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Thenue to give new lease of life to historic Glasgow building in £9.3m housing boost

The former Monteith Hotel will soon be new housing from Thenue

The former Monteith Hotel will soon be new housing from Thenue

An iconic Glasgow building is to be transformed into new homes for rent in a £9.3 million housing boost for the east end.

Thenue Housing is building 49 new flats in London Road and Monteith Row which are due for completion in 2019.

Monteith Row overlooking Glasgow Green was once home to well-heeled Glaswegians in the 19th century.

Now one of its remaining buildings – the former Monteith Hotel which dates from 1891 and is named after a former Lord Provost – will form the centrepiece of the exciting new development.

Its new lease of life and a neighbouring new building is the latest development from high profile Thenue and is the third development of new homes the housing association has announced in the last six months.

It brings to £23.6m the amount of money Thenue is spending on giving people new homes in this location, in Bridgeton and in Castlemilk. The total number of homes being built is around 120.

Thenue acknowledges the support of Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government with their £6.6m contribution towards the total cost of this latest development.

Revealing the development, Thenue chief executive, Charles Turner, said: “We are very pleased that something which has been in the pipeline for some time will soon be a reality.

“It shows that Thenue is committed to building new homes in our communities and is delivering on our promise to the people we serve to provide homes across the city.  They are much needed and will be greatly welcomed.”

The Monteith Hotel is currently boarded up and latterly was used as a place to stay for homeless men.

It has an interesting past and very grand beginnings in what was a stylish and popular location in 19th century Glasgow.

Monteith Row was built in 1891 and named after the then Lord Provost Henry Monteith.

The street became home to many well respected and wealthy Glaswegians. At one time so many medical men lived there that it was nicknamed “Doctors’ Row.”

Although it continued to be an upmarket address towards the end of the 19th century, wealthier citizens began moving to the west end and its newly-fashionable districts of Dowanhill, Hyndland and Kelvinside.

By the 1980s, most of Monteith Row was taken down but the Monteith Hotel with its views of and close proximity to Glasgow Green was spared and remains an important part of Glasgow’s Victorian heritage.

Karen Finlayson, property services manager (development) at Thenue, added: “Building homes for our communities is an essential part of our work – and our three current developments, when complete, will make a real difference to people’s lives.

“The Monteith Hotel development is an exciting project which preserves a great city building yet turns it into modern, energy efficient homes in the east end.

“It is wonderful that a building with such a rich historical connection to the city is being given a new lease of life.”

Housing association withholds payment to energy firm over incomplete job

eon thistleThistle Housing Association has refused to make a £3.4 million payment to E.ON over incomplete environmental upgrade work in Toryglen.

According to the Evening Times, the energy firm should have completed environmental upgrade work to 608 properties in the area within 12 weeks. E.ON was tasked with replacing roofs, windows and roughcasting and installing insulation in Toryglen flats and houses to make them more energy efficient.

However over a year later, the work, which started in June 2016, has either been mismanaged or not completed.

Residents say roughcasting applied to buildings is cracking, allowing water to infiltrate properties and cause damp. They also say there are problems with windowsills and new roofs, which they say are not in line with gutters, again causing water to lash on to the roughcast.

Thistle Housing Association, using £3.4m of Scottish Government money, was supposed to pay E.ON when works were completed. But the Association refused to do so when a quantity surveyor appointed by Thistle would not sign off the works.

In response, E.ON appointed an independent adjudicator – which has now found in favour of the housing association.

A spokeswoman for Thistle Housing Association said the organisation is “thrilled” with the result.

She told the Evening Times: “E.ON appointed an independent adjudicator to determine whether payment for the major works at Toryglen was due.

“Working on behalf of our residents, this is something we strongly contested given the ongoing schedule and snagging work still to be completed.

“We are thrilled that the outcome of this issue has ruled in our favour.”

The situation appeared to come to a head earlier this month when E.ON staff working on the troubled project left the site after an alleged altercation with residents, who had become exasperated with the situation where some have had up to 13 completion dates for their homes.

Police were called to the area when a row broke out between E.ON staff and residents with each side blaming the other for the disturbance.

In response, E.ON removed all of its staff from the site, causing further delays.

A spokesman for E.ON told the Daily Record: “We have had to take steps to withdraw colleagues while we ensure the site is safe enough for them to complete the works in the coming weeks.

“We took this decision after one of our site supervisors and an independent building inspector, who was reporting on the works at residents’ request, were verbally abused by a small group of residents while on a tour of the estate and prevented from leaving.

“The safety of our employees is paramount and it is completely unacceptable that our staff should be treated in this way.”

A spokesperson for Thistle Housing Association said: “E.ON temporarily removed its workmen from the energy efficiency works at Toryglen last Thursday but has now resumed work on site.

“Thistle Housing Association is continuing to liaise with all parties to allow the final phase of work and snagging to continue as we strive for a conclusion to these works, within a safe environment for all.”

Currently, neither E.ON nor Thistle can give a completion date for the scheme.

The Thistle spokeswoman added: “We have a capped-price contract with E.ON and will continue to work within the parameters of this agreement.

“Our Quantity Surveyor will be monitoring the works on an ongoing basis.

“We are striving to secure a satisfactory conclusion to what has been a very challenging contract for all parties.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said the local authority will commission an independent audit into the situation.

He told the Evening Times: “The council has now prepared a draft scope review document for the Independent Project Review, which will be shared with other involved organisation for comment shortly.

“In the coming months, we will appoint an independent third-party organisation to carry out the Independent Project Review.”

Robertson well positioned for long term growth as turnover reaches record £580m

Bill Robertson

Bill Robertson

Robertson Group has delivered a record year of turnover as well as its strongest ever forward order book, totalling £2.3 billion.

Releasing its audited accounts to March 2017, the Stirling-based infrastructure, support services and construction group reported a 28% increase in turnover to a record £580 million, and profit before tax of £26m, an increase of 22% on the prior year.

With continued and sustainable growth across its 21 diverse infrastructure based businesses, most notably in its Construction, Major Projects and Partnership Homes divisions, the group has added further value to its already strong balance sheet, with net worth increasing by 34%.

The group also enjoyed a £64.4m net cash position at the year end.

Bill Robertson, executive chairman of Robertson Group, said: “We are delighted with the continued progress across all of our 21 operating companies. The group has now started delivering on its new five-year strategic plan with a strong focus on sustainability, innovation and productivity. The continued success of the group will be based on generating sustainable and appropriate returns for any work undertaken.

“We are delighted to have the visibility, capability and strong capital base from which to deliver high-quality projects and services to our existing and potential clients into the future. The shareholders of Robertson Group are fully committed to the long-term investment and sustainability of the business.”

Robertson currently employs over 2,200 people across the UK, having increased employee numbers by 300 in the last 12 months. This figure is expected to grow by a further 5% in the year ahead, with a strong emphasis on supply chain, direct employment and apprenticeships.

It was recently awarded a Gold accreditation from Investors in People in recognition of the group’s ongoing investment in apprenticeships, internships, school leavers and graduates. The group currently employs 207 employees under the age of 24, including 52 apprentices, 53 trainees and 13 graduates.

The group said: “Robertson Group is well positioned and structured for the long term, and is fully aware that over the recent decades, direct employment and training by major players in the industry has fallen consistently to a point where the shortfall is being made up from an over-reliance on subcontractors.

“Against the background of a shrinking skilled labour shortage, this is no longer sustainable in a competitive and constantly evolving marketplace and it will be up to the major players in the industry to encourage regrowth of direct employment and training.

“Due to the changed source of funding in projects for both private and public sectors in our market, the group Board believes that healthier margins achieved by companies in our sector will be a requirement of participation by funders and investors in major new projects and businesses. Our group structure will therefore continue to focus on a growing return on capital and improving the risk profile of our projects in preference to growth in volume.”

Construction

Robertson Construction’s regional business model operates sustainable local relationships with public and private-sector clients, supported by its scale, expertise, track record and breadth of product offering from the wider group. The group added one new business in the year concentrating on the East of Scotland operating from a new base in Edinburgh. The record growth in Construction in the regions has been assisted by the successful delivery of projects from two key public sector frameworks – hub East Central Scotland and Scape.

The group has secured a position on Scape Group’s four-year £750m Major Works Scotland framework, which will deliver projects with a value of £2m to £20m for any Scottish public-sector body. This framework has a strong track record of delivering high-quality public sector projects and provides a fast route to market available to the public sector, achieving measurable time, quality, cost and community benefits on every project and commission.

Major Projects

The Major Projects division is also delivering three significant major projects with a total value of over £400m in the North of Scotland. These include the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre for Henry Boot Developments, a new state-of-the-art distillery and visitor centre for Edrington Group at The Macallan, and a new £62m hospital in Kirkwall for NHS Orkney.

Partnership Homes

The Robertson Partnership Homes business has seen major success having delivered 152 homes in the past financial year and 632 being handed over this year. The business has secured contracts to deliver over 3,000 homes over the next five years in Scotland.

Capital Projects

Robertson Capital Projects (RCP), the group’s investment business, has secured financial close and is now monitoring construction of a new hospital on Orkney. This project represents the start of a 30-year relationship with NHS Orkney through the provision of full asset and facilities management.

In addition to a £5m investment in the Orkney project, the business has also invested over £3m in other public sector projects in the period.

Facilities Management

Robertson Facilities Management, which will service the Orkney contract, has grown turnover by 5% in 2017 and by 41% over the last five years and now employs over 700 people with a long-term order book of £1bn across the UK.

Homes

Robertson Homes continues to enjoy success and growth in private housing development, and has increased its units sold in the year by 16%. The Homes business has started exciting new developments in Newton Mearns, Inverness, Haddington and Bearsden in Central Scotland, and is currently operating on 11 live sites. Robertson Homes are also currently developing high-quality family homes in the North of England, with construction and sales having commenced on two new locations.

The group will continue to utilise its cash and funding base to invest further in its private and affordable homes businesses as well as in public-sector infrastructure projects, where it has a strong track record of investing in and delivering school, health and community facilities.

Contractor search to begin as councillors approve tram extension business case

edintrams_elmrow_18thMay2017_smallerThe search for a contractor to extend Edinburgh’s tram system to Newhaven is to commence after the Outline Business Case (OBC) for the proposal was approved yesterday by the local authority.

Published by the City of Edinburgh Council last month, the OBC set out the findings and recommendations resulting from a 20-month programme of very detailed work assessing the benefits, impact and likely timescales and cost of completing the remaining 4.6km of tramline 1A.

The document has been closely scrutinised by members of all political groups on the council over recent weeks and gained approval from the transport and environment committee earlier this month.

A comprehensive tendering process will now get underway to secure a potential contractor partner for the project.

However, councillors will not make a final decision on taking the tram to Newhaven until autumn 2018.

The intervening period – or Stage 2 in the process – will enable the project team to:

  • Allow affordability to be tested based on tender prices
  • Provide a further 12 months of evidence of tram patronage build up; and
  • Allow the project to consider any lessons learned from the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry currently underway

Council leader Adam McVey said: “Given the rate of growth forecast for Edinburgh over the coming years, we simply cannot stand still. And yet we can’t proceed with work to take trams down to Newhaven unless we’re 100% certain we’ve rigorously scrutinised the business case and taken on board crucial lessons from the first phase.

“Having pored over the Outline Business Case in microscopic detail these past few weeks, including obtaining independent advice on it, I’m confident our project team – which retains key personnel from the team who got the first phase back on track – is now well placed to move on to the next stage and start the procurement process for a contractor.

“We will only make our final decision next autumn once the tendering process has completed and once we’ve consulted an independent assessor on the viability of the proposed construction contracts. We’ll also of course consider any lessons learned from Lord Hardie’s ongoing tram inquiry as we move forward.”

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “For the people of Leith, having a direct tram link to the city centre and other key employment and travel hubs would be hugely beneficial. That said, we are acutely aware of how challenging the construction period would be, which is why we’re developing a compensation scheme to help those who would be most affected.

“We’ll take the time while the tender process is ongoing to build and maintain useful two-way relationships with local residents and businesses so we can understand and ideally pre-empt issues which might arise.

“Stage 2 will also enable us to work with all our partners and stakeholders, including bus companies, the emergency services, residents, businesses and elected members, to properly test and model traffic management plans for the works.

“Over the next 12 months we will be able to develop an even fuller picture of the project, building further detail into the business case and drawing on another year of patronage, which will allow us to make a fully informed final decision next autumn.”

Key points included in OBC:

Rapid population and economic growth

  • Over the next decade, Edinburgh and surrounding area expected to be home to faster growing population than anywhere else in Scotland. National Records of Scotland projections published in 2016 suggest city should be planning for an additional 47,000 people by 2024 and additional 102,000 by 2039 (20% increase)
  • Number of households forecast to increase by over 38,000 (16%) by 2032. A quarter (25%) of this growth is forecast to occur in Leith Docks and Western Harbour area
  • Employment levels in Edinburgh are projected to grow by 7.6% between 2013 and 2022

Costs & benefits

  • Capital Cost estimated at £165.2m, including risk and inflation
  • Patronage forecast to almost double in opening year to 14m, reflecting high population densities along the route
  • For every £1 spent the economic return to the city is £1.64
  • OBC includes wider economic benefits, including social inclusion, and completing the line will provide access to jobs and support business and opportunities in the area

Construction work to take three years

  • Estimated three-year construction period, including 18 months on Leith Walk, followed by approx four months of testing and commissioning on new line.
  • Significant proportion of major utility works have already been carried out – remainder carried out in conjunction with main infrastructure works, meaning no ‘double dig’

Carefully planned traffic management

  • Diversions, road closures, access and crossing points thoroughly planned and modelled
  • All key stakeholders, including residents, businesses, emergency services and Lothian Buses will be consulted on the traffic proposals set out in the OBC

Support for businesses

  • Customer and service access to local businesses maintained at all times
  • Compensation and support scheme for affected businesses along the route put in place
  • Logistic centres and dedicated crossing points provided at 150-200m centres on Leith Walk
  • Logistics officers deployed throughout the day to help businesses with deliveries

Lessons learned

  • OBC recommends industry-standard contract with rigorous project governance
  • Traffic management would give contractor expanded sites and provide flexibility if problems encountered
  • Project would benefit from industry networking with other cities (Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin) to ensure best practice
  • Consultation with the market and incorporating input from Tram Inquiry

Infrastructure project slump a worry for plant hire businesses Jarvie

David Jarvie

Jarvie Plant’s business development director, David Jarvie

A six-year low in infrastructure projects is a cause for concern as the UK braces itself for the impact of Brexit, according to one of Scotland’s largest independent plant hire companies Jarvie Plant Group.

Figures released last month by construction sector intelligence provider Barbour ABI revealed a 97% annual decrease in infrastructure projects across the UK, its worst performing month for over six years.

The sector accounted for £784 million of construction contract values, which totaled £5.4 billion based on a 3-month rolling average, awarded across all regions of the UK during July.

David Jarvie, business development director of Jarvie Plant Group, said this is a worrying development: “We have recently witnessed the completion of the Queensferry Crossing, Scotland’s biggest infrastructure project in a generation, which produced work for thousands of people over a decade.

“The dualing of the A9, A96 and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route are ongoing but there is little sign of them being replaced.”

In May, Jarvie Plant opened a new £1m depot in Manchester which they hope will play a role in supplying equipment to HS2 and other major civil engineering and construction projects.

But whilst infrastructure projects are dipping the outlook in other sectors, in particular house building, remains positive with contract values for that sector reaching £2.5bn in July.

“For businesses such as ourselves who are hiring equipment to house builders in Scotland and the north of England, these figures are very encouraging,” explained Mr Jarvie.

Meanwhile the Grangemouth-based company, which has nine depots, said it is monitoring the Brexit talks closely and are urging the UK government to reach a trade agreement as soon as possible.

As a result of Brexit Mr Jarvie predicts “a whole host of opportunities” for the plant hire industry which is estimated to be worth £4bn to the UK economy.

“I think Brexit offers potential for more domestic contractors to successfully win contracts ahead of our European counterparts,” he added.

“From a plant hire perspective we will be able to develop closer relations with them – they’re on our doorstep; we know them.”

BAM appoints new pre-construction director for Scotland

Emma Fradgley

Emma Fradgley

Emma Fradgley has joined BAM Construction as pre-construction director based in the company’s office in Stepps.

With more than twelve years’ industry experience, Emma spent the past five years heading up the bid team of family business, the FES Group, and has held previous roles within Carillion and Alfred McAlpine Business Services.

As well as taking responsibility for managing BAMs pre-construction processes, Emma takes up the reins as the director responsible for managing BAM’s relationships with East Central, West and South East Hubcos. In her business development role she will draw on her extensive industry network to identify future opportunities for BAM in Scotland. As a qualified environmental manager Emma will also be working closely with our sustainability team to help drive awareness and programmes.

Emma Fradgley said “I’m delighted to be working with such a great team at BAM. It’s exciting to be a part of an organisation with such a robust and long-standing presence as a leader of property construction services in Scotland. I look forward to assisting in the expansion of the company’s successes and strengthening BAM’s foothold in its target markets.”

Bruce Dickson, regional director, BAM Construction, added: “We are delighted to welcome Emma onto our senior management team. When the opportunity arose we had a very good idea of the kind of person we were looking for to take on and develop the role. We already knew Emma and felt that she had the vision and values that matched our own. She joins a strong team but in my view has the ability to make us an even stronger performer in our markets.”

With a degree in Geology from the University of London, Emma is also a qualified in Environmental Management through the Institute of Environmental Management Association (IEMA).

Based in Stepps, BAM Construction is active in all areas of property construction, particularly in the education, cultural, leisure and healthcare sectors. Current projects include V&A Museum of Design Dundee; the Terminal Expansion Project at Edinburgh Airport and a landmark residential development within the grounds of historic Donaldson’s College in Edinburgh.

‘Strong’ Scottish performance helps Kier return to profit

Kier image

Kier Group has returned to profit thanks to its continued restructure and a ‘strong’ contribution from Kier Construction Scotland.

Announcing its full-year results for the year to 30 June 2017, the property, residential, construction and services group reported a pre-tax profit of £25.8 million on revenue up 5% to £4.27 billion. The previous year it lost £15m before tax.

Operating profit for the year was up 3% to £146m (2016: £141m) and the order book stands at £9.5bn.

The results were supported by Kier Construction Scotland, which has a turnover in excess of £150m per annum and employs over 200 people from its offices in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and Newcastle.

The contractor has continued to expand its order book, and provide diverse local employment and training opportunities throughout the country.

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland, said: “In Scotland, Kier has secured a strong and steady pipeline of activity through increasing our framework and tender wins. Most recently we have been appointed as a partner on the £160m Aberdeenshire Council Social Housing Improvement Framework and the £125m Aberdeenshire Council Capital Works Framework.

“We have also strengthened our healthcare portfolio with a number of recent wins, including work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde at Stobhill Hospital, NHS Highland at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and we have been appointed principal supply chain partner at Golden Jubilee National Hospital under Frameworks Scotland 2.

“Education remains an important sector for us and we are currently developing the design and build requirements for the new £25m Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr and we are on site at the £43m William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock and at the £35m redevelopment of Marr College in Troon.  In conjunction with our partners, hub South West, we have recently completed the £25m Ayr Academy for South Ayrshire Council and the £36m Garnock Campus for North Ayrshire Council.

Caol Campus Fort William. Image courtesy of Kevin Hunter photography

Kier delivered the Caol Campus in Fort William. Image courtesy of Kevin Hunter photography

Mr McQuade added: “Kier Construction Scotland is also working on an exciting range of heritage projects, restoring some of the country’s most important landmarks for future generations to enjoy. We have just completed the new roof as part of the intricate restoration work that we are carrying out at the world-renowned Mackintosh Building for Glasgow School of Art.  We have also completed the first phase of the Grade A-listed sandstone building off Lauriston Place for Edinburgh College of Art, in time for the new academic year and work is on schedule as we restore of one of Scotland’s oldest and most historic concert halls – the A-listed Aberdeen Music Hall.”

Internationally, the closure of the Caribbean and Hong Kong businesses resulted in non-underlying charges of £86m. But the sale of Mouchel Consulting in October 2016 generated a profit on sale of £40m.

Chief executive Haydn Mursell said: “Our underlying performance for the year was good. Having simplified our portfolio, the group is more focused and able to pursue its growth ambitions in our three core markets; building, infrastructure and housing, which now represent 90% of the group’s revenue and profit. We continue to invest in the business to improve our operational efficiency, providing a robust platform on which to take advantage of the strong long-term fundamentals in these core markets.

“Our Construction and Services order books of £9.5bn, together with our c.£2bn property development and residential pipelines, provide good long-term visibility of our future work. This visibility, coupled with our healthy balance sheet, provides us with confidence of achieving our Vision 2020 strategic targets.”

He added: “We are progressing well with the roll-out of our £70m investment in a new Oracle ERP system with 70% of the group now operating on the new platform. This system provides high quality and timely information, together with improved back office systems and efficiencies.”

Fire service and residents not told about combustible cladding on private Glasgow flats

Glasgow north west

Combustible cladding has been found in some private high-rise properties in Glasgow but neither the owners, residents or the fire service have been informed, MSPs have been told.

Glasgow City Council planning official, Raymond Barlow, told MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s local government and communities committee yesterday that cladding had been found on some buildings in the city, but said “it’s not public information yet”.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart, who is due to give evidence to the committee next week, said the information given was not sufficient enough to have been available to provide enough clarity to ministers, the fire service and any potential residents.

Checks have been under way at buildings across Scotland in the wake of the fatal Grenfell Tower fire in London which killed an estimated 80 people.

Mr Barlow said an initial check on housing association flats in the city had not found any combustible cladding, telling the committee: “Our trawl and our research from then on was very much on private flatted developments, and that information we only managed to complete in the last couple of weeks, and I have passed it over to the ministers.”

Local government committee convener, Bob Doris then asked him: “So, combustible cladding has been found in some private properties?”

The council official responded: “Yes, it’s just not public information yet.”

Mr Doris replied: “It’s now public information because you are telling us.”

Mr Barlow assured that the authority informed the Scottish Government of the discovery but did not disclose how many buildings have the materials. The fire service and flat owners in the buildings had not been informed, he added.

Mr Barlow said: “Then we wish to see what they wish to do with the information before we take it further.”

Committee convener Bob Doris stressed that the buildings may well be “absolutely safe”, but said residents “deserve answers”.

Following the committee meeting, Doris said: “It was deeply concerning to hear a Glasgow City Council official say that combustible cladding has been found in private high rise homes.

“People who are currently living in private high rises and who listened to this today will of course be worried about their safety in their homes.

“We don’t want this to cause undue alarm, as these buildings may well be safe, but people who live in these homes deserve answers.

“That’s why we’ve asked Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to urgently provide us with more information on the extent of this issue and we will put these concerns to the minister when he appears next week.”

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “The information presented to the Ministerial Working Group on the 8 September did not detail how many private high rise domestic properties may have ACM or whether the material was combustible cladding of the same type as used on Grenfell. The overall detail of information was insufficient for the Chief Building Standards Officer, and therefore Glasgow City Council was asked to provide further information and we are waiting for them to provide clarification.

“We asked all local authorities for the same information but appreciate that for large cities, more work has been required to gather information. That is why the Scottish Government has offered assistance and support to Glasgow City Council to enable them to retrieve all the information we asked for. That offer remains open if they require assistance to provide clarity to ministers, the fire service and any potential residents. We would expect Glasgow City Council, as the body responsible for verification and enforcement of building standards, to inform building owners of their findings and ensuring that once additional checks have taken place if any unsafe material is found, it is removed.”

Scottish Ministers held liable for flooding on private land caused by M74

Court of Session

Court of Session

A landowner who raised a legal action against the Scottish Ministers over what he claimed was a “natural right of drainage” has been granted a declaration that the M74 motorway interferes with that right.

A judge in the Court of Session ruled that Gavin Hamilton’s natural right of drainage was being hindered and that the M74 was preventing water passing to its natural drainage outfall, which caused flooding to his land.

Ponding

Lord Mulholland heard that Mr Hamilton, the heritable proprietor of Lairs Farm to the south west of the village of Blackwood in South Lanarkshire, first noticed a problem with the drainage in 2009.

The court was told that at the north east part of the farm is a field (field one), which is bounded by the B7078 Carlisle road which crosses it from north to south, and is currently subject to flooding, also known as “ponding”.

To the east of the field is a strip of land, which is bounded to the east by the M74 Glasgow/Carlisle road and also currently subject to flooding.

Prior to the construction of the B7078 the strip formed part of the field, which is bounded to the north by a disused railway line, agricultural fields to the west and Lairs Farm to the south.

Fields two and three of Lairs Farm are situated south of field one and are bounded to the east by the M74 Glasgow/Carlisle road.

Natural right of drainage

Mr Hamilton’s case was that he had a natural right of drainage over the offending section of the M74 as a result of his land being higher. Therefore he argued that the inferior tenement (M74 section) was obliged to receive the water falling from the superior tenement land (his field).

As a result of problems with the drainage to the north east of Mr Hamilton’s field, his drainage system was reconnected to the old drainage system to the west and east of the B7078.

As a result, water was making its way to the verge of the M74 land where it was being prevented, as a result of damage to the old drainage system, from passing to its natural drainage outfall (beneath a footbridge on the east side of the M74).

This caused the water to fail to drain and back up, flooding the north-east corner of the pursuer’s field and strip.

The court heard evidence that in April 2012 a site inspection and excavation by confirmed that there was a “void” in the drainage system on M74 land.

Mr Hamilton’s case was that the old drainage system on the Scottish Ministers land was acting as a barrier to his natural right of drainage and the Scottish Ministers were accordingly liable to restore the old drainage system on their land to full working capacity.

Lack of maintenance

However, the Scottish Ministers argued that any failure of the drainage system for Mr Hamilton’s field was caused by one or more other factors, such as lack of maintenance by the pursuer of his own private field drainage system, or lack of maintenance by the council of the adopted road drainage for the relevant section of the B7078.

The Scottish Ministers also said the failure could have been the result of impact damage to a discharge pipe of the B7078 drainage system caused by utility works, or impact to a discharge pipe caused by a new development, and/or road widening works and formation of new footways on the B7078 carried out by or behalf of the council.

Following a proof before answer on the issue of liability, during which expert evidence was led, the judge ruled that Mr Hamilton had proved his case on the balance of probabilities.

Powerful evidence

In a written opinion, Lord Mulholland said: “On the evidence presented to me, I am satisfied that the pursuer has proved that he has a natural right of drainage. I have reached this decision for the following reasons. Firstly, alternative causes for the flooding (ponding) have been excluded… Secondly, the topography of the ground is consistent with the natural right of drainage. The land drains under gravity towards the north east corner of the field and the strip.”

The judge also noted that the dimensions and material of the field drain on the motorway verge, which was subject to the CCTV survey, was consistent with the dimensions and material of the pipe (fired clay) at the outfall flowing into the burn.

Further, the pursuer and a witness both spoke in evidence to water travelling from the manhole, installed by the council in 2009, in an easterly direction to the broken pipe, subject to the CCTV survey, which indicated that water from the field drainage system travelled by means of gravity to the field drain on the motorway verge.

“It could, of course, only reach the broken pipe by means of gravity if the pursuer’s field was higher than the M74 verge at the point of the void in the pipe,” Lord Mulholland added.

He continued: “The evidence and rationale supporting a natural right of drainage as contended for by the pursuer, as detailed above, was powerful, multi sourced, supported by the majority of expert and factual witnesses and the drainage system pertaining to the area.”

While the pursuer had suffered from flooding since 2009, no witness was able to identify the cause, but the judge nevertheless concluded that that pursuer’s right of servitude had been interfered with.

Lord Mulholland said: “The fact that the problem first manifested itself in 2009 does not mean that this was when the pipe was damaged creating the void. It is perfectly possible that the damage could have been occasioned earlier causing a gradual build-up of silt and debris which reached a point where flooding was caused in 2009. There was no evidence of an event in 2009 which could explain the flooding from that date and I therefore have nothing which could support a date for the damage.

“What can be taken from the evidence, however, is that the field drainage, including the section on the M74 verge, must have been in operation at the time of the widening of the A74 and the creation of the section of the B7078 running through the pursuer’s land. It had been used to drain the field in the past and the restitution of this drainage system for the lower field drain is res merae facultatis. As the void which prevents this drainage system from operating effectively is located on the verge of the M74, the defenders are interfering with the pursuer’s natural right of drainage. This is an inevitable finding from the location of the void.”

Design approval for revised Inverness Justice Centre

IJC2Work to build Scotland’s first purpose-built justice centre in Inverness is set to start after Highland Council gave the updated design the green light.

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) submitted plans for an improved design for Inverness Justice Centre in May, with the final decision on full planning permission granted at September’s meeting of the council’s south planning committee.

With ongoing support and funding from the Scottish Government, SCTS said Reiach & Hall Architects’ updated design is more efficient in the use of accommodation and provides an attractive public space, along with improved access.

IJC1Eric McQueen, SCTS chief executive, said: “Rather than simply a replacement sheriff court building, the justice centre will play a pivotal role in changing victims’, witnesses’ and offenders’ experience of the justice system, while providing high quality secure criminal courts, and flexible accommodation for our civil courts and tribunal users.

“By bringing together the right organisations, we can all focus on problem-solving approaches to reduce reoffending and increase the opportunity for community sentencing, while providing the facilities and technology to remove the need for children to appear in court and in the longer term, digital case management for summary crime.”

The creation of the justice centre has widespread support from across the Scottish Government, the councils in the Highlands and Islands region, justice and third sector organisations, the legal profession and the general public.

IJC3In addition to the direct justice benefits, the location of the justice centre will help transform the surrounding area, with the transfer of Inverness Castle to Highland Council ownership stimulating economic growth for the city as it develops a major tourism attraction.

Construction is planned to begin in Autumn 2017 with contractor Robertson Northern to complete the main building works complete in 2019.

Frank Reid, managing director of Robertson Construction Northern, said: “Today’s decision means we can start work on what will be a significant development for the Scottish justice system and we’re looking forward to bringing this improved design to life over the months ahead.”