East Ayrshire

Green light for £45m East Ayrshire learning campus

William McIlvanney CampusPlans for a new purpose-built, state of the art learning campus in East Ayrshire took a step closer to fruition this week as the project reached financial close.

The milestone signals the official start of construction on the William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock which will be delivered by hub South West Scotland with the build being undertaken by Kier Construction.

The facility will be provided by East Ayrshire Council through the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future programme, managed by the Scottish Future Trust.

In December 2015, the council approved the total project costs of £45.303m. These will be met by funding from Scottish Government of £42.86m, which includes Gaelic provision within the new campus, with the balance being funded by East Ayrshire Council.

The new William McIlvanney Campus for 2-18 year olds will include the newly named Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Primary School and Early Childhood Centre, bringing together two existing secondary schools and two primary schools in Kilmarnock, and will feature a new centralised facility for Gaelic language provision, called – Sgoil na coille nuaidhe  – literally translated as New Woods School. This also translates, appropriately, as ‘new beginnings’.

Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council welcomed this latest development.

He said: “This ambitious education project is great news for the young people and communities of Kilmarnock.

“We are committed to giving our young people the best possible start in life and this new campus will ensure they have access to the kind of facilities and learning environments they need as they progress through the different stages of the education curriculum and eventually into employment.”

William McIlvanney Campus 2David MacDonald, hub programme director at Scottish Futures Trust, said: “The Hub programme is an innovative approach to develop and deliver best-value community facilities which provides public bodies with a quick, efficient and value for money way of getting their projects into construction and helps secure and sustain local employment.

“I’m naturally delighted that construction of the William McIlvanney Campus will start very soon and look forward to seeing pupils and the community benefit when it opens.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive, hub South West Scotland, added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with East Ayrshire Council and appointed contractor Kier Construction on this significant and innovative new facility.

“The William McIlvanney Campus project will generate substantial employment, growth and investment at a local level, whilst creating the infrastructure to support the ongoing education of the young people of Kilmarnock and the surrounding area.

“We appointed Kier Construction as the contractor on this new project as they have demonstrated a high level of commitment to delivering quality facilities whilst providing opportunities for the benefit of the local economy.”

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland & north-east England business, said: “We are looking forward to working together with East Ayrshire Council and our partners to create a first-class learning campus that will deliver lasting benefits for the pupils and the Kilmarnock community. Education is one of Kier’s specialist areas and we have an enviable track record in delivering similar projects in the sector.

This is a significant investment into the East Ayrshire economy and we look forward to working with the local community and providing valuable employment and training opportunities for suppliers and subcontractors based here.”

The new campus will be located on the existing site of James Hamilton Academy and New Farm Primary and Early Childhood Centre on Sutherland Drive, Kilmarnock.

Works will commence in the next few weeks and occupation is scheduled for 2018.

Green light for £7.5m Kilmarnock industrial unit project

rowallanEast Ayrshire Council has granted planning permission for a £7.5 million industrial unit construction project in Kilmarnock.

Three brand new, flexible industrial units will be built at Moorfield Park and Rowallan Business Park, thanks to funding from Scottish Enterprise and the council’s own Economic Regeneration and Development Fund.

The units will vary from 1,000sq m to 2,700 sq m and can be subdivided. Tenants will be responsible for fitting out the buildings, which could support up to 240 jobs.

Councillor Jim Buchanan said: “There are companies here producing an amazing array of goods and services which are in demand worldwide.

“And for many of them, this is spurring them on to fulfil increasing demand, create new jobs, and grow. However a dearth of suitable vacant premises is hampering expansion. That’s why we’ve decided to step in and help, with the provision of three new units between our two premier Business Parks.

“We appreciate that the costs involved in new developments means that there is little incentive for private landlords to build units, and for many companies the cost of buying make such a proposition uneconomic.

“We’ve already tested the market with a 2,100sq.m unit which we built at Moorfield Park. Hyspec Engineering Ltd moved in there in April 2015 – a move which safeguarded 110 jobs and will lead to more in the future.”

BAM completes first phase of Ayrshire care facility

Inside the Crosshouse hospital

Inside the Crosshouse hospital

BAM Construction has handed over the first phase of works at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock, as part of NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Building for Better Care Programme.

The programme will provide new ‘front door’ facilities for patients visiting the hospital for anything other than a scheduled appointment ensuring patients receive rapid assessment by senior clinical staff.

The first phase of works includes a new combined medical and surgical assessment unit including the provision of 35 bedrooms, all with en-suite facilities, treatment rooms, assessment rooms, and staff support facilities all within a new purpose built extension.

Doug Keillor, regional director at BAM Construction, said: “The hospital has remained fully functional throughout this first phase with minimum disruption experienced by all the staff, visitors and patients, which is the most important aspect of working in a live hospital. The new facilities are first class and will provide a welcoming environment for people seeking emergency medical care and their families.”

Phase two will feature eleven ambulatory care cubicles as well as pharmacy and associated support rooms. The programme of works, which is valued at £7.78 million, is scheduled for completion in March 2016.

BAM is also delivering similar facilities at University Hospital Ayr as part of the same programme and will feature a new emergency department with resuscitation bays, scheduled for completion in February 2016, as well as a new combined assessment unit including an integrated minor injury unit.

Regeneration specialist to lead £525m Loudoun Castle transformation

Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon

Entrepreneur and regeneration specialist Paul Dixon has been appointed to act as principal lead on the £525 million project to regenerate Loudoun Castle.

The Loudoun Castle Project aims to create an all-weather resort at the 610-acre site at Galston, East Ayrshire, featuring 450 luxury lodges, 12 glamping pitches, a lake and leisure development, indoor sports facilities and an indoor subtropical water park. Up to 2,500 new jobs could be created.

With over 40 years’ experience in economy boosting projects, Paul boasts an impressive CV.

The trained accountant founded Dixon Motors in 1973 – building it up to become the third largest motor retail group in the UK.

Since then the married father-of-three has held several senior positions on dozens of development projects – which have all brought lasting value to their local areas.

Paul said: “I am absolutely delighted to be coming on board with the Loudoun Castle Project. For me this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create something unique that captures the spirit of Loudoun and the culture of Scotland. I have been truly impressed by the plans for the site.

“This development has incredible potential and could bring real economic, cultural and social benefit to East Ayrshire and the wider Scottish economy.

“Added value is always at the heart of every project I have undertaken and I believe my experience will bring much to the development and subsequent legacy of Loudoun Castle.

“In the past 40 years I have been fortunate to have been involved in a number of major regeneration projects bringing back to life everything from redundant factory sites to brownfield sites.

“A number of the projects I have worked on have secured National Government or European Union Grants and this is a skill set I can bring to the table for the Loudoun Project.

“I would like to thank the East Ayrshire Council and the Scottish Government for guiding and supporting the Loudoun Castle Project through the planning process.”

Paul Dixon’s appointment comes as the Scottish Government commented publicly for the first time on the proposed development.

A spokeswoman at Holyrood said this week: “We are aware of the planning application at Loudoun Castle. In light of its scale and potential economic and cultural significance, the Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division has been following progress of the application and facilitating discussions between East Ayrshire Council, as the planning authority, and the developer, with a view to encouraging an early determination of the scheme.”

Loudoun CastleShould planning permission be granted for phase one, the Loudoun Castle Project will create a world class holiday and leisure destination, a brand new Loudoun distillery, up to 1,025 new homes, a renovated and stabilised Castle building and will deliver a plan for the conversion of  Loudoun Castle itself into a 4/5 star hotel.

Phase two at Loudoun is also being prepared for planning and will include a tourism led luxury brands outlet village of some 340,000 square feet, a whisky visitor centre selling Loudoun whisky and several new quality hotels to provide for the many visitors expected to the area.

Phase one will employ 800 people from the local area in the hospitality and leisure sectors while another 1,700 new jobs will be created in the retail side of the completed development. Local universities and colleges have indicated that they will liaise with the senior management team to offer courses which can dovetail with the needs of this new and exciting development for Ayrshire.

The masterplan will see the 610-acre former family theme park transformed into an all-weather resort featuring 450 luxury lodges, 12 glamping pitches, and a lake and leisure development featuring indoor sports facilities and a subtropical water park.

Loudoun Castle itself will be stabilised with leading conservation specialists assessing what can be achieved for the future of the site. There will also be the creation of new communities comprising up to 1,025 new homes to enable the restoration of the Castle buildings.

Timescales are subject to planning but if successful, work would begin onsite in 2017 with an anticipated opening during 2019 and phased development beyond.

It is anticipated that around 1,000 jobs will be created in the construction process alone for a period of at least five years with an additional 2,500 long term jobs created through the leisure and retail offering.

Plans for the residential development will feature a mix of starter homes, bungalows and three, four and five-bedroom family homes.

David Mace, chairman of The Loudoun Castle Project, said: “The Loudoun Castle development will bring significant long term benefit to East Ayrshire and indeed Scotland through jobs, investment and infrastructure.

“We understand that there are several overseas investors looking to invest in Ayrshire and we believe that as a Scottish Government supported project, the Loudoun Castle Project can indeed be a cornerstone, foundation and great example of what can be done in, and for Ayrshire, with a realistic vision, a great design and project team, good solid investors and a desire to build a worthwhile legacy.

“Adding the expertise of Paul to the team of leading business professionals already working on the project only reinforces that legacy.

“From speaking to local individuals and community groups, we believe that it has long been an aspiration of the people of East Ayrshire to secure the future of Loudoun Castle. We are absolutely committed to turning this vision into reality and very much look forward to working with other local stakeholders to make this hugely important development a reality of delivering a world class resort with a stunning castle and a tourism focused luxury brands outlet village.”

New Ayrshire College campus project achieves top BREEAM award

ariel-view-new-buildAyrshire College’s new campus project in Kilmarnock has been awarded a BREEAM “outstanding” rating at its design stage.

The accreditation is the highest standard awarded and has been secured by only three buildings in the Scottish further and higher education sector.

BREEAM is a tool to assess and measure projects across against a broad range of criteria which cover aspects from energy to ecology. BREEAM measures how sustainability has being built into the overall design, construction and operation of buildings.

College principal Heather Dunk said: “We are delighted that the new Kilmarnock campus has achieved a BREEAM Outstanding award surpassing the specification requirement of an Excellent rating at design stage.

“It is important that this stunning, state of the art campus not only benefits students and local businesses and communities now, but that it continues to contribute positively for generations to come.”

Some of the key elements in the College’s project which contributed to securing BREEAM accreditation are: 600kw biomass boiler, 330sqm photovoltiac panels, high efficiency cooling system and optimisation of natural daylight.

The introduction of such technologies will create a number of exciting learning opportunities for students and help raise awareness of sustainability in design.

Diggers move in on East Ayrshire retail site

Ashleigh AyrshireA regeneration project in East Ayrshire has taken a step forward following the arrival of diggers on site. 

The regeneration of Townhead Street in Cumnock is now thoroughly underway as work begins on a £2.2 million retail development.

Seven units will be built by contractors Ashleigh Building for sale or lease.

Helen McLean of Cumnock Community Council said she was pleased with the plans, which have been drawn up in conjunction with the Prince’s Foundation for Building Communities.

The new shopfronts will also include three spaces for on street parking for people with disabilities.

Council Leader Douglas Reid met with Ms Mclean, the project team and representatives of Ashleigh Building to see the site.

He said: “We’ve already seen a lot of Cumnock’s traditional buildings getting a facelift thanks to the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) funding, and the building of Rothesay House was a big step forward, but now we’re getting a chance to tackle the retail side of the town.

“The new shops are being offered firstly to current occupants of the Glaisnock Centre, and a number of other businesses have also shown an interest.  The units will provide a solid future for existing and new businesses.

“We’re looking forward to a handover in the Spring of 2016.”

Morrison Construction enjoys £5m success in Ayrshire

Morrison ConstructionMorrison Construction is celebrating contract wins in Kilmarnock and Prestwick with a combined worth in excess of £5 million.

Spirit Aerosystems (Europe) Ltd has chosen the contractor to construct its new specialist paint facility at Prestwick, in a contract worth £4.1m in total.  The project involves the construction of a new paint finishing centre which will form an extension to Building 90 and replace two of the existing paint facilities currently operating on the campus.

Across in Kilmarnock, Morrison has been contracted to build a new 15,000ft² retail extension at the existing Queens Drive retail park to house Smyth Toys, for Aegon UK Property, valued at £1.4m. This project started on site on 11 May for 20 weeks.

Eddie Robertson, regional director, said: “It is an important success for us to win these contracts as they support our business strategy to diversify into new markets, looking to broaden our client base and build new long term relationships.

“We are working closely with the teams both at Spirit Aerosystems (Europe) Ltd and Aegon, as well as the Ayrshire community, and I believe our scale and adaptability are contributory factors in our continued success.”

Plans proceed for Cumnock education campus

East Aryshire CouncilEast Ayrshire Council’s cabinet has agreed to proceed with a project for a new state of the art learning campus in Cumnock.

The proposed new campus, set to be built on part of Broomfield Playing Fields, would see a new Hillside School, a new school to replace Greenmill and Barshare Primaries and Early Childhood Centres a new secondary school to replace Cumnock and Auchinleck Academies and new Supported Learning Centres to replace those at Barshare and Cumnock Academy.

Plans include purpose-designed facilities for dining, games, sports and recreation, information communication technology, drama and the arts.

The decision will now be considered by the council’s governance and scrutiny committee.

An extensive consultation process revealed widespread support for the project although some reservations were mooted in favour of refurbishing the existing Barshare school to retain its local presence.

Councillor Stephanie Primrose, the council’s spokesperson for promoting lifelong learning, said:  “I am reassured that Education Scotland is so positive about the proposals and believe that they will mean additional educational benefit for all pupils.

“I understand the concern from those in properties neighbouring Broomfield, but there is an absolute commitment to work with them on the design and on location within the site so that any adverse impact is minimised. We are also committed to ensure that there is no reduction in the level of facilities needed for sports use.

“We need to recognise legitimate safety concerns and there must be no compromise on this. If our road safety colleagues are not able to make routes as safe as they need to be in terms of national guidance then we need to make sure additional transport directly to the campus is provided.”

Councillor Eoghann MacColl, spokesperson for promoting lifelong learning said: “This is leading edge thinking. This new campus will have some of the best facilities in the UK and has the capacity to raise ambition and aspiration of this and future generations.

“It means that three separate schools with three separate head teachers will all have top notch sports, recreational, theatre and ICT facilities that will be accessible by the community as well. There is also the opportunity to include Ayrshire College provision and Business Enterprise starter units.

“The investment shows our confidence in our young people. Experience at combined campuses at Grange and St Joseph’s has been excellent and we have seen good educational outcomes.”

Mactaggart & Mickel Contracts hands over Kilmarnock affordable housing development

West Langlands (2)The keys have been handed over for a £4.4 million affordable housing development in Kilmarnock, delivered by Mactaggart & Mickel Contracts, a division of Mactaggart & Mickel Group.

The 1.8 acre site at West Langlands has 39 housing units which will be used by East Ayrshire Council, providing much needed affordable stock to the local community. Reflecting the varying needs of housebuyers, the development features six property types ranging from one to three-bedrooms and offers fully accessible wheelchair living.

Peter Shepherd, director at Mactaggart & Mickel Contracts, said: “It was extremely rewarding to work with East Ayrshire Council on this project and help address the shortage of social housing in the area. With the delivery of affordable housing currently high on the political and social agenda, it’s important for local authorities and contractors to work together to help supply projects like this.

“We’ve been delivering partnership developments for a number of years and are well-versed in the need to offer value for money without compromising on quality. We’re currently working on several other affordable housing projects and plan to continue expanding our portfolio for delivering homes in partnership with local authorities and housing associations.”

Councillor Douglas Reid said: “The West Langland Street site is a really ambitious build with 39 new homes being built on the site of the former cattle market. It is like a pleasant oasis in the heart of the town centre. Only a few hundred yards from the bustling Kings Street, John Finnie Street and the railway station, there is a unique mixture of different house types, meeting a wide variety of housing needs, from large family homes to specialist wheelchair accommodation, which will benefit the community. This has probably been the biggest transformation of any housing site to date, on the site of the old cattle market which has lain derelict for years.

“This whole area was at one time a thriving industrial scene, with the former cattle market just metres away from Andrew Barclay’s Caledonia Works. Demolished in 2009, the cattle market site will soon be thriving once again with new tenants moving in.

“Throughout East Ayrshire over 200 affordable homes are being built, providing specially designed new homes for elderly and disabled residents. The tenants I have visited at the sites already completed find their new homes life changing and I know that West Langland Street will be no different.”

Keppie aims to inspire future architects with schools design challenge

Hardeep Singh KohliKeppie Design has called for architects to address the gulf between education and practice as it announced Cumnock Academy as the winner of the top prize at the finale of its ‘Interaction’ challenge.

Run in partnership with East Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire College, Interaction was an enterprise education challenge in which seven secondary schools in East Ayrshire participated. The finale was held in the council chambers and was hosted by TV personality and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli.

In November the pupils were challenged to design an inspirational, flexible and open learning space for the new Ayrshire College campus, which is being built on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock and for which Keppie is the delivery architect.  Using the construction project as the basis for the brief, the college has been acting as a client for the students.

David Ross, design director from Keppie and the creator of Interaction, said: “As part of their business and enterprise programmes, the school pupils have been learning skills and attitudes to help prepare them for the world of work. The Interaction project is a great way to develop those skills and to help create the open, interactive and collaborative learning environment the new college is aspiring to be.

“It has been fantastic to see all of the teams’ incredible design ideas. The judging panel of design professionals, educators and leading business people were genuinely speechless at the quality of the ideas and the polished way in which they were presented. The teams from all of the participating schools are an absolute credit to East Ayrshire and exemplify the mature and innovative way in which learning is delivered in the area.”

The winning design from Cumnock Academy will form the basis of the solution which the college team (including Keppie Design, structural engineer Ramboll, contractor McLaughlin & Harvey and interior designer Space Solutions) will implement, with the winning team remaining part of the process. The next step is to present the design solution to the college’s project board.

The following people made up the judging panel:

  • Hardeep Singh Kohli, TV personality and broadcaster (chair)
  • Professor Christopher Platt, head of Mackintosh School of Architecture
  • Marie Macklin CBE, Ayrshire College Board of Management and CEO of the Klin Group
  • Eileen Mackin, Ayrshire College project team leader
  • Ryan Sylvester, divisional director at Keppie Design and project architect for the new Ayrshire College.

Cumnock Academy demonstrated thinking in a wide variety of areas including furniture, lighting, acoustics and fabrics. The team presented a comprehensive solution that showed a significant amount of background research which included testing the durability of materials, the flow of traffic in the college and accessibility of the space. The team also showed several skills by using video content and the use of modelling software in their presentation.

Professor Christopher Platt, judge and head of Mackintosh School of Architecture, said: “The Interaction project is a fantastic example of schools, higher education and industry working together. Architecture is not taught in schools as a subject so it is increasingly important for firms like Keppie to engage with education to improve how the profession is perceived by those who may go on to become the architects of the future.”

David Ross explained the background to the project and its aspirations: “In general terms, architects engage far less with the communities in which we operate than we’d like to admit, given that listening and communicating with those who experience our work is an essential part of the job. To an extent, this could be as a consequence of a gulf between education and practice which has already been recognised by many educators. By addressing this issue there is an opportunity for architectural practices to become directly involved in changing how the profession is understood and perceived by those who may go on to become the architects of the future.

“What we get from an initiative such as Interaction is a real sense of contribution.  Keppie operates a specific work experience programme that has seen several of those who’ve been through it become full-time employees after their further education courses.  They have been coached in the way we want to work and have therefore made an easy and quick transition into the world of work.  It is my view that more practices need to collaborate with, and support, the wider spectrum of education in order to protect, nurture and ultimately strengthen the profession for the future. That seems like an aspiration worth sharing.”