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in brief: Siemens closes Tyneside plant

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German industrial giant Siemens has closed its £1 billion semi-conductor plant by the Parr Partnership just over a year after it opened. The North Tyneside plant was built with £50 million of government aid.

Around 100,000 council and other social homes are likely to be abandoned by the Millennium, and the Empty Homes Agency has written to the Audit Commission saying billions have been wasted on ghettos. Over the past five years empties have risen from 1.9 to 2.5 per cent of total stock. At least £4 billion has been spent in the last decade improving estates, many of them in areas nobody wants to live.

Work on a £76 million hospital is about to start on site in Halifax. The PFI project by RTKL-UK will blend new build into refurbishment of existing 19th-century buildings. The hospital will have 450 beds, nine operating theatres and a 76-bed mental health unit. Catalyst Healthcare, a consortium that includes Bovis, chose the architects. It is due to open spring 2001.

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