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Mowlem takes home Merry Hill contract

CONTRACTS DUDLEY

MOWLEM has won the race for a £35 million mixed-use scheme in the West Midlands.

According to insiders, the firm saw off opposition from Laing, Bovis Lend Lease, Carillion and HBG last week, to take the project from client Chelsfield on its vast Merry Hill development near Dudley.

Mowlem has already held preliminary meetings with the client on the two-year design and build deal and is looking to start on site in May.

One source close to the bidding said: 'It went very quiet for us and then we heard that Mowlem had been appointed. It's a shame because it's one of the bigger jobs around in the Midlands at the moment.'

The developer submitted a planning application to Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in January for a residential block containing 98 apartments and two office buildings providing 11,500 sq m of rental space.

The application includes a footbridge over the canal that runs through the site, associated road works and landscaping.

Chelsfield is also understood be planning a £30 million leisure development on the opposite side of the canal, although it has yet to submit proposals to the local authority.

One project source said: 'They are looking to include a health and fitness centre and a cinema, but they haven't actually decided what they want there yet, so it is very early days.

'At one stage there was talk of negotiating with the winner of the residential job to build the leisure scheme. But now we think Chelsfield is more likely to tender it.'

Chelsfield have held a 90 per cent stake in the Merry Hill retail development since 1994. Over 20 million shoppers visit the centre every year.