Monday, 18 January 2016

BBC Television Centre Redevelopment

In September 2010 the BBC made the announcement that they would cease broadcasting from Television Centre in 2013. The building was put onto the property market in November 2011, and was sold to Stanhope PLC on the 16th July 2012; for 200 million.

The image shows scaffolding covering Stage 6, along with excavators working on the new forecourt for the building.

A year later on the 31st March 2013, Television Centre (As it is now formally known) closed it's doors for the final time, to be redeveloped into housing, offices, restaurants, cafés and shops, along with a new branch of the private members club; Soho House.

Up until February 2015, Stanhope PLC along with the BBC under the joint venture 'Television Centre Developments' worked to clear the building of broadcasting equipment, at a cost of over £60 million. Once completed, demolition began.

Television Centre was originally built with 8 studios; as part of a 15 year lease to the BBC, only 3 studios will remain post-demolition, “Three of Television Centre's historic studios are being refurbished for the digital TV age and will be operated by BBC Studios & Post Production, a commercial arm of the corporation” Source:

At the time of our visit, BBC worldwide, the BBC's commercial subsidiary, had moved in to their new home in the old BBC news centre. Pictured below.

        The former home of BBC News (which moved to BBC Broadcasting house in March 2013) is now home to BBC Worldwide.

The BBC originally planned to move back to Television Centre in march of last year (2015), then the BBC announced that they will not be recommencing production in studios 1,2 and 3 until 2017, when most of the groundwork and demolition is complete. The redevelopment of Television centre follows with a multi-million pound regeneration within white city, with expansions to Westfield shopping centre, 5,000 new homes and new underground and overground stations within the area.

The plans for television centre include:
  • 950 new homes in the form of apartments and penthouses, within the listed circular building (more commonly known as the 'Doughnut'), a new tower, and other various locations around the site.
  • A 47-bedroom hotel at the front of the building, operated by Soho House
  • A mixture of independent cafés and restaurants
  • 500,000 sq ft of grade A offices, (with BBC Worldwide already in tenancy as of March 2015)
  • Finally, as before mentioned, 3 refurbished television studios operated by BBC Studios & Post Production

We hope to revisit Television centre in the coming months, and update on the redevelopment of this world famous building.

Television Centre pictured in April 2015

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

A556 Knutsford to Bowdon - January 2016 update

It has been 4 months since I last visited the project to construct a new dual carriageway connecting the M56 and M6 between Knutsford and Bowden. During my visit in August (2015) a considerable amount of earth works had been carried out, however no structures were yet visible. Over the past few months however several bridge structures have been constructed and now are clearly visible. 

Starting at the M6 end of the project, the bridge pictured below will take the new A556 alignment over Old Hall Ln before approaching the junction for the M6.

[Click image to enlarge]

Travelling north, the bridge piers shown below will carry A50 Warrington Road, which will be re-aligned at this point to pass over the A556. 

A new roundabout will also be constructed on the A50 to allow traffic to join the northbound A556.

One of the more advanced work sites is located at Millington Lane where a new bridge is being constructed to carry the lane over the A556.

The lane will have to be re-aligned north in order to pass over the A556 on the new bridge. 

Below are some pictures taken of the new bridge beams which had been lifted into place that morning. By the afternoon worsening weather conditions meant that the final lifts had to be postponed.

The piers shown below will eventually take take the new A556 alignment under a bridge which will be used to create a new grade separated junction bypassing the roundabout at Bowdon. 

The new junction will comprise the existing runabout wich will connect the A56 Dunham Road which heads in the direction of Altrincham, the A56 Lymm Rd, the nortbound exit slip from the A556 and the northbound entry slip which will carry traffic onto the M56

A new round about which will join onto the existing roundabout via a bridge over the A556 will provide a southbound entry slip onto the A556 and the southbound exit slip form the A556/M56. The new roundabout will also provide access for Yarwoodheath Lane.

The map below should help better show the positioning of the new A556 alignment and the several bridge that will have to constructed to carry a number of roads either over or under the new dual carriageway. 

The weather remained wet for most of the day during my visit but luckily there were some gaps in the weather so that I could take some pictures. The weather hasn't hampered construction as the main earthworks were wound down over the winter months with work focusing on drainage and the construction of the bridge structures. 

Some earth works were taking place during my visit but the majority of the moxys (articulated dump trucks) had been stood down over the winter. It is clear from some some of the images below that operating the moxys in these wet conditions would of been difficult at best. 

Large pumps could be seen positioned around the main work sites to keep water out of areas were it was not wanted. 

One of the work sites at Old Hall Lane, facing north.

Looking south from the A50, the moxys stood down, a different sight to that witnessed in August when they were busy carrying earth over the A50 under traffic light control.

Looking north from the A50, some work continues but at a less frantic pace than back in the summer. 

Looking south from Millington Lane, the alignment for the A556 taking shape,

Work continues on the existing A556 to prepare the road for the new alignment and to strengthen the existing bridge which carries the A556 over the M56,

Work continuing on the construction of the new grade separated junction between the A556 and M56 

More information and update can be found on the Facebook page for the project

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