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1000-home masterplan for St Andrews West formally submitted

Planning permission in principle is being sought for a major development to the west of St Andrews which will deliver around 1,000 new homes, of which 30% will be affordable housing.

The St Andrews West LLP, a partnership made up of the University of St Andrews, Headon Holdings and other local landowners, has submitted a masterplan for the project which will comprise a mix of residential, university, business, education, local retail and community uses as well as associated infrastructure.

Developers claim the development will create a dynamic business, residential and learning quarter to the west of the Fife town, with the site comprising land at North Haugh, Langlands, Northbank and land between the Strathkinness High and Low Roads.

Approval of the masterplan is also seen as key to the success of plans for a new £50 million replacement for Madras College at Langlands.

If approved, the aim is to develop the masterplan east to west over a period of 20 years, with the first phase of development predicated over the need for a new Madras College and a new link road from the A91 to the edge of proposed school site.

A spokesperson for the St Andrews West LLP said the project should be an exemplar for creating development that feels like a “place” and a not a “bolt-on symptomatic of too many urban expansions in recent times”.

“St Andrews West should support and facilitate St Andrews as a place that will continue to flourish as an international centre of academic and cultural excellence,” the spokesperson told The Courier.

“There should be long lasting benefits to the residents and businesses of St Andrews and Fife.

“The concept here is to create a new community which feels like a place and – like the medieval core – has texture, vistas and connectivity with a clear sense of identity that reflects the best character of St Andrews through richness of place, and the scale of buildings.

“This application is at planning permission in principle stage and so it sets the framework and vision that will guide future development coming forward within the masterplan area.

“The St Andrews West LLP is however committed to creating a place of quality, a legacy development, and recognise that this application is only the first stage of the process toward realisation.”

Members of the public will now have the chance to scrutinise the plans and make comments through the normal Fife Council planning process.

The plans can be viewed here.

Carbon Futures announces launch of new consultancy division

Glasgow-based energy and sustainability consultancy Carbon Futures has launched a new consultancy division as part of ambitious growth plans.

Operating under the Carbon Futures brand, the company’s new division will provide a range of new consultancy services to the non-domestic sector, from planning support and feasibility studies to energy design certification and dynamic thermal modelling.

The company have also announced plans to expand their team with the appointment of a new director. David Ross will join Carbon Futures from building services consultancy, TÜV SÜD Real Estate, having served with the company for over 10 years.

Taking up the new position formally from March 2018, David boasts a wealth of experience in the non-domestic sector with particular expertise as a low carbon consultant and energy assessor, supporting the delivery of major construction projects across the UK.

David will now join fellow directors Andrew Money and David Russell to lead Carbon Futures as the company continues to deliver sustainable, low carbon solutions for a variety of new-build developments throughout the country.

Commenting on the company’s latest appointment, director Andrew Money said: “I’m delighted to welcome David to the Carbon Futures. He offers a wealth of knowledge and experience that will help us grow into the non-domestic sector allowing us to offer a greater range of consultancy services to our ever-increasing client base. His expertise will be a great asset to our company as we look to progress with the next stage of our expansion and growth.”

Planning granted for first homes at new Aberdeen development

A typical CALA street scene

CALA Homes has been granted detailed planning permission to begin work on a brand new community at Craibstone in Aberdeen.

Aberdeen City Council has given the green light for the project’s first phase of 114 properties.

The housebuilder plans to grow the development into a community of around 700 homes which would also include commercial space and a neighbourhood centre.

The first phase of homes will comprise detached, semi-detached and terraced properties as well as apartments, all completed to CALA’s exacting standards.

Mike Naysmith, managing director of CALA Homes (North), said: “We are delighted to move forward with our plans for what is set to be a truly unique community.

“The homes at Craibstone will benefit from outstanding scenery with an abundance of natural beauty surrounding the development, as well as an impressive tree lined entrance which will give an exclusive feel to the community.

“While located within a rural, woodland setting, Craibstone also boasts unrivalled access to the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, AECC and airport.

“We look forward to bringing Craibstone to life over the coming months and adding this exciting new development to our portfolio.”

BrewDog reignites Aberdeenshire hotel plans

Craft beer company BrewDog has announced plans to build a beer-themed hotel in Aberdeenshire complete with beer taps in the rooms and a built-in shower beer fridge.

Planned for a 3.25 acre site next to the firm’s existing brewery in Ellon, the 22-room DogHouse Ellon will also have rooms overlooking the brewery itself.

BrewDog threatened to abandon plans to build a £5 million hotel complex last January in a row over the sale of land with Aberdeenshire Council.

The company wanted to buy up almost 12 acres of council-owned land next door to its Ellon distillery for the development of a hotel, restaurant and conference facility.

But the firm claimed the project has stalled as the local authority has refused to sell a parcel of land “at fair market rate”.

An arrangement has now been struck with the firm’s neighbours at Power Jacks to take their 3.25 acre site.

In addition to the new hotel, BrewDog is expanding its brewery to include a new brewhouse and a canning and packaging hall.

DogHouse Ellon is expected to open in the first half of 2019 with 26 rooms, to accompany the new brewery which is expected to open at the end of the year.

BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “The DogHouse is our gift to passionate craft beer fans making the pilgrimage to our brewery in Aberdeenshire.

“The idea of opening a beer hotel has always been high on our agenda, and now we are finally able to realise that dream, right here at our HQ.

“This will be the ultimate destination for craft beer fans seeking hops with their holidays.

“This is a beer Nirvana.”

Building Briefs – February 20th

First glimpse inside of Glasgow’s Park Quadrant Residences

The interiors of a landmark new development in Glasgow will be revealed this week with the opening of a marketing suite and show apartment at Park Quadrant Residences in the city’s West End.

Developers said that Park Quadrant Residences will fuse contemporary living with classic elegance to complete Victorian architect Charles Wilson’s vision for the Park Circus area, with ceiling heights and facades throughout the development echoing those of the original concentric rings of terraces that have crowned the site since 1851.

The 11 buildings, made up of 98 apartments, duplexes and penthouses, the work of Ambassador Developments (Park Quadrant Ltd) and interiors, by John Amabile Design, are distinguished by their attention to detail and high quality finishes.

A virtual reality property tour will give buyers an opportunity to see the finished apartments come to life.


Scotland’s railway to benefit from £23m of upgrades this Easter

Network Rail engineers will work around-the-clock this Easter to deliver more than £23 million of infrastructure improvements across Scotland’s railway.

Over 2,500 staff will work around 40,000 hours on projects across the central belt, in the south west and in the north east of Scotland.

In the central belt major investments will include rebuilding Livingston South Station and continuing work on electrifying the Edinburgh-Glasgow via Shotts line.

More than a kilometre of new track will be laid on the West Coast Main Line at Carstairs and further progress will be made on a £100m signalling system renewal around the south of Glasgow.

In the south west, engineers will be laying new tracks and working on improvements to drainage systems underneath the West Coast Main Line at Lockerbie and in the north east, engineers will be altering five bridges between Aberdeen and Inverurie as they prepare  to double-track the railway.


Tenants secured for Johnstone’s former shoe lace mill site

4th Developments, owners of the former Paton’s Mill site in Johnstone, has secured three new tenants, as interest increases in the regeneration of the site.

Phase 1 of Paton’s Mill Retail Park includes Aldi, Starbucks and Home Bargains who have each signed up in recent months to create a supermarket, drive thru restaurant and retail offering respectively.

Starbucks has signed a lease for a 2,300 sq. ft. drive thru restaurant located at the High Street entrance to the development, Aldi will occupy Unit A, a 17,000 sq ft. retail unit and Home Bargains will be in the second retail unit comprising 15,000 sq. ft.

Bell Building Projects Limited, the main contractor has been on site since mid-December and is working towards completion of Phase 1 of the development masterplan in Summer 2018.


Regeneration funding for projects in Sutherland 

An artist’s impression of the new community hub at Embo

The Embo Trust, Strathnaver Museum and Sutherland Community Sports & Recreation Hub are among projects in Sutherland set to benefit from funding from the Highland LEADER Programme.

Sutherland Community Sports & Recreation Hub has been awarded LEADER funding of £31,217 towards the development of a multi-use games area in Golspie. The Sutherland Local Area Partnership has approved funding of £247,578 to date and is encouraging potential applicants to come forward for a share of the remaining funds which must be committed by early 2019.

The Embo Trust is also set to benefit from LEADER funding with an award of £30,534 to renovate the old school to create a village Community Hub with multi-purpose hall for activities and classes, community shop and outreach post office. LEADER funding will help establish a commercial café/restaurant unit within the new centre.

Also benefiting from a funding boost of £29,349 from LEADER is Strathnaver Museum.

The Museum Trust is embarking on an ambitious project to redevelop the museum as a heritage hub for north west Sutherland and LEADER funding will contribute towards the development phase.


Plans for coffee shop at Aberdeen housing development

Plans have been lodged to build a new coffee shop within an Aberdeen housing development.

Housebuilder Dandara has submitted an application to Aberdeen City Council to erect the store in the Stoneywood Estate.

The proposed coffee outlet would be situated within the residential development’s civic centre, between two retail units.

The building would be no more than one storey in height.


New Springfield showhome opens with help from Motherwell school children

Green fingered pupils at Firpark Secondary School have been using their talents to maintain the garden at the new Springfield Properties’ show home in Motherwell.

The vocational secondary school for pupils with varying additional support needs, has teamed up with the housing developer to give pupils real life working experience.

Springfield Properties opened its four-bedroom show home at its Motherwell development last month. Since then, the group have applied the horticulture skills they’ve learnt in class to maintain the garden.

The Firpark Secondary School adopts the Developing the Young Workforce curriculum which helps to prepare children for the world of work. The programme has been designed to teach students about different vocations including beauty care, photography, business management and hospitality.


Stirling Council publishes £26m draft administration budget

Investment of almost £26 million is being proposed for Stirling under a draft administration budget and capital plan published ahead of a meeting this week.

The proposals would see Striling Council investing over £1m in initiatives including a pilot project to target holiday hunger among school pupils; investing £200,000 to mitigate the impact of Universal Credit; making Stirling a Dementia-Friendly- City; enhancing cemetery maintenance and introducing 20mph zones.

A further £24m would be invested across capital projects including £4.5m for road improvements and modernisation, over £2m for City Deal projects, over £300,000 to enhance parks and play areas, £1.1m for a flood prevention scheme fund, over £5m to enhance schools and early years and £1m to improve the area’s digital connectivity.

Councillors will consider and decide the financial plan for the coming year when they meet on Thursday.

Funding gives green light for Lumphinnans community garden 

Fife Housing Group colleagues and Lumphinnans TRA members at the site they hope to transform into a community garden. (from left) Audrey Cameron (FHG housing officer); Dot Cairns (TRA chair); Tracey McCann (TRA treasurer) and Helen Miller (FHG engagement officer)

Lumphinnans Tenants’ and Residents’ Association (TRA) has secured funding to begin transforming a disused garage site into a community garden thanks to a donation of land by Fife Housing Group.

Coalfields Community Futures Programme, which supports community-led regeneration within ex-mining villages by encouraging active citizenship and building local democracy, has awarded the group £3,000 towards the redevelopment of a vacant lot at the end of Ochilview.

The land itself has been donated by Fife Housing Group and housing officer, Audrey Cameron, has been involved with the TRA since its inception in February last year.


Homeownership declining among young adults, finds IFS

Young adults today are significantly less likely to be homeowners than those born just five or ten years earlier due to a 152% increase in average house prices, a report has found.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said that those born in the late 1980s had a homeownership rate of 25%, compared with 33% for those born five years earlier (in the early 1980s) and 43% for those born ten years earlier (in the late 1970s).

The falls in homeownership have been sharpest for young adults with middle incomes, it added. In 1995–96, 65% of those aged 25–34 with incomes in the middle 20% for their age owned their own home. Twenty years later, that figure was just 27%.

The IFS said the key reason for the decline is the sharp rise in house prices relative to incomes. Mean house prices were 152% higher in 2015–16 than in 1995–96 after adjusting for inflation. By contrast, the real net family incomes of those aged 25–34 grew by only 22% over the same twenty years.

As a result, the average (median) ratio between the average house price in the region where a young adult lives and their annual net family income doubled from 4 to 8, with all of the increase occurring by 2007–08.

This increase in house prices relative to family incomes fully explains the fall in homeownership for young adults, according to the report. The likelihood of a young adult owning their own home given how their income compares with house prices in their region is little changed from twenty years ago.

But in 2015–16 almost 90% of 25- to 34-year-olds faced average regional house prices of at least four times their income , compared with less than half twenty years earlier. At the same time, 38% faced a house-price-to-income ratio of over 10, compared with just 9% twenty years ago.

And finally… Computer algorithms used to design prefabricated studio

A company which uses computer algorithms to create customised prefabricated dwellings for homes has completed its first project.

Deezen reports that design-build firm Cover has created a 320-square-foot (30-square-metre) studio in Los Angeles which serves as an office and music studio for an Oscar-nominated sound editor.

The white rectangular structure consists of a steel framing and floor-to-ceiling glass. Inside, the building’s single room is fitted with wooden flooring, contemporary decor and built-in storage. An air-tight building envelope and a radiant heating-and-cooling system help keep energy costs low.

The unit, which took three months to design and build, was assembled in Cover’s LA factory and then shipped to the site. The project cost $110,000 (£83,450), which included foundation work.

It is the first completed unit by the company, which produces customised backyard homes often referred to as accessory dwellings — touted by some as a way to increase density and provide affordable housing in growing metro areas.

Ranging from 100 to 1,200 square feet (nine to 111 square metres), the dwellings can be used to accommodate guests, in-laws or rent-paying tenants, or they can serve as studios, workshops, pool houses or lounges.

“Cover sets out to make living and working in a thoughtfully designed and well-built space a reality for everyone,” said the company, which was launched in 2014 and is backed by venture capital funding. The cofounders, Alexis Rivas and Jemuel Joseph, have architecture degrees and formerly worked at design studios.

The company uses digital tools to streamline the design and construction process. Clients provide details – such as design preferences and site conditions – which are fed into a proprietary computer program that generates multiple design options. Within days, clients receive renderings and plans, along with a full quote.

After the design is chosen, Cover obtains the necessary permits, installs the foundation, assembles the structure in its factory, and ships the components to the site. Assembly and installation take 12 weeks, according to the company.

“Unlike other prefab companies and builders, Cover is a technology company first, armed with a team of full-time software engineers, designers, manufacturing engineers and architects who have developed technology that streamlines the entire process of designing, buying, permitting, manufacturing and assembling Cover units,” said Rivas.

The Cover dwellings are the latest in a series of projects that utilise generative design tools, which experts say could transform both the physical world and the role of the designer. The emerging technology uses algorithms to generate every possible permutation of a design solution.

Construction leads and tenders – February 20th


Applicant: City Of Edinburgh Council

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: The construction of a new-build school for children with additional support needs including all associated hard & soft landscaping, external stores, boundary fencing, car parking with drop off areas and upgrading of the existing access road.

Location: Site 117 metres northeast of 3 Burdiehouse Crescent, Edinburgh

Agent: Capital Programme Team, Property and Facilities Management Resources, Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh



Applicant: JYJ LLP

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Proposed Change of Use from offices to form 6 Apartments and provide new Velux roof windows at the top floor (rear) apartment.

Location: Gladstone House, 6A Mill Lane, Edinburgh

Agent: 2B Architects, FAO: Derek Law, 49 Sydney Terrace, Edinburgh


Applicant: Harrison-Church Ltd.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Demolish existing 1.5 storey detached house and erect two 1.5 storey semi-detached houses.

Location: 41 Priestfield Road Edinburgh

Agent: Jefcoate Anderson Architects Ltd, FAO: William Anderson, 39 Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh



Contract Authority: Dounreay Site Restoration Limited

Details: The scope of the works is for the construction of a new shielded Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) Drum Store Extension and an Unshielded Waste Store Extension for shielded waste containers to the existing Dounreay Cementation Plant (DCP) complex.

Location: Thurso

Contact: janet.rosie.contracts@dounreay.com

Publication Date: 19/02/2018


Contract Authority: Aberdeenshire Council

Details: Hawthorne House, Kintore – Stairwell Upgrade

Location: Kintore

Contact: cpscityshire@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Publication Date: 19/02/2018

Minister meets former Carillion AWPR workers as more subsidiaries liquidated

Economy, jobs and fair work secretary, Keith Brown, has assured former Carillion employees working on the Aberdeen Bypass project that they are being supported by the Scottish Government.

A joint venture between Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try and Carillion (Aberdeen Roads Limited) was awarded the contract to build the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project in December 2014.

However, following the collapse of Carillion last month, both Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty have been left to shoulder the remaining costs on the scheme.

Last week Galliford Try said it has booked a £25m exceptional charge for the six months to December 31 as a result and announced plans to raise £150 million of new equity capital to help cover its additional financial obligations on the contract.

Speaking after a visit to project site on Friday, Mr Brown said he has been in regular discussions with trade unions, the UK government and other key partners regarding Carillion.

“I have endeavoured to keep Parliament informed via statements to the chamber, press statements and committee appearances, as well as correspondence,” he said.

“It was important to visit the project today and give site representatives some assurances about the next few months, as it has been a worrying time.

“It is just as important for my officials and Aberdeen Roads Limited to take the time to calculate the implications of this situation and consider what action should be taken to mitigate any knock-on consequences.”

During his visit, Mr Brown met with workers and a representative from Aberdeen Roads Limited, as well as inspecting the 270-metre long River Dee Crossing.

He also reiterated that Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try have made offers of employment to former Carillion workers on the project where there is a position available. To date, around 90% of former Carillion employees have transferred over to the two firms, who have also committed towards fulfilling their obligations on the project.

The minister said: “This is an exciting phase of the project. There is clearly much still to do, and weather will play a part in the final opening date, but it feels like the beginning of the home run towards completion.

“More details of the various milestones and key dates will be revealed in the weeks ahead, but I’m sure the community and workforce will play a pivotal role in the opening celebrations – and both groups are at the forefront of our thinking and initial planning.”

Meanwhile, ten more Carillion subsidiaries have joined the raft of firms to have been put into liquidation following the contractor’s demise.

On February 16 Carillion Property Services, Carillion Professional Services, Dudley Bower Group and Schal International among others were placed in the hands of the Official Receiver and its special managers from PwC.

To date, 6,668 Carillion jobs have been saved and 989 jobs have been made redundant through the liquidation.

£45m of new business for Clark Contracts

Gordon Cunningham

Clark Contracts has secured over £45 million of new work in the six months up to 31st January 2018, from both new and existing customers.

New orders include the construction of student accommodation on Potterrow in Edinburgh, the construction of a 230 bed Moxy Hotel at Edinburgh Airport, a 208 bed Moxy Hotel in Southampton and the refurbishment of ACCORD Hospice in Paisley.

A number of orders have been secured from repeat customers including the regeneration of Saughton Park in Edinburgh for the City of Edinburgh Council, the upgrading of Lidl UK’s existing store in Ayr and the construction of a new common room at Riego Street student accommodation for the University of Edinburgh.

The company’s Fit Out Division has secured the redevelopment of Atlantic Quay 1 and Atlantic Quay 3 office blocks in Glasgow and the refurbishment and restoration of the iconic Category A listed Willow Tea Rooms Building on Sauchiehall Street for The Willow Tea Rooms Trust.

Gordon Cunningham, managing director, Clark Contracts, said: “As we celebrate our 40th year in business we are looking forward to working with these new and existing customers.”

Breedon in talks to buy ‘significant part’ of Lagan Group

Expanding building materials group Breedon has confirmed it is in talks to buy a major part of Northern Ireland’s Lagan Group.

The Lagan Group is a diversified construction business covering quarrying, cement, asphalt and contracting.

With annual turnover of more than £350 million and more than 1,000 employees, it is one of the largest privately owned companies in Ireland.

Breedon and Lagan subsidiary Whitemountain already operate a joint venture in asphalt supplying the £745m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

Breedon said it was holding discussions with Lagan Group and its major shareholders over the possible acquisition of “all or a significant part” of the business.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange (LSE) this morning, it said: “Breedon notes that it regularly engages with companies in its sector and it can confirm that it is in discussions with Lagan and its major shareholders in connection with a possible acquisition of a substantial part of the Lagan business.

“There can be no certainty that the possible acquisition will proceed, nor as to the terms of the possible acquisition. A further announcement will be made as appropriate.”

Over the last few years Breedon has been on an acquisition drive which has saw the firm purchase ready-mix concrete supplier Huntsman’s Quarries for £15m in 2014, Hope Construction Materials for £336m in 2015 and buildings material business Sherburn Minerals Group for £15.7m in November 2016.