Houses-of-ParliamentWestminster repair costs ‘could increase’

A multi-billion-pound scheme to repair the Palace of Westminster could cost more than current estimates, the Clerk of the House of Commons has said.

David Natzler said there are “known unknowns” in the Houses of Parliament, which faces a growing risk of a “catastrophic event” unless ageing mechanical and electrical services are renovated.

A committee of MPs and peers last year recommended that MPs and Lords move out for up to eight years while repairs are carried out – the so-called “full decant” option estimated by Deloitte to cost between £3 billion and £4.3bn, with the most likely figure around £3.5bn.

A study by Deloitte highlighted the appalling condition of the Palace of Westminster, with potentially deadly fire risks, collapsing roofs, crumbling walls, leaking pipes and large quantities of asbestos.

The study also warned that if politicians had refused to leave the building, patching it up to basic standard would have taken more than 30 years and would have likely cost between £4.9bn and £7.1bn.


Oban set to become marine tourism hub thanks to major investment

Argyll and Bute Council has awarded contracts to build new transit berthing and associated maritime visitor facilities in Oban.

The contract for the new berthing facility has gone to Gael Force, who will be employing Gareloch Support Services (GSS) and Oban-based North West Marine as their main subcontractors. The visitor facility will be built by Mull-based firm TSL Contractors Ltd.


SPIE wins Clackmannanshire security replacement and upgrade contract

Multi-technical services provider SPIE UK has won two closed bid tenders with Clackmannanshire Council.

The first project requires secure door entry and door entry systems replacement and common area upgrades including security installation and refurbishment works within social housing. Carrying a £540,000 budget, the works will take place over four years.

The second, worth £200,000, involves the replacement of fire and security alarm systems at ten schools in the region.


Glasgow City Council approves £27.3m Burrell Collection funding

Glasgow City Council has approved funding of up to £27.3 million toward the cost of the refurbishment and redisplay of the Burrell Collection.

The council has previously approved funding of £5.7m taking its commitment to up to £33m – half of the estimated £66m cost of the project.

Refurbishment plans will turn the building into an exemplar of sustainability, transforming it from a building with a large carbon footprint, into an energy efficient, modern museum.

In addition, more than 90 per cent of the 9,000-strong collection will be redisplayed with basement stores open to the public for the first time, and a new central core greatly increasing access to the many artworks.

The work to transform the Grade A listed building will also see the creation of a dedicated space for special exhibitions and the conversion of offices into galleries.  The roof of the building will be completely overhauled, while landscaped terraces and civic space will link the museum with the stunning surroundings of Pollok Country Park.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged £15m to the project and the UK government has also committed £5m.

A fundraising campaign is underway with a target of £15 million. The decision by the council allows for procurement of the main contractor and it is anticipated that the refurbished museum will re-open in late 2020.


Work underway on Kirkwall gin distillery and visitor centre

Work has begun on Orkney Distillery’s new artisan distillery and visitor centre in Kirkwall.

The project, which is set to create between eight and 10 jobs, is being hailed as an important addition to Orkney’s diverse range of tourist attractions, ahead of a predicted major increase in visitor numbers to the islands.

Orkney Distilling Ltd was formed early last year by local couple Stephen and Aly Kemp, with the firm’s first gin, Kirkjuvagr, proving a huge success.

Full production of Kirkjuvagr, which is now being sold throughout the country, will move to the new Kirkwall seafront distillery once operational. The company also has plans for further product lines, which it will reveal later this year.


Landmark Cowglen savings bank demolished

Glasgow’s landmark National Savings & Investments Bank in Cowglen will soon be gone for good.

Demolition of the building on Boydstone Road in Cowglen is currently ongoing, with the huge office complex set to be replaced by up to 450 new homes courtesy of Persimmon.

Cowglen’s last employees moved out in July 2015, transferring to two new sites at Glasgow city centre and East Kilbride.


Unite Group pushes back Aberdeen student development to 2019

Student accommodation specialist Unite has revealed its 2018 and 2019 regional pipeline which will it spend over £300 million in the next two years.

Consisting of eight schemes, the developments are expected to deliver 4,800 beds in addition to three ongoing 2017 projects.

Planning is now in place on all but one of the schemes in the pipeline, one of which in a £40m development on 600 rooms on Aberdeen’s Constitutional Street.

Unite said it had reorganised the phasing of deliveries in 2018 and 2019, with Aberdeen and Bristol being pushed back to 2019 and Birmingham and Sheffield accelerated to 2018.


Plan underway to transform Newtongrange centre 

The first stage of a plan to revitalise and improve Newtongrange town centre is underway.

Midlothian Council is inviting professionals to submit bids for a contract to eventually redesign areas of the town in and around the Borders Railway station.

Once a design team is in place, it will draw up a masterplan to promote thriving, vibrant neighbourhoods to bring long-term social and economic benefits to the local community.


Shepherd and Wedderburn partner completes successful term as Women in Property’s South East chairman

Shepherd and Wedderburn partner, Sally Morris-Smith, will step down as the chairman of the South East branch of Women in Property (WiP) at the end of this month.

Having served a successful one-year term, Sally will introduce incoming chairman, Marcia Gillings from London Borough of Wandsworth and Richmond, at the WiP AGM and Networking breakfast seminar being hosted at Shepherd and Wedderburn’s central London offices today.

Sally, who has been a member of WiP for nine years, is a Partner in the London Real Estate and Infrastructure division and advises property companies on the acquisition and development of mixed use sites.

Under Sally’s tenure, the branch has hosted more than 50 events focused on networking, mentoring, and personal development.


Road improvement work complete in Evanton 

Highland councillors have welcomed the improvement works carried out along Swordale Road in Evanton.

The road improvements were designed by Arvikaconsult Ltd and built by Pat Munro Ltd.


Falkland factory’s landmark chimney to be demolished

It will be the end of an era in Falkland when the village says goodbye to a famed landmark.

Since 1892 St John’s Works, known locally as the factory, has been a key feature in the village.

Originally a cotton mill, the 125-year-old factory was latterly operated as a paper bag manufacturing business.

Work started at the end of last year to demolish the buildings, marking the final chapter in the life of the factory where many locals have worked through the years.

Preparations are getting under way to demolish the chimney, the last part of the factory site to be torn down. Demolition was originally planned for February 27 but the need for specialised equipment means the schedule has been knocked back by a couple of weeks.

The site is expected to be used for housing.