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New planning guidance published to protect music venues

Developers building new residential buildings near music venues will be responsible for taking appropriate measures to ensure local people are not disturbed by noise under new planning guidance published by the Scottish Government.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said today that new guidance on this Agent of Change principle will be included in the new version of the National Planning Framework and local authorities will be asked to implement it immediately.

After meeting representatives from the music industry including the Music Venue Trust and venue owners, Mr Stewart said: “The Scottish Government recognises the significant cultural and economic contribution of our music industry. It is only right we do what we can to protect the established and emerging musical talent and that is why we are embedding the Agent of Change principle in our planning guidance. I have asked the Chief Planner to write to all planning authorities asking them to act now.

“Music venues should not have to make high cost changes or deal with expensive disputes because of new developments. Developers will be responsible for identifying and solving any potential issues with noise, giving residents of new homes a better quality of life and allowing our music venues to continue to operate.”

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director at the Music Venue Trust, added: “Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes the announcement from Scottish Government that they plan to embed the Agent of Change principle into their planning system, with explicit reference to music venues to be included in the next National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.

“Ministers have listened to the case and taken on board the fact that grassroots music venues need protection and recognition for their contribution to our towns and cities. This is an important issue and will certainly help venues, but it is not the only challenge they face. We look forward to working further with Scottish Government to ensure the long-term sustainability of venues across Scotland.”

Development and consultation on the next National Planning Framework (NPF4) will begin in 2018, and it is expected to be adopted in 2020.

A Chief Planner letter has been sent to all planning authorities highlighting existing guidance on noise issues and asking them to ensure decisions reflect the Agent of Change principle.

Building Briefs – February 16th

New Aberdeen path opened for more connectivity with Diamond Bridge

A new path has opened connecting an Aberdeen community to the benefits of the £22.3 million Diamond Bridge after local residents requested it as an addition to the already extensive pedestrian and cycle path infrastructure created in the project.

The £500,000 path connects residents in Balgownie to the new Gordon Brae and has been funded by Aberdeen City Council, Nestrans and the Scottish Government, through Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme.

The third Don crossing was the biggest bridge infrastructure project to be built in Aberdeen in the last 30 years, and was opened by Aberdeen City Council in June 2016.

The project, which has involved the construction of two major bridges, 2.4km of new roads and new cycleways and pavements, was designed to connect with other major infrastructure projects. These include the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, the Berryden Corridor and the Dyce Park and Ride at Craibstone.

The new path was suggested by local residents during the latter part of the third Don crossing project and was taken on board by Aberdeen City Council.


Free home insulation on offer to Aberdeen home owners and private tenants

Residents in Aberdeen are being given the opportunity to save money and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Aberdeen City Council is encouraging eligible householders to take advantage of the Warmer Homes Aberdeen Scheme. The scheme offers free insulation upgrades to privately owned properties where there is inadequate insulation in the loft, walls or under the floor.

Householders will qualify for the scheme if they or their home meet any one of the following criteria:

  • Homes with Council Tax Band A – C.
  • Homes with postcode beginning AB11 8, AB11 9, AB16 and AB24.
  • Households with a child under the age of 5.
  • Households registered with a food bank.
  • Householders in receipt of state pension.
  • Home is privately rented (from a registered landlord).

Households taking part in the programme could save over £300 annually just by improving the insulation in their home and acting on the home energy advice could save over £200.

In addition to insulation, residents can also get free home energy advice from a qualified home energy advisor.

The Warmer Homes Scheme is funded through the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland. Aberdeen City Council is delivering the scheme in partnership with local organisation Scarf, Home Energy Scotland, and recently appointed insulation contractor, BCA Insulation.


Whitlawburn resource centre in line for makeover

A community centre in Whitlawburn is to receive a makeover after it received a grant for nearly half a million pounds.

Whitlawburn Community Resource Centre was awarded £499,472 from the Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s Our Place programme which was established to support local people to identify priorities for their area.

The grant will be used to carry out roof works and cladding and timber repairs and general improvement of the interior of the building. The centre will also employ a development worker and community engagement worker.

The centre provides a range of services including financial inclusion support, an IT Hub, a household recycling project and food co-operative. There are also a range of groups that access the centre including a local foodbank, parent and youth groups, exercise classes and football classes.


Realm Construction to start fife bridge repair works

Realm Construction is to begin bridge repairs works at St. Andrews in Fife.

Work to strengthen the structure, which crosses the St. Nicholas Burn at Woodburn Place, will get underway on Monday, 19 February.

The five-week scheme will involve removing part of the existing bridge and replacing it with a new concrete slab. In addition, the existing traffic island will be removed, allowing traffic to flow two-ways once the work is complete.

The road will remain open with a give and take system in place for the majority of the works. However, a two-day road closure will be required towards the end of the scheme to complete resurfacing works.

And finally… Interactive ‘crystal rock’ facade planned for new office building

Architects at MVRDV have unveiled plans for an office block with an interactive mirrored facade and open geometric core designed to display back images of its location and surrounding landscape.

Dubbed the “crystal rock” by the Dutch architecture firm, the facade of the Milestone building in the city of Esslingen in southern Germany will be formed from fritted glass containing photovoltaic cells that will reflect back images of the city.

Extruded and indented blocks on the square grid of the facade will give the building a 3D profile that the architects describe as a “pixelated map”.

Passersby will be able to use their phones to interact with the facade, which will be printed with QR codes that reveal information about the city.

“This building shows Esslingen to all people who pass by on trains and will become a new symbol to reflect its past heritage and future’’, said Winy Maas, MVRDV co-founder.

“The façade with fritted glass will have QR codes integrated on to it informing visitors about Esslingen’s people, landscape, and histories which makes the building an interactive library for all.”

The buildings’ volume is pushed inwards to create a fragmented façade, an ‘Esslinger grotto’ that reflects its actual topography and forms an open public walkway right through the centre, marking the location of the central district. On upper levels, offices are located and envisioned as light, attractive and flexible spaces that are customisable for different users to create combinations of work and life. On the ground level, the crystal rock façade opens up to the public square in front connecting the city to the building and provides public amenities including a café, restaurant and meeting areas.

The Milestone’s partly mirrored-transparent façade integrates technology and sustainability with the use of fritted glass to reduce overheating, PV cells to store and generate energy, and finally, QR codes which carry information about the city in a pixelated map spread across the building making it both visible and readable. The three-dimensional map is located on the lower part of the building extends to a height of 40 meters, and with stairs and terraces, it forms a publicly accessible core that tenants and visitors can walk up to take in views of the vineyards and surrounding hills. All of these sustainability features in the façade all the potential for the building to become partly self-sufficient in future.

The transparency of the façade allows an interaction between inside and out, whilst reflecting the daily interactions in the square thus turning the front of the building into a new meeting point. In contrast, at night, the building becomes illuminated through its façade and is a new beacon for Esslingen. For train travellers, the current beacon being a large chimney of a former knife factory with the abbreviation of the factory name on its side, spelling the word DICK, which means ‘big’ in German.

MVRDV was commissioned to work on the project by investors RVI and construction will start in 2020.

Images courtesy of MVRDV

Construction leads and tenders – February 16th


Applicant: Clyde Gateway Developments Limited

Planning Authority: Glasgow

Details: Site of former gas works at Bartholomew Street, Glasgow

Location: Construction of office and industrial development (Class 4, 5 and 6 uses) with vehicular access, associated car parking and landscaping.

Agent: Cooper Cromar, Per Ross Blair, The Eagle Building, 215 Bothwell Street, Glasgow


Applicant: PL Larkfield SPV Limited

Planning Authority: Glasgow

Details: Construction of 4 commercial units, as hot take away cafe/restaurant (Class 3), and retail (Class 1) uses

Location: Site at Victoria Road/ Butterbiggins Road, Glasgow

Agent: Ryden LLP, 130 St Vincent Street, Glasgow



Applicant: Briggs Building Ltd

Planning Authority: Glasgow

Details: Use of public house as 4 residential flats and associated works.

Location: 135 Balornock Road, Glasgow

Agent: Convery Prenty Architects, 231 St Vincent Street, Glasgow



Contract Authority: NHS Fife

Details: The work involves annual maintenance, servicing, breakdown & repairs of Air conditioning and Refrigeration plants in NHS premises across NHS Fife to meet the current BS standards and regulations.

Location: Fife

Contact: alexander.odame@nhs.net

Publication Date: 15/02/2018


Contract Authority: Inverclyde Council

Details: Tender is for the car park extension to Lady Octavia Sports Centre. This includes but not limited to the construction of a new car park and all associated works including drainage, kerbing, surfacing and street lighting.

Location: Greenock

Contact: gary.sweeney@inverclyde.gov.uk

Publication Date: 15/02/2018

Campaigners lose legal battle to prevent Jordanhill campus housing development

Residents campaigning against plans to deliver more than 400 homes on the University of Strathclyde’s former Jordanhill campus have lost their legal action to stop the proposal at the Court of Session.

CALA Homes (West) gained planning permission from Glasgow City Council to develop the 31-acre in January 2017, though Jordanhill Community Council members had hoped to overturn the decision.

The opponents claimed that the £100 million development will strain local infrastructure and leave too little green space. They also argued that the council failed to follow correct legal procedures.

The campaigners said that “significant changes” had been made to the plans between 2011 and 2017, and that the developer could not deliver the amount of green space originally promised.

The council’s legal team, however, said the amount of protected green space had not changed.

Judge Lady Wolffe concluded on Wednesday that Glasgow City Council had acted correctly and dismissed the case.

Jim McIntyre, managing director of CALA Homes (West), said: “We are pleased to take another step forward with our plans to build one of Glasgow’s most desirable residential developments on the legacy of Jordanhill Campus.

“As has been the case since we began this process, we are committed to sympathetically enhancing a community asset and improving existing green space on the site, while creating jobs and meeting demand for high quality housing in the city.”

East Lothian Council unveils £220m housing and schools investment package

A significant package of capital investment in council housing and schools totalling more than £220 million is set to be delivered by East Lothian Council over the next five years.

Almost £93m will be spent on new affordable council housing in addition to almost £60m on the modernisation of existing properties.

New homes are expected to be completed at Haddington and Dunbar during 2018/19 with further developments planned for Prestonpans, Cockenzie, Aberlady, Gullane, Ormiston, Musselburgh and Haddington.

The purchase of some homes for sale on the open market will also continue.

Meanwhile, there will be a rolling programme of improvements to existing council houses. This includes refurbishments of bathrooms, kitchens and roofing and the installation of energy efficiency measures – in an effort to help reduce fuel poverty.

Jim Goodfellow, cabinet spokesperson for housing, said: “I’m very proud of the council’s record on housing. In the last five years, we have delivered 370 new council houses and increased expenditure on modernisation.

“With East Lothian being a fantastic place to live, it’s vital that we build on this track record and continue to invest in housing to meet the demands of our communities.

“East Lothian Council tenants already benefit from one of the lowest average weekly rents in Scotland.

“I’m delighted that, in the next year, a number of new council homes are expected to be completed – providing high-quality accommodation for families and individuals. This is part of a significant £93m investment in new council housing over the next five years, which will see the construction of homes throughout the county.

“With further developments planned, this is excellent news for those seeking a council house and also for the economy, as it will require the involvement of firms including the construction industry.

“At the same time, we are committed to improving our existing housing stock, and will be investing almost £60m in the modernisation of council homes throughout the county. This includes an increased focus on energy efficiency measures – helping to make tenants’ homes warmer and cheaper to heat, helping to reduce fuel poverty.”

Projects in the £227m package of investment in new, improved or expanded schools include:

  • Around £7.9m for the extension of North Berwick High School
  • Around £8.8m for the extension of Ross High School, Tranent
  • £34m for an additional secondary school to serve the Musselburgh area
  • Around £500,000 for a facilities upgrade at the existing Musselburgh Grammar School
  • Around £8.8m for the Letham Mains Primary School, Haddington
  • Around £8.6m for the new Blindwells Primary School
  • Around £5.2m for an extension at Whitecraig Primary School
  • Around £3.3m for the extension of Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School and Early learning and Childcare Centre

Spending has been earmarked for extensions at Dunbar, East Linton, Aberlady, Gullane. Elphinstone, Prestonpans Infants and Pencaitland Primary Schools and Preston Lodge High School, Prestonpans.

There are also resources for ongoing extensions at Dunbar Grammar, Law Primary School and the construction of a new Wallyford Primary School, which are well underway.

There is £300,000 for additional space at the Meadowpark Communications Provision, Knox Academy, Haddington. In addition, the council’s revenue budget allocates £225,000 of revenue expenditure between 2019-21 associated with Meadowpark.

Shamin Akhtar, cabinet spokesperson for education, added: “I’m delighted that the council will be delivering such a significant investment in new, improved or expanded schools across East Lothian. This will benefit thousands of children, while helping us to meet demand for school paces in growing communities.

“Our schools have a hugely significant role to play in helping to give children the best possible start in life. A high-quality learning environment is key to this.”

The investment figures in the budget reflect the total five-year capital value of the projects and developer contributions are sought where appropriate towards development costs.

£12m hotel and supermarket plans unveiled for Tweedbank

Developers have unveiled £12 million plans for a hotel and retail project near to the Borders Railway terminus in Tweedbank.

Edinburgh-based New Land Assets (NLA) said the development at the corner of Tweedbank Drive and the main A6091 road would include a supermarket, coffee shop and petrol station and could create up to 100 job opportunities in the area.

NLA said the creation of the Borders Gateway could help attract further investment in the area.

Duncan Hamilton, managing director of NLA, said: “Piggy-backing on the success of the reopening of the Borders Railway, we are delighted to bring forward these exciting plans at the Borders Gateway site.”

He said they would “deliver new and additional facilities” and also create “new job opportunities for local people”.

“The feedback we have already received has been really positive and there is a lot of excitement about our investment,” he said.

“We have talked to a lot of people already but we want to talk to more people and get their views.”

Developers have confirmed a BP filling station and Wild Bean M&S cafe are included in the plans, while an announcement on the discount supermarket chain is expected “shortly”.

Premier Inn and Travelodge have previously expressed an interest in finding a suitable site in the area and could well sign up to the 60-bed budget hotel proposal.

A public consultation on the plans will take place on March 14 at Tweedbank Community Centre from 2pm to 8pm.

Trade body demands lower Project Bank Accounts threshold in wake of Carillion collapse

Newell McGuiness

The wave of uncertainty which rocked the construction industry in the wake of the collapse of industry giant Carillion has led to renewed calls for increased regulation regarding payment security from Scotland’s largest trade association.

SELECT, the campaigning body for the electrotechnical trade in Scotland, has added its voice to many others, including the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group (SEC Group), which are calling for a lowering of the threshold at which Project Bank Accounts (PBAs) become mandatory and for PBAs to be universally required.

Presently, all Scottish Government bodies must include a PBA – which is a retained account earmarked for payment of contractors and ring fenced from spending – for all building projects over £4.1 million.

Bodies such as SELECT and the SEC Group, however, wish to see the Scottish Government lower the threshold of applicability to projects valued at £2m.

Newell McGuiness, managing director of SELECT, said: “The crisis which has surrounded the construction industry since the collapse of Carillion illustrates perfectly why payment protection is required.

“The Scottish Government had the foresight to introduce Project Bank Accounts two years ago and now is the time for them to reinforce that foresight with a proactive, forward-looking legislative agenda and to provide a safety net for the SMEs which are building Scotland’s future infrastructure.”

Mr McGuiness added: “Having a PBA in place would provide peace of mind, not just for our members, but for all of Scotland’s SMEs, who work in the construction industry in Scotland. This legislation could arrest the ‘domino effect’ that can devastate an industry in the event of another collapse like Carillion.”

SELECT has 1,250 member companies who account for around 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland, have a collective turnover of around £1 billion and provide employment for 15,000 people.

Jeff Fairburn to give away part of £110m Persimmon bonus

Jeff Fairburn

Persimmon chief executive Jeff Fairburn has decided to give a “substantial” amount of his £110 million bonus away through a charitable trust after he said that he never wanted to receive the money.

Mr Fairburn said he obtained the windfall as part of an uncapped bonus scheme which was in place before he became chief executive in 2013.

He now plans to set up a private charity “to benefit wider society over a sustained period of time”, though he gave no definitive details on how much of the bonus he would be giving away.

Mr Fairburn indicated that his wish had been to take an “old-fashioned approach” and keep the matter private, but conceded that this notion was misplaced.

In a statement issued this week he said: “I did not seek these levels of award nor do I consider it right to keep them entirely for myself.

“Once it became apparent that our outperformance would lead to a very significant award for me, I made plans to use a substantial proportion of the total to support the charities that are particularly important to me and my family.”

Persimmon’s chairman Nicholas Wrigley and the head of its pay committee Jonathan Davie were forced to quit in December last year following outrage over the uncapped pay scheme, which could see as much as £600m shared among the management team.

The growth since was fuelled in part by the UK government’s Help to Buy scheme, which has helped drive up sales of new homes. The initiative, launched by George Osborne in 2013, sees house buyers take an equity loan from the government of up to 20% of the cost of a new build home, and combining it with a 5% deposit and 75% mortgage. Scotland has its own scheme which works in the same way but with different thresholds.

Scotland’s top projects go head to head as RICS unveils awards shortlist

The Falls of Shin visitor centre in Lairg has been shortlisted in three categories

Twenty seven of the most innovative and community beneficial property projects from across Scotland are set to go against some of the region’s best in this year’s RICS Awards 2018, Scotland.

The awards which are known as the property Oscars highlight the great talent involved for shaping Scotland’s built environment. This year sees some of the most innovative and collaborative projects from across the region including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Perth.

The eight categories for 2018 are; Building Conservation, Commercial, Community Benefit, Design through Innovation, Infrastructure, Regeneration, Residential and Tourism & Leisure.

The category winners will then go forth for the acclaimed Project of the Year title, awarded to the scheme that demonstrates outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.

Last year saw Glasgow’s Kelvin Hall win the esteemed title after its three year renovation transformed the 90-year-old venue into a multi-purpose sports, culture and education building.

RICS Awards 2018, Scotland shortlist

Building Conservation

  • Downie’s Cottage, Braemar, Aberdeenshire
  • Kirkmichael, Black Isle, Balblair
  • McEwan Hall, Edinburgh
  • Patrick Geddes Centre, Edinburgh
  • Portsoy Sail Loft, Portsoy
  • Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh
  • The Engine Shed, Stirling


  • 6 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
  • Salisbury Court, Edinburgh
  • Scottish Power House, Glasgow

Community Benefit

  • Arthurlie Family Centre, Barrhead
  • Bearsden Community Hub, Glasgow
  • Cuningar Loop Woodland Park, Glasgow
  • Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, Dunfermline
  • Dunoon Burgh Hall, Dunoon
  • Falls of Shin, Lairg
  • Kirkmichael, Black Isle, Balblair
  • Portsoy Sail Loft, Portsoy
  • The Hawkhead Centre, Paisley

Design through Innovation

  • Appleton Tower, Edinburgh
  • Cuningar Loop Woodland Park, Glasgow
  • Falls of Shin, Lairg
  • The Hawkhead Centre, Paisley


  • Caithness-Moray
  • Cuningar Loop Woodland Park, Glasgow
  • Faith School’s Joint Campus, Glasgow


  • Clydebank Leisure Centre, Glasgow
  • Kirkintilloch Town Hall, Glasgow
  • Marischal Square, Aberdeen


  • 235 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh
  • Countesswells, Aberdeen
  • Leith fort, Edinburgh
  • Maryhill Locks Phase 3, Glasgow

Tourism & Leisure

  • Clydebank Leisure Centre, Glasgow
  • Falls of Shin, Lairg
  • Kirkmichael, Black Isle, Balblair
  • Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh

Chair of the RICS Awards 2018, Scotland judging panel, Colin Smith of Turely, said: “This year we have received some extremely diverse and outstanding projects from all over Scotland. Each and every project showcases the exceptional talent behind these buildings of our future. The variety of projects highlights the development that is happening right across our nation and I am confident 2018 will be a hotly contested year. I look forward to celebrating the successes of Scotland’s exceptional talent and projects at this year’s ceremony in April.”

All category winners will go on to compete against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards Grand Final in November 2018, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.

The RICS Awards 2018, Scotland which will be held on April 19 at The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh, will be hosted by popular TV Presenter Catriona Shearer. Tickets for the ceremony and black tie dinner can be booked online at www.rics.org/scotawards or you can contact Danielle Blair on dblair@rics.org.