Fresh plans for Ury Estate £80m golf course and homes project

Ury Estate masterplanDevelopers behind proposals for an £80 million golf course, hotel and homes in Aberdeenshire have lodged a formal planning application.

FM Group’s application for the Ury Estate development, near Stonehaven, is backed by a “world class” golf course designed by American multiple Major winning golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.

The plan is for the restoration and conversion of Ury Mansion House into a hotel and clubhouse, and dozens of homes.

It comes as an independent report concluded that the golf course and housing development will inject £55.5m into the Aberdeenshire economy over a 15-year period and create 200 new jobs.

Jonathon Milne, director of FM Group, said: “This much-anticipated and highly welcomed golf development stalled during the recession but is now fully back on track and, if it proceeds, will really put Stonehaven on the map, attracting tourists and boosting business in the town.”

The ultimate plan is to turn the B-listed property into a luxury hotel and clubhouse and create a mix of affordable and luxury housing in landscaped grounds.

Jack Nicklaus said: “Aberdeenshire is a beautiful area and this site is particularly special.

“I have visited on a number of occasions, and I think Ury Estate provides us all the components to create a memorable golf experience.”

The planning application is expected to go before Aberdeenshire Council in May or June.

And finally… Copenhagen recycling facility to double as snowboarding slope

Sydhavns snowboarding

Plans have been unveiled for a recycling facility in Copenhagen, encased within a manmade hill that could double as a running track, picnic area or even a snowboarding slope.

Architecture firm BIG was commissioned by waste management company Amagerforbrænding to create the 1,200-square-metre recycling centre at Sydhavns, the city’s southern port.

Conceived as “a public space rather than a piece of infrastructure”, the Sydhavns Recycling Center is designed as an artificial hill with recycling facilities in its centre and a grassy park over its top, reports Deezen.

“As a society, our investment in waste management often ends up as utilitarian facilities of concrete boxes that constitute grey areas on our city maps,” explained BIG in a statement. “What if they could become attractive and lively urban spaces in the neighbourhoods they form part of?”

A sunken figure-of-eight at the centre of the hill will create two banks of recycling bins, laid out as a pair of roundabouts.

A tunnel-like opening at the north-east corner of the site will function as an entrance and exit for vehicles, allowing drivers to circumnavigate the entire space.

“In its simplest form the recycling station is a way to start thinking of our cities as integrated man-made ecosystems, where we don’t distinguish between the front and back of house,” said the firm.

These areas will be concealed by the surrounding grassy banks, where BIG plans to create fitness areas, viewpoints and picnic spaces, as well as a pathway overlooking the activities below.

“From the ridge of the crater, curious citizens can look into the recycling square and learn about the journey of recycled materials graphically illustrated on the inside of the crater wall,” added BIG.

One proposal image also show visitors snowboarding on the building.

The project is set to start on site later this year, and completion is pencilled in for 2016.


Building Briefs – February 27th

new marischal square

Marischal Square meeting announced

Aberdeen City Council is to hold a special meeting next month to discuss the Marischal Square development.

The meeting was put forward by Callum McCaig, SNP group leader, after a motion to place the project onto a full council agenda earlier this month was ruled “incompetent”.

It has now been agreed by Aberdeen Lord Provost George Adam that a special meeting will be held on Thursday 5 March.


Concert hall receives funding boost

A project to renovate Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall has taken a step forward with an Edinburgh World Heritage grant.

The £100,000 award will help the University restore and renovate St Cecilia’s Hall – an A-listed venue and musical instrument museum, situated in Niddry Street, off the Cowgate.

This is part of an initiative to create a new centre of excellence for the study, display and enjoyment of historical musical instruments.

St Cecilia’s Hall was built in the 1780s and was designed by architect Robert Mylne. Today the hall is owned by Edinburgh University, housing its world-class collection of historical musical instruments.

The Heritage Lottery Fund also awarded the project £823,500 last year, as part of the £6.5million vision to transform the hall.

Work on the exterior will start next month and is due to be completed in September 2016.


87,000 Scots could die due to inability to heat homes

Cold homes could claim the lives of 87,000 Scots over the next 15 years, a fuel poverty charity has claimed.

National Energy Action said consumers are “hit hard” by energy taxes and urged politicians to address the issue ahead of May’s general election.

The charity’s newly-published Manifesto for Warmth, released to coincide with Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, reports there are 4.5 million households unable to heat their homes in the UK and claims the NHS could also be left bearing a £22 billion bill for treating cold related illnesses.

As well as noting the benefits of ending fuel poverty once and for all, the report also highlights that the Treasury will make over £28bn from domestic energy consumers in the next 10 years.

According to the UK government’s own national figures unaffordable energy prices, combined with low incomes and a housing stock which remains woefully poor compared to other European countries, has resulted in there still being 4.5 million households that are unable to adequately heat their homes across the United Kingdom.

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day falls on Friday 27 February 2015 and is a national day to highlight the issues faced by those unable to heat their homes affordably and the solutions available to tackle these issues. NEA’s supporters will be taking part in events to build awareness and will be asked to join in the Nation’s Biggest Housewarming a series of community events taking place on the same day.


Historic Fettercairn Distillery set for expansion

A whisky giant has lodged plans to expand one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries.

Whyte and Mackay wants to redevelop and extend Fettercairn Distillery, which has been in operation since 1824.

The work would include a 60sqm expansion to the ground of first floor of the distillery – which would result in an increase of production.

In a report to planners, Ian Gallacher of property consultant GVA James Barr, said the works would have an economic benefit for the village of Fettercairn, near Laurencekirk in Aberdeenshire.

The project will also see work to the building’s interior.


Consultation event on new Dumbarton Office

Residents are being invited to give their views on plans for the Council’s new office building in Dumbarton town centre.

The proposal will see 500 council staff currently based at Garshake Road in future working from a new office at the old Academy building in the Town Centre.  The new office will save the council £300,000 per year, and provide a catalyst for further regeneration activities in Dumbarton town centre. It will also restore the existing derelict A-listed frontage of the old Academy building for generations to come.

Following on from the initial Community Consultation event (held on Wednesday 3rd December 2014) the project team will be available within the Aritzan Centre on Thursday March 5th from 2pm until 7pm provide an update on the project.


Persimmon launches £750,000 community fund

Persimmon's sales advisors launch £750,000 campaign

Persimmon’s sales advisors launch £750,000 campaign

Persimmon Homes has announced the launch of Persimmon Community Champions – a £750,000 community fund to support local groups and charities across the UK.

Persimmon Community Champions is a national programme where charities and groups can apply for funding up to the value of £1,000 to match money they have already raised themselves.

Jeff Fairburn, group CEO, said the community initiative was a way of supporting people across every city, town and village where the company works.

Persimmon is set for further growth this year on the back of an excellent 2014. The group legally completed 13,509 homes last year.

The company is calling on groups and charities to apply for funding, with the first grants being issued in March 2015.

To apply for funding, visit

Green light for £12m schools campus in East Kilbride

Halfmerke Primary and West Mains School

A £12 million proposal for the rebuild of Halfmerke Primary, its community nursery and also West Mains School, has been given the go-ahead by South Lanarkshire Council.

Designed by Stallan-Brand, the project will bring all three establishments in East Kilbride together under one roof on a purpose-built campus adjacent to the schools’ current town centre site.

Pupils will remain in their schools throughout the construction which will be carried out as a tandem build.

Both Halfmerke Primary and West Mains School will have eight classrooms each under the plans. West Mains will also have quiet rooms, therapy and sensory rooms for pupils who have a variety of additional support needs.

Vehicle access to the new campus will remain unchanged and will lead to a 79-space car park and drop-off zone. Pedestrian access will also be the same.

Councillor Hugh Dunsmuir, the chair of the council’s planning committee which agreed the plans, welcomed the beginning of another year of progress on the council’s 125-strong primary school estate.

He said: “I am always delighted to see new school applications come to this committee as it shows the continued progress of this unique modernisation programme.

“Who would have thought back in 2004 when the council embarked on this process that a decade later, the majority of our pupils would be learning in new, modern environments?

“And just as so many have already benefitted, so too will the pupils of Halfmerke and West Mains as they look forward to a bright new future in a brand new building, designed to suit, and adapt to, the needs of their own school communities.”

Lews Castle restoration takes shape

Lews Castle

Work is continuing to progress on Graham Construction’s £13.5 million restoration project at Lews Castle, Stornoway.

The second phase of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar project includes the new Museum and Archive building at the venue, as well as the creation of a glass-roofed courtyard café area and toilet facilities.

The public rooms on the ground floor of the castle will also be fully restored, while a new visitor car park will be created and associated landscaping works.

Simpson & Brown Architects has led the conservation of the A-listed Lewis landmark, while Malcolm Fraser Architects have overseen the new build extension connected to the castle by a long gallery and glass roofed courtyard –offering improved facilities including a café, shop and gallery space.

To date, the museum and archive works have been completed, with the fit-out contract for the museum exhibitions expected to start on site in early March. Completion of the Phase 2 works is anticipated by early next month.

It is thought the museum and archive and the ground floor rooms of the Castle will be completed this summer, with full public opening expected in October.

Inverness Town House to be wrapped during £4.2m repairs

Inverness Town House

Inverness Town House is to be covered by a life-sized image of the building while work on a £4.2 million restoration of the building is undertaken.

The three-year maintenance project, which starts this year, includes repairs to the 135-year-old building’s roof, windows and stonework.

Scaffolding will be erected on the west and front side of the Town House and remain there two years.

Highland Council has asked for the wrapping to help hide scaffolding while work is carried out on the building.

Inverness city leader Ian Brown said: “These essential works will help to safeguard the future of the Town House for generations to come and will secure an Inverness Common Good Fund major asset.

“I am also delighted that Laing Traditional Masonry will be employing three or four apprentices on this project that will help to ensure that traditional skills are passed on to future generations.”

The project is being funded by the Inverness Common Good Fund, which owns the Town House, and Historic Scotland.


New council home registrations up 16 per cent

NHBCThe number of new council home registrations for the rolling quarter in Scotland is up almost 16 per cent on the same period 12 months ago.

Figures for November 2014 – January 2015 released by NHBC today revealed that Scottish local authorities registered 2,580 new homes compared to the 2,226 homes registered last January.

The 354 more homes equates to a 15.9 per cent increase on 2014.

In the UK as a whole, registrations are up 13 per cent on the same period 12 months ago. Overall totals for the rolling quarter incorporating November 2014 – January 2015 show that 35,836 new homes were registered in the UK, compared to 31,852 for the corresponding quarter last year. The private sector increased 23 per cent (27,881 compared to 22,612 for November 2013 – January 2014), with the public sector down 14 per cent (7,955 compared to 9,240).

NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton said: “Following on from our annual registration figures, the rolling quarter shows that the overall new home volumes are ahead of 12 months ago, with the private sector quite clearly the main driver of growth. Even though January was slightly down we must remember this is after the extremely strong figures for December.

“We anticipate an important couple of months in the run-up to the General Election with housing likely to be at the forefront of political debate in an effort to increase overall levels of new homes that the country urgently requires.”

Construction Leads – February 27th


Applicant: MGSPH Ltd

Planning Authority: Glasgow

Details: Use of mixed use retail (Class 1) and hot food takeaway (Sui Generis) as hot food takeaway (Sui Generis).

Location: 137 Glasgow Road Garrowhill Glasgow

Agent: Cormack Gracie Architects, Per Ian Gracie Studio 2008, Mile End, 12 Seedhill Road



Applicant: Mr and Mrs Bruce Hamilton, Newhill Steading, Newhill Farm, Glenfarg, Perth

Planning Authority: Perth

Details: Residential development (in principle)

Location: Former Steading at Newhill Farm, Glenfarg

Agent: None


Applicant: George Ferries Farmers

Planning Authority: Aberdeenshire

Details: Construction of 4 dwellinghouses and change of use of land to domestic garden ground

Location: Land at Tulloch Lumphanan, Banchory, Aberdeenshire

Agent: DWR Architecture, 10 Station Square, Aboyne

‘Visionary’ city planner to detail how Aberdeen can learn from American regeneration success

Rollin Stanley

Rollin Stanley

A key player in North American city planning and urbanisation projects is heading to the Granite City next week to share his experiences in successful regeneration.

Aberdeen City Council has invited internationally-renowned city planner, Rollin Stanley, who has delivered numerous successful regeneration projects in major cities including St Louis, Maryland, and latterly Calgary, to present the latest City Talk on Thursday 5 March.

Mr Stanley, general manager of planning, development and assessment for Calgary, will highlight the ways in which he implemented a range of growth management strategies for four major North American metro areas through processes including neighbourhood revitalisation projects and infrastructure improvements.

Regarded by many as a visionary in urban planning, Mr Stanley will address an invited audience of business leaders, stakeholders and members of the public in the third City Talk presentation being staged as part of the information gathering process in the long-term Aberdeen City Centre Masterplan project.

Aberdeen City Council deputy leader Marie Boulton, who chairs the cross-party city centre regeneration working group, said the opportunity to gather information from an internationally-renowned planner like Mr Stanley, who has successfully transformed the image and reputation of major cities like St Louis and Calgary, is significant for the Masterplan process and would provide valuable learnings for Aberdeen.

“Rollin Stanley has decades of experience in delivering successful large-scale transformation projects and we are keen to learn from his extensive knowledge as we work to shape Aberdeen for the future,” she added.

“We have already gathered information from European and UK cities through the previous City Talks with Gothenburg architect Bjorn Siesjo and Manchester City Council’s strategic development director Eddie Smith. There is a great deal we can learn from the ways others have faced up to the challenges and opportunities involved in projects of this scale.

“Key themes and objectives have already been identified through public consultation to help all involved in the City Centre Masterplan project get it right in delivering a city which is fit for purpose for the next 25 years and beyond.

“We are very much looking forward to Rollin’s insights into what has proved successful in the many projects he has been involved in over the years.”

The City Talk, which will take place in Lecture Theatre SB42 of the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment at Robert Gordon University, will be recorded and published on the Aberdeen City Council website in the days following the event.

Mr Stanley said he was looking forward to his visit to Aberdeen and added: “I am delighted to have been given the opportunity by Aberdeen City Council to visit the city to highlight the way in which Calgary has changed over the years and the fact that our emerging growth management strategy is now a model for North America around the way in which it is linked to our capital investment and infrastructure programmes.

“Right now, Calgary is growing at the same rate as New York City, with 40,000 new residents in each of the past two years, and a lot of that has been fuelled by oil production in the Oil Sands. Our city of 1.3 million has rapidly shifted growth at the fringe, to a boom of downtown residential construction and I will focus on the way Calgary has successfully dealt with the oil growth pressures and used it as a real catalyst for change.

“The current oil price drop is presenting a new chapter in the way the City is working to diversify while maintaining infrastructure pressures and I believe there are learnings a city like Aberdeen can take from the way in which we are facing up to those challenges.

“During my time in Aberdeen I will also be having discussions with Councillors Laing and Boulton and senior members of the City Centre Masterplan team, and I have been impressed with the way in which they have been prepared to open up the debate around city centre regeneration by staging presentations like my own as part of their information gathering process.

“Aberdeen already has a worldwide reputation for excellence – especially within the oil sector – and hopefully my experience in cities like Calgary, Toronto and St Louis will help deliver an informative and thought provoking presentation next week. I am looking forward to learning from the experiences in Aberdeen and see this as very much a two-way visit.”

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