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Projects revived as confidence grows

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The number of projects on hold worth more than £100 million has dropped to the lowest level since June 2008

Construction industry monitor Glenigan reports just 198 schemes were put on ice in May compared with 409 the previous month. At the peak of the credit crunch in February 2009 more than 900 projects were on indefinite hold

Confidence is continuing to grow in the private residential market, where the number of housing schemes shelved more than halved, plummeting from 131 in April to 55 last month.

Glenigan economics director Allan Wilen said: ‘The private sector is no longer locked in the downward spiral it once was.

‘Several developers have reactivated stalled projects earlier than they planned.’

Unsurprisingly, in terms of schemes that have been officially axed, the public sector was hardest hit with school and college projects accounting for 38 per cent of all cancellations.

The cautious private sector optimism is apparent in places such as Leeds, where a handful of major schemes put on indefinite hold now appear to be reviving.

Developer Hammerson and Town Centre Securities has started moving again with its £800 million Eastgate Quarter – a Terry Farrell-masterplanned retail-led development which included schemes by Acme, John McAslan and Thomss Heatherwick.

Meanwhile, developer MEPC has confirmed it is kickstarting its huge Wellington Place city centre scheme designed by Carey Jones and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Planning applications for two buildings within the delayed business quarter are expected to be submitted imminently.

However Gregg Mitchell of Carey Jones warned against being overly optimistic: ‘Let’s not get giddy. While we are getting more genuine enquiries, there is a difference between [these] and real, live fee-paying work. Housebuilders are looking at land acquisition but this shouldn’t be confused with mass development.’

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