Building Briefs

Building Briefs – January 17th

(from left) Stephanie Carr, head of Glasgow office; Karen Fulton, Partner and head of residential property in Glasgow; Lindsay Darroch, Board member and head of property

Blackadders appoints new partner to head up residential property in Glasgow 

National law firm Blackadders has appointed a new head of residential property to its Glasgow office.

Karen Fulton joins Blackadders as a Partner to take up the role and will be responsible for building on the firm’s residential property credentials and diverse portfolio of clients.

A property lawyer for more than 25 years and predominantly in the Glasgow area, Karen’s appointment reinforces Blackadders’ ambitious growth plans in the city and West of Scotland.

Originally from Kilmarnock, Karen graduated from Strathclyde University and trained at R & JA McCallum before joining Bird Semple in Glasgow and then becoming an associate with Taylor and Henderson solicitors in Saltcoats. In 2004, she rejoined Bird Semple where she went on to become a Partner.


Engineering consultancy moves into 58 Waterloo Street

58 Waterloo Street

Hoare Lea, a consultancy firm of engineers specialising in mechanic, electrical and public health design, has been confirmed as the latest tenant at 58 Waterloo Street in Glasgow.

Hoare Lea has taken a total of 2,033 sq ft across the 4th floor on a five year deal at a rental of £20 per sq ft.  Previously based in premises on Buchanan Street, the company required larger premises to continue the growth of its expert services.

The relocation follows the extensive multi-million pound refurbishment of 58 Waterloo Street in early 2017 which created 31,068 sq ft of Grade A office space over eight levels. Hoare Lea will take occupation later this month following completion of fit-out works.


Average house prices in Scotland continue to rise

The latest publication of the monthly UK House Price Index (UK HPI) shows that the average price of a property in Scotland in November 2017 was £145,992 – an increase of 3.6% on November in the previous year and an increase of 1.1% when compared to the previous month.

This compares to a UK average of £226,071, which was an increase of 5.1% on November in the previous year and an increase of 0.1% when compared to the previous month.

The volume of residential sales in Scotland in September 2017 was 9,323 – a decrease of 2.5% on September 2016 and a decrease of 0.5% on the previous month. This compares with annual decreases in sales volumes of 14.8% in England, 6.6% in Wales and 8.6% in Northern Ireland (Quarter 3 – 2017).

The top five local authorities in terms of September sales volumes were Edinburgh (1,124 sales), Glasgow (1,067 sales), Fife (706 sales), South Lanarkshire (595 sales) and North Lanarkshire (451 sales).

Average price increases were recorded in three quarters (24) of all local authorities in November 2017, when comparing prices with the previous year. The biggest price increases were in West Dunbartonshire, East Lothian and the City of Edinburgh, where the average prices increased by 10.3% to £106,216, 8.1% to £217,106 and 8.0% to £246,508 respectively. The biggest decreases were recorded in Aberdeen City and Argyll and Bute where prices fell by 4.2% to £163,489 and 3.9% to £127,373 respectively.

Across Scotland, most property types showed an increase in average price in November 2017 when compared with the same month in the previous year. Flat or maisonette properties showed the biggest increase, rising by 7.2% to £108,881. The average price of detached properties showed a decrease of 3.6% to £235,744.

The average price in November 2017 for a property purchased by a first time buyer was £121,574 – an increase of 6.5% compared to the same month in the previous year. The average price for a property purchased by a former owner occupier was £169,670 – an increase of 0.7% on the previous year.

The average price for a cash sale was £135,641 – an increase of four% on the previous year – while the average price for property purchased with a mortgage was £150,733 – an increase of 3.5% on the previous year.


Councillors consider next steps for Perth & Kinross primary schools

Councillors will be asked to consider the future of four Perth & Kinross Council schools as part of the transformation of the school estate at the next meeting of the local authority’s Lifelong Learning Committee meeting on January 24.

The development of this first phase of options appraisals was approved by the Lifelong Learning Committee in November 2016.  A total of 10 schools are included in this phase, with four schools being considered by this Committee at their January meeting. These schools are: St Ninian’s Episcopal Primary School, Forteviot Primary School, Balhousie Primary School and North Muirton Primary School.

Elected Members will consider detailed information on each school and community, including feedback from drop-in sessions and on-line questionnaires.

The Committee will firstly be asked to approve a proposal to establish a local authority nursery in St Ninian’s Episcopal Primary School. This will support the expansion nursery provision from 600 hours to 1140 hours throughout Perth and Kinross.  It is anticipated that this will also sustain pupil numbers in the school, which have been reducing over recent years. If approved, design work for the nursery would commence in consultation with the school, as there is no statutory consultation required for the introduction of a nursery currently.

Elected Members will be asked to approve to undertake a statutory consultation process to close Forteviot Primary School permanently. Forteviot Primary School was mothballed in October 2016, with the majority of pupils currently attending Forgandenny Primary School. The report states that it is not anticipated that Forteviot Primary School will have a sustainable roll in the next four years and also that pupils have settled well in Forgandenny Primary School.

Finally the Committee will consider an options appraisal for Balhousie Primary School and North Muirton Primary School. Both schools are being appraised due to the poor condition of the school buildings. In addition, Balhousie Primary School is under-occupied. The report proposes that a new school is built on the current site of North Muirton Primary School. This school will be designed to accommodate pupils from North Muirton Primary School and Balhousie Primary School. The new school would be completed in 2022. In order to progress the preferred option, Elected Members are being asked to approve a statutory consultation to close Balhousie Primary School.

Building Briefs – January 16th

Rangers lodges plans for Memorial Wall at Ibrox

Rangers Football Club plans to erect a memorial garden on a section of surplus car park outside Ibrox Stadium in honour of the club’s players and to remember victims of the Ibrox disaster.

The club has submitted plans to Glasgow City Council to build a memorial wall which would contain a section for the interment of the mortal ashes of Rangers FC supporters.

The club say that they want to turn an unused car park at Copland Road into a memorial garden which would have a wall, gates, fencing, public realm improvements and associated works.

The memorial garden would operate 8am to 8pm daily if the plans are given the go-ahead.

Designed by Memorial Walls, the seating plinths will incorporate concealed Bluetooth charging within a secure area demarked by decorative perimeter railings and gates.


New energy-efficient homes delivered for Ayrshire Housing

The children with Helen Moonie (left) and Jeane Freedman (right) holding the ribbon

Yesterday’s Blue Monday proved to be far from depressing for Ayrshire Housing as local school children opened its latest development in the village of Dailly.

The project to transform the derelict pub site into much-needed homes for affordable rent has taken just nine months to complete.

The children were joined by South Ayrshire’s Provost Helen Moonie and Jeane Freeman, local MSP and Scotland’s minister for social security.

The project was made possible by generous funding from the Scottish Government and South Ayrshire Council. The energy-efficient houses were designed by Ayr-based architects ARPL and built by local contractor 3b Construction.


Travelodge submits plans for new Aberdeenshire hotel

Travelodge has submitted plans for a 61-bedroom hotel at a business park at Barmuckity on the outskirts of Elgin.

The hotel chain has estimated about 29,000 people would stay in the hotel every year, who would generate a total spend in the area of £580,000.

Diggers are currently carving out the roads that will form the Elgin Business Park estate on the eastern side of the town, next to the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road.

A report submitted by the hotel chain explains the “growth ambitions” for Elgin and the Barmuckity site made the development attractive.


Fife college campus in need of £5.2m of maintenance and upgrade

More than £5.2 million will have to be spent on an ageing Cupar college, prompting fresh calls for an entirely new building.

The future of Elmwood Campus has been uncertain since Fife Council announced it was moving off the site more than three years ago.

Sole occupant SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, has said it intends to remain in the town but no decision has been made on the future of the existing building.


DM Hall promotes five new partners

Independent chartered surveyor DM Hall has appointed five new partners, with promotions across its residential, commercial and country departments.

They include Donald Yellowley, an expert in rural valuation work based in Bridge of Allan, and Ross Wilson, head of agency in the east of Scotland and a specialist in commercial property.

The other three – Richard Clowes in Galashiels, Graham Forbes in Inverness and Michael McDonald in Elgin – focus on the residential property market.


Russells helps to cement social housing plans in Scotland

A £12 million social housing project in Scotland has become the latest development to benefit from Russell Roof Tiles’ sustainable concrete roof tiles.

The 5.6-hectare scheme in Methil Brae, Fife is one of Fife Council’s largest social housing programmes, providing 101 high quality homes for rent. At a time when the Scottish Government has promised to deliver 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, the scheme has been instrumental in helping to meet these targets and the much-needed local housing requirements.

Comprising of a mixture of one to five-bedroom properties, including semi-detached units, bungalows and cottage flats, the scheme saw Fife Council work with Kingdom Housing Association and contractors Robertson Partnership Homes to deliver the ambitious scheme.

Robertson Partnership Homes specified Russell Roof Tiles, manufactured at its local Lockerbie factory, to deliver 100,000 of its Grampian concrete tiles in Anthracite and Terracotta.


Views sought over future design of Edinburgh’s George Street

Residents in Edinburgh are being invited to submit their views over how the design of George Street and the surrounding area should look in the future.

A series of public drop-in events are taking place this week to gather views from individuals, community groups and stakeholders over the proposals.

Design consultants WYG Environment Planning Transport, in collaboration with LDA Design, were appointed in October to draw-up a long term vision for the First New Town streets which encompass George Street, Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street.

The new preliminary design will take into account George Street’s interdependence with intersecting ‘First New Town’ streets Castle Street, Frederick Street and Hanover Street, as well as Charlotte and St Andrew Squares.

Participants to the drop-in events will build on stakeholder engagement and a set of design principles adopted by the local authority last year following a year-long trial to increase pedestrian and cyclist provision on George Street. The results of these events, against which future designs for the First New Town will be developed, will also feed into the City of Edinburgh Council’s wider context of the Central Edinburgh Transformation project.

A drop-in event is being held at The City Art Centre from 3pm – 6pm on Tuesday, 16 January.

Building Briefs – January 15th

New £4m water treatment works complete in Stoer

Scottish Water customers in one of the most picturesque areas of the country are now benefitting from a multi-million pounds investment by the utility after the completion of work on a new water treatment plant.

Customers in Stoer and the surrounding area in the West Highlands, now have their water supplied via a new £4m treatment plant.

The project was carried out by Scottish Water’s alliance partner ESD and contractor Ross-shire Engineering, with the building phase starting on site in mid-July last year.

The nano-filtration membrane treatment plant was built at Ross-shire Engineering’s facility in Muir of Ord, comprehensively tested, and then split into large transportable sections and reassembled on site.


Plans submitted for new tea room in Aberdeen

Proposals have been lodged to create a tea room and gift shop.

Plans submitted to Aberdeen City Council seek permission for a change of use of a retail unit in Mannofield.

It is proposed to amend the use of 68D Countesswells Road from Class 1 (shops) to a mixed use comprised of retail and food and drink.

Planning documents state that, if approved, the tea room’s main clientele would be parents of Airyhall Primary School children and retired people living in the area.

They state the site could be used as a meeting place for parents and the elderly, adding to the “viability and vitality” of the centre.


Fresh plans submitted to build 19 homes at Aberdeenshire development

Plans have been lodged to build 19 new homes in Aboyne .

The proposals are part of phase four of the development on Tarland Road which has permission for 130 homes.

Archon Design Ltd has submitted the plans to Aberdeenshire Council on behalf of AJC Homes Scotland.

If approved, it would see 19 homes built on the site as well as the installation of three underground gas tanks.


Permanent home for Aberdeen gymnastic club

Aberdeen City Council has approved plans to allow a gymnastics club to have a new permanent home.

Plans for a change of use from a former garden centre at Cockers Nursery on the Lang Stracht to assembly and leisure have been given the go-ahead.

It is set to become the future base of the Aberdeen Gymnastic club.


Barrack Charitable Trust supports community development

The Barrack Charitable Trust, funded by Knight Property Group, has donated £5000 to the Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust to help with urgent repair works of the 1850 Engine Shed.

Established in 2008, the Aberdeen based charity operates a Heritage Centre which celebrates Aberdeen’s Railway culture through the years.

Members and volunteers of all ages and walks of life come together and enjoy participating in a variety of restoration projects. One of the objectives is to pass on heritage skills which are in danger of being lost. These include the restoration of the Ransomes and Rapier 1906 Turntable which is nearing completion, restoring Victorian railway carriages and more recent, locomotives and a crane. This is in addition to the variety of mechanical engineering, woodwork and building skills members learn throughout the projects.

Dr Jon Tyler, chairman of the Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust, said: “Thanks to The Barrack Charitable Trust we are able to embark on a programme of urgent repairs to the roof of our 1850 Engine Shed.

“We will use the funds as leverage to allow applications to be made for further grants from a variety of sources.”

Building Briefs – January 12th

Official opening ceremony held for £30m Barrhead High

A ceremony was held yesterday to mark the official opening of the new £30 million Barrhead High, in East Renfrewshire.

Councillor Paul O’Kane, East Renfrewshire Council’s convener for education and equalities, unveiled a commemorative plaque and the school’s choir and band performed for invited guests, including local politicians.

The state-of-the-art school, which was part of the Scottish Futures Trust programme, was delivered by East Renfrewshire Council in partnership with hub West Scotland, the council’s development partner.

It replaces the previous building, which had been in use for 46 years, and has been built on a site next to the old school.


Restoration work at Prestonpans war memorial complete

Work to restore a war memorial in Prestonpans, East Lothian is now complete.

The scheme was carried out after Centenary Memorials Restoration Fund supported by Historic Environment Scotland and the Scottish Government provided a grant of £12,920 towards the works.

The Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership also allocated funding which allowed the work to be carried out to repair and clean the stonework and erect a new set of railings.

The area around the railings has also been paved, while the soldier’s nose has been repaired and the memorial (along with the Spanish Civil War Plaque) has been cleaned. Work was also carried out to sharpen the fallen soldiers names and carry out a correction to Sergeant James Herkes’ name.


Property Litigation Association appoints junior members

The Scottish regional branch of the Property Litigation Association has announced the appointment of its first junior members to the regional sub-committee: Magnus Miller of Davidson Chalmers LLP and Chloe Postlethwaite of Brodies LLP.

It said in a statement: “The Junior Property Litigation Association was created to help junior members develop their own network of property professionals.

“Chloe and Magnus are superb candidates who, with the enthusiasm they have already shown, will do a great job of establishing the JPLA in Scotland.”


Plans lodged for outdoor viewing platform in Flow Country

Plans have been submitted for a new outdoor viewing platform in the heart of the Flow Country in northwest Sutherland.

Applicants RSPB Scotland want to develop a small roadside car park and viewpoint with seats on the eastern side of Cnoc Craggie, overlooking Loch Craggie.

It would be one of six roadside locations in Caithness and Sutherland where the public can experience the peatlands.

The proposal is part of the Flows to the Future project – commissioned by the RSPB – which aims to create a greater appreciation for one of the UK’s most important natural assets, including an awareness of carbon capture, conservation and habitat.


Work to start on water mains infrastructure upgrade in Glasgow

Work is to begin on a water mains infrastructure upgrade project in the Shettleston Road area of Glasgow.

The two-week improvement scheme will get underway on Monday, 15 January. Traffic management will be in place along with the closure of one lane eastbound on Shettleston Road between Westmuir Street and Old Shettleston Road.


Roadworks to begin on Fishermyre to Clayfolds road in Aberdeenshire

Roadworks are to be carried out on a section of the U88K Fishermyre to Clayfolds Road at Fishermyre in Aberdeenshire.

The scheme, which is part of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project, involves completing the connections between the new and existing roads, as well as complete verges and drainage works.

The nine-week project will get underway on Monday, 15 January. Local diversions will be in place. Once finished, motorists will be able to travel under the AWPR.

Building Briefs – January 11th

Work starts on new £5m Carnoustie Golf Links extension

Work has started on a new £5m extension at Carnoustie Golf Links.

The community facility will include a bar and restaurant, locker rooms and caddy facilities, as well as a new pro shop.

A total of seven golf simulator bays, featuring some of the world’s most famous courses, will also be installed in the building.

The extension, which is due to open in March, is expected to bring an additional 20 jobs to the area.

The 147th Open will be held on the championship course in July.

The extension development is being supported with a funding package from Royal Bank of Scotland.


Industrial units to be built on derelict Dundee land

Dozens of industrial units are set to be built on a derelict area of land in Dundee, in a move expected to support fledgling start-up businesses.

Dundee Industrial Association (DIA) submitted the application to build 34 units at Loons Road, in the city’s Lawside area, last August, via local firm Jon Frullani Architect Ltd.

The units, intended for “light industrial use”, have now been given the go-ahead by city planning officers. However, they have ordered that detailed contamination assessments are carried out on the site before any prospective tenants move in.

In addition, DIA must ensure electric car charging points are included in any car parking facilities, and that a one-way system is introduced within the site for the purposes of public safety, running from Loons Road to Balfield Road.

The council’s planning department said the plan satisfied local development policy and it could find “no material considerations” to justify refusing permission.


Former Shetland homes converted into new flats

Shetland Islands Council has completed work to convert four family sized homes into new one-bedroom flats in Firth.

The Leaside flats have been converted from two family sized houses to help to meet local demand for smaller properties.

The flats at 24a, 24b, 25a and 25b will be formally opened at 12pm on January 12, before being allocated to new tenants.


Glasgow pet emergency hospital expansion approved

An emergency hospital for pets is to expand allowing it to treat more animals at its site in the west of Glasgow.

Work on adding two new floors is expected to be finished this summer and will result in 10 new jobs being created.

Bosses of the Vets Now hospital on North Street say it treated 5000 out-of-hours emergency cases last year and is now at capacity.

The expansion will result in a custom-built intensive care unit, an entire floor dedicated to emergency and critical care, a specialist oncology treatment area and more theatres to meet demand.

There will also be the opportunity to introduce a service which allows vets to use minimally invasive medical procedures to treat small animals.


Events arranged to help local contractors contract for Moray Council

Local contractors keen to undertake work for Moray Council should come along to one of two information events being held next week.

The council is developing contracts for building maintenance to maintain and improve our buildings, which will include planned maintenance and reactive repairs.

Called Framework Agreements, they will cover all categories of trades and specialist work required to supplement the council’s own maintenance teams.

The tenders will published on the Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) website

Representatives from the council’s housing, property and procurement teams will be on hand to explain the tendering process for these frameworks and answer any queries.

Booking a place can be done via the Eventbrite website and search for Trades Framework Moray Council. Free entry.

Wednesday, 17 Jan 2018 at 6.00pm Elgin Town Hall, Supper Room, 1 Trinity Place, Elgin.

Thursday, 18 Jan 2018 at 6.00pm Mosstodloch Building Services depot, (DLO) Meeting Room, 1 Mosstodloch Industrial Estate, Mosstodloch.


Moray community centre to undergo £600,000 refurb

Work is to begin on a £600,000 ground floor refurbishment project at Buckie’s Lady Cathcart Community Centre in Moray.

The scheme will include a new heating system being installed along with modern early learning and childcare facilities.

The investment is part of the Scottish Government’s expansion of early learning provision currently being rolled out across Scotland.

Work will get underway at the end of February with completion scheduled in time for the August 2018 term.


Lowood Bridge repair programme to get underway

Lowood Bridge

A major repair and strengthening programme to safeguard the future of the historic Lowood Bridge in the Borders begins this month.

The B-listed bridge will be closed to all traffic and pedestrians from Wednesday 31 January for around 20 weeks to allow the repairs to be carried out safely.

Once the £640,000 works are completed, which is expected to be in June 2018, Lowood Bridge’s 26 tonne weight limit affecting heavy vehicles will be removed.

Improvements to the Galafoot Bridge on the A6091 road by trunk road operator Amey will take place later in 2018, to avoid a clash with the Lowood Bridge works.


Strathpeffer sewer renewal works to begin

Contractor amey-Black and Veatch (aBV) is to begin carrying out sewer renewal works at a village in the Highlands.

aBV will carry out the first section of the scheme, which involves rebuilding a manhole beneath the A834 at the bottom of Garden House Brae in Strathpeffer, between the Square and the primary school.

To carry out the project safely, a short section of the A834 will be closed to traffic for up to three weeks from Monday, 22 January. Diversions will be in place.


Contractor to carry out finishing works at Greens of Crynoch

Finishing works are to be carried out on the C5K Lochton to Nigg Road at Greens of Crynoch in Aberdeen.

The scheme, which forms part of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project, will see work carried out to complete a new bridge to take the AWPR above the local road, as well as to complete the verges at the sides of the road.

To carry out the project, a section of the C5K Lochton to Nigg Road will close for around 10 weeks from 6am on Monday, 15 January. Diversions will be in place.


Hawick Flood Protection Scheme update

Fraser Murray of Holequest on the site at Commerical Road explaining what work has been carried out to pupils Katie Kampion and Murray Cockburn

A series of minor works will be carried out across Hawick in preparation for the town’s flood protection scheme.

The trial hole works will take place at several locations in the coming months in order to identify where public utilities are in the ground ahead of the advanced works for the scheme.

The advanced works will involve moving affected cables and pipes outwith the construction zone of the new flood defences.

Most of the works will take place on footpaths but some sections of road will be cordoned off, with temporary traffic lights to be used at Buccleuch Street and Commercial Road as and when required for the safety of staff and the general public. All efforts will be made to keep any traffic management to a minimum.

It is expected that most of the trial excavations will take two to three days to complete, although works at Duke Street and Commercial Road will take longer. There are around 50 trial excavations to be undertaken over the length of the town and it is expected that these investigations will not be completed until mid-April 2018.

The dates and locations for the works in January and February are:

  • Week commencing 15 January  – Victoria Road
  • W/C 22 January – Teviot Crescent, Laidlaw Terrace and Duke Street
  • W/C 29 January – Duke Street
  • W/C 5 February – Glebe Mill Street, Buccleuch Street and Commercial Road
  • W/C 12 February – Commercial Road
  • W/C 19 February – Commercial Road

Further information will be provided to the community as the investigations develop for the works in March and April.

Building Briefs – January 10th

New plans submitted for Stonehaven supermarket

Detailed drawings and plans for a supermarket on the edge of Stonehaven have been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.

FM Group was granted permission to build a supermarket, a 50-bedroom hotel and restaurant on the outskirts of the town in 2016.

Layout, car parking and transport plans have been addressed by the updated application and full details of proposed walking and cycling routes within the Ury Estate will be issued when complete.

This will include the timescale of delivery of an improved pedestrian link under the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen road adjacent to the Cowie Waters.

The FM Group is also behind the £80m boutique hotel and golf resort featuring a course designed by US golfer Jack Nicklaus.


Fresh proposals for Galloway holiday complex

Revised plans for a major holiday complex on farmland in Galloway are being recommended for approval.

The proposed project involves the development of 444 holiday lodges along with a shop, café and leisure facilities.

Initial plans to create the holiday park at Barncrosh Farm secured consent in September 2014.

Amended proposals have now been tabled for consideration by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s planning committee.

The application seeks permission to change the previously agreed layout of holiday lodges on the site.

The revised plans also include a new four-phase development programme for the complex.


Hawick rugby visitor centre bid takes shape

A feasibility study has been established to look at setting up a new rugby visitor centre in the Scottish Borders.

The facility in Hawick will house artefacts belonging to its rugby club and the Bill McLaren Foundation.

The study will look at a range of options from simply digitising the material up to the creation of a visitor centre.


Work to start on Peterhead’s Aldi store

Work on a long-awaited supermarket in the north-east’s largest town is due to start later this month.

Peterhead’s Kirk Street will be closed for up to 28 days while the demolition of old flats at the former Kirkburn Mill takes place.

Aldi plans to build a store on the site and the budget supermarket aims to have it open by the end of the year.

It is hoped the move will create up to 30 new jobs and boost the local economy to the tune of £2.5million.

Aldi’s site would include two separate retail units and a car park for 150 shoppers.

The process of tearing down the old mill will begin on Wednesday, January 24 and the council has said a section of the road next to the site will be off limits to motorists during this time for safety reasons.

Building Briefs – January 9th

James Frew targets continued fleet improvement with Ctrack

James Frew has awarded a five-year contract extension to Ctrack for the provision of an advanced telematics system.

Ctrack Online was initially adopted as part of a wider fleet improvement strategy designed to target a range of efficiency savings, improvements in health and safety, and enhanced duty of care. Following its success, the company will continue using Ctrack Online, combined with a sophisticated driver behaviour solution, across a fleet of 136 vans operated by James Frew’s team of engineers.

James Frew has achieved a wide range of operational savings and safety improvements since using the web-based Ctrack Online vehicle tracking system to monitor driver behaviour and better engage with the mobile engineers. As a result, the company experienced a dramatic drop in fuel usage, as well as reducing road collisions, increasing staff well-being and lowering insurance premiums and maintenance costs.

The tracking solution takes advantage of Ctrack’s in-vehicle Driver Behaviour Indicator (DBI) and Driver League Table Reporting, so James Frew can encourage improved driving styles behind the wheel while historically identifying any underperforming drivers. The DBI provides real-time feedback, alerting drivers to speeding or harsh driving via traffic-light coloured warning lights and audible alerts.

Meanwhile, the reporting tool helps identify the best and worst performing parts of the fleet operation using a simple ranking system, enabling the company to implement a targeted driver training initiative.


Councillors welcome refurbished Dumbarton Municipal Buildings

Provost Hendrie with Diane Docharty and Iain Maclaren with other councilors

Councillors have given the thumbs up to Dumbarton’s newly-refurbished Municipal Buildings following a £1.4 million overhaul.

Work to upgrade the historic, B-listed building in College Street started in 2016 and was carried out in three phases to allow the building to remain open throughout. As well as external improvements to the roof and the building’s exterior fabric being completed, new office space and meeting rooms were created and the Ceremony Room was given an upgrade. The Ceremony Room is now available for weddings and citizenship ceremonies.

The Municipal Buildings is home to around 80 West Dunbartonshire Council staff, including elected members and the Legal and Audit teams. Licensing Enquiries have also moved to the Municipal Buildings, where the Registrars also remain.

The Municipal Buildings overhaul was part of the council’s overall £19m project to move staff into modern, fit for purpose office space across the area and reduce the amount of buildings used by the council. A new Dumbarton town centre office is due to open this year, with the current Garshake Road building to close.

The earlier upgrade work to the council’s Bridge Street office, the improvements at the Municipal Buildings and the upcoming opening of the new Church Street office will see a total of more than 800 council staff based in Dumbarton town centre, helping to regenerate the area.


Atkins names new UK/Europe chief

Atkins has appointed Philip Hoare as chief executive of its UK and Europe region.

Philip Hoare, head of Atkins’ UK and Europe transportation division since 2014, now becomes responsible for leading the consulting engineer’s 10,000-strong team.

SNC-Lavalin acquired WS Atkins in July 2017, leading to the departure of its chief executive Uwe Krueger and the promotion of Nick Roberts to president of Atkins. In the interim, divisional finance director Jamie Sharp will lead Atkins’ UK and Europe transportation business.


Improvement works begin on Dundee – Aberdeen railway

Work is underway on a railway line improvement project between Dundee and Aberdeen.

Engineers have started renewing sections of track, refurbishing bridges and preparing platforms for the arrival of new train fleets as part of the scheme.

Features include the £4 million refurbishment of South Esk Viaduct at Montrose and replacing over a mile of life-expired track on the line between Dundee and Aberdeen. In addition, platforms at Aberdeen station will be altered as part of a £1m project to allow a new fleet of trains to operate in the future.

Works will take place on the following dates; 14, 21, 28 January and 03, 04 February.


Work starts on Broughty Ferry railway station upgrade

Network Rail has started work on a platform improvement project at Broughty Ferry railway station in Dundee.

The scheme will see a 90-metre section of platform one raised and rebuilt ahead of new trains being introduced on the East Coast main line. In addition, the stepping distance from trains calling at the station will be improved for passengers.

Overall, the scheme is one of 10 being delivered across the Highland and East Coast main lines in Scotland.


Borders primary pupils first foot to new school

Mason Blackwood, Angus Hislop, Councillor Euan Robson, Councillor Shona Hislop, Councillor Simon Mountford, Councillor Tom Weatherston, headteacher Michelle Matthews and Councillor Hamilton

Pupils at Broomlands Primary in Kelso have moved into their new £9.7 million school for the first time today.

The school has been completed on time and replaces the former building which was opened in 1980.

Contractors McLaughlin and Harvey began work on the building in October 2016, with the completed school including 12 classrooms, an early years centre, games hall/dining room and upgraded playground.

During the construction of the school, a series of community benefits were achieved including six new jobs for local people, one modern apprenticeship and six activities with local schools, while McLaughlin and Harvey engaged with 14 local groups or projects.

The new Broomlands Primary is part of a series of school improvements being carried out by Scottish Borders Council, with new primaries at Langlee and Duns and a new Kelso High all opening within the last six months.

In addition, there are currently works taking place to create a new support centre for pupils with complex needs at Galashiels Academy and a new nursery at St Boswells Primary School, while the planning application for the new Jedburgh Intergenerational Community Campus was approved this month.


Roadworks to begin in Inverness

Work is to begin on a road improvements project in Inverness.

Contractor Pat Munro will start carrying out roadworks at the junction of Millburn Road and Diriebught Road from today.

The three-week scheme (weather dependant) includes replacing drainage channels and road resurfacing in the junction and central reserve areas.

Temporary traffic lights will be installed to avoid having to close the junction and the lights will be manually operated from 7am to 7pm.


Council completes coastal path upgrade in Lerwick

Shetland Islands Council has completed work to improve a coastal footpath in Lerwick.

The Sletts footpath has been resurfaced with bitmac and widened to around 1.5 metres along most of its 520 metre length. In addition, the west end entrance of the path has been widened to allow wheelchair access and gates have been removed at both ends of the path.

Other works included placing rock-filled baskets on areas of the path to protect it from sea erosion, while a new access point has been created to give easier access to the path for patients at the Gilbert Bain Hospital. NHS Scotland is also planning to install a shelter with seating on the path behind the Lerwick Health Centre.

The final cost of the upgrade is expected to be £82,500, funded by £67,500 from Shetland Community Choices and £15,000 from the council’s Infrastructure Services.

The works were the first-choice project voted for by the public in the Shetland Community Choices project earlier this year.


Planning exhibitions will showcase future potential developments in Moray

A series of exhibitions showcasing future potential housing and business development across Moray will be launched next week.

Nine events will be held in towns and villages, where members of local communities are welcome to come along and speak with planning officers about future possible developments in the region.

Following the launch of the Main Issues Report last month, visitors to the exhibition will be able to explore how Moray Council will use land in the area in the future, including new or expanded infrastructure, schools, health centres and more.

Factors like minimising climate change, balancing the protection of the environment and making space for residents to remain active and healthy citizens, will also be discussed.

All drop-in exhibitions will feature interactive mapping using touch screens, highlighting what development is being proposed in each area. Expansion to the south west of Buckie and east of Forres for housing is being considered. New industrial land is being considered to the south of Elgin, at Waterford in Forres, and to the west of Mosstodloch. More modest expansion is being considered in other towns and villages such as Keith, Fochabers, and Aberlour.

Those who can’t attend the exhibitions can access more information online on Moray Council’s website:

Date and Time Venue
Wednesday 17 January
2 – 8pm
Fleming Hall, Aberlour
Tuesday 23 January
2 – 8pm
Town Hall, Elgin
Wednesday 31 January
2 – 8pm
Fisherman’s Hall, Buckie
Tuesday 6 February
2 – 8pm
Fochabers Institute, Fochabers
Thursday 15 February
2 – 8pm
Town Hall, Lossiemouth
Wednesday 21 February
2 – 8pm
Mortlach Memorial Hall, Dufftown
Thursday 8 March
2 – 8pm
Town Hall, Forres
Tuesday 13 March
2 – 8pm
Longmore Hall, Keith
Saturday 17 March
9.30am – 4pm
St Giles Church, Elgin

Building Briefs – January 8th

Highland residents to benefit from pioneering homes thanks to £3m City Region Deal windfall

Around £3 million of funding has been agreed for a ground-breaking Highland project that could transform the lives of people with complex health needs as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal.

The business case for the ‘FitHome’ assisted living project was approved in November last year with £3m funding from the Scottish Government. The project, led by Albyn Housing Society in partnership with Carbon Dynamic and NHS Highland, aims to establish a new concept for health and care delivery at home by utilising data-capture and Internet of Things capabilities to predict and prevent episodes leading to ill health. This in turn will enable people to live independently at home for as long as they want, while potentially allowing for early hospital discharge.

The FitHome concept, which will be piloted initially with the construction of 12 homes at Dalmore, Ross-shire, won the Saltire Award for innovation in housing last year and recently hosted a showcase event at the Scottish Parliament.

The Inverness and Highland City Region Deal funding will support the purchase and development of 32 additional homes across several Highland locations. It is anticipated that the first City-Region Deal project will be in Nairn. One of the clusters will be built in Inverness City to suit the needs of veterans.


Interserve wins new five-year deal with Thomas Cook

Interserve has secured a new five-year contract to deliver facilities services for holiday company Thomas Cook.

The deal will see Interserve build on its previous agreement with Thomas Cook to deliver facilities services across its 180,000 sq ft corporate estate. This includes the provision of cleaning, security, reception, maintenance and electrical services for its office in Peterborough, its Manchester office and its contact centre in Falkirk.

From spring 2018, the contract will cover all of Thomas Cook’s 680 nationwide retail stores and its Manchester aircraft hangar.


New plans for Montrose retail site

A planning application has been lodged for significant changes to a Montrose development.

A retail centre in Brechin Road is under construction, but the developers have had to redraw plans after failing to secure a business for one of the outlets.

Home Bargains and Farmfoods have already agreed to move into two of the stores in the development at the town’s former distillery.

Originally it was intended for there to be three units, but plans to subdivide the one without a business interest in place into two smaller units have now been lodged, saying it is the “only viable option” for the site.

Costa Coffee and Pets4U have stated an interest in smaller units at the development.

The documents states the proposed changes are the “only viable option” to secure a Pets4U store in Montrose and that Costa also intimated there are no suitable sites in the town centre for their needs.

If approved, the 4,000 square feet unit will be made into two units of 2,000 square feet each.

The council is expected to make a decision on the new plans by March 2.


Plans approved to turn former Aberdeen nursery back into home

Plans to turn a former nursery back into a house have been given the go-ahead.

The building on Great Western Road was most recently used as pre-school nursery Jumping Jack’s but plans have been submitted to Aberdeen City Council to change the use of the property back to a residential home.

In their report, city planners said: “It was previously acknowledged that the use as a nursery would not negatively impact on the land designation.

“It is therefore considered that changing the use of the property back to residential would have less of an impact on the surrounding area.”


Green light for Perth McDonald’s revamp plan

Perth and Kinross Council has approved a proposal by fast food chain McDonald’s for its site at Broxden, which will result in a new ‘folded’ roof, improved operation of its ‘drive-thru’ service and increased parking.

The company decided to embark on the upgrading of its eatery, which is located just off the Broxden roundabout on the outskirts of Perth, due to the current ‘drive-thru’ operation only being managed on what they term an “ad hoc basis,” along with a general feeling that the building needed a new “fresh” look.

The reconfiguration of the drive-thru lane will include building a new island and introducing new kerb lanes.

McDonald’s state that the refurbishment of the building will also provide an extra nine parking spaces.


Scottish Gas Networks begins Hamilton roadworks

Scottish Gas Networks (SGN) has begun the final stage of its upgrade to the gas network in the Muir Street area of Hamilton.

The £74,000 project involves essential work to replace the old, metal gas mains with new plastic pipe.

Work began today and will continue for seven weeks.


CVJV to install new waste water pipe in Glasgow

Work is to begin on a sewer network improvement project in Glasgow.

Contractors Costain Vinci Joint Venture (CVJV) will start installing a new 55-metre stretch of waste water pipe on Aikenhead Road from today.

The project aims to increase capacity and reduce the risk of flooding to properties and roadway. In recent years, four properties on this section of the road have experienced internal flooding, while flooding has also occurred on the road and footpaths due to an issue with the capacity of the local waste water network in the Toryglen area.

The work forms part of Scottish Water’s £250 million investment in the upgrade of parts of the waste water network across the Greater Glasgow area.

To carry out the works, a section of Aikenhead Road from its junction with Prospecthill Road to its junction with Curling Crescent will be closed from Monday. Traffic management and diversions will be in place.

Scottish Water said the closure and diversions will be in place for five months while the scheme is being carried out.

Building Briefs – January 5th

Time extension for applications to speak at pre-determination hearing into new Aberdeen stadium

The deadline for people wishing to speak at the further pre-determination hearing into the proposed new Aberdeen Football Club stadium has been extended.

The deadline is now 5pm on Monday, January 8, 2018, and only individuals who have submitted a representation in response to the further consultation which was carried out, are entitled to participate in the pre-determination hearing.

Anyone wanting to speak at the pre-determination hearing should contact Lynsey McBain at or 01224 522123.

The further pre-determination hearing will take place on Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, from 9.30am in the council chamber.

A special Full Council meeting is to take place on Monday, 29 January, 2018, to consider the application by Aberdeen Football Club for planning consent for a new stadium and community facilities at Kingsford. The meeting will begin at 10.30am in the council chamber.


Kirkwall street revamp to begin

Work is to begin on a £1.8 million street redevelopment scheme in Kirkwall.

The Harbour Street paving project, funded by Sustrans, will upgrade the appearance of the area and encourage footfall along Harbour Street and into Bridge Street and the shopping area it leads to.

The three-week project is scheduled to get underway on Monday, 15 January.

As part of the development, motorists are being advised of temporary changes to traffic arrangements in Kirkwall while contractors work on renewing the road surface and paving at the entrance to Bridge Street.


More than £400,000 to be invested in Dundee play park

More than £400,000 is to be invested to upgrade a play park in Dundee.

The council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee will meet next week to approve plans for the improvement project at Camperdown Park.

Proposals include transforming the former boat pond into a large play area with a large ship, along with additional landscaping and installing play equipment, which will include a wheelchair inclusive boardwalk. Planting will also be introduced, while the play area will be resurfaced using sand, bark and grass.

Since 2012, works have been carried out at the park as part of an on-going development plan.


Islay Gaelic centre receives £97,000 investment boost

Up to £97,000 is to be invested into a Gaelic education and cultural heritage centre on the Isle of Islay.

The funding will enable the Islay Gaelic Centre to upgrade its early years and youth room, create new ancestry and heritage areas in the Centre, and make improvements to its facilities including the installation of a new energy-saving heating system.

The Gaelic Capital Fund investment will also fund new digital learning technology, with Gaelic-enabled software and apps, to benefit Islay-based students and distance-learning students throughout Argyll and the University of the Highlands and Islands network.


‘Contamination’ issues delay development of Dundee jute mill

Works to transform a historic jute mill site will not start until 2019 at the earliest after contamination issues were discovered.

Queen Victoria Works, built in 1828, has lain derelict since closing in the 1980s.

The site could be rejuvenated with the creation of up to 250 rooms for city students.

Based in Brook Street, the once thriving mill was home to Tay Spinners before its closure.

The B-listed buildings are in poor condition and likely to face demolition if city council bosses approve the development.

A public meeting was put off after the developer found issues with the site, including asbestos.

Architects James Paul Associates submitted the plans on behalf of Scot Properties Ltd.

Building Briefs – January 4th

Barratt kicks off 2018 with 60th anniversary celebrations and a new logo

Barratt Homes is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and to mark the occasion new market research commissioned by the firm has confirmed it as the UK’s most recognised and well known housebuilder.

Barratt was founded by Sir Lawrie Barratt back in 1958 and it has rapidly grown to become the UK’s largest housebuilder, building more than 17,300 homes last year. Over the past 60 years it has built in total 450,000 houses, helping some 2.8 million families make their home.

As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations the company commissioned new research which asked people which housebuilder first came to mind. The results clearly show Barratt as the most recognised housebuilder with 19% of all the answers, nearly double its nearest competitor.

The housebuilder is also planning a major new marketing campaign throughout 2018 with a special 60th anniversary logo, new advertising, leaflets, webpages and signage to appear across its developments in Scotland.

Douglas McLeod, regional managing director for Barratt Homes Scotland, said: “2018 is a really special year for us as it’s our 60th anniversary. We’re looking forward to celebrating the anniversary with a range of local and national activities. It’s incredible to think that we have helped so many families across the country. We’re looking forward to continuing to build many more 5-star homes over the next 60 years.”


Green light for new flats in listed Aberdeen building

A listed building in Aberdeen is set to be transformed into new flats after councillors gave the plans conditional approval.

The plans will see the three-and-a-half storey Category B former office space at 15 Bon Accord Crescent extended and converted to form the residential space, the Evening Express has reported.

Submitted by Neil Rothnie Architects on behalf of Alan Grant Developments in April, the designs will see the flats created over four floors

Approving the proposals Aberdeen City Council has said no works should take place until plans relating to landscaping and drainage works have been submitted to the planning authority.


Restaurant proposal for Dundee cafe

Plans have been submitted to Dundee City Council to demolish a cafe and replace it with flats, a restaurant and a roof garden.

Architects Brunton Design Studio have submitted the drawings on behalf of developer Mohammed Bhatti to replace the cafe in Broughty Ferry, and lock-up garages to the rear, with a bespoke three-storey complex.

Each of the seven flats included in the proposed King Street development would have at least two bedrooms and 65 sq m of floor space.

In addition, each flat would have a 4.5 sq m private balcony, providing an external viewing area and somewhere for residents to dry washing.

The building would also have indoor storage for bikes, car parking to the rear and a private roof garden for the use of residents overlooking the rest of King Street.

On the ground floor, a restaurant — as yet unallocated— would have provision for covered outdoor seating.

A planning statement from Brunton says the development would complement other established buildings in the area.