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Councillors to consider £45.7m Paisley town centre investment

paisleyA major package of capital investment in Paisley town centre is set to be considered by Renfrewshire councillors this week.

Plans being put forward propose a package of investment totalling £45.7 million in refurbishment and upgrades to Paisley town hall, Paisley Arts Centre, a new venue at the former Galbraith’s site on Back Sneddon Street in the town; improvements to Paisley town centre as well as an upgrade to St James Playing field.

The proposals are part of the town’s final bid for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition, which is also being considered by councillors, with a decision on the winner expected by the end of the year.

The plans include:

  • £22m for Paisley Town Hall – to increase performance attendances and attract high quality events to improve the visitor experience and improve the physical infrastructure of the building to secure its long term future
  • £2.5m for Paisley Arts Centre – to upgrade electrical works, improve toilet provision, provide changing accommodation for performers, new seating, improved staging, redecoration and improved access arrangements
  • £10m improvements to Paisley town centre – include improved access into the town centre, pedestrian and cycling routes, public transport, local traffic improvements and investment in the physical appearance of the town centre
  • £3.5m to transform the former Galbraith’s building on Back Sneddon Street to provide a venue for performance and visual art events.
  • £7.7m redevelopment of facilities at St James playing field including an upgrade to grass pitches, a new pavilion and café, and an area to accommodate large scale events; and an upgrade to the existing Ferguslie Park Sports Centre.

Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish bidder on the shortlist for the 2021 competition, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage offer to make it a key visitor destination within Scotland, and transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area.

Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The whole of Renfrewshire has such a rich heritage and world class local talent and this investment will bring significant benefit to communities right across the region.

“Culture and heritage can play such a transformational role in supporting our local economy and improving the opportunities and wellbeing for our communities, investing in improvements to our existing venues and our town centre environment, we can make a real change in the fortunes of the area.

“Winning the title will boost the local economy by £175m, create more than 4,700 local jobs in the area, boost our tourism industry and improve the profile of the area, showing investors how much Renfrewshire has to offer.”

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.”

Blog: BIM bother – contractor locked out

BIM stockKaren Manning and Lynda Ross answer in the affirmative the question: can a court compel a consultant to provide access to design data stored on a BIM platform pending resolution of a dispute over payment?

A £55 million power station was to be built in the Falkland Islands. During the tender period, the contractor engaged the consultant to provide design consultancy services, for which they received a modest payment, with a view to the consultant carrying out full design services if the bid was successful. Those services included design and the preparation and implementation of building information modelling (BIM).

BIM is a technology-enabled process where information and data is comprised in 3D models allowing it be shared amongst relevant parties. It assists with the design, preparation and integration of different aspects of a project. BIM can be a useful tool for planning and management of the design and construction process and beyond. Project software called ProjectWise was to be used to enable the design teams to manage, share and distribute design data on a single platform.

The bid was successful. However, the contractor and the consultant fell out about the scope of the work and the consultant’s entitlement to payment. This resulted in a dispute about what exactly had been agreed: was there no contract; was there a simple contract without detailed terms and conditions; or was there a contract in the standard terms submitted (which included a cap on liability of £1 million)? A large payment had been paid to account but other invoices remained unpaid.

The consultant issued a notice saying it would suspend performance unless payment was made by 2 June. Payment was not made. On 2 June the consultant denied the contractor access to the servers hosting the design data in ProjectWise by revoking the contractor’s password.

The impact to the contractor was considerable – delay and losses well over the cap of £1 million (if it were applicable). On the other hand, if the consultant was compelled to hand over the password, then it would suffer the loss of a very good bargaining position.

The judge decided, on the balance of convenience, to grant the interim order for access to be restored.


  1. As technology advances, access to electronic information and how that is governed will become more and more important.  This will particularly be the case with BIM-enabled projects (which the Government are strongly behind) and a single platform approach.  Where passwords allow access, care should be taken to ensure control of those passwords lies in the correct hands.
  2. Consider whether it is appropriate to have positive BIM and copyright obligations in consultant appointments which survive termination and suspension.
  3. Beware of clauses in appointment terms that are subject to payment of outstanding fees (this is often the case with copyright provisions).
  4. Be clear on the terms which govern any appointment at the outset. The passwords dispute grew out of a disagreement about what the original contract terms were.

Carillion director joins highways executive team at Amey

Ray Jones

Ray Jones

Amey has announced the appointment of Ray Jones from Carillion to its highways executive team.

Having spent the last 15 years with Carillion working across several sectors, Ray joins Amey as a business director to help grow its presence in the local authority market.

Amey’s highways managing director, James Haluch, said: “Following a challenging year in 2016, we are now much more focused on growing our business and delivering what we do well. Ray has great experience both winning new work and delivering a highly customer-focused service for clients. I am pleased to be welcoming him into my Executive Team, where he will join us in driving Amey’s growth in the highways market.”

Ray has been responsible for a range of utility and highways contracts with clients such as Siemens.

Ray Jones said: “I am delighted to be joining James’ team at this crucial period for Highways. I look forward to working with colleagues across the business unit as we look to build on recent successes and deliver an excellent service for our highways clients and the local communities in which we work.”

Black’s Blog: Revolutionary ideas at Hospitalfield House

Jimmy Black

Jimmy Black

Architect Malcolm Fraser did the impossible at the first Andrew Nicoll Lecture (September 22). He made some revolutionary ideas seem sensible.

He says we should stop building houses out of toxic materials, such as timber coated in preservative. We should stop trying to make new build houses airtight by wrapping them up in polythene. Houses need to breathe … so do the people in them. He gave a favourable mention to Albyn Housing Society’s Fithouses, built offsite by Carbon Dynamics on the Cromarty Firth.

He said the fashion for knocking down sound buildings has to stop. Equalise VAT on repair and new build, take away the incentive to demolish, and turn volume housebuilders into volume house repairers. And he insisted we should build social rented homes with the money we currently spend on housing benefit.

Then he said councils should have the power to force the sale of land. That would tackle land banking, where developers sit on property until prices rise. He pointed out that land values increase massively when councils allow a change of use from, say, industrial to housing. Fraser said councils, not landowners, should benefit, and use the money for infrastructure.

Placemaking came next. He was unimpressed by the layout of many new build estates, the wasteful way so many use land and the failure to provide communal areas where communities can form. “Gobons” … the useless decorative bits stuck on to volume built boxes … came in for scathing criticism. Spend the money on better design and quality was his view. He favoured an updated version of Edinburgh’s Colonies; flats with their own gardens, angled to ensure good sunlight, providing privacy and spaces to be sociable.

Fraser is lobbying hard at Scottish Government level for change to current practice and he believes the important folks are listening. Introducing compulsory sales means taking on powerful lobbies and will require political courage.

Andrew Nicoll was a creative and innovative architect. Funding permitting, there will be another Andrew Nicoll lecture at Hospitalfield House in 2018.

  • A former convener of housing at Dundee City Council, Jimmy Black now works for Dundee Voluntary Action on Technology Enabled Care and writes here in a personal capacity.

Interserve wins £6m facilities services deal with SCS

scs thumbInterserve, the international support services and construction group, has secured a £6 million facilities services account with furniture and flooring retailer, ScS (Sofa Carpet Specialist).

The UK-wide account, which runs for an initial period of three years, covers waste services, planned and reactive mechanical & engineering and fabric maintenance for ScS’ head office in Sunderland as well as its nine warehouses and 100 retail outlets across the UK from Plymouth to Aberdeen.

Engineers will self-deliver maintenance for gas fired combined heat and power (CHP), electrical and air conditioning systems, as well as providing gas appliance certification.

The new partnership will initiate a major replacement programme for the CHP and air conditioning units in ScS’ stores.

Andrew Rawdon, TFM & Technical, sector director at Interserve, said that the account win builds on the group’s strong footprint in the sector:

He said: “Interserve delivers facilities services to 5,000 supermarkets and stores in the UK and Ireland every day, and we’re delighted to be adding ScS to the leading brands that we support.

“Our expert knowledge of the sector, coupled with our strong engineering heritage and nationwide reach means we are well placed to deliver a reliable and customer-focused service across ScS’ UK-wide estate.”

Malcolm Stalker, estates manager at ScS, said that Interserve’s approach reflected and recognised its own long-term goals and challenges: “Retail is a rapidly evolving sector and it’s vital that our partners can adapt their approach to meet our needs and those of our customers. Interserve impressed us with its ability to tailor its service to our business, scheduling works around seasonal trends.

“Having a level of cost certainty for our estate is important to our long-term financial modelling and growth plans. With this new partnership, we are now in a position to roll out a clear and forward-thinking asset management plan for our sites.”

New retail plans for former Angus school

Links Avenue retailPlans have been lodged for a new retail development on the site of a former school in Carnoustie.

Cumbrae Property Ltd plans to transform the Kinloch Primary School site into a development featuring an outlet from bakery firm Greggs alongside a new 6,000sqft Sainsbury’s food store.

It is hoped the development, which aims to deliver 50 new jobs, will be ready in time for the Open Championship at Carnoustie next summer.

The development has been brought forward in response to ideas which emerged from the Carnoustie design charrette.

The prime Links Avenue location was previously the subject of a locally-led community hub plan, with hopes that it might host a town cinema.

The site has not been specifically identified for retail development in the adopted local plan, but Greggs said it was hopeful the local authority would be receptive to the idea.

In its application statement, Cumbrae Property Ltd said: “The overall principle for ‘Kinloch Square’ identified by the charrette is a well-proportioned public space funded by retail development where pedestrian uses take priority over vehicle uses.

“Components were to include a town square, new supermarket, a community cinema, traffic calming and a community church.

“To deliver the concept, the charrette identified the need to allocate the site for a new town square and retailing in general terms.”

The company adds: “It should be highlighted that Greggs has previously investigated locating in Carnoustie but, due to the size and shape of units generally within the identified town centre, was unable to secure a property that meets modern retailer requirements.

“The only option for Greggs is, therefore, a new-build unit. The closest available site to the existing town centre and the only available opportunity for Greggs at this time, and likely for the foreseeable future, is the former Kinloch primary school site.”

Building Briefs – September 25th

Bill Banks, chief executive, Kingdom Housing Association and Cllr Judy Hamilton, convener of community and housing services committee

Bill Banks, chief executive, Kingdom Housing Association and Cllr Judy Hamilton, convener of community and housing services committee

Affordable housing partnership continues in Fife

A formal agreement between Fife Council and the Fife Housing Association Alliance has been renewed for the next five years, allowing the partnership to continue to deliver affordable housing across the region.

The Fife Housing Association Alliance is a collaborative working arrangement between the four housing associations based in Fife: Kingdom Group, Glen Housing Association, Ore Valley Group and Fife Housing Group.

The council has, for over ten years, worked in formal partnership with the members of the Alliance to deliver the Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for Fife.

(Full story… )


Public consultation on Newburgh Conservation Area appraisal

Residents are invited to comment on the appraisal and management plan prepared for their conservation area.

Fife Council has undertaken an appraisal of the special architectural and historic character of the Newburgh Conservation Area, and set out a Management Plan for its on-going protection.

A copy of the draft Newburgh Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan is now available in the Tayside Institute, 90-92 High Street, Newburgh. Fife Council staff will be available to answer any queries relating to the appraisal on Wednesday 11 October between 4.00pm and 6.00pm. A copy of the draft appraisal is also available to download from the Fife Direct website at the “Conservation Areas in Fife” page.

Any comments are requested by 20 October 2017.


Ochil View announces plan to renew house building at AGM

The chairperson of Ochil View Housing Association has announced the organisation’s intention to restart its suspended housing development programme having recently approved a business case to complete a development in Sauchie.

Subject to tender, the Association will complete the second and final phase of at Millers Lade Avenue.

Tom Brown’s announcement was made at the Associations AGM held earlier this month during which he reported that financially, the Association had another good year with its annual financial results and long term financial forecasts being in good health.

He expressed the Association’s appreciation for the support of Clackmannanshire Council, who had included the Millers Lade Avenue project in the most recent Strategic Housing Investment Programme for 2017/2018, and for including a further Ochil View owned site at Elm Grove in Alloa, for development in the future.

(Full story… )


Council awarded over £460,000 to upgrade Aberdeen transport links

More than £460,000 is to be invested to regenerate cycle and pedestrian links in Aberdeen.

Routes in and around Heathryfold Park, Middlefield and Northfield are to be upgraded after Aberdeen City Council accepted a £469,094 grant from national body Sustrans to fund the work.

The scheme is designed to increase the accessibility and usage of paths that cross Heathryfold Park and routes which link with the part, improve the night-time accessibility of the paths and increase the number of journeys made by cycle and on foot in Middlefield and Northfield by enhancing active travel routes.

A procurement exercise will be undertaken to deliver the improvements. The committee’s decision is subject to confirmation from legal and finance officers that the grant funding conditions can be met.


South Lanarkshire puts people at the heart of housing with new strategy

Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s housing and technical resources, Councillor Josh Wilson with executive director, Daniel Lowe, and head of housing services, Annette Finnan, with the council’s Local Housing Strategy 2017-2022

Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s housing and technical resources, Councillor Josh Wilson with executive director, Daniel Lowe, and head of housing services, Annette Finnan, with the council’s Local Housing Strategy 2017-2022

South Lanarkshire Council has published its Local Housing Strategy 2017-2022 which sets out the priority actions and outcomes that aims to improve the quality, range and access to good quality affordable housing across the region.

The long-term plan was launched to coincide with Scottish Housing Day which took place last week to raise awareness of the fundamental contribution which good housing makes to people’s lives and the options available to people when deciding where to live.

Affordable Homes, Sustainable Places is published online and can be viewed and downloaded at

(Full story… )


AWPR – new south section bridge set to open permanently

The contractor for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project is expected to permanently open a new bridge on the C25K Bridge of Muchalls to Burnhead Road during week commencing 1 October 2017 following a short-term closure of the C24K Cookney Road.

The contractor is expected to close the road during the morning of Wednesday 27 September and then reopen it permanently on Sunday night, 1 October. This will enable the contractor to complete the road connections between the new bridge on the C25K Bridge of Muchalls to Burnhead Road to the existing C24K Cookney Road.

The contractor will sign-post the diversion.  Drivers heading north should travel via the C25K Muchalls to Burnhead Road, the C12K Bridge of Muchalls to Netherley Road, the B979 Netherley Road and C13K Lairhillock to Portlethen Road. The reverse journey should be used by those travelling south.


Plans for 50 new affordable homes on show in Kirkintilloch

Local residents are being offered the chance to find out more about proposals to build around 50 affordable homes in Kirkintilloch at two public events.

Bield Housing and Care is working with East Dunbartonshire Council on proposals to build the housing on a site known locally as Cleddans Playing Fields or Tottie Park.

The area is presently used for open space and a 1970’s retirement housing complex but was allocated in the Local Development Plan for residential development earlier this year.

Features include a mix of social rented and shared equity flats and houses, as well as a proposed new Day Care building. Around 38 new retirement apartments would also be created to replace the existing complex owned by Bield Housing and Care at Whitehill Court.

Other highlights include new streets, public spaces and a play area while existing public footpaths would be maintained and improved.

Residents are now being invited to view the development plans at two public events:

  • 15pm – 6.45pm, Hillhead Community Centre on Wednesday, 27 September
  • 3pm – 8pm, Harestanes Primary School Huts on Tuesday, 03 October.

(Full story… )

And finally… Is Scotland preparing for new wave of Scandi-style wooden homes?

makar-1_FeatureA new generation of Scandinavian-style wooden homes is being planned for Scotland as the government presses on with its plan to plant up to 26.5 million more trees every year, The Scotsman has reported.

Housing and forestry experts are due to meet in Edinburgh next week for a major conference that will look at using more home-grown timber to house the nation’s population.

The Scottish Government set out a target earlier this year plant up to 26.5m more trees by 2021 with the figure to rise to 33m by 2025.

It is hoped to fundamentally reverse the deforestation of the country, which has become the third biggest net importer of timber in the world after China and Japan.

With more trees available, a bold target to increase the use of native timber in the Scottish construction industry has also been set.

Architect Neil Sutherland, of MAKAR Construction near Inverness, is among speakers at the From Trees to Timber Homes conference at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on September 27.

He said: “The whole future of housing really has to be different from the way we are doing things just now.

“Most of the northern hemisphere has a timber house tradition, from Canada and the United States to Scandinavia and through the middle of Europe, through Germany and France.

“The things that make up a house, the structural fabric – the walls and the roof – and the extra finishes such as the cladding and decking – these can all be sourced in Scotland.

“But at the moment we import around 80 per cent of the materials that we use.

“We need to reverse the trend and make a much better use of the resource and realise that Scotland is one of the best places to grow trees, even better than Scandinavia.”

Tree cover extends to only around 18 per cent of Scotland at present compared to a European average of 35 per cent.

Four species of timber dominate Scotland’s commercial forest – pines, spruce, larch and fir – Mr Sutherland said.

He added: “We can use all of these in a complimentary way, from spruce for the structure to larch for the external finishes.

“Scotland is really well placed. In Scandinavia, there are two species – pine and Norway spruce. They are jealous of our forestry culture.”

Timber is regarded for its insulating properties and its low environmental impact given the trees absorb CO2 as they grow and keep carbon locked in until it is burned or starts to decompose.

Mr Sutherland said there was a network of small companies in Scotland building timber-rich housing in workshops.

The technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated and the manufacturing environment suited to the Scottish weather, he added.

He said: “We’re in the timber age of house construction. Methods are getting more sophisticated. Most of the things that service our lives, such as washing machines, are made in workshops as we want quality and we want things that work.

“So the future of housing will also be in the workshop.

“Timber lends itself to this sort of approach as it is a dry environment.

“You are putting the house on a back of a lorry and assembling a three-bedroom house on site in three days.”

He said the average life span of a timber-built house was around 200 years with work continuing to drive down the cost of manufacturing.

Stuart Goodall chief executive of Confor, the Edinburgh-based Confederation of Forest Industries, said the process to get permission to plant commercial forestry, needed to speed up.

Grant support of £4,500 per hectare available to those planting woodland, he added.

“We are working with Fergus Ewing and the Scottish Government to speed up the process but that can still take a very long time and it does put people off.

“If you want to built a house you can get permission in two or three months. IF you want to plant an area of forestry it can take two to three years.

“If the system is right, planting woodland is a very attractive thing to do.”

While research into growing trees more quickly continues, it still takes 30 to 40 years for woodland to mature at present.

“There are plenty of people who are prepared to think on this timescale,” Mr Goodall added.