East Ayrshire

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.”

Spie UK wins £8m M&E contract on Kilmarnock campus project

William Mcllvanney CampusKier has awarded Spie UK an £8 million contract to carry out mechanical and electrical (M&E) works on a new secondary school campus in Kilmarnock.

The new £45.3m William McIlvanney Campus is being built by Kier to accommodate the merger of Kilmarnock Academy, James Hamilton Academy, New Farm Primary and Early Childhood Centre and Silverwood Prim, as well as a third new school (Sgoil na Coille Nuaidhe) to replace the existing provision offered at Onthank Primary School and Grange Academy.

Designed by NORR Architects, the 18,360m² campus will be built to minimise overall energy consumption while adapting to a variety of interactive and collaborative teaching and learning needs.

Spie’s M&E includes the installation of Low Temperature Hot Water (LTHW), heating (including underfloor), domestic water services, syphonic drainage, data-voice, LV Switchgear, stand-by generator, lighting and power, combined heat and power unit, ventilation, fire sprinkler system, fire alarms and security systems. The installation will also feature a daylight-linked PIR lighting control system, including absence detection in classrooms.

kilmarnock_image_2Overall, the campus will contain around 1,465 secondary, 383 primary and 160 early years pupils between the ages of 2-18 once completed.

Other features will include a multi-use games area as well as flexible community facilities.

Previously, Spie carried out a £7m multi-technical services contract at North Ayrshire Council’s 17,000m² Garnock Community Campus project.

Will Smith, managing director of SPIE UK’s multi-technical services Scotland division, said: “We’re delighted to have been selected by Kier Construction for another prestigious and pioneering venture in the Scottish education sector, following on from our works at Garnock Community Campus.

“Today’s rapidly transforming learning environment and tools demand flexibility and ease of maintenance, and therefore we will be incorporating the latest state-of-the-art technology and energy efficiency initiatives during the design phase.

“The campus will generate substantial employment, growth and investment opportunities across East Ayrshire, whilst creating the infrastructure to support continuous education of young people in Kilmarnock and the surrounding areas.”

Brian McQuade, Kier Construction’s Scotland managing director, said: “Education continues to be a prominent sector for Kier and we’re delighted to be working in partnership with SPIE once again to deliver this latest contemporary build in Ayrshire.

“The SPIE team brings significant mechanical and electrical works prowess to the design process, particularly in the field of energy management, which is an important part of this innovative solution.”

New education campus plans approved for Cumnock

East Ayrshire CouncilEast Ayrshire Council’s plans for a learning and enterprise campus in Cumnock have been approved by the council’s planning committee.

The new campus will include Hillside Additional Support Needs School and an Early Childhood Centre as well as new Primary and Secondary provision serving communities around Auchinleck and Cumnock.

The campus will also include a Primary Supported Learning Centre and Secondary Supported Learning Centre for children and young people across the authority

It will transform educational provision in the area for generations to come and provide new recreation and sports opportunities for all.

Parents, staff, children and young people have been actively involved in developing the design of the campus through a series of public consultation events.

Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the campus has been approved.

“The new campus will provide outstanding learning facilities for children and young people of all ages, with new and improved provision for those with additional support needs.

“The decision is on the back of a lot of hard work in getting these plans to the Planning Committee and, during that process we have undertaken unprecedented levels of consultation and engagement with individuals, groups and local communities.

“All objections were comprehensively considered to make sure that all aspects of the proposals were fairly and thoroughly scrutinised.”

Councillor Reid added: “It’s an important decision for East Ayrshire and work will now begin to build a modern and inspiring campus, designed to maximise the use of available space, with wide ranging benefits for young people and the local community.

“It is a unique opportunity to improve the educational facilities and the aspirations of all of the young people of the area and marks a very substantial investment and a statement of belief in the young people and communities who will access it.”

Construction works will begin in the next few months, with completion anticipated in 2019.

£525m Loudoun Castle transformation plans rejected

Loudoun CastlePlans to transform the former family Loudoun Castle theme park into a £525 million holiday and leisure destination have been rejected by East Ayrshire Council, though the door has been left open for future approval.

Deemed to be ‘of national significance’ by council planners, phase one of the much-anticipated development on the outskirts of Galston was set to create a brand new Loudoun distillery, around 1,000 new energy efficient homes, a renovated and stabilised castle building and a plan for the conversion of the castle itself into a 4/5 star hotel.

Initial plans for the project were rejected by councillors in May 2016, after being called in by Scottish Government ministers in 2015, with elected officials saying they needed more information on the proposals.

A masterplan was then requested from developers Loudoun Woods Homes.

However councillors at last week’s planning meeting took the advice of council planners to reject the plan saying there was simply not enough information before them at present to justify giving the proposals the green light.

Objections surrounded concerns that developers would erect several hundred houses, stabilise the ancient castle, then do no more.

Planning boss Michael Keane said the overall conclusion was that they were not able to answer key fundamental questions that had been raised by the developers’ lack of detail.

“But if more information is given we would reconsider our recommendation for refusal,” he said.

“The door is still open,” said, “but they (the developers) must fill in the gaps.”

The development was set to create 100 new apprenticeship opportunities and 2500 jobs across construction and operations.

If plans had been approved, it was anticipated work would begin on site in 2019.

Morrison Construction appointed for £63.5m Knockroon Learning Campus

Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus 3

Morrison Construction has been appointed preferred contractor to deliver one of Scotland’s largest and most ambitious education projects through a two-stage design and build process.

Submitted by Sheppard Robson, the proposed Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus in Cumnock aims to create a state-of-the-art educational and recreational environment for the whole community.

Subject to planning approval, it will be the biggest capital project ever undertaken by East Ayrshire Council, with costs in the region of £63.5 million.

It will draw together five local primary and secondary schools, early years nursery provision and supported education facilities into a single joint campus on the edge of Cumnock

The appointment follows an extensive procurement exercise by the local authority and its advisers.

As part of the process, community stakeholders including pupils, parents and teachers from the local schools, together with representatives from sports clubs and community groups were invited to attend presentations by bidding contractors and feedback to the client’s selection panel.

In addition to the design and construction challenges, the client has also set demanding community benefit targets, which our team plans to meet through education, training, employment and other initiatives.

A significant proportion of the building’s energy will be generated by onsite renewables, including photovoltaics on the building’s roof and a bio-mass heating system.

The campus will also be significantly enhanced through new hard and soft landscaping, planting and infrastructure to offer a more useable space.

Eddie Robertson, Morrison Construction’s managing director for Central Scotland, said: “This project is a major investment in education and well-being provision for the communities of Cumnock, Auchinleck and the surrounding area and we are very excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to make these plans a reality.

“The development is set to create a modern, long lasting facility for pupils, staff and the community.

“We will continue our engagement with school and community stakeholders throughout the construction programme and create excellent education and employment opportunities which ensure positive local impact and legacy benefits.”

Subject to completion of all necessary consultations and procurement procedures, construction is planned to begin in 2017, with an opening scheduled for 2019.

The five schools that will be located on the new 19.8 hectare campus include; Greenmill Primary School and Early Childhood Centre, Barshare Primary School, Supported Learning Centre and Early Childhood Centre, Hillside School, Auchinleck Academy and Cumnock Academy and Supported Learning Centre. The proposals also include further education and business enterprise facilities.

Plans lodged for 2,500-pupil school campus in East Ayrshire

Knockroon Learning and Enterprise CampusSheppard Robson has submitted plans to East Ayrshire Council for the 23,000m2 Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus.

Situated on a 19.8 hectare, urban fringe site – the school consolidates five disparate schools into one campus, creating a centre for education for the towns of Cumnock and neighbouring Auchinleck.

Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus 2Rupert Goddard, partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “The designs are a result of extensive consultation with all stakeholders, including five head teachers, staff, pupils at all levels and the local community and stakeholders.

“It is this level of understanding that has allowed us to co-locate these schools, sharing resources amongst different age-groups as well as opening-up these facilities to the public, with an emphasis on creating sporting, enterprise and artistic resources for the community.”

Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus 3Organised as four linked structures (two two-storey and two three-storey), the building will have three school pavilions and sports centre, The running track will also be retained and upgraded, while public access will be maintained around the site and along the riverside.

Renewable features include photovoltaics positioned on the building’s roof, a bio-mass heating system and a district heating network.

Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus 4Overall, the campus will house 2,500 students and 300 staff. Student facilities will include a secondary school (for 1,633 pupils), a primary school (517 pupils), a nursery (240 children), an 80-place supported learning centre and 30 additional places for students with special educational requirements.

Work is scheduled to start on site in summer 2017, with building completion scheduled for the start of 2019.