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DUP will ‘vigorously oppose’ any new abortion laws in North

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The DUP will “vigorously oppose” any further legislative action to see new abortion laws implemented in the region, an MP has warned.

The law was liberalised last year to allow terminations in Northern Ireland following action taken at Westminster.

However, while individual health trusts have set up temporary early medical abortion pathways, Northern Ireland-wide services have not yet been commissioned by the British Department of Health.

The North’s Minister for Health Robin Swann previously said the issue is controversial and therefore he cannot act alone and requires agreement by the Executive.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis intends to lay new regulations in Parliament next week to allow him to direct Mr Swann’s department to commission the services, the Guardian has reported.

Mr Lewis was reportedly prompted by concerns many women are still travelling to Britain to access services.

A UK government spokesperson confirmed there is disappointment that full abortion services have not yet been commissioned, adding “further legislative action at Westminster” is being considered.

The DUP’s Westminster leader Jeffrey Donaldson has warned that any move to legislate over the Stormont Executive would “raise serious questions”.

Mr Donaldson said he and DUP leader Arlene Foster met Mr Lewis over the matter on Thursday.

“Abortion is a devolved matter,” he said.

“Any move by an NIO minister to legislate over the head of the Northern Ireland Executive would raise serious questions about when and in what areas the government can make interventions in a devolved administration.

“The DUP would warn the Northern Ireland Office against legislating on a matter which is wholly devolved and we will vigorously oppose such steps.”

Mr Donaldson said the new abortion laws were “foisted” on Northern Ireland during the collapse of the power sharing institutions, and claims they would not have been voted through by MLAs.

“Our party leader Arlene Foster and myself had an urgent meeting today with the Secretary of State,” he said.

“We underscored that this matter rests with the Health Minister Robin Swann and the government should leave it with the devolved structures to make such decisions.

“We will continue to pursue this matter with the government in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin MLA Emma Sheerin has called on Mr Swann as Minister for Health to commission full abortion services.

“The legislation is in place and needs to be implemented,” she said.

“There should be no further delays in the commissioning of modern health care services.”

The Department of Heath said: “The Health Minister has maintained that the commissioning of abortion services is controversial, cross cutting and outwith the Programme for Government.

“He does not believe that a ministerial decision to commission and fund abortion services would be defensible in court in the absence of Executive approval.”

Abortion is an issue which sharply divides opinion in Northern Ireland with strong pro-choice and anti-abortion lobbies.

On Monday, a motion by DUP MLA Paul Givan seeking to restrict abortions in cases of non-fatal disabilities passed its second reading.

Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of attempting to “roll back abortion progress” but her MLAs abstained on that vote.

Separately, the party has announced its intention to bring a paper to the Executive calling for Mr Swann to commission full abortion services.

A UK government spokesperson said: “We remain disappointed that the Department of Health and Northern Ireland Executive have failed to commission full abortion services, following the change to the law last March.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, including considering further legislative action at Westminster, given the nature of the legal duties on the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in this context.” – PA



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Hotel Indigo debuts in Austria

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Hotel Indigo opened its first hotel in Austria, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt. Located a short walk from the city’s historic center, the hotel offers 158 guest rooms, a rooftop garden resembling an urban jungle, a restaurant, and a lobby bar.

 

Taking inspiration from a famed local architect, Otto Wagner, a key member of the Secessionist movement, guests will find touches of gold used throughout the fixtures in the bathrooms as well as intricate patterns, made famous by Otto, woven into the carpet design in the hallway, and the tiles behind reception. Otto’s love for gold, Art Nouveau design, and ornate patterns can also be seen at famous local buildings such as the Majolikahaus, a short walk from the hotel. From ground level, the building looks innocuous, but as guests look skywards, they will see the top floors are decorated with exquisitely sumptuous floral motifs in brightly colored porcelain and gold leaf, a hallmark of the new style.

 

Stefanie Augustin, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt, commented: “We are pleased to open our doors and accept our first guests into the first Hotel Indigo in Austria. We sit in the heart of the surrounding neighbourhood and strive to make all the locals proud, by helping to bring a bit of that external story in so guests can truly experience what Vienna has to offer.”

 

 

 

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Tolent secures Newcastle resi project (GB)

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Tolent will put up 135 ‘ultra-modern’ system-build homes, with designs selected from an architectural competition. Sunderland’s new Vaux neighborhood, being built on the site of an old brewery, will eventually have 1,000 homes, according to the plans, as part of a drive to double the number of people living in the city centre. The homes will stand alongside The Beam and City Hall – the latest development to rise from the ground at Riverside Sunderland. Construction work on the scheme is expected to start within weeks, forming the first of the new distinct neighbourhoods that will create city centre housing for up to 2,500 residents.

 

The properties are based on the winning designs in the Homes of 2030 competition, which was launched in March 2020, and managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, to encourage the design of environmentally-friendly homes that support people in leading independent, fulfilling lives as society ages.? Construction work on the development is due to start this summer and the first tranche of homes should be completed by the end of 2023.

 

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have taken this final step to get work started on our flagship residential scheme at Riverside Sunderland. The housing developments on Riverside Sunderland will be world-class, and Tolent is an ideal partner to deliver them, based locally and capable of building these aspirational homes.”

 

Tolent chief executive Paul Webster said: “Vaux neighbourhood is an amazing project that showcases the strides being taken in Sunderland to modernise the city centre. The world-class houses being built will provide a community fit for the future and an archetype for sustainable housing. As a truly local business, we are proud to be involved in the project and to showcase our ability to meet and exceed the capabilities of national contractors on a local level. The project will complement a number of local landmarks that we have constructed including The Beam, Beacon of Light and Echo Building. We have been working closely with the entire team since being appointed preferred bidder back in September and we can’t wait to get started.”

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BlackRock acquires Dagenham urban logistics development (GB)

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A joint venture (JV) between Chancerygatea fund managed by Credit Suisse Asset Management, and Hines has forward sold a 172,000ft² urban logistics development in Dagenham to a fund managed by BlackRock for an undisclosed sum. Dagenham Council has approved plans to speculatively build 15 Grade A urban logistics and industrial units at the development which is called Zephyr Park. The units range from 5,490ft² to 34,670ft² and are available leasehold and freehold. Construction is due to commence in August this year. The six-acre site was previously owned by wholesale electrical distributor Rexel UKSituated on Rainham Road between the A12 and A13, Zephyr Park is located less than half a mile from Hackman Capital Partners and Dagenham Council’s proposed €348.5m (£300m) film and TV studios.

 

Chancerygate managing director, Richard Bains, said: “Zephyr Park will be an outstanding urban logistics development which will generate continued investment and job creation for Dagenham. Forward selling Zephyr Park to BlackRock shows the strength in urban logistics as an asset class. It is also a testament to the high specification, a sustainable product we build as it attracts businesses to locate to our developments ensuring they are best placed to continue to grow. We look forward to working with Hines and BlackRock to deliver Zephyr Park and expect to achieve practical completion in summer 2023.”

 

Greg Cooper, Hines managing director, industrial and logistics, added: “We are pleased to have executed this opportunity to recycle this asset, with the value generated illustrating the unabating demand for high-quality logistics developments. It is an asset class which remains a key focus for Hines in the UK, and we are continuing to explore opportunities to grow our portfolio of both big box and urban facilities.”

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