Hopes for a new wave of Chinese investment in UK building and infrastructure that will underpin the creation of thousands of engineering and construction jobs have been given major boosts.
China’s biggest bank is invest in a new £650 million business district at Manchester airport, a Chinese investment company plans to build a new £500 million Crystal Palace in London (pictured) and a state owned nuclear power operator looks like taking a major stake in the UK’s nuclear building programme.
The State owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is expected to sign the Manchester deal during Chancellor George Osborne’s visit to Beijing on 13 October. News is also expected soon of major Chinese investment to be made in the UK’s nuclear building programme, possibly during the same visit.
The Manchester scheme, which is being promoted by Carillion and property developer Argent, will create five million square feet of offices and shops surrounded by parkland in a 150 acre area of undeveloped scrubland, creating an estimated 16,000 jobs.
London Major Boris Johnson is also visiting China in October on a trade and investment mission of his own, buoyed by news that ZhongRong Group will fund the Crystal Palace rebuilding at the original site in the London Borough of Bromley.
Arup has been appointed to carry out the engineering for the project that will provide a venue for concerts, exhibitions and conferences; and a hotel. Mr Johnson is to chair a project advisory board that will guide the detailed design and ensure that the plans are sympathetic to the site of the historic structure that was destroyed by fire in 1936. The project promoters hope to start on site in 2015 following a year-long consultation process.
Energy Minister Michael Fallon said this week that he expected a deal to be signed shortly with electricity company EDF on developing two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point, and the state owned China General Nuclear Power Group is reportedly in talks to take a 49% stake in the £14bn project.