety work, ready in time for the new academic year, enabled this prominent development to gain a new lease of life and transform into much needed accommodation for students to call home for years to come. This first project with Thirteen is demonstration of a great working partnership.”

Thirteen will continue to manage the accommodation alongside the existing student residences at Crown Halls and Lime Crescent.


£28m Salford Quays Development Tops Out

Property investment consultancy Knight Knox and developer X1 have celebrated the topping out of X1 The Gateway, a £28 million residential development in Salford Quays.

Representatives from both companies, as well as main contractor Forrest, recently gathered on top of the 20-storey, 191-unit scheme to mark the construction milestone.

X1 The Gateway, which comprises studio to three-bedroom apartments, will provide premium living in Salford Quays, one of the UK’s busiest rental markets. Residents will also be able to make use of amenities such as an on-site gymnasium, a management office and secure bicycle storage, while parking will be available for selected units.

The development is within walking distance of MediaCityUK and the Salford Quays waterfront, with the nearby Metrolink tram station allowing easy access to Manchester city centre.

First launched in February 2016 and selling out in December of the same year, X1 The Gateway follows in the footsteps of the neighbouring X1 The Exchange, which is completed and fully occupied.

Andy Phillips, commercial director at Knight Knox, said: “We have a big presence in Salford Quays and are delighted to announce the topping out of X1 The Gateway. It will complement our existing developments in the area and bring more high quality accommodation to an area that doesn’t have enough to meet demand.

“The ongoing growth of MediaCityUK and the wider Salford Quays locale ensures that developments like X1 The Gateway are sure to be popular with residents far into the future.”

Melissa Green, operations and regional director at X1, said: “With X1 The Exchange proving so popular since its completion in June 2016, we are excited about the progress of X1 The Gateway.

“We are looking forward to welcoming residents to the development upon completion and being able to provide even more homes for people in this busy market.”

Ross Latham, project director at Forrest, added: “Marking the milestone of topping out on this significant scheme is a time for the entire project team to come together and celebrate progress to date. The ceremony was held on the rooftop, with fantastic views of Salford Quays, and all attendees signed their company names onto the concrete core, which will remain on the building for years to come”.

For more information about X1 The Gateway, or any other Knight Knox developments, please visit


Forrest Selected for Fifth Flagship Project with X1

X1 has appointed Forrest as main contractor for their fifth flagship residential scheme together.

X1 Chatham Waters, which is part of a wider £650 million luxury masterplan by Peel Land and Property, will overlook the historic Chatham Docks in a prime waterfront location just 45 minutes from central London by train.

The 199 luxury apartment scheme has a development value of £57 million and will raise the bar for residential accommodation in the area. Three-bedroom penthouse apartments will boast exceptionally large wrap around balconies, dual aspect garden terrace apartments will feature private green spaces, three-bedroom apartments have two balconies, and one and two-bedroom apartments will include exceptionally large glazed balconies.

Designed by DK-Architects, residents will have access to a large private gym, a double-height concierge atrium, an exclusive private residents’ courtyard garden overlooking the docks and secure internal private car parking.

Shaun Jones, construction director at Forrest said, “We are excited to be continuing our ongoing relationship with X1 by starting work on another significant open market apartment scheme and are currently working closely with the local supply chain to provide opportunities for the network of local businesses in the area”.

Melissa Green, operations and regional director at X1, said: “The local area is perfect for young renters. The wider master plan will see a unique marina destination created, with tenants benefiting from the tranquility of waterside living while also being within commuting distance of central London”.

Andy Philips, commercial director at Knight Knox, added: “X1 Chatham Waters is a fantastic development which is sure to be extremely popular. Aside from the stunning waterfront location, the apartments are on average considerably larger than those at other nearby developments and, in most cases, actually in excess of the national space standards.”

Forrest completed X1 Eastbank in 2016 and is currently nearing completion on X1 The Plaza and X1 The Gateway, and on site with X1 The Landmark.


Developing Titan House to provide homes for students

Work has started on a major revamp to a landmark building in Hartlepool that will provide essential student accommodation in the area.

Titan House on York Road in the town is undergoing a number of changes as Thirteen works to provide accommodation for students attending Cleveland College of Art and Design’s (CCAD) university campus in Hartlepool.

The work inside the building – which is being carried out by contractor Forrest – will see the facilities reconfigured from the existing one and two-bedroom flats to provide 44 open-plan and one-bedroom flats for CCAD students.

All the flats will have their own private kitchen and bathroom, and students will have access to a dedicated communal room which will give them key socialising space.

Thirteen worked with CCAD to identify appropriate accommodation in Hartlepool to house an expected increase in student numbers from the start of the new academic year in September.

Titan House was identified as a suitable location for student accommodation and agreement was reached between Thirteen and the college to redevelop the building to provide homes for students in time for the 2018/19 academic year, due to the building having a number of vacant properties which meant that it was under-utilised.

Chris Smith, Executive Director of Service Delivery and Development said: “The development work on the building will provide college students with modern, safe and secure accommodation to help them settle in Hartlepool, while also securing the future of Titan House.

“As well as students being able to access quality accommodation right in the town centre, local businesses will also benefit from the increased number of residents in the area, as they may make use of the wide range of services including the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, local cafes, bars and other leisure facilities.”

Titan House is a five minute walk from the CCAD campus on Church Street and the investment work on the building will add to the 81 student bed spaces at Crown Halls and Lime Crescent that Thirteen already manages.

Pat Chapman, Vice Principal from Cleveland College of Art and Design, said: “The College was delighted to work with Thirteen once again, to provide much needed high quality accommodation for our growing numbers of students.

“It is really important to us that we provide secure, attractive places for students to live so that their experience of living in the town matches the pre-eminent specialist creative learning they encounter at the College. As we grow, attracting more students from across the UK this is a good news story for the town.”

 Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest said: “Commencing this work at Titan House marks our first project with Thirteen. It further supports Forrest’s solid track record in delivering high quality refurbishment and remodelling projects and will give this significant asset a new lease of life and provide quality homes for students.”  The work is due to be completed in time for students to move-in for the new term in September.

Moving forward, Thirteen will manage the accommodation alongside the existing student residences at Crown Halls and Lime Crescent.


Forrest Completes Triangulum Energy Scheme at MMU

The first phase of a new partnership has seen Forrest deliver a full turnkey solar PV solution at the Brooks Building, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Triangulum is a five year €25 million Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Union to demonstrate cutting-edge smart city technologies and roll them out across the globe. Over a five-year period, Triangulum will transform designated urban districts into smart quarters in three ‘lighthouse cities’ Manchester (UK), Eindhoven (Netherlands) and Stavanger (Norway). Concepts learnt will then be transferred to the ‘follower cities’ of Leipzig (Germany), Prague (Czech Republic), Sabadell (Spain) and Tianjin (China).

As well as delivering significant energy savings, the solar PV install at Birley campus is demonstrating how ‘smart green growth’ can reduce carbon emissions whilst boosting the economy. Led by Manchester City Council, the 157kW system will assist in transforming the ‘Manchester Corridor’, which contains around 72,000 students, into a smart city district.

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest said “As a market leading innovator in the energy sector, Forrest is delighted to be partnering with Manchester City Council and Manchester Metropolitan University, as part of this international project. By being selected as a key Triangulum delivery partner, we are ideally positioned to drive energy efficiency in Manchester and across the UK”.

Mark Duncan, Resources and Programmes Lead at Manchester City Council stated “Triangulum is part of a portfolio of Smart City projects delivered by Manchester City Council.  The innovative energy and carbon saving measures developed here have the potential to be scaled up across the City, leading to further cost and energy savings”.

To view the solar PV drone footage click here.


Success for Forrest on the ForViva Refurbishment Framework

Forrest has been appointed to the four-year ForViva Group Refurbishment Contractors Framework for the third consecutive time.

The relationship dates back to 2009 when Forrest was first engaged on improvement works. The main contractor has now been successful in both tendered Lots; Internals, External and Environmental Works with a value of up to £2 million and also Block Works of a value of up to £3 million. Refurbishment works will vary from kitchens and bathrooms, fencing and boundary walls to communal and structural works on both high and low rise blocks.

Owning and managing 24,000 homes across the North West, ForViva has valued the Framework at around £25 million with the additional opportunity for other Social Housing Providers in the UK to be able to procure works via this route, potentially increasing this lifetime value.

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director stated “Fostering long-term partnerships is the bedrock of our business and this latest agreement with ForViva is testament to the strength of the relationship between the two organisations which has been established for many years now. With our refurbishment expertise being a core service offering, particularly within the social housing sector, we are delighted to be awarded a place on this Framework”.


North West homeowners offered free double glazing to tackle road noise

Around 600 homeowners in the North West who live near motorways or major A roads could soon get free double glazing to reduce noise levels.

A new Highways England initiative will see the owners of more than 3,000 homes across the country being offered upgrades to windows, bi-folding doors and patio doors in bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and studies by spring 2020.

Funding for the free noise insulation scheme is part of a £39 million special fund which Highways England is using to reduce noise levels for people living close to motorways and major A roads; it also includes installing noise barriers and low-noise road surfaces.

Ian Holmes, Principal Noise Advisor at Highways England, said: “Motorways are vital for connecting the country and supporting the economy but, at a local level, noise from the vehicles using them can affect people’s health and wellbeing.

“We’re committed to tackling traffic noise across the country and I’d urge anyone who receives a letter from us to get in touch; the scheme is entirely free, from the initial survey to the installation of the new windows and ventilation units.

Highways England has identified locations where new glazing will be the best solution for reducing noise levels, and the owners of some 3,000 eligible properties will be contacted over the next few months to be offered free windows and doors.

Ventilation units will also be fitted which allow air into rooms without windows needing to be opened.

A Cheshire couple, who live less than 80 metres away from a busy motorway, have become the first in England to benefit from the free double glazing scheme.

Fred and June Glass from Frodsham moved into their home around two years ago and were contacted by Highways England contractors due to its location close to the motorway.

The stretch of the M56 near their home is used by over 124,000 vehicles every day, meaning they previously had to put up with constant traffic noise at all times of the day and night. Now, thanks to the scheme, the noise levels in their lounge and bedroom are like a library.

Mr Glass said: “We are delighted to have new double glazed windows and frames installed, free of charge, to help with reducing the noise levels.

“The entire process has been really easy and the communication with Highways England’s contractor, Forrest, and the care taken during the installation was superb.

“We’re really satisfied with the end result and have noticed a huge difference in day-to-day noise levels.”

Highways England has appointed Forrest to carry out the first phase of its free noise insulation initiative.

Darroch Baker, Divisional Director at Forrest, said: “As a contractor with the ability to manage all aspects of this important scheme, including resident communication, property surveying and installation of the proposed improvements, we are thrilled to be appointed by Highways England.

“The project is a great opportunity to contribute to improvements in the health and quality of life of the population most exposed to high traffic noise levels.”

More details on the free noise insulation initiative are available at


School children unveil safety-themed artwork at Stockbridge Village scheme

School children from across Stockbridge Village gathered at The Withens housing development on Friday, to unveil designs that they have produced for hoardings at the site.

Villages Housing Association, a member of the ForViva Group, is investing £12.4 million in The Withens extra care facility, which is being built on land next to the older people’s apartments at Roughsedge House.

The scheme will include 90 new properties, including 64 extra care homes and 26 bungalows for affordable rent, and will be the first new homes built in Stockbridge Village for a decade.

Children from Stockbridge Village Primary School, St Albert’s Catholic Primary School and St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School all created artwork for the site based on health and safety and what makes a safe construction site.

The youngsters got kitted out in their own hard hats and high visibility vests as they took part in a health and safety workshop on the site run by contractor Forrest.

Six pupils from Stockbridge Village Primary School have now formed a Health and Safety Team that will carry out mini site visits, document the development by taking photographs and send out a newsletter to parents about the progress on site.

The children will also meet each term with the Site Manager and the school’s Chair of Governors to give feedback from their school and be involved in some decision making.

Nigel Sedman, Director of Investment and Regeneration at ForViva, said: “We were delighted to welcome pupils from local primary schools along to The Withens to unveil their fantastic artwork – it really brightens up the site.

“It’s great news that Stockbridge Village Primary School’s new Health and Safety Team will see pupils even further involved with The Withens, which will provide the first new homes in the area for ten years.”

Ted Macdougal, Divisional Director from Forrest said: “Health and safety is the number one priority in our Business so working with ForViva to proactively engage with children across Stockbridge has been really useful to raise awareness of potential hazards or risks in the near vicinity of a live construction site, all in a fun way. The artwork, which is installed on the perimeter hoarding of the site, raises a smile every time our operatives arrive on site.”

Work started on site at The Withens in August 2017 and completion of the facility and bungalows ear-marked for February 2019.


Ground Breaking Work Starts at Liverpool Waters Development

Building work at Liverpool Waters, one of Europe’s largest redevelopment projects, is officially underway after a ground-breaking ceremony for Plaza 1821 marked the beginning of a wave of construction work at Princes Dock.

Plaza 1821 is a £21 million, sixteen-storey residential tower which will house 105 one and two bedroom apartments. The building will also have dedicated amenity space on the ground floor.

Plaza 1821 is a PRS (Private Rented Sector) development by Peel Land and Property on behalf of The Regenda Group. North West based construction firm Forrest, has been appointed as the construction partner for the project. Once complete, Plaza 1821 will be owned and managed by Redwing Living, a subsidiary of Regenda.

The new development will be the first building to be constructed since Peel unveiled its vision for the 60-hectare Liverpool Waters site just over a decade ago. Two other buildings, Your Housing Group’s Hive City Docks and Moda Living’s The Lexington, are also due to begin construction at Princes Dock in the near future.

The news is the latest in a series of major announcements regarding the £5 billion Liverpool Waters development as the project moves into its delivery phase. Last year saw the revised masterplan for Central Dock unveiled, significant progress on plans for the new Liverpool Cruise and Isle of Man ferry terminals, planning permission being granted for the first development at Central Dock and Everton Football Club exchanging contracts with Liverpool Waters to make Bramley-Moore Dock the club’s new home as they finalise plans to leave Goodison Park.

Lindsey Ashworth, development director at Liverpool Waters said: “2017 was a breakthrough year for Liverpool Waters so it is fitting that the first building work now starts this new year. 2018 will be a significant year for the project and Plaza 1821 marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter here and we are looking forward to seeing our vision for Liverpool Waters becoming a reality.”

Neil Baumber, development director for residential at Peel Land and Property, said: “This is the first PRS development that Peel Land and Property has developed and it is great to have Regenda and Forrest as our partners on this project. We are all focussed on expanding the residential offering available at Liverpool Waterfront and delivering a quality development that is in keeping with this prime location.”

Fiona Coventry, managing director of Redwing Living, said: “We’re really excited to see work begin on Plaza 1821, which is a flagship development for the Regenda Group and Redwing Living, and part of our ambitious plans for the Liverpool City Region. Plaza 1821 will offer beautiful and spacious apartments in a highly sought after location, with views over the River Mersey and back across the city. Liverpool Waters is a spectacular project, and we are rightly proud to be involved.”

Mark Nicholson, CEO at Forrest said: “Commencing work on creating this high quality residential development on such a prestigious site as Liverpool Waters is a truly exciting opportunity for us. The culmination of six months working collaboratively with Peel Land and Property and the design team to reach this stage is a credit to all involved and the ground-breaking ceremony marks the start of the much-anticipated construction phase”.

For all the latest news on the development, please visit


Forrest Tops Out at X1 The Plaza

Contractor Forrest has reached full height at residential development X1 The Plaza.

A topping out ceremony was held on site with attendees from developer X1, property consultancy Knight Knox, consultant Savills, designer DK-Architects, structural engineer MDA Wirral Ltd, in addition to the project team from Forrest.

Celebrating by signing company names into a cast concrete plinth the team also gave a nod to tradition by placing a tree on the top floor which is seen to bestow good luck on the building. The tree will be planted in the soft landscaping during the end of the construction works.

This project team has already successfully worked in together on the adjacent residential development, X1 Eastbank, which was completed last year. Forrest is also currently progressing with two additional schemes for the developer in Salford, X1 The Gateway and X1 The Landmark.

With all apartments at X1 The Plaza sold off plan following a very high volume of interest the scheme, which commenced in January, will be ready for a phased handover between February and April 2018.

Matthew Fisher, project director at Forrest commented, “Reaching full height on this scheme is a proud milestone in our construction programme. We wanted to host a gathering for all the project team to mark the occasion and celebrate progress to date.”

Melissa Green, operations & regional director at X1 stated, “This is our second successful project working with Forrest and it is fantastic to see such popularity with regards to both sales and rentals at X1 The Plaza.”