East Ayrshire

First phase of HALO Kilmarnock submitted for detailed planning

The first phase of the HALO regeneration plan in Kilmarnock has now been submitted to East Ayrshire Council for detailed planning permission following the recent approval of planning permission in principle for the development masterplan.

Located on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant, the HALO Kilmarnock is being shaped as a multifaceted brown-field regeneration that will create “an innovative, inspirational and imaginative urban park with a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter”.

Its low carbon, renewable deep geothermal district heating network will address fuel costs on the site and have the capability of being extended to service other areas of the community – a first for the UK.

The development will also include a light manufacturing facility and key worker private rental accommodation.

A cornerstone of the development will be the HALO Enterprise & Innovation Hub which is a 55,000sq.ft, three-storey building comprising vibrant interior spaces that will accommodate a number of enterprising and collaborative organisations and forms Phase I of the overall development.

The steel and concrete structure will be clad in profiled curtain walling and spandrel panels working in harmony to create a light, contemporary appearance consistent with the distinctive HALO brand. The project also features a Virtual Reality Café and ancillary retail and merchandising. A lower ground level plant room houses the equipment for the deep-well District Heating Network; the first time this technology has been used in a mixed-use project in the UK.

Construction of the building is expected to complete in Autumn 2019.

Keppie are architects for the project, with Dougal Baillie providing civil / structural engineering services and Ramboll providing M&E services. Landscape design is by TGP.

Marie Macklin, founder of the HALO, said: “With outline planning consent secured, I’m thrilled that we are maintaining the momentum on this important project with our submission for detailed planning consent for the HALO Enterprise & Innovation Hub, which will form the beating heart of this development. This is a major milestone for the project and for Keppie and the rest of the design team and it’s a delight to be working with them.

HALO regeneration plan in Kilmarnock receives planning permission in principle

A £65 million urban regeneration on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock’s reached a significant milestone last week when it received the green light from East Ayrshire Council.

The HALO project, which includes a provision of affordable housing, could create around 1,000 permanent new jobs.

Plans for the development include:

  • A Resilience Capability Business Centre for digital and online resilience businesses in research, development and application, locating innovators in financial services, private investors, insurance and technology companies
  • An enterprise, engineering, manufacturing and textiles centre for small and medium sized businesses
  • 1,000 capacity education, conference and exhibition centre (benefiting local schools, colleges and universities)
  • A cultural hub for small creative businesses and social enterprises in crafts, film, art, music, media, literature, marketing and technology
  • A year-round leisure and water sports facility
  • 3,000m2 of commercial offices
  • Health & wellbeing premises, life-style shops and cafes
  • Landscaped public plaza
  • 175 affordable rented houses
  • An energy centre powering a district heating system
  • Public space including new road and footpath networks connecting to the Rail Station and town centre.

At a special meeting of East Ayrshire Council’s planning committee on Friday, councillors agreed to grant planning permission in principle for The HALO, allowing the developers, HALO Kilmarnock Limited to proceed to the submission of detailed plans for the development to East Ayrshire Council over the coming weeks.

Marie Macklin, The HALO’s founder, said: “This important community-led project has been eight years in the making and I am thrilled that we have reached this landmark today. We can now push forward with the development of The HALO, creating enterprise opportunities, not just for Kilmarnock, but for East Ayrshire and Scotland as a whole.”

UK government minister for Scotland sees ground broken at The HALO Kilmarnock

(from left) Marie Macklin, Lord Duncan and Brian Whittle MSP

(from left) Marie Macklin, Lord Duncan and Brian Whittle MSP

Lord Duncan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Scotland Office, visited the site of The HALO Kilmarnock yesterday to witness work getting under way on the £65 million urban regeneration project.

The UK government has provided £3.5m of funding to support the development, and the creation of a new Enterprise & Innovation Centre, to be located within The HALO Kilmarnock, as part of its UK Industrial Strategy, the detail of which was unveiled last week.

The Enterprise & Innovation Centre will foster the next generation of entrepreneurs, with strong focus on innovation, digital skills, and cyber security. Funding has also been provided by the Scottish Government, Diageo plc and East Ayrshire Council, with the remainder being sourced from private sector investors.

The HALO Kilmarnock, located on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant, is being shaped as a multi-faceted brown-field regeneration that will create an innovative, inspirational and imaginative urban park with a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter. Its low carbon, renewable deep geothermal district heating network will address fuel costs on the site and have the capability of being extended to service other areas of the community – a first for the UK. The development will also include a light manufacturing facility and key worker private rental accommodation.

HALO Urban Park

How the completed development will look

The development is one of four HALO projects planned for the UK and being seen as catalysts for urban regeneration. The next HALO project is proposed for Belfast, with Wales and the North West of England to follow. It is envisaged that The HALO Kilmarnock will connect through road and rail infrastructure directly to the Northern Powerhouse, creating economic benefits across the wider area.

Backers of the HALO Kilmarnock believe that development will generate £53.6m of GDP for the Kilmarnock economy every year and contribute £65.8m to the Scottish economy annually. It is also set to create 1,400+ direct jobs and support 630 jobs in construction.

Preparatory ground works, being carried out by Advance Construction Group, have now commenced on-site and the first phase of The HALO Kilmarnock is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Lord Duncan said: “Supported by a £3.5m UK government investment, The HALO Kilmarnock is an ambitious, important development that will create jobs, grow the economy and drive innovation. The project will attract international companies to locate in the town, benefiting from the excellent transport links and a local, well-trained workforce. The HALO Kilmarnock represents marks a fresh start for Kilmarnock and Ayrshire and I hope that the project is a catalyst for further regeneration in Scotland and beyond.”

Marie Macklin, Lord Duncan and Brian Whittle MSP are joined by construction students from Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock campus

Marie Macklin, Lord Duncan and Brian Whittle MSP are joined by construction students from Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock campus

Marie Macklin, founder and director of The HALO Kilmarnock, said: “The HALO will play an important role in the UK government’s UK Industrial Strategy, to which we contributed at its consultation stage. The economic benefits of this community led development will be felt not just in Kilmarnock and East Ayrshire, but across the whole of Scotland and driving down into the Northern Powerhouse, harnessing the power of the 4th Industrial Revolution – the digital revolution.

“We welcome the UK government’s support for The HALO Kilmarnock which is a major infrastructure project in its own right and we hope that it will prove to be a catalyst for other infrastructure projects, such as the improved road and rail links that will connect it with the rest of the UK.”

Brian Whittle MSP for South Scotland Region added: “The HALO represents a fantastic opportunity for Kilmarnock and Ayrshire more widely to lead the way in the industries that are coming to define the 21st Century. I’m delighted that the UK government are leading the way in supporting the HALO. I’m honoured to have been able to help bring the HALO out of the starting blocks. It’s taken a huge amount of work by everyone involved to get to this point and I’m excited to see the project moving forward to the next stage.”

Keppie contributes to Kilmarnock primary school success

P15_271_N767Whatriggs Primary School and Early Education Centre in Kilmarnock has been successfully handed over by Morrison Construction in advance of the new 2017 Autumn term.

Collaborating throughout with East Ayrshire Council’s architecture department and education team, Keppie Design developed the exemplar design provided at tender stage, remodelling the elevations and rationalising the plan to provide added value.

An amalgamation of two local schools (Kirkstyle and Bellfield Primaries), the school now accommodates approximately 500 pupils, with a further 110 places available within the Early Education Centre which caters for 0-5 year olds.

Constructed on the site of the Bellfield Community Centre, Keppie employed Hirst Landscape Architects to complete the design of all external spaces, responding to the council’s desire for less structured and more flexible play areas for all ages.

Morrison Construction and East Ayrshire Council recently celebrated the success of Whatriggs Primary School when they received the GO Best Service Award for Contractors working with the Scottish Public Sector.

P15_271_N802Keppie said it was delighted to have been involved in the evolution and construction of the design, which highlights one of the success stories within this type of public sector procurement.

Allan Cunningham, operations director for Morrison Construction Scotland, said: “Whatriggs is the latest school in our series of successful partnerships with Keppie, and an excellent example of Client, Contractor and Architect working in true partnership to deliver excellent outcomes. East Ayrshire Council had not previously followed a Design and Build route; but were impressed with our innovative and collaborative approach; Lesley Buntain’s professionalism and personal commitment to the project was instrumental in engaging all the project stakeholders, particularly school staff, to produce what has proven to be an exemplary design.

“The design itself, and the collaborative processes behind it have been recognised with national awards, and have set a high benchmark. It shows that good school design need not come with a cost premium, the key to success is to engage designers who deeply understand the education sector, and can relate to all the users, teachers and pupils to optimise the outcomes.”

P15_271_N752John Thomson, SENIOR ARCHITECT for East Ayrshire Council (EAC Capital Programme), said: “Early meetings after appointment at Keppie’s offices in Glasgow were instrumental in co-ordinating the input from all disciplines, and this early dialogue allowed the design to be developed in line with the aspirations of all key stakeholders from the various EAC departments that had to be incorporated. From the very outset Keppie Design took ownership of their particular design responsibilities and, with subtle modifications drawn from their schools experience, enhanced the council’s initial proposals. From the pre-development process right through to operations on site and completion there was a collaborative, can-do positive attitude.

“Their duty of care, professionalism and considerable input, including attendance at various client/end user workshops throughout the process was instrumental in the ultimate success of the project which was delivered exactly on programme ahead of the new school term this August.”

Lesley Buntain, associate for Keppie Design, added: “This was a great project for Keppie right from the start. The collaborative working relationship that developed between East Ayrshire Council and Morrison Construction created an open atmosphere where decisions really were made as a team. East Ayrshire Council, although the originators of the exemplar, were always willing to consider changes where we felt improvements could be made or value added. We always welcome feedback from everyone involved in projects, particularly teachers and their pupils, and we are especially pleased that everyone associated with Whatriggs seems to be thrilled with their new school.”

Keppie unveils ‘cultural quarter’ vision for Kilmarnock

Aspirational Sketch_Dick Institute redevelopment sculptural park

A sculptural park within the Dick Institute redevelopment

A study to develop recommendations for the historic area to the east of Kilmarnock town centre has been completed by Keppie Design.

The Glasgow-based practice was appointed by East Ayrshire Council to consider the transformational opportunities that exist in advance of the imminent relocation of Kilmarnock Academy.

Sketch showing a flexible public plaza adjacent to the Dick Institute

Sketch showing a flexible public plaza adjacent to the Dick Institute

The Kilmarnock Cultural Quarter is in the vicinity of the renowned Dick Institute and the Palace Theatre complex, and the conclusions of the study are expected to significantly improve the long-term prospects of both facilities.

Keppie’s recommendations for the area were framed in eight core themes and emerged during collaborative consultation events with a number of stakeholder groups, building on the momentum of parallel projects such as The Halo at Hill Street, and a Town Centre Improvement study currently being carried out by TGP.

Aspirational Sketch_Aerial OverviewDavid Ross, Keppie’s design director, said: “It’s a very exciting time for the town. There is a palpable sense of positive anticipation in the local community born out of the council’s desire to develop a unique identity for the town based on vibrant and connected public space. Our vision for the Cultural Quarter captures that spirit.”

DIAGRAMS edit2 100517Karl Doroszenko from East Ayrshire Council added: “The study generated a lot of good ideas, stimulated creative thinking and will be invaluable as we look towards a new, forward thinking, placemaking plan for Kilmarnock Town Centre.”

Plans unveiled to redevelop Kilmarnock town centre

Kilmarnock town centre TGPTGP Landscape Architects has drawn up plans to redevelop four key areas within Kilmarnock town centre.

Centred around the Foregate, Sandbed Street, an extension of the shopping area and John Finnie Street embankment, the designs have been created as part of the ‘Celebrate Kilmarnock’ town centre action plan, which complements the 2011 Integrated Urban Development Plan and builds upon the recent successes of Historic Scotland’s Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) and the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

Residents are now being invited to view the proposals through a public engagement event at the Citizen’s Advice offices in Foregate Square, Kilmarnock from 2pm – 4.30pm on Saturday, 28 October.

This event will be held in tandem with consultation activity on proposals for improvements to the Kilmarnock Bus Station which will be led by Ayrshire Roads Alliance and Smith Findlay Architects. Commercial stakeholders will also be invited to have their say from 5pm – 6.30pm at the Citizen’s Advice offices on Wednesday, 15 November.

Councillor Jim Roberts said: “The town centre plays a multi-faceted role in the lives of Kilmarnock’s residents. Sitting at the heart of the community it provides a range of places and spaces for people to meet, live, work and enjoy.

“Consultants engaged by the council have produced a range of different proposals for improving these areas and it is important that we get the public’s views on these. We will be asking people to vote for the ones which they feel should be prioritised.

“In terms of the bus station, we see this project as one with immense potential to change not only the physical environment, but tackle the troubling social issues which have damaged the station’s reputation.

“Kilmarnock Bus Station has lost its sense of identity but we are confident that this project will rediscover and redefine its character and will deliver a revitalised public transport hub for residents, visitors and commuters alike.”

Titanic Quarter developer in talks to join consortium behind £450m Ayrshire leisure and tourism complex

David Mace

David Mace

The developer behind Belfast’s iconic Titanic Quarter is in advanced talks to take a major role in an ambitious £450 million leisure, tourism and residential development planned for south west Scotland which will potentially create over 1,000 new jobs in the region.

Owners of the historic Loudoun Castle estate, site located in the heart of Ayrshire are hopeful that a commercial deal with Harcourt Developments can be concluded very soon.

If successful, the arrangement will mean that the developer becomes a key part of the consortium behind the proposed redevelopment of the site which housed the former Loudoun Castle theme park. Harcourt has indicated that, subject to a contract being put in place, the grant of a planning permission in principle would allow Loudoun Estate to become its next flagship project.

The Loudoun Woods consortium aims to transform the 576-acre Loudoun estate into a world-class tourism and leisure development, the first of its type in Scotland.

Loudoun Castle 2 HiResThe A-listed Loudoun Castle is proposed to be restored along with the designed landscape and gardens.  The current planning application also seeks permission for the Castle’s ultimate potential conversion to a new luxury hotel. The restored castle will become a central feature of the development.

The Loudoun Woods’ outline planning application also envisages luxury holiday lodges, camping and a range of indoor sports facilities, including a tropical swimming lagoon.

A new community consisting of approximately 1,000 energy-efficient homes will be a key component of the development. It will provide the necessary funding for the stabilisation and restoration of the castle.

The planning application for the Loudoun Woods Resort has been “called in” for determination by Scottish Ministers due to the potential national economic benefit.  The inquiry will begin in Kilmarnock on October 23.

David Mace 3The Loudoun Woods consortium is headed by international leisure and investment expert David Mace, who founded the Sea Life concept in the UK and has served as a director on the boards of several leading leisure companies.

He said: “Loudoun Castle will be an all-weather, world-class holiday destination, which will attract visitors from all over the UK, create major economic benefits for Ayrshire and become a core part of Scotland’s tourism offering.

“The fact that Harcourt is considering becoming part of the Loudoun Woods consortium and making a significant investment in Scotland, speaks volumes for the quality and international scope of what we are planning.

“We are looking forward to the planning inquiry and, given a positive decision by Scottish Ministers, we are aiming to begin works in the summer of 2018 on a project that will transform the economy of this part of Scotland.”

Harcourt Developments is the company behind the Titanic Quarter, one of the world’s largest waterfront urban regeneration projects on the site of the former Harland and Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, where the liner Titanic was built.

The development encompasses Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor attraction, The Titanic Studios (where Game of Thrones is filmed), the Northern Ireland Science Centre, The Titanic Exhibition Centre and the recently-opened Titanic Hotel in the former Harland and Wolff drawing office.

Harcourt Stanley Dock development in Liverpool has also been singled out by English Heritage and won a number of awards for its restoration of warehouse in the UNESCO World Heritage site to become the successful Titanic Hotel Liverpool.

DCIM100MEDIAPaul Manning of Harcourt said: “We are engaged in very positive discussions and hope to be able to conclude an agreement to join the Loudoun Woods consortium.  The site’s historic setting, great transport links and proximity to some of the world’s most famous golf courses, gives it massive potential to become one of the UK’s most successful tourism destinations.”

If Scottish Ministers grant permission for the development in principle, it is hoped that stabilisation work on the castle could begin as early as summer of 2018.

David Mace added: “Our vision is that Loudoun Woods becomes Scotland’s premier short-stay inclusive resort with the lodges and treehouses built sensitively amidst the forest landscape of the estate and around the indoor tropical water park.

“It will be a traffic-free environment with cycle and walking paths linking the accommodation to the water park, hotel and other leisure amenities.  The Loudoun Castle hotel will be the centrepiece of the development, allowing us to restore this historic castle to be enjoyed by future generations.”

Loudoun Woods consortium consists of Loudoun Estate and private investors, headed by David Mace.

Kilmarnock’s £45m campus project tops out

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, delivers a speech during the ceremony

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, delivers a speech during the ceremony

The £45 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock has passed another important milestone with its topping out ceremony last week.

The event marked a crucial stage in the construction of the leading education facility, which is on target for completion next year.

The new Campus, which will create new opportunities and benefits for the entire community, will bring together Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Academy, along with the merger of Silverwood Primary and New Farm Primary and Early Childhood Centre.

It is the latest initiative to be facilitated by hub South West, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership which works with forward-looking companies and authorities in Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

william-mcilvanney-campus-topping-out-ceremony-131017_37623093226_oBeing delivered by Kier Construction for East Ayrshire Council, the campus will also promote the Gaelic language with a centre of excellence. It will accommodate 1,465 secondary, 383 primary and 80 morning and 80 afternoon early years pupils.

The new Campus honours the memory of the legendary author – known locally as Willie – who was not only a pupil at Kilmarnock Academy but later worked as a teacher. Its name will be a reminder for people who not only admired McIlvanney’s work but knew him personally.

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said:  “The William McIlvanney Campus is an ongoing success on so many levels. The enthusiasm of all participating partners working on this project is reflected in the excellent progress being made.

“This development has provided many educational activities for students from schools and colleges across the region who have participated in project related events. It has also created a number of opportunities for local apprentices and graduates.”

william-mcilvanney-campus-topping-out-ceremony-131017_36961810334_oCouncillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “William McIlvanney was one of Scotland’s most important writers. He started his professional life as a teacher and remained a dedicated supporter of high quality education throughout his life.

“It is entirely fitting that his name will be associated with this exceptional development for generations to come.”

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction Scotland and north-east England, said: “Throughout the build, we have worked with local suppliers and SMEs to ensure that the project boosts the local Ayrshire economy. We have created 19 apprenticeships, 16 work placements and two graduate traineeships.”

Kilmarnock’s HALO regeneration project secures £5.3m of government funding

Plans for the HALO Urban Park

Plans for the HALO Urban Park

The Scottish Government is to invest £5.3 million to turn a former Kilmarnock bottling plant into a low carbon development which will include hundreds of affordable homes.

Around £3.5m will be invested in the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant, which will be transformed to include an enterprise and innovation hub for business startups, a renewable energy centre and commercial and leisure units.

The investment includes £1.8m from the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme for a new geothermal heating system that will provide low cost, renewable energy for the new homes.

It follows a £3.5m contribution announced by the UK government earlier this month.

Marie Macklin C.B.E., of the HALO Kilmarnock, and Keith Brown MSP, cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, at the site of The HALO in Kilmarnock

Marie Macklin C.B.E., of the HALO Kilmarnock, and Keith Brown MSP, cabinet secretary for the economy, jobs and fair work, at the site of The HALO in Kilmarnock

Economy secretary Keith Brown announced the investment while visiting the site in Kilmarnock today.

He said: “I have already made a commitment to support an Ayrshire Growth Deal and this ambitious new development is part and parcel of that commitment.

“As a responsible, progressive nation, Scotland must also continue to demonstrate strong leadership on climate change. That is why I’m pleased that the Scottish Government will also be able to support our first new geothermal heating system in almost two decades, allowing local residents to access low carbon energy at an affordable price.

“We want to support local economies as well as the next generation of innovative manufacturing and digital companies, which is why the HALO project is such an exciting development. I’m sure that the Ayrshire and Scottish economies will reap the benefits from this project for years to come.”

Marie Macklin of The HALO Kilmarnock said: “Right from the outset The HALO has been about creating a community solution for this site that the people of Kilmarnock and Ayrshire can be proud of. This has truly been a joint effort and this additional support from the Scottish Government will help to turn this vision into reality, creating up to 1,800 jobs in the process and contributing £63m of GDP to the Scottish economy.

“A £65m development across three phases, The HALO will feature a new Urban Park, surrounded by entrepreneurial businesses in computer technology, cyber research, engineering, fashion, financial services and light manufacturing and an Enterprise and Innovation Centre, ensuring that the young people of Ayrshire can develop the skills needed to benefit from the 4th industrial revolution – the digital revolution.”

HALO Urban ParkEast Ayrshire Council leader, Councillor Douglas Reid, also welcomed today’s announcement.

He said: “This is fantastic news for Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire and the wider Ayrshire community. It represents a huge step forward for the Growth Deal as a whole as this amazing initiative will complete the regeneration of one of the biggest brown sites in Scotland to date.

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the potential economic and community benefits the Halo project will bring to the area in terms of job creation, town centre living, increased leisure amenities and environmental improvements.

“Today’s funding announcement by the Scottish Government, together with East Ayrshire Council’s own £2m contribution and the £3.5m announced earlier this month by the UK Government means that, starting with £25m Phase 1, this project can become a reality.”

HALO Urban Park 2David Cutter, President of Diageo Global Supply & Procurement, added: “Our ambition has always been to see this site redeveloped for the benefit of the local economy and community in Kilmarnock and this investment from Scottish Government is a significant step towards achieving that goal.

“We are delighted to have worked in partnership with East Ayrshire Council to support the HALO project and we congratulate Marie Macklin and her team on securing this funding.”

UK government backs HALO project with £3.5m investment

HALO Urban Park 2The HALO regeneration project which aims to create a commercial, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter on the former Diageo bottling plant in Kilmarnock has received a funding boost from the UK government.

As part of the UK government’s industrial strategy, ministers are investing £3.5 million in the Klin Group scheme to create a new innovation hub with a strong focus on innovation, digital skills, and cyber security.

The wider project will see the first commercial deep geothermal heat pump installed in the UK for nearly 30 years, providing green energy to nearby homes and businesses.

Other plans include creating office space and retail areas to attract businesses into Kilmarnock, as well as affordable homes.

Announcing the funding, Scottish secretary David Mundell said: “This £3.5m investment, part of the UK government’s industrial strategy, will help create an innovation hub at the heart of this ambitious regeneration project. The scheme has huge potential to transform the Ayrshire economy, drive businesses innovation and attract new talent to the region.”