Green light for £15m Inverurie sports complex

Proposals for a £15 million community sports complex in Inverurie have been given the go ahead by local councillors.

Plans to expand the existing Garioch Sports Centre with a range of indoor and outdoor facilities were approved last week by Aberdeenshire Council.

Designed by Lippe Architects, new facilities planned for the 25-acre sports centre site include an all-weather stadium suitable for football and rugby and a second all-weather pitch, an enlarged gymnasium, fitness rooms, a kids barn, youth hub and also an early learning and childcare setting for up to 40 children.

It will also now include three new indoor tennis pitches, after Judy Murray, the mother of tennis stars Andy and Jamie, was asked to get involved in the design process.

The complex will cost between £12-15 million and will be developed in phases, with various funding sources being pursued.

The sale of Inverurie Locos Harlaw Park will help finance some of the costs, with the Locos moving to a new home at the stadium where they will become a tenant of the Sports Trust.

Graeme Hay, director of the Garioch Sports Centre, said: “We’re delighted that Aberdeenshire Council have approved our planning application. “This allows us to progress external funding applications straight away.

“Our ambitions remain the same and we’re committed to providing much needed sports and community facilities for Inverurie and beyond.” Mr Hay added: “The hard work really begins now.”

All images provided courtesy of Lippe Architects

Inverurie Community Campus reaches financial close milestone

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

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

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

On completion, the new Community Campus will provide:

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

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

Administrators appointed at Aberdeenshire construction companies

A project by Alan Grant Grampian in Cottonhillock

Two associated Aberdeenshire construction businesses have entered administration with the loss of 33 jobs.

Accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael said yesterday it had been appointed administrator of Alan Grant Grampian and ACG Contracts.

Both companies operated from offices at Main Street, Alford, Aberdeenshire with Alan Grant Grampian being involved in the construction of new homes, primarily for private individuals while ACG Contracts delivered civil engineering services to commercial, private and public sector organisations including local authorities.

The administrators have made 14 of Alan Grant Grampian’s 19 employees redundant, while 19 of ACG Contracts’ 21 staff employees have also been made redundant. The remaining employees have been retained to assist Johnston Carmichael restructuring partners Gordon MacLure and Matt Henderson.

Mr MacLure said: “Alan Grant Grampian and ACG Contracts are long-established businesses which, like many building contractors, have in recent years suffered from reduced margins and cashflow difficulties.

“Our immediate focus is on the employees of both companies and we will be liaising with government agencies, including PACE (the national partnership scheme for responding to redundancies) to ensure they receive all possible support at this difficult time.”

Developer takes appeal for almost 250 Aberdeenshire homes to Holyrood

A developer has launched an appeal to the Scottish Government in a bid overturn Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to reject its plans for almost 250 new homes.

Barratt North Scotland had proposed to deliver 247 homes on Fordoun Road in Laurencekirk.

However councillors on the council’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee voted against the plans in October citing concerns of housing density and the layout of roads for the plan at Fordoun Road.

The councillors also said the development would have a detrimental impact on the town’s open space, as well as failing to comply with the approved masterplan for the area.

Now Barratt has urged Holyrood’s planning and environment appeals division to overturn the refusal.

Chris Ross, development director at Barratt North Scotland, said: “We were disappointed by the decision from the Kincardine and Mearns area committee last year, but remain hopeful for the appeal to deliver 247 new homes in the area.

“This project would offer a mix of properties including affordable housing for the local community.”

Planning documents lodged with the Scottish Government said 62 affordable units would be built. These include a mixture of flats and houses.

Aberdeenshire Council now has until March 6 to give a response to the Scottish Government regarding the appeal.

A letter from the government to Halliday Fraser Munro, the agents for Barratt North Scotland, said: “Aberdeenshire Council, the planning authority that dealt with your original application, now has 21 days to give us a response to your appeal, along with any relevant documents or information.

“You will receive a copy of this response and then have 14 days to respond.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “We note the appeal and will await the outcome.”

BrewDog reignites Aberdeenshire hotel plans

Craft beer company BrewDog has announced plans to build a beer-themed hotel in Aberdeenshire complete with beer taps in the rooms and a built-in shower beer fridge.

Planned for a 3.25 acre site next to the firm’s existing brewery in Ellon, the 22-room DogHouse Ellon will also have rooms overlooking the brewery itself.

BrewDog threatened to abandon plans to build a £5 million hotel complex last January in a row over the sale of land with Aberdeenshire Council.

The company wanted to buy up almost 12 acres of council-owned land next door to its Ellon distillery for the development of a hotel, restaurant and conference facility.

But the firm claimed the project has stalled as the local authority has refused to sell a parcel of land “at fair market rate”.

An arrangement has now been struck with the firm’s neighbours at Power Jacks to take their 3.25 acre site.

In addition to the new hotel, BrewDog is expanding its brewery to include a new brewhouse and a canning and packaging hall.

DogHouse Ellon is expected to open in the first half of 2019 with 26 rooms, to accompany the new brewery which is expected to open at the end of the year.

BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “The DogHouse is our gift to passionate craft beer fans making the pilgrimage to our brewery in Aberdeenshire.

“The idea of opening a beer hotel has always been high on our agenda, and now we are finally able to realise that dream, right here at our HQ.

“This will be the ultimate destination for craft beer fans seeking hops with their holidays.

“This is a beer Nirvana.”

Provost marks construction of Banchory Sports Village

Building work on a £7.7 million community sports village in Banchory is now underway.

Provost of Aberdeenshire Councillor Bill Howatson stuck the ceremonial spade into the ground signifying the start of the construction of Banchory Sports Village at a special event on Friday morning.

The sports village and café is being built on vacant land to the north of Hill of Banchory Primary School. Various planning applications will see 130 homes, a care village and shops being built on the site.

To be delivered by McLaughlin and Harvey, the sports centre will be a rectangular building extending 9m high and will be constructed with a mixture of materials that match the nearby school.

It will feature a six-lane swimming pool, training pool, three court sports hall, fitness suite, exercise room and squash courts, changing facilities, storage rooms, staff facilities, public viewing areas and a café.

There will also be 103 parking spaces, five of which will be for disability use, plus five bicycle and three motorbike or moped spaces, along with a footpath linking the sports centre to the school.

“It is absolutely fantastic that building has now begun on this much wanted state-of-the-art sports village in Banchory,” said Provost Howatson.

“I am sure that children and adults alike will enjoy visiting it once it has been built.”

Councillor Anne Stirling, Aberdeenshire Council communities committee chair, said: “I would like to pay tribute to our partners who have contributed significantly to the vision and development of what will be fantastic facilities.

“It has been a great example of a collaborative approach to delivering local services. We will continue to engage with the residents of Banchory and ensure that there is an appropriate method of communication throughout the construction process.

“I would like to make particular mention of the fund-raising group, Banchory Sports Village, who raised £700,000 towards the project.”

It is anticipated the sports centre will officially open in May 2019.

Councillors agree £71m community campus plan for Peterhead

Aberdeenshire Council leader, Jim Gifford

Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to provide £71 million for a new community campus in Peterhead as part of a capital plan which will see £860m of investment across the region over the next 15 years.

The community campus would include a secondary school, primary schools and leisure facilities.

A location for the new “super school” facility is yet to be decided, but after agreeing the local authority’s budget for 2018/19, leader of the Aberdeenshire council, Jim Gifford, said the “process starts today”.

Officers will now begin a business case for the project which has been scheduled for completion between 2023 and 2028.

The capital plan outlines £860m of investment spending across a 15-year period and also includes a £6m spend on the Hill of Banchory sports centre and £51m on the new Inverurie community campus.

It will be financed by Scottish Government grant funding, borrowing and sales of property.

Plans submitted for Inverurie sports complex

Proposals for a £15 million community sports complex in Inverurie have been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.

The plans, which have been developed over a few years and have been the subject of wide consultation, will see the existing Garioch Sports Centre expand with an exciting range of indoor and outdoor programmes catering for all ages, interests and abilities.

Designed by Lippe Architects, new facilities planned for the 25-acre sports centre site include an all-weather stadium suitable for football and rugby and a second all-weather pitch, an enlarged gymnasium, fitness rooms, a kids barn, youth hub and also an early learning and childcare setting for up to 40 children.

It will also now include three new indoor tennis pitches, after Judy Murray, the mother of tennis stars Andy and Jamie, was asked to get involved in the design process.

The complex will cost between £12-15 million and will be developed in phases, with various funding sources being pursued.

The sale of Inverurie Locos Harlaw Park will help finance some of the costs, with the Locos moving to a new home at the stadium where they will become a tenant of the Sports Trust.

Chairman of the Garioch Sports Trust, Gordon Booth, said: “This is a great way to start the year with an ambitious and exciting project for people of all ages and interests in Inverurie, the Garioch and across Aberdeenshire.

“Although sports and leisure opportunities will be central to what we do we will work closely with health practitioners to provide health improvement opportunities, particularly for those with cardio vascular and mobility problems.

“The introduction of indoor tennis to Aberdeenshire in a bespoke arena with the help and advice of Judy Murray is the icing on the cake.

“We are indebted to Inverurie Community Council for the support they have given us in the submission of the planning application.”

All images provided courtesy of Lippe Architects

Plans for 700 Inverurie homes recommended for approval

Plans for more than 700 homes, community facilities and industrial development on the outskirts of Inverurie have been recommended for approval.

Crichie Developments is looking to build 737 homes, a primary school and retail development at Crichie, which is just outside the Aberdeenshire town.

Council planners have asked members of the Garioch area committee to approve the proposal in principle under a delegated grant, the Evening Express has reported.

The development was first launched in February 2013 with discussions ongoing with the local authority regarding developer contributions.

At a meeting in August 2014, elected members agreed a delegated grant for the plans, but it will be referred back to the community due to a change in circumstances including the adoption of a new local development plan.

Stephen Archer, director of infrastructure services at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Since August 2014, time has been spent agreeing a final package of developer obligations, including to the strategic transport fund (STF), discussing wording of conditions with transportation and Transport Scotland, and determining the content of and instructing the legal agreement. The passage of time has seen the adoption of a new local development plan and also the removal of the ability to seek contributions to the STF.

“Due to the complexities of large-scale development and the A96 corridor, updated responses have also been sought from Transport Scotland.

“These material changes require referral back to committee.”

Only five objections were lodged about the development with Aberdeenshire Council.

A legal agreement to be signed between the developer and local authority will secure the number of affordable housing units – which could be 184.

Mr Archer added there were still some uncertainties regarding the proposals.

He said: “The Crichie development is a significant proposal for Garioch and Aberdeenshire as a whole, given its contribution to the housing land (including affordable housing) supply, quality development and potential future education and employment land benefits.

“The previous reasons for delay in bringing the site forward have now been satisfactorily resolved allowing matters to progress.

“Some uncertainties do remain around the A96 dualling project, but the phased approach to the development allows for different future scenarios.

“The recommendation therefore is one of a delegated grant of planning permission in principle.”

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.”