Aberdeenshire

Joint venture AWPR partners offer jobs to Carillion workers

Carillion workers employed on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) have been offered jobs by its joint venture partners Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty, according to Transport Scotland.

The three companies made up the Aberdeen Roads Limited consortium delivering the £550 million section of the AWPR between Balmedie and Tipperty before Carillion entered compulsory liquidation last week.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said 76 Carillion staff will be offered employment to the remaining contractors to allow work to continue on the project.

The spokesperson said: “Aberdeen Roads Limited has confirmed there are 76 Carillion staff on the AWPR site and we understand that both Galliford Try and Balfour Beatty will offer jobs to allow progression of work on the project.

“The construction partners have reaffirmed their commitment to completing the works.”

Galliford Try revealed last week that the joint venture partners expect to foot a bill of between £60m-£80m to complete the work following Carillion’s demise.

The contractor said: “The terms of the contract are such that the remaining joint venture members, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, are obliged to complete the contract.  Our current estimate of the additional cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60-80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between the joint venture members.

“The companies will discuss the position urgently with the official receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.”

Balfour Beatty said the collapse of Carillion could lead to additional costs of £35m to £45m for the firm overall but did not disclose how much would of this was attributed to the AWPR project.

Meanwhile, Kier Group, which currently operates joint ventures involving Carillion on HS2 and the Highways England smart motorways programme, has revealed that all Carillion employees on these projects will be transferred to Kier.

Following discussions with the UK government and clients, Kier and Eiffage are now 50/50 partners in delivering two of the seven HS2 civil engineering projects.

All 51 Carillion staff, including apprentices, have been offered the chance to switch to the other two companies.

Another 150 Carillion workers on smart motorways schemes have also been offered jobs with Kier, which said it had also been talking with the project’s supply chain, “ensuring continuity of skills, resources and suppliers.”

Kier chief executive Haydn Mursell said: “We have been working collaboratively with our clients and are pleased to have reached agreement with government concerning these joint ventures. We have been able to take action quickly and reassure the project teams that they continue to play an important role in the delivery of these contracts.”

Holyrood overturns decision to reject Aberdeenshire business park

An Aberdeenshire biscuit company has received approval from the Scottish Government to build a business park after the plans were rejected by the local authority.

Dean’s of Huntly has now been granted planning permission in principle and will be able to construct The Ward on the outskirts of the town, adjacent to the A97 Huntly to Banff road.

The ruling overturns a decision by Aberdeenshire Council to reject the application after it deemed the proposal contravened the local development plan.

Councillors also said the scheme was too large to be considered a small-scale development, for which the site had previously been earmarked.

The company hopes the development would solve the lack of office space in the town centre as well as parking issues.

Managing director Bill Dean said: “There’s no real space on the town periphery that’s dedicated to small businesses.

“This will have great access to the A97 and the town roundabout and will be of great benefit to the town.

“We will be looking to start advertising for businesses in the coming months.”

Economy secretary assures parliament over jobs and future of AWPR

Keith Brown on a visit to the AWPR site last year

Cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, Keith Brown, has moved to reassure MSPs that disruption and job losses caused by Carillion’s collapse would be minimised in Scotland, though the minister stopped short of giving an opening date for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR).

The UK’s second-biggest builder entered liquidation on Monday after racking up debt and pensions burdens of around £1.5 billion.

The firm formed one-third of the Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL) consortium leading the £745 million AWPR work alongside Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try.

In a topical question at Holyrood, Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin raised concern for jobs dependent upon the project and also the knock-on effect on smaller companies in the supply chain in the North East and throughout Scotland.

In response, Mr Brown said that support is available to any workers who may be concerned for their jobs, with help and advice to be made available to subcontractors through a designated Scottish Enterprise helpline.

Furthermore, the cabinet secretary assured parliament over the contract to deliver the AWPR scheme with the other firms involved in the consortium making clear that they will fulfil their contract obligations and had “very quickly” notified the London Stock Exchange of their intention. Mr Brown confirmed that Transport Scotland will support and work with them throughout this process.

The economy secretary said he was unable to give a “cast-iron guarantee” that jobs would not be lost as a result of the liquidation of the company, but said there was a “good chance” employees would continue to work on existing projects.

When asked about the future of Carillion employees working on the bypass, Mr Brown said: “I think it is likely that the two remaining contractors will require work to be done that was previously done by the employees of Carillion.

“I don’t want to be too definitive, but there’s around 70-plus employees, direct employees of Carillion, employed on that contract plus 190 employed on other terms, including some agency staff.

“We can’t give a cast iron guarantee on the workers but I think there is a good chance that many of those will be reemployed and for those that are not we have offered the assistance I have previously mentioned.”

On the day of Carillion’s collapse, the joint venture firms indicated that the announcement leaves a financial hole of £40-80m in the AWPR project.

Galliford Try said: “The terms of the contract are such that the remaining joint venture members, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, are obliged to complete the contract.  Our current estimate of the additional cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60-80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between the joint venture members. The companies will discuss the position urgently with the official receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.”

Mr Brown had said the Scottish Government’s Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), which helps people facing redundancy, would be available for those under threat.

He said PACE would also be available if anyone should lose defence jobs.

Gillian Martin MSP said: “Our first thoughts when businesses face such serious difficulties should always be for those who may be facing uncertainty over their jobs and their future, and it was encouraging to see parliament united in support of them today.

“I am grateful to the cabinet secretary for the support being made available both to Carillion employees and to subcontractors who may have concerns at this time.

“Early confirmation from the other partners in the Aberdeen Roads consortium that they intend to press ahead and deliver the AWPR contract will be hugely reassuring for my constituents. I know people and businesses across the North East are looking forward to the opening of the much-needed £750 million new route this year, and I will be engaging with the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland going forward to ensure that remains on schedule.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish  Government has set up helplines for anyone who may be affected by the failure of the construction firm.

Scottish companies affected by the Carillion insolvency can call Scottish Enterprise on 0300 013 3385 or register their details here.

The redundancy helpline operated by Skills Development Scotland is 0800 917 8000, with help also available here.

It was also announced today that banks and government were working together to mitigate the effects of Carillion’s collapse on businesses within the supply chain.

CALA submits plans for new homes in Inverurie

CALA Homes (North) has submitted a planning application for a proposed residential development in Inverurie.

Located in the Conglass area, on Crawford Road, the development would see the creation of 57 homes comprising four and five-bedroom detached houses as well as an allocation of affordable properties.

The application follows the housebuilder’s previously submitted plans for a development in nearby Oldmeldrum.

Mike Naysmith, managing director of CALA Homes (North), said: “We are pleased to progress with plans for this luxury pocket of family homes in Inverurie.

“It has been many years since we last built homes in the town but we have been very keen to return and invest in the right developments in the area, so we are particularly pleased to have plans for this site at Conglass and also in nearby Oldmeldrum.

“Our proposal has been carefully considered to ensure the new neighbourhood will complement the existing surroundings.

“We look forward to releasing more details of our exciting plans for Conglass as they move forward.”

Meanwhile CALA has launched its latest development of new homes on the former grounds of the Scottish Fire Service College in Gullane.

Careful renovation is ensuring that the coastal village’s iconic Henderson House is restored to its former glory and transformed into apartments.

The renowned and much loved building was formerly The Marine Hotel before becoming the college and eventually mothballed following Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s relocation to Cumbernauld.

Work is currently being finalised on two townhouse showhomes due to launch in April, with a show apartment expected to be ready by early summer. A refurbished apartment in Henderson House will join the roster of showhomes around August.

In total, CALA is bringing to market 125 homes, including the Henderson House apartments, mews, terraced and semi-detached housing.

Philip Hogg, sales and marketing director with CALA Homes (East), said: “Gullane is an ideal area for those wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city living, while maintaining easy access to the capital.

“As well as opening the door to new families in Gullane, our homes will provide a much needed option for downsizers, commuters and holiday makers alike.

“From the development’s name, inspired by Henderson House’s previous life as The Marine Hotel, to red stone features and natural timber touches, every detail of the new development has been carefully designed to reflect the area’s heritage.

“The site has been left unused for years so we’re excited to put the valuable space back to good use and our new homes will create a village feel and a new neighbourhood, with plenty of green space for the whole community to enjoy.”

Affordable housing plans lodged for former Aberdeenshire care home

Plans have been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council to turn a former Inverurie care home into affordable housing, the Evening Express has reported.

The proposal would see the 37-bedroom former Blythewood Care Home in Port Elphinstone converted into flats.

A public consultation event is set to take place in the New Year, as well as a discussion at an Inverurie Community Council meeting.

The application was submitted by Lippe Architects and Planners.

Blythewood was first converted from a private residence into a care home in the early 1950s. However, it has been empty for two years after residents moved into the new £10 million Bennachie View facility.

Surplus to requirements, the building was put on the market by Aberdeenshire Council. It was agreed the building would be sold to Bill BT Ltd during a Garioch area committee meeting last year.

The sale required that if it was converted into housing, at least 50% of the homes built must fit affordable housing criteria.

Ideas to convert the building into affordable homes had been welcomed, with suggestions it would help to alleviate the 14,000 people currently on the Aberdeenshire Council house waiting list.

Councillor Neil Baillie, who represents Inverurie and District, encouraged members of the public to come along to the proposal meeting on February 19.

He said: “I would highly encourage the community to come along to the meeting to have their say.

“That site has been so closely linked with the Inverurie community for such a long time, I’d like to see as many people as possible voice their opinions and share their ideas for the new plans. It would be good to see it go to a valuable use and that is for the community to decide.”

Aberdeen bypass contractor fined over river pollution

SEPA chief executive Terry A’Hearn

The consortium building the new Aberdeen bypass has been issued with a £280,000 penalty for a series of silt pollution incidents on the rivers Don and Dee.

Aberdeen Roads Limited, a joint venture including Balfour BeattyMorrison Construction and Carillion, was deemed responsible for the incidents on the important salmon rivers along with some tributaries.

The case if the first major enforcement of new powers by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and will see over £280,000 committed to community projects and environmental improvements across Aberdeenshire.

Following extensive investigations and enforcement action by SEPA between 2015 and 2017, the Construction Joint Venture (CJV) building the multi-million pound Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) have offered the funding in an Offer of Enforcement Undertaking, after causing a series of silt pollution incidents which affected the Aberdeenshire rivers.

The Enforcement Undertaking admits full liability by the AWPR B-T Construction Joint Venture (CJV) for the pollution and will result in the funding being divided between eight community initiatives as a penalty for the disruption and environmental impact.

The offer, which required the Construction Joint Venture to engage with local stakeholders, has been formally accepted by SEPA, thus securing one of the biggest financial outcomes for an environmental offence in Scotland.  It is only the fourth of its kind to be accepted by SEPA.

Granted as a new enforcement power in June 2016, an Enforcement Undertaking represents a formal offer by an organisation or individual to make amends for an offence by improving the environment or communities affected, using their own resources.

The new enforcement power can be used to bring about effective and immediate solutions to environmental offences and requires the offender to work with SEPA to ensure ongoing compliance in future, as well as making appropriate restitution.

SEPA chief executive, Terry A’Hearn, said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s environment and we will respond robustly to organisations who fail to comply with environmental controls. Every operator must comply.

“It’s right that the Construction Joint Venture should offer this significant enforcement undertaking in recognition of the environmental impact of their actions, which resulted in a series of silt pollution incidents impacting numerous tributaries to Aberdeenshire rivers, the Dee and the Don.

“We are delighted that CJV has become one of the first operators to use the new enforcement undertaking.  The CJV has stepped forward, accepted responsibility and set out to put things right.

“An enforcement undertaking not only compels those who breach the law to make amends, it instils a more positive working relationship based on understanding the duty we all share in safeguarding our natural environment.”

 

Aberdeen Roads Limited is constructing the new 36-mile road which will provide a fast link between towns between the North, South and West of Aberdeen.

The project is being delivered by Transport Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.

The silt pollution was caused by heavy rainfall which led to muddy water running off the construction site into waterways.

An enforcement notice was issued to contractors last year after concerns were raised at the time about the impact it could have on salmon and freshwater pearl mussels.

Transport Scotland said: “We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and have been working closely with SEPA and the contractor, Aberdeen Roads Ltd (ARL), to ensure the watercourses on site are protected from construction activities.

“We welcome any measures that have been agreed between SEPA and ARL where they result in a positive impact on the environment.”

The biggest beneficiary of the undertaking is the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board, which will receive £112,500 for improvement projects relating to diffuse pollution, and £37,500 to fund an agricultural officer for two years to assist farm owners in reducing diffuse pollution in the River Don.

Richard Gledson, chairman, Dee District Salmon Fisheries Board, added: “Silt pollution from the construction of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route gave us great cause for concern, particularly as the River Dee is designated as a special habitat for both salmonid fish and fresh water pearl mussels, which rely on a delicate eco-system to feed and spawn.

“We welcome both the immediate response by SEPA, including the temporary restriction of construction activity, their investigation, and today’s enforcement undertaking. This will provide for environmental improvements that will go some way to offsetting the impact on local communities and the environment.”

In addition to the funding for community and environmental benefits, SEPA will also recover £47,958 as part of the offer. This lump sum will be made by the CJV as a contribution towards the time spent investigating the various pollution incidents which resulted from their construction works.

Green light for hundreds of new homes in Inverurie

Malcolm Allan HousebuildersOver 500 new homes will be built across two sites in Inverurie after councillors approved plans for the developments, The Press & Journal has reported.

Malcolm Allan Housebuilders had submitted a fresh application for 416 homes and a small office and retail development at Portstown.

While the developer already had permission to build the properties, it now plans to build all 48 affordable homes and flats on one site.

As a result of a reduction in demand for larger houses in the north east, the firm will also change the design of some of the homes to reduce the number of larger properties and feature more semi-detached housing, including bungalows.

Since the developer already had permission to build a similar development, and the decision was effectively determining a change of house type, the committee voted in favour of the proposals.

Councillors also backed plans by Barratt North Scotland to build 125 homes at the nearby Boynds Farm, Uryside.

The developer already had permission to build 104 homes but has decided to build some smaller units due to similar market concerns. Work on the project, which is expected to take more than 10 years to complete, began in 2014.

The scheme also includes a new £11 million primary school, Uryside Primary, which opened following the October break.

First-of-its-kind retirement village set for Aberdeenshire

4442_C02_The_Lawn_(Stage-03) (1)A bespoke retirement village which will house self-contained apartments as well as a range of one and two-storey cottages is to be developed in Aberdeenshire following a site acquisition deal.

The Scotland Real Estate team at international law firm DAC Beachcroft has advised Liberty Retirement Living (Chapelton) Limited on the acquisition of the site, which closed at the beginning of September.

The first of its kind in Scotland, the development will offer high-end services onsite to residents, including a brasserie, leisure facilities, scheduled transportation and 24-hour support and care.

DAC Beachcroft’s team, led by Ameeta Panesar, has been retained by Liberty and is now working alongside the client on the development and sale of 94 plots at the site.

Ameeta Panesar said: “We are delighted to be involved in this unique offering in the Scottish market place, and to have been retained to assist Liberty with their plot sales in 2018.”

Karl Hallows, director of development and sales at Liberty Retirement Living, said: “Securing the site at Chapelton for Liberty Retirement Living’s latest development is a huge milestone for the business. We are proud of our unique village concept, which promotes independence by enabling over 55s to own their homes whilst maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle as part of a community of likeminded people. We look forward to working with DAC Beachcroft on this development.”

Hotel plans lodged for Ury House walled garden

Ury-Estate-Mansion-Clubhouse

The hotel plans form part of a larger golf resort proposal

New plans have been submitted to create a hotel along the perimeter of the walled garden on the site of the proposed Jack Nicklaus golf course in Aberdeenshire.

The proposals submitted to Aberdeenshire Council last month would see 32 guest bedrooms and ancillary facilities created at Ury House in Stonehaven

A pavilion section is also proposed to be created in the centre of the garden, which will include a kitchen and seating area for up to 48 guests.

Ury House will be the centrepiece of the £80 million golf resort featuring a course designed by legendary US golfer Jack Nicklaus.

FM Group director Jonathon Milne said: “We really need to get the extra rooms to make the whole development viable. If they get the go ahead, we can start building the golf course and finishing off the hotel and spa. It would mean we could still aim to have the resort open by 2020.

“The castle itself is now wind and water tight, and we want to get in a fit it out. The walled garden rooms will really pull the whole development together and it in no way affects the pipeline.”

Stewart Milne to appeal decision to reject plans for 142 homes in Stonehaven

The proposed new layout for Carron Den

The proposed new layout for Carron Den

A decision by councillors to turn down an application to build 142 homes in Stonehaven has been appealed to the Scottish Government.

Stewart Milne Homes, which had already been granted planning approval to build 109 houses on the Carron Den site, moved to reduce the size of the homes from five bedrooms to two and three due to “changes in the housing market”.

New proposals were launched to build a maximum of 155 on the site – including the 13 already built – however the application was rejected by Aberdeenshire Council’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee in September.

The committee refused the application on the grounds that a 40% increase of houses was a significant departure from the original application, traffic issues, and concerns about the new design and layout.

Now the developer hopes to overturn the decision by appealing to the government’s planning reporter.

John Low, managing director for Stewart Milne Homes North, said: “Having received very strong recommendations to approve from Aberdeenshire Council officers and with only three objections from the local community, we are hopeful of securing a positive outcome.

“This application is an adjustment to a previous consent that allows us to deliver smaller homes and affordable housing to meet the current, critical demand in Stonehaven. This will help those who are desperate to get on the property ladder and is in line with the Scottish Government’s housing policy.”