(from left) Gavin Barrie, housing and economy convenor, City of Edinburgh Council; Helen Kelly, North Sighthill Residents' Association; Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing

(from left) Gavin Barrie, housing and economy convenor, City of Edinburgh Council; Helen Kelly, North Sighthill Residents’ Association; Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing

Building a £35m future for North Sighthill

Construction is underway on a £35 million City of Edinburgh Council-led regeneration project at North Sighthill.

The council’s partner, Keepmoat Regeneration, will deliver a mixed tenure affordable housing development on land previously occupied by outdated poor quality high rise housing.

The development, funded through the council’s housebuilding programme supported by £2.88m Scottish Government funding, will comprise 316 much-needed new energy-efficient homes, including 96 affordable homes for social rent, 88 affordable homes for mid-market rent and 132 flats and family homes for market sale.

The contract brings many additional benefits. As part of the four year programme, Keepmoat Regeneration has committed to offering substantial employment and training opportunities for local people via an ambitious Community Engagement Plan, centred on Employability & Training, Education & Outreach, Enterprise & Business, Funding & Development and Community Cohesion. A £25k investment fund has also been established dedicated to help local community groups.

Kevin Stewart MSP (minister for local government & housing) and Councillor Gavin Barrie (convenor housing and economy committee) joined representatives from the local community, City of Edinburgh Council and Keepmoat Regeneration to celebrate the start of the build where Keepmoat presented the £25,000 community group contribution.


High winds curtail Queensferry Crossing snagging works

Work on the Queensferry Crossing has been halted as predicted high winds mean the Forth Road Bridge would have to shut at peak times.

This means closures on the new £1.35bn bridge to correct “snagging” issues have now been lifted.

The southbound carriageway was shut on Thursday to allow the work to go ahead.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said efforts to get traffic on the new crossing over the Forth travelling at speeds of up to 70mph before the end of the year remain on track.

Mactaggart & Mickel receives planning permission for first English development

Housebuilder Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has received planning permission for its first English housing development at Milton under Wychwood in Witney, Oxfordshire.

The housing development at Milton under Wychwood received planning consent for 62 new homes – 31 private houses and 31 affordable houses, to rent and buy with Cottsway Housing.  The private homes will be two, three and four bedroom homes with a range of house types.

This marks an important step for the company, following their move into the English house building market as they plan to broaden their geographical reach to a UK wide audience.

Part of the Mactaggart & Mickel Group, the family housebuilder has been building homes in Scotland since 1925 and has won over 100 National House Building Council (NHBC) awards, and most recently won the highly acclaimed Queen’s Award for Enterprise for their work as part of City Legacy, developers of the Athletes’ Village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.


Funding boost for Argyll and Bute housing development

Argyll and Bute Council has been awarded £1.9 million from the Scottish Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to upgrade Kirk Road.

Work on the road is expected to start mid January.

The development – by social housing provider Link Group – is part of the Dunbeg and Ganavan Masterplan.

Planning consent is still to be given for the 300 new homes in the first phase.


150-year-old Dundee stables to be converted into luxury lodge

An old stable block in Dundee is to be converted into a unique luxury lodge, with a host of quirky features such as a bed built into a horse cart.

The disused stables at Taypark House on Perth Road will be converted into a six bedroom lodge and entertaining space available for short-term let, and will retain many of its original features.

The plan will see two of the bedrooms built into the hayloft and the courtyard transformed into an open-plan living, kitchen and dining area.

One of the beds will also be built into the original horse stalls and another will be made out of a refurbished cart.

The apartment will also feature a fairy-tale wooden larch bridge leading to a large south facing deck and hot tub.

The stables date back around 150 years and owner Richie Hawkins plans to maintain the history of the building.


Union Chain Bridge Heritage Lottery Fund bid submitted

Union Chain Bridge2Local children have helped mark the submission of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid to safeguard the future of the historic Union Chain Bridge.

Pupils from Norham C of E First School in Northumberland and Swinton Primary in the Scottish Borders were joined at the cross-border bridge by community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge, councillors from both areas and members of the project team, following the submission of the first round HLF application.

Built by Captain Samuel Brown in 1820, the Union Chain Bridge is currently the oldest operational suspension bridge in the world still carrying vehicles, and through securing support from HLF, it is hoped the bridge can also deliver numerous cultural, heritage and community benefits.

Scottish Borders Council (SBC), Northumberland County Council (NCC) and community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge are jointly working on the £7.3 million project to secure its status, ahead of its 200th anniversary in 2020.

The HLF bid focusses on conserving and raising awareness of the internationally significant bridge and its nearby attractions, providing sustainable learning opportunities for young people inspired by the bridge’s innovative engineering and developing meaningful cross-border heritage projects and partnerships.

If the project passes the HLF first round, it will move into a one year development phase to progress the scheme further, ahead of a second round submission.


Public event to showcase Aberlour Trust’s Glenrothes housing plans

The Aberlour Trust, in partnership with Glen Housing Association and Kingdom Housing Association, has announced its intention to apply in the near future for planning permission for a modest housing development in Glenrothes.

Together with the two Fife-based housing associations, the Trust wishes to further develop its facilities at Wilmington Drive to provide purpose-built, managed accommodation for young people with particular needs.

The proposal is for a wheelchair bungalow; a single storey respite unit; and a block of four flats with 24 hour support – all on a grassed area on the edge of the open space at Magnus Drive.

In the run-up to lodging a planning application with Fife Council, the Trust and the two Associations are carrying out a public consultation exercise locally, and will hold a public drop-in event in the offices of Glen Housing Association at 28 Heimdal Gardens, Glenrothes, on Wednesday 13th December, from 3.30pm to 7.15pm – to which all neighbours and other interested parties are invited.


Whitecross Building Consultancy MD to embark on Arctic Trek challenge


Graeme Scott

Graeme Scott, managing director of Whitecross Building Consultancy, is braving the elements and taking part in a 90 kilometre Arctic Trek challenge on January 25 to raise money for Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby.

Graeme will head to Rovaniemi, the official home of Santa Claus, in Finland, next month and spend 3 days trekking into the Arctic Circle. He will be dragging all of his equipment in a pulk sled, battling the elements (temperatures are expected to be as low as -30 degrees!) and sleeping in a tent.

Today one in 20 children are disabled in the UK and there are 3.5 million children living in poverty. The money raised will enable the Wooden Spoon to fund a range of projects from respite and medical treatment centres, sensory rooms, specialist playgrounds, sports activity areas and community based programmes for disadvantaged and disabled children across the UK and Ireland but particularly Scotland.

The entire trek has been paid for by Graeme himself in order that all donations will go directly to the Wooden Spoon Charity (Charity Registration No SC039247 (Scotland)).

You can donate to Graeme here.