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£3.5m fund to help social landlords increase energy efficiency

Social housing landlords will be able to make their properties more energy efficient after the Scottish Government unveiled a £3.5 million decarbonisation fund.

Local authorities and housing associations will be able to use the fund on projects that improve energy efficiency and decarbonise heating, for example when installing solar panels or air source heat pumps.

Funding will be available to local authority and housing association landlords across 2018/19 and 2019/20. The majority will be front-loaded, requiring spend in the current financial year 2018/19.

Announcing the fund yesterday ahead of a Scottish Parliament debate, housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “This funding reflects our commitment to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.

“As well as assisting social landlords in decarbonising their heating, the Fund will also encourage innovative thinking and fresh ideas and is open to expressions of interest from today.

“This is part of more than £5 million of additional funding to support the Energy Efficient Scotland: Transition Programme, which will continue to provide a mix of advice, grant and low-cost loans to support property owners over the next two years.”

£32m town centre investment plans unveiled in North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire Council has agreed proposals to invest £32.75 million over the next five years to begin to transform its town centres into “modern, vibrant communities where people live, work and socialise”.

Forming part of a long-term economic regeneration delivery plan for the area, the town transformation plans centre around the four core interconnected themes of housing regeneration, town centre transformation, business & industry and infrastructure development.

The proposals include plans to more than double affordable housing by pledging to deliver 5,000 homes by 2035, all part of the council’s ambitious plans to invest potentially £4.5 billion over the next 30 years, aimed at creating an additional 15,000 jobs. It is suggested that people living in these new homes will also contribute to the wider local economy with projections estimating a further 1,000 jobs in the service industry.

At the heart of the entire programme, is the ambition to deliver inclusive growth.

Currently underway is the first stage of the regeneration blueprint, which will see many tower blocks and other flats demolished to make way for new homes. Although this £500m project is just one element of the council’s vision, these new homes will meet the needs and aspirations of local people, and many will be located in town centres. Tenants in the flats earmarked for the first phase of demolition support the plan, with a recent survey showing that over 80% were in favour.

New locations, including vacant and derelict retail sites, will be identified to speed up the construction of new council homes. The council will also work with businesses and investors to redevelop existing retail space, to help create multi-use spaces, such as incubator hubs for business start-ups, that are more relevant to our future economy.

Work will continue to progress the reinvigoration of North Lanarkshire town centres, including coming up with creative ways to generate a regular evening economy and diversify outdoor, retail and industrial spaces.

“Town centres are key to the well-being of our communities, and the council’s ambition is to see them redesigned as multi-use spaces for everyone,” said Councillor Allan Graham, convener of the enterprise and housing committee.

“We want to breathe life back into town centres, making them fit with current lifestyles. The way we all live has changed in recent years, with a huge increase in on-line shopping and use of digital services. Our social lives are also focussed around ‘experiences’ so we need to provide facilities and amenities for people, alongside the new housing in town centres. This will also create jobs, support business and grow the local economy. These may seem dramatic changes but these are ambitious plans that will develop long-term sustainability.

“By locating modern housing beside community and leisure facilities, shops and services, all connected to ultrafast broadband, we will create town centres that people want to live, work and socialise in.”

The £32.75m allocated to town centre and business regeneration in the current capital programme will help kick-start the work over the first five years, while the council continues to develop long-term plans for the next 20 years.

Over the last ten years, the council has invested £30m in town centre action plans which have seen improvements to the streetscape generally, with specific projects such as the redevelopment around Motherwell train station, the Kilsyth and Kelvin Valley Action Plan and the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme in Coatbridge, continuing as part of the new plans.

Councillor Graham added: “The regeneration of town centres is an important part of our economic regeneration strategy which addresses both place and economy, so it’s about improving our land, buildings and housing as well as encouraging new business, investment and jobs.

“Our strategy will ensure we have land available for building much-needed new homes, utilise the Glasgow City Region City Deal investment to improve the transport network, create locations to attract business and industry, and maximise our greenspace for residents and visitors to enjoy.”

Airdrie, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld will see the first phase of the plans. In Airdrie, Coatbridge and Wishaw, the plans focus on replacing outdated, large-scale retail outlets, commercial property and housing with modern, mixed-use developments. In Cumbernauld, the viability of the town centre will be a focus, using both public and private property to develop integrated public services. Improvements in Motherwell will centre initially around the plans to create a transport hub at the rail station. Future phases will focus on Shotts, Kilsyth and Bellshill.

Attracting further investment from business and industry is key to the regeneration strategy and is underpinned by advances in the roads and rail transport network through the Glasgow City Region City Deal. Regeneration of existing industrial estates at Newhouse, Blairlinn and Braidhurst will provide premises and development land suitable for modern businesses, with further sites earmarked for future expansion.

Competition watchdog considers regulation for district heat networks

Greater protection for customers could be on the way after an interim report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) suggested that consumers in the district heating market are not getting value for money.

The CMA study – which began in December – set out to establish whether heat network customers were getting a good deal in areas such as price, quality and service levels.

It has found that, for many, heat networks offer prices which are the same or lower than people on a gas or electricity tariff and have comparable levels of customer service.

But some customers – mainly those living in privately owned or rented properties – pay more for their heat through a heat network and, across the board, heat network customers aren’t getting the same levels of protection that gas and electricity customers receive.

The study found three main areas of concern:

  • Design and build – some property developers may try to cut the upfront costs of installing a network, resulting in higher ongoing operating costs, usually paid for by customers. Heat networks may also be installed where they are the best way to meet planning requirements, rather than the best solution for customers.
  • Monopoly of supply – because customers often have no alternative sources of heat and may be locked into long-term contracts, they cannot hold suppliers to account on price or quality.
  • Low transparency – before moving in to a property, people often don’t know that their energy will be supplied by a heat network and once people are living in the property, customer bills often fail to set out key information.

To address these issues – and given the expected expansion in the market – the CMA’s provisional view is that the sector should be regulated. This will mean:

  • consumer protections for all heat network customers, providing benefits such as complaints handling and access to an ombudsman and support for vulnerable customers
  • steps to improve the design and build of networks
  • all suppliers adhering to mandatory rules and criteria around price and quality in long-term contracts
  • measures to improve transparency including better information on networks, provision of heat supply agreements or contracts and clearer and more detailed bills

Senior director Rachel Merelie said: “Heat networks can play an important role in cutting carbon emissions and keeping down energy bills, but some customers are not getting a good deal for this essential service.

“There is currently no regulator with responsibility for heat networks, so customers do not automatically benefit from the rights and protections that gas and electricity customers receive.

“Our current view is that regulation is now needed, to ensure that heat network customers receive equivalent levels of protection to gas and electricity customers.”

Given that some of the recommendations would require primary legislation, the CMA is working closely with the UK government as well as the Scottish and Welsh governments to develop its recommendations.

Citizens Advice Scotland said up to 40,000 Scottish households could benefit from the report.

The charity’s consumer spokesman Sam Ghibaldan added: “Citizens Advice Scotland welcomes today’s CMA report. Our role is to stand up for fairness for all consumers in Scotland, and to provide them with high quality advice and support in solving their problems. This includes helping provide fair and affordable access to domestic heating.

“The CMA’s provisional conclusion that district heating should be regulated is good news for the 40,000 households in Scotland that could be connected to heat networks by 2020. Last year we recommended that heat networks in Scotland should be licensed, and we are delighted that the CMA are considering a similar approach.

“District Heat consumers currently lack the protections that gas and electricity consumers have, and to ensure that they have confidence in the heat market, and that it grows in line with Scottish and UK Government targets, it is critical that consistent protections in areas such as billing, metering, complaints and pricing are put in place, as set out in our research.

“We will continue to engage with the CMA to ensure strong protection for heat consumers.”

The CMA is consulting on the recommendations until 31 May 2018 and will publish a final report in the summer.

Construction leads and tenders – May 11th

MIXED USE and NON-RESIDENTIAL

Applicant: EnergySpace Properties Ltd

Planning Authority: Aberdeen

Details: Internal alterations including 2 new slappings and refurbishment of welfare facilities

Location: 4 Rubislaw Place, Aberdeen

Agent: 338 Building Design, 19 Davidson Crescent, Alford

 

Applicant: Crusher Hire UK Ltd

Planning Authority: Aberdeen

Details: Change of use of former blockworks to allow storage of heavy goods vehicles and plant, with associated office, service facilities and yard space

Location: Former Mill Of Dyce Quarry and Blockworks Yard, Pitmedden Road, Dyce, Aberdeen

Agent: Burness Paull, Union Plaza, 1 Union Wynd, Aberdeen

 

TENDERS

Contract Authority: Fife Council

Details: John Fergus School – EN4654380 – Create New Link Corridor

Location: Glenrothes

Contact: Colin.Ferguson-BS@fife.gov.uk

Publication Date: 10/05/2018

 

Contract Authority: East Dunbartonshire Council

Details: East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) is seeking to appoint suitably experienced and qualified Electrical Contractors to undertake Electrical Works as required to the Councils property.

Location: East Dunbartonshire

Contact: robert.gilmour@eastdunbarton.gov.uk

Publication Date: 10/05/2018

Construction leads and tenders – May 10th

MIXED USE and NON-RESIDENTIAL

Applicant: Gleneagles Hotel Ltd

Planning Authority: Perth

Details: Internal alterations to function suite and associated works

Location: Gleneagles Hotel, Gleneagles, Auchterarder

Agent: 3DReid, Ross Taylor, 45 West Nile Street, Glasgow

 

Applicant: The McDermott Group

Planning Authority: Perth

Details: Construction of an office building, formation of a vehicular access, parking area, landscaping and associated works

Location: Land 80 metres south of Broxden Dental Centre, Tweed Place, Perth

Agent: CRGP Ltd, David McIntosh, 26 Herbert Street, Glasgow

 

RESIDENTIAL – FEWER THAN TEN UNITS

Applicant: Principled Developments Ltd

Planning Authority: Perth

Details: Construction of 2 dwellinghouses

Location: Land 40 metres north east of Ochil Cottage, Carnbo

Agent: Thistle Property Consulting Ltd, Philip Lovegrove, 20 Seafire Place, Dalgety Bay

 

TENDERS

Contract Authority: North Ayrshire Council

Details: North Ayrshire Council invites tenders for the provision of St John’s PS – Proposed Nursery Alterations. The resultant contract will be for a period of 14 weeks commencing July 2018 (anticipated).

Location: Stevenston

Contact: procurement@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

Publication Date: 09/05/2018

 

Contract Authority: East Renfrewshire Council

Details: East Renfrewshire Council will shortly be issuing tender documents as it seeks to appoint an experienced and suitably qualified contractor to undertake roof refurbishment works at Giffnock Primary School.

Location: Giffnock

Contact: karen.grady@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk

Housing plans for former Victoria Infirmary site approved

Sanctuary Homes has been given the go-ahead to redevelop the former Victoria Infirmary site in Glasgow.

Glasgow City Council’s planning applications committee has granted planning permission to create 413 new flats, plus offices and retail units, on the site in the city’s Langside.

Developed by Glasgow-based Collective Architecture following a comprehensive community consultation, Sanctuary’s plans will retain Battlefield Road’s iconic Nightingale Pavilions and introduce public realm areas, including an improved pedestrian route through the site to Queen’s Park.

Battlefield Road’s Nightingale wings will be retained as part of the project

Peter Martin, Sanctuary’s group director – development, said: “We are delighted to receive planning permission for our vision to bring the former Victoria Infirmary site back to life.

“We thank Glasgow City Council for supporting this vision and for recognising the benefits Sanctuary’s project will have for Langside. To be trusted to rejuvenate such an iconic site with more than 400 new homes is very exciting.

“This planning approval is welcome news and coincides with the conclusion of Sanctuary’s £60 million regeneration of Anderston in central Glasgow. As at Anderston this project will offer affordable homes plus jobs and training opportunities for young people.

“Our plans for the former Victoria Infirmary site demonstrate Sanctuary’s continued commitment to Glasgow and will see us invest many millions of pounds in the city.”

Around 300 homes will be available for private sale. The remaining homes will be available for affordable housing subject to Glasgow City Council grant approval.

Scottish National Investment Bank backed with £2bn over ten years

Keith Brown

A new Scottish National Investment Bank will be operational next year and provide £2 billion in capital over ten years, MSPs have been told.

Responding to an Implementation Plan drawn up by Benny Higgins and his Advisory Group for the new Scottish National Investment Bank, economy secretary Keith Brown confirmed that Ministers have considered and accepted all 21 recommendations for the Bank and that a Bill will be brought forward in 2019 to establish and capitalise the Bank, following a consultation.

Mr Brown said the Bank will operate on a commercial basis, with a strong ethical focus, and will be independent from Ministers who will set strategic missions for the Bank.  The Bank’s board will be responsible and accountable over decisions about where to invest and on what terms so that it fulfils the missions set for it. The Scottish Government is committed to establishing the new Bank as a public body in order to ensure direct alignment between the activities of the Bank and broader economic policy. The types of investment, determined by the Board should include:

  • strategic and patient capital over all stages of firms’ and businesses investment lifecycle
  • substantial financing for major projects  which support regeneration and  communities and
  • investment in new ideas, to help meet  key economic, environmental and social challenges

Economy secretary Keith Brown said: “I want to thank Benny Higgins and his Advisory Group for their work on developing an Implementation Plan for a new national investment bank for Scotland. The Cabinet has considered in detail the proposals outlined in Mr Higgins’ Implementation Plan, and has agreed that the Scottish Government will accept all 21 of the recommendations.

“Many countries around the world benefit from having national investment banks which provide patient, strategic investments that focus on the major economic challenges. National promotional banks play an important role in actively creating and shaping new markets and tackle big societal challenges.

“That is why we are committed to investing £2 billion over 10 years to capitalise the Bank. This scale is deemed to be ambitious, achievable and realistic, at a level that will make a material difference to the supply of capital to the Scottish economy and can lever in additional private investment.

“We will further refine its expectations of the Bank, and the missions set for it,  through consultation with stakeholders. We will listen to their expectations and priorities for investment and governance of the Bank.”

During yesterday’s parliamentary debate, the Conservatives warned they would not support legislation to create the bank unless the government streamlined business support and Labour’s Jackie Baillie said her party would invest 10 times as much as the “timid” funding plan.

The Scottish Greens outlined distinct plans for the proposed Bank to have robust policies on ethical investments, a push towards a zero carbon economy and overall greater scrutiny.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie also stressed the need to “kickstart the economy” but warned against a repeat of “Scottish Enterprise giving Amazon millions of pounds and turning a blind eye to the needs of its workers”.

Event delegates hear of ‘ambitious plans’ for Edinburgh city centre

The City of Edinburgh Council is examining “ambitious plans” to revamp the public realm of the Scottish capital’s city centre in which over £3 billion worth of projects are currently underway, delegates at a planning event were told.

Delivering the opening keynote at a Built Environment Networking event, the authority’s head of place development, Michael Thain, said the city was in the middle of a building boom.

He described the £3bn worth of projects in the city centre as the “most concentrated amount of development and investment of any urban centre in the whole of the UK”, but stressed that the centre’s choked public realm was “not fit for purpose”.

The council’s recent acquisition of the former National Grid site in the waterside area of Granton, which has the capacity for 1,600 new homes, “gives a message about a commitment to develop” accordingly to Thain.

He added that the council’s support for efforts to promote the city’s inclusive growth includes plans for its recently established housing company to invest £250 million over the next five years in building and acquiring mid-market and market rent homes.

Gillian Lavety, development director at Sanctuary Group Scotland, said the housing association is preparing to embark on its first market sale properties north of the border.

These include the regeneration of Glasgow’s former Victoria Infirmary, where Sanctuary is bringing forward 413 residential units including 135-social rent and shared ownership homes. The application, which retains the infirmary’s prominent Nightingale pavilions and listed administration block, was approved at a hearing this month with Glasgow City Council’s planning committee.

Lavety said the association is also just about to finish the final phase, containing just over 200 units, of its regeneration of the Anderston area in Glasgow city centre. The five-phase scheme replaces nearly 500 low rise 1960s flats, which were transferred from Scottish Homes more than a decade ago.

Lastly she said Sanctuary Group Scotland is half way through the regeneration of 12 high rise blocks in Cumbernauld, all but three of which have been demolished.

Jestyn Davies, managing director of Murray Estates, revealed that the company is awaiting a decision by the Scottish Government on whether it has won consent for the first phase of its new Edinburgh Garden District.

He said that a recommendation to the Scottish Government is “imminent” from a report, the term for planning inspector in Scotland, on Murray’s application for 1350 homes at Redheughs Village.

Redheughs is set to be the first of five to six new villages, which will be developed on 700 acres to the west of Edinburgh, under Murray’s masterplan for the 6,500-home garden district. Murray Estates is in “advanced discussions” with three volume housebuilders and one major affordable homes provider to deliver the project.

The district is well integrated into the city’s transport network with five tram stops within easy reach.

Davies said of the project: “We are not some new Eco Town sitting in the middle of the countryside. We are bolted onto the city, which allows us to grow more quickly.”

The scheme is close to employment centres housing more than 25,000 jobs with more in the pipeline on upcoming developments at Crosswinds and Edinburgh Park.

Davies also told the event that Murray Estates is in the “early stages” of looking at the creation of a new village near Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt-University, containing up to 3,000 new homes, of which a quarter would be affordable and key worker properties.

Clive Wilding, director of Artisan Real Estates, said the company is due to hand over its New Waverley development to the Cabinet Office in June 2019, and he outlined his company’s plans within Glasgow.

Part of the plans include the restoration of Glasgow’s crumbling Georgian Custom House, which occupies a prominent Clydeside site in the city centre, which they hope to convert into two hotels. The scheme for the Grade A structure also involves securing permission for the demolition of three neighbouring tenement buildings.

And Mark Hamilton, group architectural director of Springfield Properties, outlined his company’s plans to deliver around 10,000 new homes in five villages across Scotland.

Saltcoats tower blocks to be retained in North Ayrshire demolition plan

The two tower blocks in Saltcoats will be upgraded under the new proposals

North Ayrshire Council has amended plans to demolish all its high rise tower blocks following the conclusion of extensive consultation with residents.

Under the new proposals, five tower blocks in Irvine will all be demolished and replaced, while the two high flats in Saltcoats will be retained and upgraded.

The six-week engagement drew to a close on May 2, with 82% of tenants and residents taking part.

Taking on board the views of those who live in the tower blocks, two key recommendations will be made to North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet on June 19:

  • To rehouse the 275 households in Fullarton, Irvine, before demolishing the five tower blocks and building replacement housing on-site and elsewhere in Irvine by late 2023.
  • Not to proceed with the demolition of the two Saltcoats tower blocks. Instead, detailed proposals will be developed to upgrade the two buildings, which will include the installation of sprinklers.

High rise flats in Irvine are still set to be demolished

North Ayrshire Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “First and foremost, I want to thank all of the residents who took part in the consultation.

“We said from the outset that we would listen to what the residents wanted and these proposals reflect their wishes.

“In Irvine, the tenants were strongly in favour of the plans which would see them rehoused and the tower blocks demolished. This would allow a major regeneration of the Fullarton area with affordable and energy efficient homes built there alongside new, high-quality housing in other parts of Irvine.

“The results in Saltcoats showed just under two-thirds of households wanted to keep the high flats and that’s why the proposal there is not to proceed with demolition. Instead, council officers will consider potential costs and timetables of an improvements programme before having further consultation with both the tenants and the flat owners.

“If these proposals are approved at Cabinet, then I believe it represents one of the most ambitious housing projects in Scotland which has the power to really change our tenants’ lives for the better.”

Council leader Joe Cullinane at the Fullarton High Flats in Irvine

Results from the consultation showed that in Irvine, 215 households responded to the consultation out of the 275 properties. 66% of favoured demolition of the tower blocks with 32% favouring retention of the blocks. 2% stated no preference.

In Saltcoats, 79 out of 94 households responded, with 65% in favour of retaining the two tower blocks with 34% choosing the option for demolition. 1% stated no preference.

The results of the consultation means that a recommendation will now be put before Cabinet on June 19 to demolish the tower blocks in Irvine and retain those in Saltcoats.

If the proposals are approved, council officers will immediately begin to develop a programme for the work, with the aim of keeping residents fully informed throughout.

In Irvine, it is proposed that housing officers will engage with the minority of households who did not want to see the tower blocks demolished to talk further about their individual concerns and how the council can help.

In addition, senior officers from the housing team will hold meetings with tenants and residents in both Irvine and in Saltcoats to discuss the outcome of the consultation.

The Saltcoats meeting will be held on Monday, 14 May, in Saltcoats Town Hall.

The Irvine meeting will be held on Tuesday, 15 May, in the Fullarton Community Hub, Irvine.

Construction leads and tenders – May 9th

MIXED USE and NON-RESIDENTIAL

Applicant: Whitbread Plc.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Extension to existing hotel to provide additional bedrooms; alterations to car parking and landscaping

Location: The Queens Crossing, 7 Builyeon Road, South Queensferry

Agent: Walsingham Planning, FAO: Faye Cass, Brandon House, King Street, Knutsford, England

 

Applicant: George Watson’s College.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Construct temporary school accommodation within school grounds

Location: Upper Primary Building, George Watsons College, 67 – 71 Colinton Road, Edinburgh

Agent: Fouin + Bell Architects Ltd, 1 John’s Place, Edinburgh

 

Applicant: Bernard Hunter Ltd.

Planning Authority: Edinburgh

Details: Mixed Use Development comprising – Class 1 retail, class 2 professional services, class 3 (inc Sui Generis) Food and Drink, class 4 to 6 Business/ Industrial, class 7 Hotel, class 11 Assembly and Leisure, Access, Car Parking, Servicing, Bridge, Demolition and Associated Works

Location: 1 and 4 Gilmerton Station Road, Edinburgh

Agent: Ferguson Planning, FAO: Tim Ferguson, Shiel House, 54 Island Street, Galashiels

 

TENDERS

Contract Authority: North Ayrshire Council

Details: North Ayrshire Council invites tenders for the provision of NAC-2146 Kilwinning Academy – Re-roofing Works as detailed in this Invitation to Tender. The resultant contract will be for a period of 7 months commencing 09/07/2018 (anticipated date).

Location: Kilwinning

Contact: procurement@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

Publication Date: 08/05/2018

 

Contract Authority: Aberdeenshire Council

Details: Excavation and Re-surfacing, tree planting and ancillary works in an existing environment

Location: Aberdeen

Contact: cpssprocurement@aberdeencity.gov.uk

Publication Date: 08/05/2018