CBRE sells major residential site to housing developer

19 September 2018

Professional services firm CBRE has overseen the sale of a large residential site in North Leigh to UK housing builder Countryside. CBRE’s UK development team in Manchester was acting on behalf of the North Leigh Park Group.

The site 178 acre plot was sold with outline planning permission in place to deliver 1,800 new homes. Outline planning consent has been agreed for the delivery of a comprehensive high quality mixed use scheme comprising residential development with some employment use located in a high quality landscaped setting. An indicative master-plan has provided for a mix of apartments, terraced, semi-detached and detached housing to meet local demand and affordability, while the £310m scheme also includes a local centre, up to 18 acres of employment land, and around 44 acres of Strategic Green Infrastructure.

The location of the development means it will be able to link in to existing facilities offered in Leigh, Hindley Green, Atherleigh and Wigan. The site is well-connected, bordered by two major roads, the A577 to the north and A578 to the west, with Westleigh High School located to the south-east of the site.

CBRE sells major residential site to housing developer

CBRE was appointed to market the scheme in February 2018. North Leigh Park Group, part of Guernsey-based Long Port Properties, had previously been promoting the development, but Long Port put the business, along with several other subsidiaries, into the control of Deloitte administrators in December 2016.

Countryside Properties will now take on the project following the deal reached with CBRE. Countryside is a UK house building and urban regeneration company, operating across the UK, boasting revenues of ‎£845.8 million as of 2017.

Commenting on the news, Steven Verity, a Senior Director, CBRE Manchester, said, “We are delighted to have secured a sale on this extensive and exciting strategic site in the North West. The site presented a strong opportunity for Countryside to deliver a new, sustainable community which, when complete, will inevitably contribute to the borough’s housing needs and wider employment and economic aspirations.”

A housing crisis gripping the UK means the news will go a small way to addressing the estimation that around one in six of the homes needed in the UK in the next 20 years have not been built yet. According to a recent report by construction consultancy Mace, as Britain prepares for life outside the EU, the nation’s Government should use the housing shortage as an opportunity to become a world leader in construction, which could create an estimated £40 billion export scene.


Ensuring data quality imperative for smart asset management

25 March 2019

By implementing innovative Asset Performance Management systems, utilities firms can maximise their utilisation of assets and minimise maintenance costs across their portfolio. However, according to Louis Morgan of Smart Grid Forums, without securing quality management systems for the data which smart grids rely upon, companies risk missing out on the benefits of asset performance grids.

Smart asset management presents a major opportunity to professionals across the business spectrum. In this context, a new event hosted in London is looking to help smart-grid asset management professionals meet the needs of a changing energy industry with digital asset management. The first annual Grid Asset Management event is due to take place between the 14-16th of May 2019 at the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge, London.

The conference will bring together leaders and experts from across Europe, in order to benchmark their digitalisation roadmaps. In a piece posted on the Smart Grid Forums website ahead of the event, Louis Morgan, a Conference Producer at Smart Grid Forums, has outlined the importance of investing in innovative asset performance technology for utilities firms, which can help ensure long-term stability for assets management in the utility sector in the face of increased complexity  .

Ensuring data quality imperative for smart asset management

Traditionally, the decision to invest in a given asset was made on the basis of an expert’s judgement of the risks posed by its failure, having typically been assessed via a risk matrix or a similar qualitative method. After that, a decision would be taken as to whether it should be replaced. However, according to Morgan, as the pace of change and complexity increases, these methods can no longer provide the required level of certainty. Uncertainty about changes to consumption patterns and load profiles brought on by the energy transition produces a vast number of possible scenarios that investment planners must consider.

As a result, Morgan explained, “utilities are seeking to support their investment decisions with quantitative risk management methods, centralising expertise from across their operations into a consistent, numerical framework that accurately captures the risk posed by all kinds of asset failure to all stakeholders.”

Companies are doing this by turning to ‘smart grid’ utility management, or systems which work to invest in the maintenance and replacement of millions of assets spread across thousands of kilometres of network. However, this is by no means a silver bullet, and in the age of the smart grid, planning ahead is more complex than ever. To ensure the long-term stability of their grids, then, utilities must deploy standardised investment decision-making practises supported by advanced modelling capabilities.

Morgan elaborated that the best way of facing this problem is through the combination of condition, utilisation, reliability and demand data. In that case, risks can be quantified in financial terms and investment budgets can target the assets posing the highest total risk, thus deferring investment in lower risk assets and optimizing the long-term budget. However, decisions informed by these risk models “will only be as good as the data and the assumptions that support them”, meaning utilities must therefore find ways to improve the volume, variety, veracity and velocity of the data they employ in their investment planning models.

“This means digitalizing asset operations, rolling out sensors and implementing systems that integrate data from a range of internal and external sources in real-time,” Morgan expanded. “Utilities must also scour their business for expertise about different assets to ensure that their risk management frameworks accurately capture the true risks posed by asset failures.”

This is in keeping with a trend which goes well beyond utilities. Business leaders of all shapes and sizes are currently having to address how they manage data quality – as poor information being input into any automated system can essentially negate the efficiencies such systems bring to the table. To this end, robust data governance is critical.

Concluding his article, Morgan said, “It is clear that there is a great deal of opportunity for utilities to obtain significant business benefits from improving their investment planning capabilities. More accurate risk management, supported by a reliable data-driven method, will deliver better financial outcomes from investment activity... But to achieve these capabilities, a lot of work must be put in to establish the systems, processes and frameworks which underlie them. Utilities must also make difficult choices about how they quantify risk and the appropriate range of data to feed into their investment planning models.”

This topic will be tackled in-depth at this year’s Grid Asset Management 2019, a conference, exhibition and networking forum aimed solely at smart grid asset management professionals.