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Sutherland site to host UK’s first spaceport

Artist’s impression of a UK spaceport. Credit: Perfect Circle PV

A remote peninsula in Sutherland has been chosen as the home of the UK’s first spaceport.

Vertically-launched space rockets and satellites will take off from the launch site at A’Mhoine, business secretary Greg Clark has announced.

Initial funding of £2.5 million will go to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop the site which could see lift-off from the early 2020s and create hundreds of jobs. It will use innovative rocket technology to pave the way for a world-leading spaceflight market in Britain.

The UK Space Agency said it selected the Sutherland site because Scotland is the best place in the UK to reach highly sought-after satellite orbits with vertically-launched rockets.

The UK government is also making available a new £2m fund to boost further horizontal launch spaceport sites across Britain – such as Newquay, Glasgow Prestwick and Snowdonia – subject to business case.

Business secretary Greg Clark said: “As a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs, we want Britain to be the first place in mainland Europe to launch satellites as part of our Industrial Strategy. The UK’s thriving space industry, research community and aerospace supply chain put the UK in a leading position to develop both vertical and horizontal launch sites.

“This will build on our global reputation for manufacturing small satellites and help the whole country capitalise on the huge potential of the commercial space age.”

Welcoming the announcement, Charlotte Wright, chief executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: “The decision to support the UK’s first spaceport in Sutherland is tremendous news for our region and for Scotland as a whole. The international space sector is growing and we want to ensure the region is ready to reap the economic benefits that will be generated from this fantastic opportunity.

“HIE expects to be in a position to make an announcement on further financial support for the space sector later today.”

The commercial space sector is estimated to be worth a potential £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade and will support Britain’s modern Industrial Strategy by creating high-skilled jobs and boosting local economies.

Cabinet secretary for finance, economy and fair work, Derek Mackay MSP, said: “The development of a small-satellite launch facility at the Mhoine, Sutherland is a significant first step towards stimulating space sector activity across the whole of Scotland and beyond.

“This very exciting development will build on our existing strengths and ensure we maintain momentum in the development of vibrant space industry.  Through companies such as ClydeSpace and Spire Global, we have already taken the title as a front-runner in the small-satellite industry across Europe. But by building a spaceport we are taking big steps towards creating a fully integrated supply chain – to manufacture, launch and operate – all from Scotland.

“A spaceport will open up a wide range of market opportunities and give our businesses a competitive advantage to keep us ahead of the curve. The additional activity generated will create high-skilled jobs and encourage foreign direct investment. It is a must that we take these opportunities to build strong international relations, not only across Europe but on a global scale, to ensure a prosperous future for Scotland and its emerging space sector.

“Sutherland is only a starting point for these opportunities and we will ensure that its benefits are spread across the country.”

CMS Window Systems reports record year with profits up by one third

CMS Window Systems’ Hayfield Factory in Kirkcaldy

Queen’s Award for Enterprise winning company CMS Window Systems has reported considerable growth in its profitability, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) in the year to March up by more than one third, boosted by record turnover topping £36 million.

In its latest financial period, the Cumbernauld-based business, which employs more than 250 people in the design, manufacture and installation of PVC and aluminium windows, doors and curtain walling for residential, public sector and commercial buildings, has increased EBITDA by 34.64% from just over £3m in 2016 to almost £4.1m.

According to chief executive officer, David Ritchie, these latest results show a business in very good health.

David Ritchie

David said: “On the back of an excellent year in 2016/17, the business has gone from strength to strength, delivering another fantastic set of results for this latest period which show the business meeting all our strategic and financial targets.

“And the future is looking extremely positive too, with a record order book valued at £65m over the next three years providing job security and excellent opportunities for our local and national supply chain partners. This includes our largest ever single contract valued at £10m to manufacture and supply windows, doors and curtain walling for the prestigious Atlantic Square development in Glasgow.

“We’re delighted with these latest results which reflect the remarkable effort and dedication of the whole team as well as a successful business strategy based around environmental, social and economic sustainability.

“With a solid operating platform already in place, we have invested heavily during the last year in our PVC factory capabilities at our Castlecary base near Cumbernauld, to enhance production capacity in preparation for the next phase of planned growth. This is continuing into 2018/19 too, with a new door factory in Fife already opened during quarter one and plans to invest in our aluminium factory capacity as well as a new trade manufacturing facility.”

Operating from its 15-acre main manufacturing and recycling facility and HQ at Castlecary near Cumbernauld, together with its new door manufacturing and recycling plant in Kirkcaldy, CMS Window Systems continues to be one of Scotland’s fastest growing manufacturing businesses. The company has been backed by mid-market private equity investor LDC since May 2016, when it secured a significant minority investment to further support the business’ expansion across Scotland and England.

Profits ahead of expectations at Springfield Properties

(from left) Michelle Motion, finance director with Sandy Adam, executive chairman and Innes Smith, chief executive officer

Springfield Properties has announced that it expects to deliver a significant increase in profits in the second half of its financial year.

In a trading update issued ahead of full year results in September, the Elgin-based housebuilder said revenue was anticipated to rise 27%, while pre-tax profit would jump 42%, which the company said was in line with its upgraded market guidance.

The better-than-expected sales growth was due to the accelerated completion of the sites that the company had acquired from Redrow in 2011, and the profit growth reflects the margin associated with the Redrow sites being not as high as with the other Springfield sites. The final remaining Redrow plot is expected to complete in July.

During the year, revenue grew in both the company’s private housing and affordable divisions, with private housing accounting for approximately 73% of total revenue. Springfield also progressed the development of existing sites, including receiving further planning consents as well as acquiring new sites. In particular, Springfield submitted a planning application for its 3,000-home site at Durieshill, Stirling – which represented a key milestone as all of the ‘village’ sites are now in the planning permission process, under construction or have commenced sales.

A notable development during the period, and as announced on 2 May 2018, was the Company’s acquisition of the issued share capital of DHomes 2014 Holdings Limited (trading as Dawn Homes), a Glasgow-based housebuilder focussed on private housing, for consideration of up to £20.1 million. The acquisition served to expand the company’s private land bank in line with Springfield’s stated strategy to expand into new regions, and is expected to accelerate the company’s growth. The integration is progressing as planned with Dawn Homes continuing to trade as expected.

In the affordable division, Springfield continued to see increasing demand from potential development partners, including local authorities and housing associations, for more affordable homes. A key achievement during the year was the completion of the Linkwood View facility in Elgin that was specifically designed for the elderly. This development included a number of flats tailored to meet the needs of residents with dementia. Following the success of this development, Springfield is in negotiations to deliver similar facilities for other clients.

Springfield Properties said it will provide further details at the time of its full year results announcement.

Taylor Wimpey wins appeal over Inverkeithing development plans

The location of the homes at the Spencerfield site

An appeal against a council decision to refuse plans for almost 300 homes in Fife has been upheld by the Scottish Government.

Taylor Wimpey is to deliver 295 homes on farmland at the Spencerfield site in Inverkeithing. A quarter of the homes will be affordable housing.

Councillors on Fife Council’s west planning committee previously refused the plans in 2015 but had no choice other than to approve them last week, after Taylor Wimpey’s appeal against the initial decision was upheld.

Taylor Wimpey has said it will hand over around £580,000 towards road improvements as part of its approval, however, pledges to build a GP practice and make money available for school places are no longer on the table.

A previous application for 450 homes dating back to 2013 came with a pledge to include a GP practice and contribute towards the regeneration of Fraser Avenue. The report to the committee in 2013 also contained a requirement for an education contribution of £2,400 for each private house built and £1,200 for each private flat.

Councillors threw out the plans, which were subject to more than 250 objections, and a subsequent appeal by Taylor Wimpey was thrown out by the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA).

The housebuilder made a claim for Fife Council to cover its expenses but this too was knocked back by the DPEA.

In 2015 councillors tried again to prevent Taylor Wimpey from building on the site, which will reduce the distance between the settlements of Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay to less than half a mile.

Their refusal of the scaled down plans, with no mention of a GP surgery or contributions to either education or Fraser Avenue, was later overturned by a government reporter.

Pauline Mills, land and planning director for Taylor Wimpey East Scotland, said: “We are delighted that the west planning committee approved the application for our Spencerfield, Inverkeithing development.

“Our detailed proposal will deliver 295 new homes, of which 25 per cent will be affordable, allowing us to make sure there will be a wide mix of styles to appeal to a range of buyers, as well as a range of tenures.

“Our development will also provide a range of economic benefits for the local area, including the creation of several hundred new jobs, and it will attract new customers to local businesses.

“In line with our legal agreement with Fife Council, we will also make contributions towards a fund for wider strategic transportation improvements, as well as local traffic improvements and upgrades necessitated by our development.

“We will now work towards finalising our other technical consents and will advise the local community on our anticipated date for starting the development shortly.”

Emtec completes Indigo Hotel in Dundee

Emtec Building Services has successfully completed the new 102-bedroom Indigo Hotel in Dundee.

Transformed from a two-hundred-year-old jute mill, the Lower Dens property sits between the waterfront and the heart of the shopping district. Rich in history, the first spinning mill was built on the site in 1822 by the Baxter family who became one of the world’s largest linen manufacturers.

Respectfully renovated, the hotel’s three room designs are inspired by Dundee’s past and present and feature the original vaulted brickwork ceilings.

The project was undertaken by Emtec on a design and build basis for Sharkey Construction on behalf of Thomas & Adamson, IHG and Focus Hotel Management. The M&E design was undertaken in conjunction with Butler Consulting Ltd with architecture provided by JMA and interior design by Graven Images.

The Dundee Cake room brings in discreet marmalade motifs throughout the room with jute curtains. The Comic room is inspired by DC Thompson, the famous publishing house that had a famous comic called ‘Black Bob’ about a sheepdog that saved the day, with sheepdog commands hidden in the dado rails.

The Gaming room is reflective of Dundee’s thriving computer game industry, the birth place of Grand Theft Auto. Secret gaming codes can be spotted within the dado rail, and literature found within the room celebrates Dundee’s unique links to the video game industry. Beds are finished with blankets by a local textile designer, Hilary Grant, whose work is inspired by waves breaking on the River Tay.

Hotel Indigo Dundee’s restaurant and bar, Daisy Tasker, offers guests a contemporary spin on traditional Scottish dishes with an abundance of fresh seafood, prime cuts of meat and locally-grown fresh vegetables. It is named in honour of a much-loved weaver who organised activities for the jute mill workers and, true to the original Daisy’s sociable spirit, the restaurant is set to be the ideal spot for family and friends to eat and drink together.

William Inglis, general manager, Hotel Indigo Dundee, said: “We are extremely excited to be opening our doors to guests. This is a unique and beautiful hotel and through clever design, we’ve really brought its heritage to the forefront. Dundee has recently been voted as one of the best cities to visit in 2018 and its rich culture is showcased throughout the city. With the opening of the V&A later this year, we look forward to welcoming guests from the globe and have no doubt that they will fall in love with Hotel Indigo and everything this incredible city has to offer.”

Safety works completed at Strone Point on A83

A road safety project costing £1.6 million on the A83 at Strone Point has been finished.

Around 370m of carriageway has been realigned and a section of the hillside scaled back, widening the road and improving driver visibility.

Also, safety barriers and bike guards have been installed and the upgraded drainage systems have improved resilience in wet conditions.

Transport minister Michael Matheson said: “The section of the A83 at Strone Point on Loch Fyne is single carriageway with a history of fatal and serious accidents. This project has made it safer by opening up the width of the road and improving driver visibility around the tight bend.

“The work has also allowed us to install new safety barriers and improve drainage, signage and road markings at the same time.

“Over 6000 tonnes of material has been removed from the nearby slope and specialist mesh and matting installed. This will improve the slope’s stability and help to prevent debris falling onto the carriageway.

“The A83 is the gateway to Argyll and Bute and we recognise its strategic importance. This project is one of a series of ongoing initiatives on the road, underlining the Scottish Government’s commitment to maintaining that vital link for local residents and businesses.”

Building Briefs – July 16th

NWH invests £500k in driver apprenticeships

Environmental and land services provider, The NWH Group (NWH), has committed £500,000 investment in its own unique HGV driver apprenticeship scheme for the next five years and beyond.

Run in conjunction with Glasgow Training Group (GTG), NWH hopes to recruit and train 80 HGV driver apprentices during the course of the next five years with successful graduates achieving a Modern Apprenticeship in Driving.

The scheme is open to people aged 18 – 24 years who are looking for an exciting and challenging career path and who already have an ordinary driving licence, and possibly some professional driving experience. The scheme is also open to those simply looking for a change in career direction.

The NWH Group apprenticeship programme provides individuals with a well-rounded experience where apprentices are provided with a one year rolling programme, in addition to coaching on their actual driving, including activities to develop skills and experience in a wide range of roles and departments including accounts and finance, administration and transport. This breadth of experience helps to ensure that apprentices really understand the inner workings of the business and the vital role they have to play once they become fully qualified drivers.

The first four 2018 apprentices started recently, and the plan is to recruit a further eight later in the year, followed by another 18 during 2019.  The intake will continue to increase through to 2022 and beyond.


1,000 more Carillion staff transfer to new employers

Close to three quarters of Carillion’s pre-liquidation workforce have now been found secure on-going employment after 1,085 employees transferred to new suppliers over the past week.

The Official Receiver added that regrettably three roles in the corporate centre are no longer required and those employees will leave the business later this week.

A total of 13,430 jobs (73% of the pre-liquidation workforce) have been saved during the liquidation to date and 2,407 (13%) jobs have been made redundant.

A further 1,256 employees have left the business during the liquidation through finding new work, retirement or for other reasons.


Second phase of East Kilbride gas project to begin

Work is to start on the second phase of a gas upgrade project in East Kilbride.

SGN will replace old metal gas mains with new plastic pipe along the Kingsway (A725) to ensure a continued safe and reliable gas supply to the local area.

Work will take place on a section of Kingsway (A725) north of Whitemoss Roundabout and will be progressing along the A725 towards the Whirlies Roundabout.

Up to £41,000 will be invested in the scheme, which will get underway on Tuesday, 17 July. Work will last around four weeks.


Work continues on £4m Railway upgrade project in Baillieston

Work is continuing on a £4 million railway upgrade project in Baillieston, Glasgow.

A new road bridge is being built over the railway at Muirhead Road to enable two way traffic, cycle route and pedestrian footpaths.

The structure is being replaced as part of a wider programme of work to renew and refurbish bridges all across the railway as part of Network Rail’s UK wide Railway Upgrade Plan.

David Linden, MP for Glasgow East, recently visited the site to view progress on the project.

Muirhead Road is on schedule to re-open by September with work to reconstruct the bridge fully complete in October.


Urban Union supports youth sporting event

Young people across Scotland enjoyed the seventh annual Youth Work Games this week, thanks to a generous donation from regeneration firm Urban Union.

Working in partnership with Muirhouse Youth Development Group, Urban Union donated towards this year’s event, which brought children from all over the country together to enjoy a variety of sporting activities on the banks of Loch Tay.

The games, which began in 2012 during the London Olympics, took place over three days where the children enjoyed a wide range of activities including swamp football, tug of war and archery.

This year, 150 young people from across Scotland, aged from 12 to 19, went head to head to compete for the title of Youth Work Champion.

And finally… Queen seeks engineers to help reduce £1.1m fuel bill at leaky Buckingham Place

The Royal Family is hiring for an energy and environment manager to reduce the heating bill at Buckingham Place and the negative impacts that the ageing building has on the environment.

In 2009, a report said that Buckingham Place was the worst building in London for energy efficiency and in 2015, researchers accused the Royals of contributing to global warming by leaving too many windows open.

The job is part of the refurbishment of the Royal Palace to make it more environmentally friendly and it will take up to a decade to finish. They are installing double glazing and solar panels along with heat and power units so now it can be better controlled.

The advert for the job says “You’ll join us as the dedicated person for all aspects of energy and environmental management across the complex and historically royal estates.

“You’ll provide the direction for the Energy Management Strategy and Environmental agenda. And working with teams across the organisation you’ll be the catalyst for activity and commitment to energy management.”

The positives for the job is the £45k a year pay, a comprehensive benefits package, including 33 days holiday (inclusive of Bank Holidays), a 15% employer contribution pension scheme (with the option for flexibility to increase contributions or draw down as salary) and support for your continued professional development.

Be sure to hurry if you want the job because the applications have to be in by tomorrow!

Board Members – Kingdom Housing Association

Interested in becoming a Board member?

If you share our objectives, support the range of activities we deliver and have a passion for housing and/or Care, this opportunity might be for you.

Kingdom Housing Association (KHA) is the largest Fife based housing association operating across east central Scotland. KHA is the parent company within the Kingdom Group, with 2 wholly owned subsidiaries; Kingdom Initiatives limited (KI) and Kingdom Support and Care CIC (KSC).

KHA owns and manages around 4000 rented homes and we have ambitious plans for the future, which includes the development of over 2000 new homes over the next 5 years, further enhancement of our housing, customer and support services strategies and continued business growth across the Kingdom Group of companies.

KI is a non-charitable Private Limited Company and manages around 400 Mid Market Rented (MMR) homes, with plans to continue developing and managing further MMR homes and progress additional business development initiatives over the next few years.

KSC has been operating as a separate subsidiary company since April 2017, however we have a long successful track record of providing a full range of support and care services direct through KHA prior to April 2017.

Our mission is to provide ‘More than a Home’ and this is reflected in the diversity of the activities we undertake through the Kingdom Group of companies.

We currently have experienced Board members on all three Governing bodies, however we are looking to strengthen all our Boards with new members who can add their skills, experience and knowledge to support achieving our objectives. All Kingdom board members are unpaid volunteers.

The particular knowledge, skills and experience desired from new board members would be:

  • Legal services
  • Financial management or accountancy
  • Construction and maintenance
  • Business growth and development
  • Performance management
  • The social housing and private rented sector
  • Support and Care
  • Customer services and community engagement

We would welcome applications from younger people who have an interest in our work and are seeking to enhance their own professional development, through actively participating as a voluntary Board member.

If you have experience in any of the above areas, support our objectives and would be interested in becoming a board member of KHA, KI or KSC, please contact us.

Initial registration of interest should be submitted to Calum Kippen using the registration of interest form here.

Further information on our work can be found at

If you would like an initial informal discussion, contact Bill Banks, Kingdom Group Chief Executive on or on 01592 631661.

Closing date: 31 July 2018

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Construction leads and tenders – July 16th


Applicant: The Co-operative Group C/o WD Harley

Planning Authority: North Ayrshire

Details: Replacement of shop front and installation of external plant to flat roof with access door from first floor

Location: 160 – 166 Main Street Kilwinning

Agent: WD Harley F.A.O. William Harley Ancaster Business Centre Cross Street Callander



Applicant: Atrium Homes

Planning Authority: East Ayrshire

Details: Proposed new housing development comprising of 27 units

Location:  Street Record Sunnyside Square West Shortlees Kilmarnock

Agent: Robert Potter & Partners 7 Miller Road Ayr

Applicant: Springfield Properties PLC Per: Stuart Morrison Alexander Fleming House 8 Southfield Drive Elgin

Planning Authority:  Highland

Details: Construction of 16 affordable houses and associated works

Location:  Land 60M NE of Ardersier War Memorial Hall Clachan Road Ardersier

Agent: None




Contract Authority: Dundee City Council

Details: Invitation to Tender for Dundee Dock Cycle and Pedestrian Improvement Works

Location: Dundee


Publication Date: 13/07/2018


Contract Authority: Aberdeenshire Council

Details: Strachan Bridge Refurbishment

Location: Aberdeenshire


Publication Date: 13/07/2018