Argyll and Bute

Morrison Construction opens doors to £26m Campbeltown Grammar

It was a historic occasion in Argyll and Bute on Wednesday when secondary pupils from across Kintyre moved into the new £26 million Campbeltown Grammar School built by Morrison Construction.

Welcomed to their new surroundings by two pipers, pupils were gathered in the multi-purpose sports hall where acting head teacher Catherine Cameron greeted them.

Ms Cameron said: “By bringing the best of what we already are as a school and adding to this our ambition to maximise the potential of our wonderful new school facility to achieve the highest standards in teaching, learning and attainment, we can make Campbeltown Grammar the excellent school that our young people and our community deserve.”

The three-storey school has capacity to cater for up to 500 pupils and will provide young people with a modern learning environment fit for the 21st century. Outside, it will also feature a 3G sports pitch, music pavilion and large car park on the site of the existing 1960s school buildings, once they are demolished.

Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Today is a very special day for the young people of Kintyre. This wonderful new school will enable pupils to realise their full potential and enjoy a learning experience where they can succeed.

“Our vision is that together we will realise ambition, excellence and equality for all, and we want to equip our young people to secure and sustain positive destinations and achieve success in life – this wonderful new state-of-the-art facility will help us to do that and will pupils for years to come.

Morrison Construction project director, Jeff Hedley, added: “It was wonderful to see pupils and teachers begin to move into their new school. Works will now progress to the next phase of the project, demolishing the old school.

“Campbeltown Grammar School is the second of four education facilities we will deliver for Argyll and Bute Council and hub North Scotland. Last November pupils and teachers moved into Kirn Primary School, Oban High School is the next facility due to be completed this spring and excellent progress is being made on the site of Dunoon Primary School.”

Michael Padzinski, chief executive at hub North Scotland, said: “This fantastic and much needed new school is testament to the effective collaboration and positive working partnership between Argyll and Bute Council, hub North Scotland and our supply chain. Hub North Scotland looks forward to the continued Partnership with Argyll and Bute Council, and to seeing the benefits that this long term partnership will deliver.”

Islay whisky firm plans new still house with multi-million-pound investment

One of Scotland’s smallest whisky distilleries has unveiled plans for a new still house on the isle of Islay following a multi-million-pound investment from The Glenmorangie Company.

Subject to planning approval, the Ardbeg Distillery aims to start work this year, for completion in 2019.

Ardbeg reopened in 1997 when the Distillery was bought by The Glenmorangie Company and reopened.

The company said a larger still house will “ensure a steady supply of whisky to meet rising demand from the ever-increasing numbers of Ardbeg fans”.

Designed to regenerate a site at the heart of the Distillery, this traditional-style building will house a total of four of Ardbeg’s trademark copper stills. Two more than the Distillery currently has.

Marc Hoellinger, President and CEO of The Glenmorangie Company, said: “We are delighted by Ardbeg’s success since 1997 – and by the growing passion for our whisky from fans around the world. Ardbeg has been distilled on Islay since 1815 and, with a new still house, we will pave the way for future generations of smoky malt whisky lovers to discover The Ultimate Islay Malt.”

Contractors and suppliers sought for £500m submarine base upgrade

VolkerStevin is to host a supplier engagement day as it looks for subcontractors and suppliers to work on the £500 million HM Naval Base Clyde development.

The contractor is one of several bidders for work to prepare the base for the next generation of Dreadnought ballistic missile submarines..

It is estimated that 1,000 construction jobs will be created as part of the development project.

The development of the base will go hand in hand with numerous infrastructure improvements to accommodate the increase in personnel, which will see some 8,200 service personnel and families living in the area.

VolkerStevin is holding a supplier engagement day on February 9 at Helensburgh Parish Church in Dunbartonshire to develop its supply chain for the project in case it wins a role.

The day will be split into two sections 0900-1130 / 1230 – 1500.

Work categories required include:

  • Marine services
  • Civil engineering services
  • M&E services
  • Building trades
  • Steel erectors
  • Cladding specialists
  • Pile wrapping
  • Drainage contractors
  • Paving contractors
  • Diving Firms
  • Caterers
  • General civils contractors
  • M&E contractors
  • Small electrical contractors
  • Earthwork contractors
  • Plant companies
  • General civils and marine suppliers /merchants
  • Site investigation and testing
  • Aggregate suppliers
  • Cathodic protection
  • Fenders and marine protection
  • Metalwork and steelwork contractors
  • Surfacing contactors
  • Paving contractors

Click here for details and to register for the event.

Second Scottish housing association to build wind turbines for community benefit

Artist’s impression of an Argyll landscape with the planned turbines

After ten years of development, Fyne Homes has today announced plans to build a three-turbine development in Argyll and Bute that will generate £15.6 million of community and charitable benefit over the next 20 years.

The 6.9-megawatt windfarm will produce enough clean energy to power around 4000 households and is only the second project of its kind.

A wind farm in the Scottish Borders which will create enough revenue for Berwickshire Housing Association (BHA) to build 500 new homes over the next 25 years was officially launched last year.

The wind energy project will be built with a £11.4m investment from Triodos Bank, which was chosen as financial supporter due to the its experience in renewable and social lending. Triodos was also involved in the BHA project.

The Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies, has also provided £2.82m of investment for the project via the Renewable Energy Investment Fund. Initial support for the project was provided by the Community and Renewable Energy Scheme.

Tigh na Cladach in Dunoon are Fyne Homes’ shared ownership properties, which provide affordable energy efficient housing

Colin Renfrew, chief executive at Fyne Homes, said: “Fyne Homes and the Fyne Group are delighted that this innovative project is about to start.  We are appreciative that Triodos Bank and Scottish Investment Bank recognise the economic, social and environmental value of our three turbine development, providing essential investment to make the project a reality.  The long term income from the three turbines will ensure the Fyne Group can continue to reinvest in our charitable objectives for social housing, local employment and sustainability, as well as providing investment for local priorities.”

Fyne Energy’s three turbines have a projected 6.9-megawatt output, which is anticipated to generate an average of £750k community benefit income per annum.  The community benefit funding will be distributed equally to three community initiatives:

  • one third will support social housing charitable objectives led by Fyne Homes;
  • one third will support charitable employability and environmental priorities led by Fyne Futures, and;
  • one third will be invested in local priorities identified by the local community.

Glenbarr residents will also be encouraged to be involved in developing the local investment strategy.

Norrie Cruickshank, account manager at Triodos Bank, said: “Fyne Energy is an exciting project that is going to tackle two pressing issues at the same time—affordable housing and clean energy. At Triodos, we work to make sure organisations like Fyne get the funding and financial support they need to have a positive impact on the local community. It’s the determination and innovative thinking of everyone at Fyne Homes that will help create a better world for us all.”

The project has been assisted by the Scottish Government, as part of a pilot to develop renewable income for reinvestment in affordable housing and community priorities. Existing examples of community renewables, such as Islay Energy Trust and Tiree Community Development Trust, have demonstrated the value of wind energy generation for community benefit. This project offers the opportunity to deliver community benefit on a greater scale than the financial model estimates.

The Tigh na Cladach development includes the first Passivhaus project in the UK

Kerry Sharp, director of the Scottish Investment Bank, said: “After ten years of development, we are delighted to help secure this investment in Scotland.  Projects like Fyne Energy play an important part in helping grow Scotland’s renewable energy generation capability and provide meaningful, long term revenue for communities which can then be used to support housing, jobs and other local priorities.”

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse added: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government has been able to support the Fyne Homes project through our flagship Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) delivered on our behalf by Local Energy Scotland. Community benefit is a valuable source of income for local communities located near renewable developments, and it is fantastic that this project will generate significant benefits for Argyll and Bute residents for many years to come, while also providing new revenue to support Fyne Homes’ investment programme to meet local housing priorities.”

The development at Auchadaduie, Glenbarr in the Kintyre Peninsula was initially conceived by Alan Hobbit, previously of Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust. It has been developed by Fyne Futures, with support from Fyne Homes, the parent company. Fyne Homes are also recognised for their role in supporting communities in Argyll and Bute.

The local community will be supported to develop an investment strategy to maximise the value of the renewable income locally. From initial consultation work with Glenbarr locals, priorities which were identified included support for employment opportunities, developing woodlands and environmental projects, as well as village hall improvements. The need for investment in local community facilities was also highlighted, including sports, childcare and transport provision.

Further community engagement is planned over the coming weeks and an outline of the construction phase will be provided.

Kilmartin Museum and former Gleaner Oil site revamps given council support

Proposals for the former Gleaner Oil site

Proposals for the former Gleaner Oil site

The former Gleaner Oil site in Ardrishaig is one step closer to being brought back to life as a waterfront community and businesses hub after Argyll and Bute Council agreed funding from its Tarbert and Lochgilphead Regeneration Fund.

Members of the council’s policy and resources committee agreed to contribute up to £250,000 to help deliver the first phase of the ambitious project to redevelop the derelict oil site, in partnership with Scottish Canals.

The first phase of the project will see the redevelopment of the ‘Egg Shed’ building including a new extension and the former garage. It is intended that these buildings will be available for a range of uses including exhibition space focusing on the heritage of the area and the Canal. There will also be new parking facilities and improved walking and cycling links.

The local authority has also agreed £400,000 of capital funding to help with the redevelopment of an important archaeological museum.

The £6.7 million proposal to redevelop Kilmartin Museum will provide more space to curate its expanding collection.

Councillor Aileen Morton, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: “The council is determined to work in partnership with Scottish Canals and the community to deliver projects that will create jobs and help to grow the population of the area, which will help boost our local economy.

“The redevelopment of the redundant and derelict Gleaner site has been championed by the local people and is designed to provide a focus for the community and attract more visitors to the area.

“There is no doubt that it will contribute to the wider regeneration of the Mid Argyll area as well as providing economic opportunities for the local community. I look forward to seeing it being realised and making a real difference to Mid Argyll.”

Kilmartin Glen is regarded as an internationally important archaeological location, where some of the most important prehistoric archaeological objects in Scotland have been found.

Kilmartin Museum is located at the heart of Kilmartin Glen and offers a facility for those interested in the landscape and cultural heritage of Mid Argyll and indeed Scotland. The museum staff also collect and care for archaeological artefacts from across Argyll and Bute. However, the current museum building is no longer regarded as being fit for purpose, by the registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

Applications for funding have been submitted to a number of other organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, and it is expected to be confirmed during the spring 2018 whether these have been successful.

Councillor Aileen Morton added: “Kilmartin Glen and Museum are incredibly important to Argyll and Bute and the wider area attracting visitors from all over the world. The museum offers archaeology and landscape interpretation, investigations, heritage and cultural activity.

“Members of the committee recognised that this is a challenging project and there is still considerable work to be done to secure all the necessary funding which includes a substantial financial contribution from the council.

“We are also happy to continue to support the museum in helping it access other sources of funding to provide a world-class facility.”

Plan to enclose Mackintosh’s Hill House beneath 60ft protective veil

Carmody-Groarke-Marckintosh-Hill-House-Conservation-gardenThe National Trust for Scotland has unveiled plans to cover Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh with a 60 feet tall enclosure amidst mounting concern for the building’s structural integrity.

Architects at Carmody Groarke have been commissioned to create what the Trust calls “a colossal yet sublime” enclosure to protect the property from the elements and provide conservationists with a much-needed breathing space to devise longer-term solutions.

Hill House is one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s most significant works, one of Scotland’s most acclaimed buildings, and a seminal part of early 20th century European architecture. The building has had huge influence on architecture and design in Scotland, Europe and globally.

Built in 1928, 30km west of Glasgow, the unusual hybridisation of tradition and invention in the construction of the building has led to some fundamental long-term problems that require a major conservation project to help the house survive.

Carmody-Groarke-Marckintosh-Hill-House-Conservation-side0currentAs an integral part of this process of conservation which will take up to 12 years, the project proposes a ‘big-box’ museum to contain and protect the Hill House as an ‘artefact’.

The new museum’s architectural identity will be a huge, abstracted garden pavilion drying-shed covered entirely with a perforated mesh. This semi-permanent enclosure provides basic shelter to the original house whilst its rain-soaked existing walls are deconstructed to allow their fabric to fully dry out. This delicate enclosure will also allow uninterrupted views, night-and-day, to-and-from the landscape to Mackintosh’s architectural icon.

Within this safe, sheltered construction working territory, the “museum” will provide a remarkable public visitor experience of the conservation in progress, achieved by an elevated walkway which loops around the Hill House at high level.

Andy Groarke of Carmody Groarke said: “The National Trust of Scotland are adopting a very bold approach to the conservation of the Hill House; one that is radical and experimental in seeking new methods to extend the lifespan of our heritage, and one that invites public interaction and interpretation of these processes.”

The enclosure could be in place next year subject to a New Year fundraising drive and could remain in-situ for years thereafter.

Council completes sale of former Hermitage Academy site in Helensburgh

Taylor Wimpey's designs for land at the former Hermitage Academy site

Taylor Wimpey’s designs for land at the former Hermitage Academy site

Construction work to deliver 95 new homes at the former Hermitage Academy in Helensburgh is to start within the next few weeks after the site was sold to a national housebuilder.

Argyll and Bute Council has granted planning permission for the development of two, three and four bedroom family homes following the sale of the site to Taylor Wimpey West Scotland.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for strategic finance and capital regeneration programme, said: “This is fantastic news for the area. There are already over 50 houses and flats on another part of the site and when construction of the new homes by Taylor Wimpey West Scotland gets underway there will be a significantly increased supply of houses made available for local people and, others hoping to move to this area.

“As a council we are committed to working with Taylor Wimpey West Scotland to support our local economy and community by creating and supporting local jobs and apprenticeships.

“The funds from the sale will benefit our communities by going directly to providing services they tell us are important to them. I would also express my thanks to the council team who worked so hard to make this sale happen.”

Stephen Andrew, technical director for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland, said: “We are delighted to confirm that we have completed our land transaction for the former Hermitage Academy site on Cardross Road with Argyll and Bute Local Council, which will allow us to build our first development in Helensburgh.

“We hope to begin pre-construction works within the next few weeks and naturally we will keep the local community informed of our planned site start that will mark the first milestone of this exciting development.

“We’re really looking forward to bringing forward a development that offers buyers a great choice of new family homes in range of sizes and styles to appeal to a broad range of buyers. Securing this development marks our ongoing commitment, investment and strong track record of delivering excellent quality developments of family homes right across the west of Scotland.”

CBC wins £10.6m contract to restore Rothesay Pavilion

galleryThe multi-million pound restoration of Rothesay Pavilion is moving forward with the £10.6 million contract for the works being awarded to main contractor CBC.

Work on renovating the iconic International Modernist building to its former glory will start today.

The Grade A listed building will be transformed into a hub for cultural and community use and is expected to employ over 30 people and attract over 70,000 visits per year.

Councillor Gary Mulvaney, depute leader of Argyll and Bute Council and the council’s policy lead for strategic finance and capital regeneration programme, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see the main construction phase of this ambitious project about to get underway and the people of Rothesay can look forward to seeing work on the renovations of the wonderful pavilion starting.

“As a council we are determined to make a real difference to the area by bringing both tourists and new jobs to the area and with our partners have invested millions of pounds to bring our pavilion back to life.

“We will be working closely with the main contractor, CBC, to ensure that wherever possible there are opportunities to provide jobs, apprenticeships and support to the local community.”

stairsThe restored pavilion will house a purpose designed exhibition area; shop selling local produce; café/restaurant selling local food and drink; revamped main hall to accommodate a range of events including music, theatre, dance, sports, weddings and various community uses; second venue for smaller performances of music, comedy, family celebrations and community use; new top floor meeting/function room and three new offices and a workhub in the former caretaker’s house at the rear of the site which will provide three independent offices for local businesses along with a shared meeting room and office resources.

James McAlpine, managing director of CBC, said: “We feel very privileged to be working on such a beautiful and iconic building that is so rich in heritage. We are very experienced in conserving historic and listed buildings and look forward to restoring the stunning pavilion to its former glory for the local community.

“We are also committed to ensuring that the people who live on the island feel part of the Rothesay Pavilion project and can contribute to, and reap rewards from, this new chapter in the Pavilion’s history.”

Julia Twomlow, chief executive and artistic director of Rothesay Pavilion Charity, which will operate the facility when it re-opens, added: “Rothesay Pavilion Charity is delighted that the main phase of construction works is about to start. It is going to be wonderful to see the building transform over the coming months and we look forward to working with CBC to ensure that the community are able to engage with the project and benefit from the work and training opportunities it will bring.”

Over 760 new affordable homes planned for Argyll and Bute

Argyll-and-ButeArgyll and Bute Council has revealed plans to build more than 760 new affordable homes in the next five years.

The housing will be delivered as part of the council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP).

Up to £50 million has been approved by the Scottish Government to support the programme in its first three years, while the council will contribute almost £9m from its Strategic Housing Fund and a further £1.9m a year over the next four years.

The 760 new homes are being built in addition to the 154 affordable homes already being provided this year as part of the SHIP process.

Policy lead for housing, Councillor Robin Currie, said: “Access to good-quality, affordable housing is a major priority for us.

“We aim to deliver on this ambitious development programme with our partners to ensure a positive future for our communities.

“Not only will this proposed plan provide new homes for residents who need it, we hope it will bring a host of other benefits for Argyll and Bute.

“These include generating investment, boosting the local economy, creating additional jobs including new apprenticeships, stimulating community regeneration, and attracting and retaining residents and employees for local businesses.

“Having a quality, affordable home to live in also benefits the general health and wellbeing of our residents.

“Our target as set out in the SHIP is 550 but we are confident we can expand on that, which is why we are aiming for more.”

Robertson secures £13m work on Scottish Sea Farms’ smolt hatchery

salmon-2326479_960_720Scottish Sea Farms’ £37 million investment in a state of the art onshore hatchery is moving forward with construction now underway at its site near Oban.

The hatchery, at Barcaldine, will increase capacity and deliver significant sustainability benefits to the company, supporting salmon farms on the west coast of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland.

Robertson Northern has now started construction on the £13m freshwater Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) for the aquaculture firm, which will rear young Scottish salmon to help meet growing global demand.

When completed, the overall hatchery will raise the company’s smolt production from five million to up to 11 million annually, creating 25 new jobs for the area.

Jim Gallagher from Scottish Sea Farms said: “This is a significant investment in our freshwater capacity and is a vital component to helping us meet the world’s increasing demand for premium Scottish salmon.

“Robertson Northern have demonstrated that they have the right skills to help deliver what is a landmark development for Scottish Sea Farms and for Scottish aquaculture.”

Frank Reid, managing director of Robertson Northern, said: “This is a revolutionary development in every sense of the word and an exciting development for both Scottish Sea Farms and the local economy.

“As well as creating jobs when complete, we will be using the skilled local workforce whenever we can throughout the development of this facility.”

The first fish reared in the facility are expected to be transferred to Marine farms in 2019.

Scottish Sea Farms said the investment was part of plans to invest a total of £70m in improving and maintaining its existing sites and acquiring new ones over the next few years.