East Ayrshire

East Ayrshire Council adds backing to regeneration of former Diageo site

HALO Urban ParkA landmark regeneration plan that could create around 1,000 permanent new jobs on the site of the former Diageo bottling plant in Kilmarnock was today given the backing of East Ayrshire Council.

The “HALO” Urban Park project, spearheaded by Kilmarnock-based developers Klin Group, will be mainly funded by the private sector but has already secured financial backing from the site’s owners, Diageo, who have pledged £2m to support the proposed regeneration and to donate the 23 acres of land, subject to the project meeting certain economic and community benefit goals and securing financial backing from central government.

Today, East Ayrshire Council also approved £2m of support for the project.

Klin Group, who were the original visionaries for the Hill Street site and who secured an option to develop the site from Diageo, said the imaginative, brown field regeneration scheme is set to revitalise Kilmarnock and boost the wider economy of Ayrshire.

Plans for the Urban Park proposal that will create a commercial, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter for Kilmarnock 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.

HALO Urban Park 2Capitalising on the site’s rail and motorway links, the HALO proposal will be a phased development that will create around 1,000 sustainable jobs and complement the adjoining newly built Ayrshire College.

The local authority will now seek a further £10m financial support for the scheme from the Scottish and UK governments through the Ayrshire Growth Deal. The HALO project is one of a number of economic regeneration projects the council is putting forward, alongside North and South Ayrshire Councils, for funding totalling £359m through the Ayrshire Growth Deal.

Marie Macklin, chair of Klin Group, said: “Kilmarnock deserves the very best for this iconic site and that is what we are setting out to deliver. We listened carefully to what the people of the town had to say and the HALO Project will provide a fitting and sustainable legacy for the Hill Street site that will last for generations of Kilmarnock residents to come.”

David Cutter, President of Global Supply & Procurement at Diageo plc, said: “We are delighted to partner with East Ayrshire Council to support this regeneration proposal for Kilmarnock. Our ambition has always been to see this site redeveloped to the benefit of the local economy and community.

“Alongside the new college campus which is due to open soon at the site, we believe this regeneration plan will create a positive legacy for Kilmarnock and we hope it will gain the necessary support from the Ayrshire Growth Deal to make it a reality.”

Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council, said: “These proposals are a key element of East Ayrshire Council’s ambitions for the Ayrshire Growth Deal and will greatly contribute to the regeneration of Kilmarnock, breathing new life into the remainder of the site previously occupied by the Johnnie Walker bottling plant.”

Ceiling collapses at East Ayrshire primary school

East Ayrshire CouncilA primary school in East Ayrshire was forced to close after part of a classroom collapsed into a classroom last week.

The rubble was discovered at Hurlford Primary School on Friday morning, with the head teacher believing the damage to have been sustained overnight.

East Ayrshire Council said a contractor was called in on Friday to carry out further investigations which revealed five other classrooms may be “susceptible to similar issues”.

Pupils have been temporarily decanted to Loudoun Academy but a statement released by the local authority yesterday suggested that the disruption could go on until next June.

A council statement read: “In response to concerns raised by parents over the weekend we have endeavoured to keep the entire school together and not split classes across different establishments.

“Please be assured that the building is not dangerous; these are precautionary measures to ensure there is no further disruption to education provision.

“The likelihood is that these decant arrangements will be in place until June 2017. This will provide continuity and a settled teaching environment for the children.”

The school is subject to a £2.5million refurbishment and improvement project, with work beginning in April.

Main contractor sought for £63.5m East Ayrshire campus

East Ayrshire CouncilA main contractor is being sought to help deliver a £63.5 million education campus for East Ayrshire Council.

The planned Knockroon Learning & Enterprise Campus development in the Broomfield area of Cumnock will include: a merged primary school, incorporating two existing primary schools as well as Auchinleck Academy and Cumnock Academy. The proposals also include further education and business enterprise facilities.

It is set to be the biggest capital project ever undertaken by East Ayrshire Council.

Industry consultants Faithful+Gould will act as quantity surveyor while architect is Sheppard Robson.

Current plans envisage work starting on site in April 2017 and completing by July 2019.

The value of the main construction contract is estimated at £50m. Contractors interested in bidding have until 26th September 2016 to register interest and must have a minimum annual turnover of £100m (twice the contract value) for the last three years.

Faithful+Gould wins QS role on £63.5m East Ayrshire campus

Faithful and GouldIndustry consultants Faithful+Gould has been selected to help deliver a £63.5 million education campus in East Ayrshire.

The company will act as quantity surveyor on the Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus development, the biggest capital project ever undertaken by East Ayrshire Council.

The project will help accommodate over 2,000 secondary, primary and pre-school pupils and is to begin construction in 2017.

Sheppard Robson was appointed architect for the project earlier this year.

Barry Young, project lead and associate director at Faithful+Gould, said: “We will deliver a facility that recognises the scale of the investment and our contribution will be to optimise capital expenditure, maintenance and lifetime running costs, increase functionality and efficiency, maximise environmental performance and end user satisfaction overall.”

Alistair Kidd, senior project and capital accounting manager with East Ayrshire Council, added: “East Ayrshire Council is delighted to be working with Faithful+Gould who will be acting as employers’ agents and quantity surveyors on the Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus. Faithful+Gould is one of world’s largest consultancies, with a proven record of delivering project and cost management services on a range of large and complex construction projects.”

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

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.”