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Icelandic delegation to hear about Inverness sustainable drainage systems

Former graduate research trainee Marcia Rae at one of the SUD sites around Inverness

A delegation from Iceland is set to visit Inverness this week to view work being carried out on Sustainable Urban Drainage systems (SUDS) in the city.

Highland Council staff from the development and infrastructure service will meet the group of Icelandic engineers, planners and scientists on Wednesday, 25 April to showcase the ‘soft engineering’ drainage infrastructure.

A successful collaboration between Scottish Natural Heritage and the council in 2015 resulted in the identification of 40 SUDS ponds and Detention Basins in the Inverness and Culloden area.

In 2017, a Graduate Research student worked alongside the council to map all the sites, assessing them in detail for their contribution to biodiversity within the city.

The systems now part of all new housing development plans and are designed to reduce the risk of flooding and water quality in built up areas. In addition, they are designed to look like natural ponds or wetland areas and are planted with native vegetation. Overall, the technique allows rainwater to be collected from roofs, roads and pavements in man-made ponds or detention basins, where it can be slowly released in to rivers and streams to prevent flooding.

During the delegation’s visit, Katy Martin from the council’s environment, advice & consultancy team will talk about the work and then Alan Fraser, an engineer in the council’s flood team, will discuss the plans for sustainable water management as part of the Smithton and Culloden Flood Scheme, which is due to break ground later this year.

Chair of environment, development and infrastructure, Councillor Allan Henderson, hopes the visitors find their fact finding trip to Inverness rewarding.

He said: “Our natural environment is a national asset worth millions to the Scottish economy; protection measures which further enhance our landscapes and settlements are important for that economic priority.

“The delegates from Iceland will have a chance see for themselves and hear first-hand from our staff on the important role SUDS ponds play in our urban green networks and the work we are doing to make future SUDS ponds even better for wildlife and as accessible as possible so local communities can enjoy these miniature nature reserves on their doorsteps.”

Tour leader Halldora Hreggviosdottir said the group aims to “see the technology in practice and learn about the planning, engineering and public services which guide it into routine use”.

As well as visiting Inverness, the delegation will also tour sites in Glasgow, Fife, Kinross and Edinburgh.

Building Briefs – April 23rd

Link completes 10-year regeneration project in Dalmuir

The third and final phase of Link Group Ltd’s 10-year regeneration project has been officially opened by West Dunbartonshire Council’s convener of housing, Councillor Diane Docherty.

Construction of Dalmuir Phase 3 began in August 2016 using £2,276,640 funding from the Scottish Government. Built by McTaggart Construction, the development comprises 30 one, two and three-bedroom homes for social rent.

The properties have been built to Silver Standard 1 and 2, with high levels of insulation, solar panels, smart meters and mechanical extract ventilation systems, creating warm, comfortable, energy-efficient homes that are easy and economical to run.

Prior to construction starting, the 6.5 acre site housed three and four-storey flat tenement properties, which were built by the Beardmore Company in 1920 to house its workers and others.

Link held extensive consultations with the community before embarking on the ambitious three-phase project to demolish all 292 flats, replacing them with 164 new homes mostly for social rent but also for New Supply Shared Equity sale. The existing road layout, school and nursery were retained to preserve the character of the community.

Link contributed around £12 million in funding to the three phases of this regeneration project, as well as using funding from the Scottish Government, West Dunbartonshire Council and private lenders.


Locations revealed for 250 new council homes in West Lothian

Plans to build 250 new council homes in West Lothian have taken a step forward after a number of locations for future development were agreed by the local authority.

A total of six sites have been identified to accommodate the new homes, which will go towards the council’s aim of developing 3,000 affordable homes in the region by 2022.

Details of the sites are as follows:

  • Eagle Brae, Livingston 30 homes – A council depot that has been declared surplus to requirements
  • Guildiehaugh, Bathgate 88 homes – A former council depot that has been declared surplus to requirements following the opening of Whitehill Depot
  • Vion, Broxburn 12 homes – The site has been acquired by the council from Bellway Homes which is developing the former Vion site for private housing
  • Mossend, West Calder 69 homes – This site is in the process of being acquired from Walker Group who are developing the site for private housing
  • Standhill, Bathgate 25 homes – This site is in the process of being acquired from Barratt Housing which is developing the site for private housing
  • Brucefield, Livingston 26 homes – Barratt Housing is developing this site. Barratt is required to transfer land to the council for affordable housing before 10 private houses are occupied on the site.

Overall, around two thirds of the council’s 3,000 homes target are either already built or under construction. To meet the target, nearly 900 further homes need to be planned for over the next few years. Whilst the council will provide some of these homes, it is anticipated that a significant amount will be constructed by Registered Social Landlords.

In addition, the council will also add to the supply of ‘affordable’ homes by completing the balance of the existing new build programme and purchasing former council houses from the open market.


West Lothian Council sells former Cunniger Hall

West Lothian Council has agreed to sell the former Cunniger Hall in Mid Calder for £65,000.

The property in School Lane has been vacant since the playgroup/nursery ceased trading and was declared surplus to the council’s operational requirement in November last year.

The property has been marketed as suitable for residential or commercial development since February and attracted a number of interests with the offer accepted being considered in the councils best interests.

A council spokesperson said: “The building is surplus to requirements and is lying empty. It is in everyone’s best interests to sell the property and see it put to a beneficial use.”


Bumper year for Scottish hotels

 An influx of overseas visitors combined with the rise of the UK as a ‘staycation nation’ has resulted in a bumper year for the Scottish hotel market, according to a new report published today by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

BDO’s Hotel Britain report, which analyses the room yield of UK hotels, reveals the sector experienced another year of positive results in 2017 despite the global uncertainty which has impacted other sectors.

Scotland posted the strongest performance in the UK, with room yield growth up by 4.9% compared to Wales (4.1%), Northern Ireland (2.2%) and England (1.9%).

Edinburgh was the top performing city outside of London benefiting from strong leisure and corporate demand with the highest occupancy of any UK city at 85%, an increase of 1.8% on the previous year.  The occupancy rate for Glasgow increased slightly by 0.1% to 83.2%.

By contrast, Aberdeen, following its fifth successive year of reduced occupancy, now has the lowest rate in the UK at 63.4%, which was a decline of 5.7% on 2016’s numbers.

UK-wide, overseas visitor numbers grew for the eighth consecutive year, setting a new annual record at 38.9m. Spend in the leisure and hospitality market also hit record levels at £24.3bn in 2017, up 8% year on year.


NHBC receives ‘gold’ international Health & Safety award

NHBC has been awarded gold in the esteemed Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Health and Safety awards.

The warranty and insurance provider for new homes has received the award just a year after receiving silver status.

The RoSPA awards scheme, which is the longest-running industry awards scheme in the country, is judged by some of the industry’s most influential experts and trade unions and recognises outstanding achievement in health and safety practices.

Simon Mantle, group health and safety policy manager, will attend the RoSPA Health and Safety awards ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 5 July, where he will collect the award on behalf of the business.


CCG fundraising fun day returns in 2018

In 2017, Glasgow-based construction company CCG (Scotland) Ltd raised over £100,000 for a range of charitable causes, most notably organising an ‘It’s a Knockout Fun Day’ raising over £30,000 for the St Andrew’s Hospice Capital Appeal.

CCG is looking to repeat this in 2018 with the return of the ‘It’s a Knockout Day’ in August. The event will involve up to 30 teams competing against each other across an inflatable assault course located on the grounds of the M&D’s Theme Park in Strathclyde Park, South Lanarkshire.

Alongside companies from within the CCG Group, businesses from the company’s supply chain are invited to take part and donate £500 to a charity of their choice by taking part in the event.

Companies can register their interest by visiting


Surfacing works to begin on B979 at Stonehaven

Surfacing works are to be carried out on the B979 at Stonehaven.

The scheme forms part of the new Stonehaven Junction, which is being delivered as part of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project.

A section of the B979, between the new Ury Estate and the new A90 southbound slip road, will be closed between 10pm and 6am on Friday, 20 April and Saturday, 21 April. Slip roads to and from the northbound A90 to the B979 will also be closed during these times.


Perth residents invited to submit views on St Paul’s Church revamp

Residents in Perth are being invited to submit their views over design plans to transform St Paul’s Church.

Work on the first phase of the scheme, which will see the building transformed into a public arts and events space, was recently completed.

The council has been working in partnership with Hadden Construction regarding the second phase of works, discussing proposals for the building with Historic Environment Scotland, as well as submitting formal applications for planning and listed building consent.

Members of the project team are now seeking views from local businesses and interested residents to gather views on the design of the building, the use of the space and future management arrangements. This is to ensure that business needs are met and the impact on local residents during construction and subsequent operation of the space is minimised as far as possible.

The exhibition will take place in the Kinnoull Suite of the Mercure Hotel on West Mill Street today until 6pm.


Work starts on Stirling road bridge redevelopment

Work is underway to redevelop a road bridge in Stirling.

Network Rail engineers have started demolishing and rebuilding the structure at Kerse Road, with work scheduled for completion in late October.

The structure is being redeveloped as part of a wider programme of improvements on the Stirling line ahead of the Scottish Government-funded investment into electrifying central Scotland’s rail network.

The project also avoids the need for the council to undertake significant maintenance on the bridge in the next few years, with the new structure having a lifespan in excess of 100 years. In addition, the scheme will allow Network Rail to work with Stirling Council to create the potential to enhance the local road network in line with the city’s transport strategy.

And finally… ‘World’s first’ underwater residence to open in the Maldives

(c) 2018 Conrad Hotels & Resorts

Already home to several underwater restaurants, an underwater spa, and underwater guest rooms, The Maldives is now set to get its first fully submerged villa.

Dubbed “The Muraka,” or coral in the Maldivian language of Dhivehi, the exclusive residence will be located at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, and is slated to open this November.

Part of the $15 million two-story hotel villa will sit 16.4 feet below the surface.

There’s a gym, a bar, an infinity pool, butler’s quarters, an ocean-facing bathtub and most importantly an underwater bedroom floor with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean.

“Driven by our inspiration to deliver innovative and transformative experiences to our global travelers, the world’s first undersea residence encourages guests to explore the Maldives from an entirely new perspective below the surface of the sea,” said Ahmed Saleem, a director at Crown Company and chief architect and designer of the undersea residence.

“The Muraka marks our second venture in underwater architecture and technology, next to Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, which is celebrating its 13th anniversary this month. Through our rich history of being a trailblazer in innovative luxury hospitality, we are proud to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge design, technology and architecture.”

Electricity reinforcement scheme named Scottish Project of the Year at RICS awards

The £1.1 billion Caithness-Moray transmission link was named the overall Scotland Project of the Year

Over 25 of Scotland’s most impressive and community beneficial building projects battled it out for top honours at the 2018 RICS awards, where the Caithness-Moray electricity network reinforcement took the overall Project of the YearScotland title.

Held at The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh yesterday, the annual RICS Awards 2018, Scotland celebrate inspirational initiatives in the land, property and construction sectors across eight category awards.

The highly acclaimed Scotland Project of the Year accolade is presented to the category winner that demonstrates overall outstanding best practice and an exemplary commitment to adding value to its local area.

The project also took home the Infrastructure category award

The project, which has energized the initial section of the £1.1 billion Caithness-Moray transmission link, won the Infrastructure category award before being named the overall Scotland Project of the Year.

Head judge of the RICS Awards in Scotland, Colin Smith MRICS, said: “The network reinforcement highlights the importance of a long-term investment commitment to energy production and its transmission from the connection of remote wind farms in Caithness along the sea bed to the north-east corner of Scotland.

“This highly technical project required a significant degree of logistical planning, project management, safety procedures and engagement with the local community. This project is a leading exemplar for the need and benefits of investing in Scotland’s infrastructure.”

Commercial category award winner ScottishPower House in Glasgow

Other category winners include ScottishPower House, Glasgow, in the Commercial category, Marischal Square, Aberdeen, which took the accolade for Regeneration, and Countesswells, Aberdeen, taking the award for the Residential category.

The ScottishPower project saw consolidation of 1,650 staff from several different ScottishPower operating businesses into its new headquarters, an impressive achievement alone, but the design strategy and procurement route used to deliver the building proved equally impressive to the judging panel.

Colin Smith said: “The design of the building was fully tested pre-construction and the city centre location drove the need to develop innovative off-site manufacturing processes that minimised material storage and deliveries whilst accelerating construction.”

The Residential category was won by the Countesswells project in Aberdeen

Countesswells won the Residential category, providing an example of a large-scale housing development being funded by innovative means utilising a UK Treasury guarantee that has allowed certainty and confidence to invest in a significant amount of up-front infrastructure and environmental works.

Director of RICS in Scotland, Gail Hunter, said: “Residents in Countesswells are taking ownership of completed spaces by becoming members of the management company responsible for maintaining new public spaces and allowing them to own and control the land’s future use.”

Colin Smith added: “The regeneration of Marischal Square is transformational for Aberdeen City Centre.  It has reversed the negative impacts of the building it replaced and delivered a mixed-use development that has enhanced the setting of two of the city’s most important heritage assets.

“The significance of the new office space is heightened by its Aberdeen context, where such development has in recent decades been lost to the urban fringe. Marischal Square will help Aberdeen City Centre to capture the benefits of the economic success of the city region.”

Aberdeen’s Marischal Square was awarded the prize for Regeneration

6 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, was also Highly Commended within the Commercial category. Other category winners include Appleton Tower, Edinburgh, in the Design through Innovation category, Falls of Shin, Lairg, which took the accolade for Tourism & Leisure.

Gail Hunter said: “I would like to congratulate all winners of the RICS Awards, and the high quality of projects shortlisted, demonstrating the calibre of built environment work taking place across Scotland. The winners showcase schemes, from billion pound investments to locally funded community projects, all of which have a positive impact on their region and wider economy.”

All category winners will go on to compete against regional winners from across the UK at the national RICS Awards Grand Final on 2 November 2018 in London, for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category.

RICS Awards 2018, Scotland – Winners

Building Conservation

Winner – St. Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh


Winner – ScottishPower House, Glasgow

Community Benefit

Winner – Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries, Dunfermline

Design through Innovation

Winner – Appleton Tower, Edinburgh


Winner – Caithness-Moray Electricity Network Reinforcement


Winner – Marischal Square, Aberdeen


Winner – Countesswells, Aberdeen

Tourism & Leisure

Winner – Falls of Shin, Lairg 

Project of the Year

Winner – Caithness-Moray Electricity Network Reinforcement

SME building firms bemoan ‘rocketing’ material prices

Rising material prices are squeezing margins at more than half of the UK’s small building firms with the same percentage having to pass these price increases onto consumers, according to new research.

A survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) found that 56% of small and medium-sized (SME) building firms have had their margins squeezed, an increase of one third (32%) in July 2017.

Around 49% of firms have been forced to pass material price increases onto their clients, making building projects more expensive for consumers. This figure has more than doubled in less than a year.

Other impacts of material price increases have been a third of firms (30%) recommending that clients use alternative materials or products to those originally specified, up from one in ten in July 2017, while nearly one fifth (17%) of builders reported making losses on their building projects due to material price increases.

Construction SMEs were asked by the FMB which materials are in shortest supply and have the longest wait times.

The average results were as follows (in order of longest to shortest wait times):

  1. Bricks were in shortest supply with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  2. Roof tiles were second with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
  3. Insulation was third with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
  4. Slate was fourth with the longest reported wait time being up to six months;
  5. Windows were fifth with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  6. Blocks were sixth with the longest reported wait time being up to four months;
  7. Porcelain products were seventh with the longest reported wait time being more than one year;
  8. Plasterboard was eighth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
  9. Timber was ninth with the longest reported wait time being up to two months;
  10. Boilers were tenth, with the longest reported wait time being more than one year.

SME building firms were also asked by what percentage different materials have increased over the past 12 months. On average, the following rises were reported:

  • Insulation increased by 16%;
  • Bricks increased by 9%;
  • Timber increased by 8%;
  • Roof tiles increased by 8%;
  • Slate increased by 8%;
  • Windows increased by 7%;
  • Blocks increased by 7%;
  • Plasterboard increased by 7%;
  • Boilers increased by 7%;
  • Porcelain products increased by 6%.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Material prices have rocketed over the past year. The reason for this could include the impact of the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum still feeding through. High demand due to buoyant international markets could also be contributing to price increases. What’s particularly worrying is that when prices have increased mid-project, almost one fifth of builders have absorbed the increase and therefore made a loss. Also, if material price increases weren’t enough of a headache for building firms, they are also experiencing material shortages with wait times ticking up across a range of materials and products. Worst case scenarios include firms waiting for more than one year for a new order of bricks.

“The rise in material prices is not just a problem for the country’s construction firms – it is also a problem for home owners. Half of firms have been forced to pass these price increases onto their clients, meaning building projects are becoming more and more expensive. This problem has worsened recently with more than twice as many firms passing material prices on to their clients now compared with nine months ago. What’s more, home owners should be prepared to have to use alternative materials or products to their first choice. One third of firms have recommended that their clients should use alternative materials or products to those originally specified. Now more than ever, it’s important that builders and their clients keep the lines of communication open in order to stay within time and within budget. Specified products or materials may need to be swapped for alternatives or clients will need to accept the additional cost.”

Brain Berry added: “We are calling on builders merchants to give their customers as much advance warning of forthcoming material price increases or wait times as possible so that firms can warn their customers and plan ahead. We are also advising builders to price jobs and draft contracts with these material price rises in mind. The FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey shows that almost ninety per cent of building firms are expecting further rises over the next sixth months. This makes quoting for jobs difficult but if builders flag the issue to their client from the outset, and include a note in the contract that prices may be subject to increases, they shouldn’t be left short. What we don’t want is for the number of building firms making losses on projects to increase as this could result in firms going to the wall. A large number of collapsing construction companies will have a terrible knock-on effect in the wider economy.”

Inverurie Community Campus reaches financial close milestone

A £55 million finance deal for a state-of-the-art community campus in Inverurie has been agreed as the project moves to the next phase.

Construction of the facility, which will replace the existing Inverurie Academy, will be led by hub North Scotland after it was appointed as development partner by Aberdeenshire Council.

Robertson Construction has been appointed as the projects main contractor with FES FM as the facilities FM Service provider.

On completion, the new Community Campus will provide:

  • Replacement of the existing Inverurie Academy, Inverurie Swimming Pool and Garioch Community Centre on the existing site which will provide state of the art teaching accommodation for 1600 learners;
  • New accommodation for the existing St Andrews Special School with dedicated external teaching space;
  • Community accommodation including a 6 lane swimming pool, hydrotherapy pool, training pool, dry sports facilities, community cafe, and access to shared Campus spaces;
  • External facilities including an all-weather pitch, MUGA and external play area;
  • Car and bus parking together with demolition of existing facilities.

Preparatory work has already commenced on site, with full construction works now set to follow the first phase of the new facility is due to be completed early 2020.

Video: Amey completes polystyrene filling project on disused tunnel at Forth Road Bridge

The blocks were installed in steps for safe working at height

Forth Bridges operating company Amey has completed an unusual project to infill a disused railway tunnel underneath the approach roads north of the Forth Road Bridge.

The structure originally formed part of the Dunfermline to North Queensferry railway line, providing a link to the ferry service until the opening of the Forth Bridge in 1890 and continuing in limited use for freight until 1954.

The tunnel runs underneath the A9000 and B981 on the northern approach to the Forth Road Bridge. It is 420 metres in length, 4.3 metres wide and 5.1 metres high, with a vaulted roof and brick lining. Both ends had been sealed off and the adjacent cuttings filled in, so the only remaining means of access was via a vertical shaft at each end.

Amey engineers carried out a structural inspection in February 2016, finding that parts of the tunnel were degrading and in need of preventative maintenance to ensure continuing structural integrity. Due to the limited depth of cover above the tunnel, a failure could potentially have had an impact on the roads overhead.

Two options were considered: an ongoing programme of inspection and maintenance, or a one-off project to infill the tunnel with a low cost material. The infill option was chosen as it would eliminate the need for future inspections or maintenance and so prove more cost-effective in the long term.

After considering workforce safety, overall cost and the need to avoid disruption to the local community, it was decided to fill the tunnel with expanded polystyrene (EPS) blocks manufactured to a specific compressive strength capable of resisting the weight of rock and tunnel lining in the event of a localised failure. Unlike with concrete or aggregate material, EPS blocks can also be easily removed if the tunnel ever needs to be reopened.

Installing hydrocarbon resistant membrane

The EPS blocks were pre-cut to a size and weight that allowed easy manual handling on site. This allowed work to be carried out from the access shaft at the north end of the tunnel, keeping construction traffic out of North Queensferry for the majority of the works. Another advantage of the lightweight blocks was that they could be delivered in large lorry-loads, significantly reducing the number of vehicle movements required.

Once offloaded, the blocks were passed down the access shaft and transported along the tunnel to the work face hooked onto a specially designed sliding monorail system.

The tunnel was lined with a hydrocarbon resistant membrane, before a total of 21,342 EPS blocks were installed, built up gradually in steps to allow safe working at height.

Local primary school children from Burntisland and Lauriston were invited to fill two time capsules with items of their choice. These were then buried in the tunnel amongst the blocks.

Once the body of the tunnel was infilled the access shafts were filled with concrete to seal the tunnel and prevent damage to the blocks, with work reaching a conclusion in late March 2018.

Mark Arndt, Amey’s operating company representative for the Forth Bridges Unit, said: “This has been an unusual and interesting project where we’ve learned something new about the history of the area as well as gaining the satisfaction of making a disused tunnel safe.

“The team deserves particular credit for developing innovative solutions that maximised workforce safety while minimising the cost to the public purse and the impact on local communities.

“It’s a real measure of success that most local residents were not even aware this work was taking place, despite the tunnel emerging within metres of homes in North Queensferry.”

Images courtesy of The Forth Bridges

Blog: Isabel Garriga on being voted as next GIA President

Isabel Garriga from Holmes Miller, who was elected as the next President of the Glasgow Institute of Architects, outlines her vision for the organisation.

This year we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Glasgow Institute of Architects and I am delighted to have been elected as president of such a great Institution. As a result of the hard work and dedication of the numerous past presidents and council members we can celebrate our achievements during our long history. Thank you to all of them.

The GIA is continuously growing and changing and I am very proud to have such a dedicated, reliable, hardworking and passionate team and we plan to make sure we can make the GIA an organisation that is transparent, democratic and most of all, truly represents the variety and richness of architecture and architects in our chapter. We want to keep improving the things that we are well known for such as the Design Awards, Student Awards, the Glasgow Urban Design Panel, our great CPD series and building visits as well some of our more innovative new projects such as PaperCUT. We will also work to improve some of our own processes and efficiency such as the newly reformed Conservation and Sustainability Committee and the RIAS Liaison Committee.

As a woman myself, I want to make sure that women have a bigger voice in our profession, that our work is recognised and celebrated to ensure we have true equality for future generations.

I hope my passion for architecture in both my work in practice and as an educator in university, can create further connections between education and the profession. Over the years, the GIA has been kindly supported by many private practices, without their support and generosity none of our activities would be possible, thank you to all of them. On a personal note, I would like to thank my own practice, Holmes Miller who have continuously supported my predecessor and I, enabling us to have such active roles in the GIA.

Over the next 2 years I look forward to working with other industry related professionals, institutions, local councils and the RIAS to help bring focus to the incredible emerging talent that is all around us. Viva la GIA!

Isabel Garriga is a Mackintosh School of Architecture graduate & has extensive experience practicing in Spain and the UK. At Gordon Murray + Alan Dunlop Architects she was involved in a wide variety of award winning projects such as the Sentinel Office and the Scottish Crime Campus. Since joining Holmes Miller in 2011, her portfolio include works such as master planning in China or custodial projects like HMP & YOI Grampian and the new Women’s National Facility in Cornton Vale. 

Isabel is a Studio Design Tutor at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, she has been a Glasgow Institute of Architects Council member since 2012 and the Convener of the Architecture People and Places and the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Committees until 2017 and held the position of GIA Vice-President prior to be elected to GIA President.

Council approves improvement options for Angus schools

Plans to replace Monifieth High and Grange Primary School with an all-through school are among a range of improvement options for the school cluster approved by Angus Council yesterday.

Councillors on the children & learning committee agreed to begin discussions on the following options:

  • A review of the secondary catchment areas  of Monifieth, Carnoustie, Forfar and Websters
  • Extend Monifieth High School, Mattocks Primary School and refurbish Grange and Liff Primary Schools
  • Replace Monifieth High and Grange Primary School with an all-through school
  • Replace Monifieth High and Grange Primary School with an all-through school with additional community leisure facilities
  • Refurbish and increase the capacity at Mattocks and Liff Primary Schools as well as an all-through school to accommodate Monifieth high and Grange Primary School
  • Develop Monifieth High School to include community leisure facilities

Convenor of children and learning, Councillor Mark Salmond, said “This will be the largest organised conversation with the Monifieth community to help us shape future education provision. I would ask all interested parties to fully engage with Angus Council to share with us their views and aspirations.”

The council will develop a timescale and programme for engagement in the coming weeks.

Go ahead recommended for CALA Homes development in Cults

A residential development off Craigton Road in Cults by CALA Homes (North) has been recommended for approval from Aberdeen City Council.

The collection of 19 homes will also allow the completion of the new Friarsfield link road, a key piece of infrastructure for the local area set out in the Friarsfield Development Framework, set to greatly enhance connectivity and traffic flow in the popular area.

The proposed mix and style of properties has been carefully designed to be sympathetic to both older and newer homes in the area, complementing CALA’s previous developments in Cults, Hayfield Grange and Rosefield Gardens, and current development, Cults Park.

Careful consideration has also been given to the creation of suitable open space, tree retention and the layout of the site to blend with the surrounding landscape.

The development will see the creation of semi-detached and detached properties including two, three and five-bedroom homes.

Mike Naysmith, managing director of CALA Homes (North), said: “We are very pleased that approval has been recommended for this site, which will see not only the creation of new homes for the area, but the delivery of a vital piece of infrastructure for Cults.

“We have extensive experience of creating homes in the locale, with several historic and current sites in Cults, all of which have been extremely popular. Our current development, Cults Park, is progressing very well and we expect to see similar interest in this new pocket of homes.”