Dundee City Council signs ‘forward thinking’ agreement with Homes for Scotland

Convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee Councillor Lynne Short (left) with Homes for Scotland chief executive Nicola Barclay

Dundee City Council has signed an agreement with industry body Homes for Scotland (HFS) aimed at ensuring the on-going delivery of the range of homes required to meet the needs of its population.

Building on the positive relationship between the council and the home building industry, the agreement signifies a commitment to further improve the way they work together to deliver more homes and increase the social and economic benefits for the city.

In addition to improving lines of communication between member companies and the council, HFS will encourage home builders to promote the wider community benefits that result from the developments they investment in, as well as the varied apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities that they create.

Reciprocally, the council will pursue positive interventions to identify, release and unlock land for housing. It will also look to attract funding to ensure that the delivery of the necessary infrastructure (such as roads, education and healthcare) is aligned.

Applauding the council’s forward-thinking approach to housing delivery, HFS chief executive, Nicola Barclay, said: “Dundee is one of the country’s most progressive local authorities when it comes to planning ahead for housing and infrastructure, and it has long recognised the wider benefits development offers in terms of regenerating and sustaining communities, supporting business and creating jobs. Through the enabling culture it demonstrates in this agreement, it is leading the way in how it chooses to positively collaborate with the companies who will deliver the homes needed by those who want to live in this unique and dynamic city.”

Councillor Lynne Short, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “It is vital that we ensure that the right mix of houses are built in the right place at the right time to meet the wide and varied demands of people who want to live in Dundee.

“Achieving that relies on co-operation and collaboration between all of the participants in the process and this agreement seeks to ensure that we are delivering high quality homes in sustainable locations.”

The agreement was signed at Springfield Properties’ Dykes of Gray village on the outskirts of the city. As well as providing 600 new homes, the new community will include shops, play areas, health facilities and business opportunities. With around 60 people working on site, the development also supports many local trades and suppliers, and will bring substantial investment in the area for many years to come.

Robertson Group helps Dundee pupils build a future beyond the classroom

Ross Paterson (Centre) Employment Liaison (DYW) Dundee and Angus presents Mark Blyth (Centre Left) Commercial Director (Robertson) and Andrew Strachan (Centre Right) Principal teacher guidance Baldragon Academy with there certificates watched by the pupils and their mentors

Infrastructure firm Robertson Group is helping secondary pupils lay the foundations for life beyond education after launching a mentor scheme at Baldragon Academy in Dundee.

Six senior students are set to benefit from the expertise of the firm’s employees in a programme praised by representatives from Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Dundee & Angus, who presented Robertson Tayside with a certificate of partnership at the firm’s regional headquarters.

The Robertson mentors are hoping lessons can be learned from their mentees on how best to tackle the construction industry skills gap and attract young talent into the business.

Mark Blyth, commercial director of Robertson Tayside and Young People Champion for the region, said: “We’re proud to launch the mentor programme at Baldragon Academy, which will help young people to build confidence, discover their strengths, skills and talents, broaden their aspirations and ambitions in life and develop employability skills.

“The mentor relationships will be established over a number of visits to both Baldragon Academy and our offices, with one of the pupils already taking part in a placement with us.

“It’s important for us to use our position within the industry to help bridge the gap between earning and learning, helping young people establish lifelong employability skills while opening their eyes to the diverse careers available within the built environment.”

Ross Paterson, employer liaison adviser for DYW Dundee & Angus, said: “The partnership between Robertson and Baldragon Academy is Developing the Young Workforce in action and is a fantastic example of how a business can link with a local school.

“The mentoring programme is hugely beneficial for both parties. It provides an excellent CPD opportunity for Robertson staff and is invaluable for pupils, helping them develop confidence, gain new skills, and learn from experienced professionals about how to conduct yourself in the workplace.

“This support from Robertson will help to prepare our young people for their future careers, which achieves the core aim of the DYW agenda.”

The mentoring scheme is part of an ongoing partnership between Robertson and Baldragon Academy established during the construction of the new secondary school – which opened its doors in February – for which Robertson Tayside was primary contractor.

The partnership includes work experience, skills and development sessions, placement schemes, careers advice and apprentice opportunities.

Sod cutting ceremony marks the official start of 200 home Dundee project

Plans to bring new housing to the Whitfield area of Dundee as part of a “major regeneration initiative” have commenced this week.

Local developer, D J Laing Homes has returned to the area to start work on their latest development and follow the success of the 200 homes they built previously in Ballumbie.

This latest project for the construction of 26 new build homes is part of a masterplan of 97 new houses with 2, 3 and 4 bedroom house styles in 5 varying house designs.

The first properties will be ready to move into later this year.

The 5.34 hectare site at Aberlady Crescent was previously home to the Skarne blocks and Greenfield primary school. More recently the Whitfield area has been upgraded to include The Crescent, a recently opened community Hub and Medical Centre with Ballumbie Primary School all within a short distance.

DJ Laing Homes officially marked the start of their new development at Castle View, Dundee with a Sod Cutting ceremony on 12 April.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of DJ Laing Homes, civil engineering contractor, DJ Laing Contracts, and Dundee City Council’s City Development Department.

Managing director of D J Laing Homes, Karen Nicoll, said: “We are delighted to return to the Ballumbie area 10 years on since our previous development. Our new development will be of a high quality complimenting the new housing stock in Dundee and assisting the further regeneration of Whitfield. With recent news that Help to Buy funding has been extended there is no better time for house buyers to purchase a new home with quality finishings, effortless style and exceptional value.”

As part of their planning consent, D J Laing Homes will make a financial contribution towards the education provision in the Whitfield area.

DJ Laing Homes has also agreed to include public art work that compliments and enhances the development’s amenity area. Green spaces will also be created throughout the site and a new spine road will connect Berwick Drive to Lothian crescent.

Commercial manager of DJ Laing Contracts, Gavin Watson, said: “We are pleased to commence work on this project which has been in the pipeline for a few years.  Starting work on site is great news for our company; providing investment in the local economy and securing employment for our workforce and local sub contractors.”

Proposal submitted for £24m Dundee city centre leisure development

Crucible Alba Group directors Brian Robinson, Alex Steel and Michael Smart

A nine-screen cinema complex, a hotel and residential accommodation are being planned as part of a £24 million leisure development in Dundee city centre.

Ayrshire-based property development company Crucible Alba Group has submitted a Proposal of Application Notice to transform a derelict brownfield vacant site at Greenmarket.

The ‘Greenmarket Leisure Quarter’ proposals also include restaurants, cafes and a public car park.

Michael Smart, development director at Crucible Alba Group, said: “Greenmarket Leisure Quarter is a fantastic opportunity to regenerate a long term vacant site. The plans complement Dundee City Council’s ambitions for the Dundee Waterfront regeneration and will provide an important link between the existing retail city centre offering and the Dundee Waterfront development including the new V&A Museum.

“The development will be Dundee’s first leisure orientated city centre development and will provide a much needed facility for both Dundonians and visitors to the city centre. Discussions are ongoing with a number of big name cinema operators and restaurant companies and an announcement on these will be made shortly.”

The project is expected to create a significant number of jobs during the construction phase and up to 250 permanent posts thereafter.

£20m hotels and restaurant plan approved for historic Dundee furniture store

Plans to convert a former furniture store in Dundee into two hotels and a restaurant have been given the green light by councillors.

Willison House on Barrack Street, which is most commonly known as the old Robertson’s furniture store, is to be part-demolished and then converted into two separate hotels and a bespoke restaurant.

Glasgow-based architects McNally Associates, who submitted the plans on behalf of Structured House Group, last year dropped earlier proposals to create student accommodation on the site after receiving a “lack of support” from Dundee City Council planning officials.

The proposals for the B-listed Art Deco building had already been revised once to include the retention of part of the facade of the former furniture store, after more than 700 people signed a petition calling for the building to be saved.

The store has been derelict since Robertson’s closed in 2011 after trading in Dundee for more than 100 years.

Large parts of the building will still be knocked down and rebuilt to house the new hotels.

The six-storey hotel block with 115 beds will be set back from the retained tiled façade and a separate six-storey hotel building with 100 beds will sit to the west of this.

In addition to this, there will be a licensed restaurant on the building’s ground floor.

City development convener, Councillor Lynne Short, said she was delighted the development was given the nod and that the developers would retain the iconic exterior.

She said: “I was involved in discussions with the community group who were keen on keeping the façade as intact as possible.

“I am delighted about the council’s decision and delighted this distinctive piece of Art Deco architecture is going to be maintained.

“The officers and the developers were keen to work together and I understand they are also keen for further work on projects and investing in developments on the waterfront.”

Apprentice scheme sees young people learn from Robertson

Logan Howett (left) Robertson site manager Gary McCaul and Matthew Lyon (right) at the North East Campus

Two young apprentices from Dundee have been given the opportunity to develop specialist skills with one of the UK’s largest infrastructure firms.

Logan Howett (18) and Matthew Lyon (18) have been working alongside Robertson Specialist Services to support dry lining and partitioning services at North East Campus – a £17m new schools complex for which Robertson Group is primary contractor.

The placements were offered in partnership with Shared Apprentice Ltd, Angus Council and Angus College, with the scheme designed to allow apprentices time for college attendance, supplementing their studies toward professional qualifications with practical experience on live projects.

Craig Robertson, managing director of Robertson Specialist Services, said: “We’re really proud to be part of a scheme that will help apprentices to gain the qualifications and experience to work in the construction industry.

“The pair have been involved with the project from the beginning and will see it through until completion, giving them a broad insight into how a project develops as well as the opportunity to get involved with the different services we provide over the course of construction.

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with young local people and address the construction skills gap in Tayside by teaching them the skills that the construction industry desperately demands.”

Krystian Kolaczyk, shared apprentice co-ordinator at Shared Apprentice Ltd, said: “The placements with Robertson offered two of our first-year joinery apprentices a wonderful start to their apprenticeship.

“Not only have they been working with highly skilled tradesmen on the new schools complex, but also in an environment where health and safety is taken very seriously. It really is the best setting for young people to learn and thrive.”

North East Campus was procured through Scape Group’s National Major Works Framework, now superseded by Major Works Scotland, part of the (Scape) National Construction framework, and delivered by Robertson in partnership with Willmott Dixon.

Once complete, it will bring together three primary schools and two nurseries, providing teaching facilities for up to 1,000 pupils.

Plans submitted for ‘urban beach’ at Dundee Waterfront

The ongoing regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront is set to be complemented by an area of parkland, café and water features under new proposals submitted to the city council.

Set in an area next to the £80.1 million V&A design museum, the ‘urban beach’ will create a new promenade along the River Tay.

Landscape architects Optimised Environments said the site, called Waterfront Place, will see a cafe pavilion nestled amongst grassy mounds and will not compete with the Kengo Kuma-designed museum.

The design statement states: “The aspiration is to create a new piece of public urban realm, a destination, but on approach from the city centre, passing through Slessor Gardens, the visual
journey wants to be one from manicured garden to a take on more naturalistic coastal forms and then on out over the Tay and to the far shore beyond.

“Buildings are desired as part of the brief, but it feels appropriate that whilst they should be prominent, accessible and welcoming they should in no way compete visually with the set piece that is the new V&A museum.

“The solution of designing landscape and buildings as one in the form of a stylized coastal dunescape achieves all of these aspirations.”

As well as sand-dunes, pine trees will also form part of the development in order to mimic the approach to beaches found elsewhere in Scotland.

The statement added: “Along the east coast of Scotland, the walk to the beach is typified by moving through meadow grassland, into pine forest, on through marram grass dunes and finally onto the beach.”

The urban beach is one of the final pieces of Dundee City Council’s masterplan for the waterfront.

Last month it was revealed an AC Marriott Hotel will occupy the prime site opposite the V&A as part of a mixed-use development including offices and apartments.

Dundee City Council will have to approve the plans before construction work on the site can start.

Balfour Beatty primed for £32m Dundee sports centre deal

Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering looks set to be awarded the contract to deliver Dundee’s £32 million Regional Performance Centre for Sport.

Councillors are being asked to accept a tender from the firm which could allow work to start on the facility in May, with a construction completion date of autumn 2019.

The Regional Performance Centre for Sport will contain an 8 court multi sports hub building with spectator seating, a strength and conditioning suite, state of the art sport science suite.

The campus of sports facilities will have a full size indoor/artificial 3G football pitch and outdoor artificial/3G ‘rugby sized’ pitch suitable for both rugby and football.  Facilities are designed to meet FIFA compliance standards for football.

A new indoor athletics centre with an 80m running straight will provide all-weather training for athletes.  The existing athletics track is to be resurfaced and a covered spectator area added and the recently resurfaced velodrome is to have a new area of hardstanding provided for competition, with upgraded floodlighting.

There will also be a 7-aside community grass football pitch that will have open access for use by the local community.

Dundee City Council leader Councillor John Alexander said: “This ambitious project will provide a superb sports facility that also contains a £5 million energy centre.

“This innovative renewable energy approach will give us a district heating capability that has attracted the first award of ERDF Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme funding of £3m.

“I am also pleased that the Scottish Government have responded positively to our request around non-domestic rates that mean that the exceptional circumstances of this project have been taken into account.”

Councillor Alexander added: “I am sure that this centre will provide huge benefits for the city and its people and reflects our drive to make Dundee a better place for all.

“It will provide top class sporting facilities that will support athletes in their development and help improve the health of our population through participation in sport.”

The centre is also benefiting from a £5m grant from sportscotland.

The council’s policy and resources committee is due to meet on March 12.

Wilmott Dixon poised to win £8.9m Dundee community facility tender

Work on a new £13.2 million community facility in Dundee could start as soon as next month if councillors approve an £8.9m tender.

Wilmott Dixon’s bid to build a new multi-use community centre with two games halls, fitness suite, library and community multi-purpose rooms and areas, complete with cafe, is being recommended for approval.

Designed over two storeys, the building in Menzieshill will have a total floor area of around 3100m².

Lynne Short, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “Many of the positive things I have done in my life can be traced back to spending countless happy hours at Menzieshill Community Centre when I was wee.

“Facilities like this don’t just benefit our children for the few hours a day or week that they are there, but for years into the future when the friendships they make, the life lessons they learn and the physical activities they enjoy help to create happy, healthy adults.”

According to a report to be considered by Dundee City Council’s city development committee on Monday, the total projected cost of the new Menzieshill Community Project will be £13.2m when fees, land purchase, furniture, landscaping and other elements are taken into account.

In this contract Willmott Dixon’s sub-contractors’ Robertson Construction and all its sub-contractors will pay the Scottish Living Wage as a minimum to all employees actively employed on the site.

The new community facility is expected to take around a year to build.

GDL breaks ground on new Dundee energy from waste facility

Ground Developments Ltd has been awarded the enabling works package by Standardkessel Baumgarte for the new Baldovie Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power Facility in Dundee.

The facility will generate electricity as well as steam for the local industry in a highly efficient process.

Standardkessel Baumgarte, as engineering, procurement and construction contractor, is responsible for the turnkey supply of the plant. The investor, German energy company MVV, via its subsidiary MVV Environment Baldovie has signed a long-term contract with Dundee City and Angus Councils to use the councils’ residual waste to generate usable energy.

Kevin Mackenzie, managing director for GDL, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Standardkessel Baumgarte to assist in their delivery of this project. “Our works commenced on-site on 22 January 2018 to provide the essential enabling works that will allow the construction of the new facility, which is expected to be operational in 2020.”