169 new homes in the pipeline at Greendykes South

A new deal between developer The EDI Group and housebuilder Taylor Wimpey is set to regenerate a key brownfield site in Edinburgh with 169 new homes for the capital.

Taylor Wimpey has submitted an application with detailed plans to build a mix of private apartments and terraced and detached houses at Greendykes South near Craigmillar.

In addition to the proposed residential development, the site will feature a small retail unit helping to meet the local needs of existing and future communities.

Work on the seven-acre development, situated in Greendykes between Craigmillar and the Bio-Quarter, could get underway as soon as autumn 2018 if the proposals are approved by the planning authority.

The scheme is part of the £200 million+ Craigmillar Masterplan which includes 1800 planned new homes, two thirds of which are completed or under construction, together with a town centre retail development and public realm improvements.

The regeneration has been led by The EDI Group for the past decade, helping to build a thriving community for people to live in the south of the city.

The new Greendykes South proposals will complement the adjacent development at Greendykes North and follows the recent opening of a Lidl supermarket and a Home Bargains store in the Craigmillar town centre development, another vital part of the area’s regeneration project.

Taylor Wimpey is currently completing a nearby development of 160 homes at Edmonstone Walk, off The Wisp, and the new proposals will neatly complement work in this area.

Pauline Mills, land and planning director at Taylor Wimpey, said: “We’re delighted to be working with The EDI Group to deliver some stunning new homes in this part of Edinburgh. The new retail facilities on the high street should serve to make this area even more attractive for purchasers, and based on our experience at our nearby Edmonstone Walk development, we anticipate very strong customer demand.

“As well as an impressive range of new homes, our development will provide a range of economic benefits for the local area which includes supporting construction jobs, as well as the attraction of new customers to local businesses.”

Mark Harris, head of development at The EDI Group, added: “It’s fantastic to have a company of Taylor Wimpey’s calibre building on the site’s success with a very attractive scheme, which fits perfectly with our ambitions for Greendykes.

“This development will be the next significant stage of Craigmillar’s regeneration and we’re pleased to be playing our role in helping create attractive places in Edinburgh for people to live and work.”

Masterplan initiative seeks new vision for Waverley

A new Masterplan is to be developed to outline a long term vision Edinburgh’s Waverley Station.

The Waverley Masterplan will consider the future growth anticipated at the station, the impact of city centre developments on how people use it and how it can play its part in the continued success of Scotland’s capital city.

The Masterplan is being led in partnership by station owner Network Rail and City of Edinburgh Council who have formed a group comprising Transport Scotland, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and other neighbouring property owners.

The group’s first aim is to understand how future growth is likely to impact footfall within the station and on the streets outside. An options appraisal will be developed to consider short, medium and long term objectives before wider consultation is undertaken with customers, user groups and other interested parties.

An initial study is expected to begin this summer, with more details made available on how to contribute to the process.

Alex Hynes, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, which includes Network Rail Scotland, said: “Waverley has seen its footfall more than double from 10 million to over 24 million within the last ten years and estimates suggest that it will almost double again, to 40 million, by 2024. Such a steep increase is a positive indicator of the railway’s economic influence on the city and a clear sign that further investment will be required.

“We are creating additional rail provision within Waverley at present and will continue to seek new ways to create the best railway that Scotland has ever had. However, more trains mean more people and that inevitably adds to the pressure on station infrastructure and the surrounding streets.

“The Waverley Masterplan will help us to coordinate our approach and to tackle some of the issues that an increasingly busy Waverley Station raises. One organisation cannot manage this in isolation, so it is a welcome step forward to be working with City of Edinburgh Council and our other partners in the development of this plan.”

Lesley Macinnes, convener of the transport and environment committee, City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Waverley Station’s location in the heart of our city centre means it plays a crucial role in the city’s transport system. With population and visitor numbers forecast to grow over the coming years, we need to work with partners to ensure we manage these increased numbers both in the station and in the city centre as a whole to deliver the best possible experience for all residents, commuters and tourists.”

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted that the combined expertise and energies of a range of parties have been brought together by the City of Edinburgh Council and Network Rail to create a long term vision for the station and its surrounding area.  Edinburgh Waverley is the first impression for many as they arrive in our capital city. It is both a portal to the city and wider Scotland. We’ve seen the positive difference that the redevelopment of major stations can have economically, socially and aesthetically. Accordingly, I look forward to developments at Waverley with considerable interest.”

The Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan follows in the footsteps of other successful joint initiatives undertaken in other major city centre stations. Kings Cross/St. Pancras, Waterloo, Leeds, Bristol Temple Meads and Birmingham New Street have all been through similar processes during the last decade.

Designs unveiled for Edinburgh concert hall

Architects behind Edinburgh’s first purpose-built music venue in over a century have revealed the latest designs proposals as part of a public exhibition and consultation.

To be located behind the Royal Bank of Scotland’s historic home on St Andrew Square, The IMPACT Centre will create a major new venue for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Central to its design will be a hall offering world-class acoustics, however the design team, which is being led by David Chipperfield Architects, said that feedback throughout the exhibition process is still helping shape the final outcome.

David Chipperfield said: “We are very excited to be working on the new music venue in a city renowned around the world for its arts and culture. The setting, within the context of Edinburgh’s historic New Town, is also both stimulating and challenging. The new music venue will not only provide a modern performance space for Edinburgh but also create a new public place in this somewhat hidden corner of the city.”

IMPACT Scotland’s chairman, Sir Ewan Brown said: “This is an exciting stage in the creation of a vibrant new home for all kinds of music and performance in Edinburgh. We have set the bar high for our design team, asking them to produce a truly modern venue with exceptional acoustics, which also embraces and complements the heritage that surrounds it.

“This is a building being designed from the inside out, with at its heart, a hall offering world-class acoustics for performers and audiences. The design team have concentrated on getting this right, and we are now developing the look of this truly exceptional building and how it will sympathetically enhance its hidden location.

“Feedback from our first consultation showed that 98 percent of respondents supported the idea of a new music and performance venue in central Edinburgh. The need for new venue to secure the future of music in Edinburgh is clear and the support the project is receiving is tremendously encouraging.”

District heating network to be installed at Edinburgh housing development

Arc-Tech (Scotland) Ltd has embarked on its first major district heating contract for a new residential development located in Craigmillar, Edinburgh.

Greendykes, located just south of Niddrie Mains Road, is being delivered on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council and will consist of 75 mixed-tenure homes upon its completion in early-2019. The project is an important part of the ongoing regeneration of the wider Craigmillar area and represents over £9 million of investment by the council, with support from the Scottish Government.

The new district heating network will serve the development from its very own local Energy Centre which will house a gas-fired CHP unit and energy efficiency gas-fired boilers.

Designed by Hawthorne Boyle, the network naturally functions at a lower temperature than standard systems which reduces heat wastage and minimises heat loss.

The installation of the district heating will contribute to the council’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan which aims to reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2020 and to the new carbon and energy targets set by Scottish Government. The use of more efficient heat will provide a range of benefits ensuring long term energy savings for future occupants. Open protocol smart meters will be installed to every property to monitor heating and electrical usage.

John Gallacher, Arc-Tech managing director, said: “Arc-Tech is a fledgling company but our team has extensive experience in the installation of district heating networks. Whilst this is the company’s first full contract, it is assured that the district heating network at Greendykes will be delivered to the highest quality standard.

“Ultimately, the goal is to reduce unnecessary energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the development, a key focus of Arc-Tech’s, so we are delighted to be involved.”

Arc-Tech will work closely with the main contractor and the client in the delivery of the network with a 52 week programme following from a site start last month.

‘Vibrant city quarter’ in the pipeline as council buys former national grid site in Granton

The City of Edinburgh Council’s development plans have been boosted with the acquisition of the former National Grid site in Granton.

The local authority, which reached an agreement for the Waterfront site with National Grid on Tuesday, said development of this site is critical to its plans to deliver a vibrant city quarter and accelerate the delivery of new homes for people on low and middle incomes.

Development of the 66-acre site stalled over the last decade and the council has been successful in negotiating with National Grid over the last 12 months to unlock the site’s potential.

The site also includes an iconic last remaining gas holder in the city and the former Granton railway station.

Depute leader Cammy Day said: “This is a hugely important site for the city’s economy and its acquisition is a key milestone in our plans to make Granton’s Waterfront a great place to live and work. It will also make a significant contribution to our ambitious plans to build 20,000 affordable and low-cost homes over the next decade.

“Despite enormous global challenges the city’s economy and population continues to grow and we want everyone in the city to benefit from this. I look forward to working with the local community, partners and colleagues from Scottish Government to shape our plans to develop the site.”

Benjamin Gaunt from National Grid Property said: “National Grid has been working in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council for many years to develop Granton Waterfront, successfully bringing a number of projects in the area to fruition. We are delighted the council has acquired Granton Waterfront and will be taking the site through to the next stage of development.”

Over the last decade the council and its partners have invested over £309m in the regeneration of North Edinburgh, delivering nearly 2,200 homes, retail, a new school, Craigroyston Community High and a new health and social care hub, the Pennywell All Care Centre.

New early release signals for cyclists planned for Edinburgh tram route

New traffic signals which give cyclists a head-start ahead of other traffic are being proposed under the latest plans for safety improvements along Edinburgh’s tram route.

Early release signals, which are already operating at the junction of Leith Walk and McDonald Road and have been successfully used in other UK cities such as York and London, are part of a range of proposals going out to public consultation today.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s transport team has been working closely with Spokes and Sustrans, in consultation with Living Streets, to develop a programme of road changes aimed at improving safety for cyclists along the tram route, in particular between Haymarket Yards and York Place.

The first phase was implemented in autumn 2017 and consisted of new red-surfaced cycle lanes at a number of key locations to help make it easier to cross tram tracks.

Phase two comprises new Advanced Stop Line (ASL) boxes at five locations along the on-street section of the route – these are set to be installed and operational by the end of this month.

As well as the early release signals at 14 junctions along the on-street section of the tram route, the plans include two options for the Haymarket junction at Grosvenor Street, changes to the cycle lane alignment at Haymarket Station and a new mandatory cycle lane where Princes Street meets South St Andrew Street.

Other proposals include a new traffic island at Haymarket Yards, a new crossing following cycle desire lines over the tram route at Cultins Road and improvements to the traffic island and ASL box at the junction with Princes Street and South Charlotte Street.

Transport convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “With the first phase of cycle safety improvements already in place – and, according to our feedback, well-received by cyclists  – and the second phase just weeks away from being implemented, we’re now looking to the public for feedback on our proposed designs for Phase three, which we aim to put in place later this year.

“Road safety is absolutely paramount and we’ve been working extremely closely with our partners to refine these designs. Early release signals for cyclists have been credited with reducing collisions in cities where they’re already used so these are a particularly desirable option.

“The consultation is now live on our Consultation Hub and will run until 11 April 2018. We want to hear from as many people as possible to ensure we get this right so please do have your say and spread the word.”

The consultation on Phase three of tram cycle safety improvements runs from today until April 11, with the bulk of the proposed changes planned to be implemented towards the end of 2018.

The fourth and final phase of improvements will comprise improvements to the road layout at the Princes Street/Lothian Road/Shandwick Place/Queensferry Street/Hope Street junction to address safety for cyclists and pedestrians. This phase of the project will be progressed as part of the Central Edinburgh Transformation programme.

Four bidders shortlisted to deliver Edinburgh tram extension

How the tram would look travelling along Constitution Street

The City of Edinburgh Council has announced the four bidders shortlisted for the Infrastructure and Systems work on the proposed tram line extension to Newhaven as the completion of the Final Business Case for the project edges closer.

Contractors were invited to participate in the pre-qualification process for the contract, which closed late last year following an extensive period of market consultation.

The contracting strategy was well received, with significant interest received from local, national and international bidders applying to pre-qualify on to the shortlist.

Following a robust evaluation process of the seven pre-qualification applications received, four bidders have pre-qualified to be invited to tender in mid-April 2018 for the Infrastructure and Systems contract.

This includes the design and construction of all track, overhead line, tram stops, systems infrastructure, road infrastructure and public realm between York Place and Newhaven.

A visualisation of the tram at Elm Row

The shortlisted bidders are:

  • BAM Colas Rail JV
  • Dragados
  • Farrans Sacyr Neopul JV
  • Sisk Steconfer JV

Following the tender period, which is likely to last until late summer 2018, the City of Edinburgh Council will update the Final Business Case and seek a council decision in late 2018 as to whether the project should proceed to the construction stage.

If the project is given the go-ahead, it is expected that the contract will be signed in late 2018, with the line between York Place and Newhaven due to become operational in 2022.

Transport convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “When the Outline Business Case (OBC) was approved by the council in September 2017 we pledged to test the OBC with a robust procurement process before reporting back with the Final Business Case. Our project team – the same team who successfully delivered the tram to York Place following mediation – has worked very closely with the market over the past 18 months, developing a contract strategy that meets market expectations and the requirements of the council.

“We were very pleased with the significant level of interest from local, national and international bidders and this process has resulted in a strong shortlist of experienced design and build contractors as we move on to the tender stage.”

Hundreds of bodies could be moved to extend Edinburgh tram network

A visualisation of the tram at Elm Row

The remains of around 200 bodies dating back hundreds of years may have to be exhumed if current plans to extend Edinburgh’s tram network down to Newhaven are given the final go-ahead.

A public consultation has been launched to help shape plans for the expansion of the tram line down Leith Walk, but under current proposals, an excavation of the burial ground at South Leith Parish Church would have to be undertaken before work can begin.

Officials said they expected to exhume bones from as far back as the 14th century to enable construction works to take place in the north of the city.

The £30,000 consultation will invite members of the public, the business community and a wide range of stakeholders to give their views on the plans before a final vote on whether to go ahead with the proposals is held in the autumn.

Starting later this month, the consultation exercise will seek feedback on a) traffic management and business support plans for the construction period and b) the outline road layout for Leith Walk and the rest of the route.

How the tram would look travelling along Constitution Street

Six weeks of engagement will provide the public, businesses and wider stakeholders with general information on the project, an opportunity to meet the team and specific details around traffic management during construction, support for business proposals and the outline road layout, ahead of final plans being drawn up.

Views will be sought on traffic management and phasing currently proposed, including proposals for the closure of Leith Walk northbound and a single lane open southbound, along with the closure of sections of Constitution Street, for approximately 18 months during construction.

The traffic management proposals have been drawn up following in-depth traffic modelling and discussions with key partners and stakeholders, including bus companies, local community groups businesses and elected members.

The plans include support for businesses who will be most affected by the works, including provision for parking and loading between worksites, an Open for Business campaign, on-street customer service staff, logistics hubs and financial support.

Views will also be sought on the plans for the permanent design of the street along the route, including a dedicated public transport-only lane on Leith Walk for tram and bus during morning and evening rush hour.

This is the first stage in a consultation process that is scheduled to continue through to the end of 2018.

City of Edinburgh Council’s transport convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “When the Outline Business Case was approved by council in September we pledged to dedicate the following year or so (ahead of the final decision) to establishing mutually beneficial relationships with local residents and businesses who would be most affected by construction works. We’ve been working very closely with the local community and our partners ever since to model traffic management plans and look at options for supporting businesses as much as possible if the project goes ahead.

“These plans have been developed taking on board lessons learned from the first phase of tramworks and the current traffic management arrangements in place around Leith Street.

“The recent Leith survey showed that a majority of residents think trams will make a positive difference to Leith. However, there are clearly some very real concerns about disruption and congestion during construction. This consultation gives people the chance to help shape how we manage things if and when work gets under way. We hope as many people as possible will have their say, either at one of our four information events or via the Consultation Hub, which will host the consultation from 19 March.”

Edinburgh revealed as number one UK ‘hot spot’ for hotel development

Global real estate adviser Colliers International has named Edinburgh as the UK’s top city for hotel development.

In its latest UK Hotels Market Index, Colliers said that Edinburgh moved up four places in 2017 from the previous year, with its high position mainly attributed to strong occupancy levels and average daily rate (ADR) growth in 2017, resulting in a four-year upward RevPAR trend, combined with constrained new supply.

The UK Hotels Market Index is an analysis of 34 locations across the UK, ranked to determine the ‘hot spots’ for hotel development and acquisition across the country.

The annual report, which is in its third year, paints a positive picture for the hotels sector.

Colliers’ index shows continued year on year growth for the sector, with revenue per available room (RevPAR) increasing by 3.8%; significantly ahead of GDP growth.

Regional markets have continued to catch up to London in terms of their attractiveness to investors, with cities such as Hull and Plymouth entering the list of top 10 ‘hot spots’ for hotel development and acquisition in the UK for the first time in 2017.

Alistair Letham, a director in the UK hotels agency team at Colliers International in Scotland, said: “Apart from London, Edinburgh is the most popular city for visitors in the UK. It is therefore of little surprise that this is also reflected in the popularity of Edinburgh as “hot-spot” for hotel development. This is further augmented by Edinburgh’s role as an important commercial, financial and political centre, which helps drive demand. The continuing growth in passenger numbers at Edinburgh Airport, alongside the ongoing worldwide popularity of Edinburgh as a ‘Festival City’, is a further indicator of its strength.”

Bath ranks second, moving ten places up, as a result of strong ADR performance, combined with a lower active pipeline.

Belfast is positioned third, improving its ranking by a significant 16 spots due to the city’s robust and positive four-year RevPAR trend together with relatively low land site prices.

The analysis uses nine key performance indicators (KPIs) to score each of the 34 locations with a figure from one to five (one being the lowest and five being the highest).

The determining indices include land site prices; build costs; market appetite; valuation exit yields; room occupancy; average daily rate; room occupancy rates; four year RevPAR trend; active pipeline as a percentage of current supply; and, construction costs. The ratings are then consolidated into a single figure and ranked to show which markets are hot in terms of a desirable location for investors to acquire an existing hotel or develop a new one.

Marc Finney, head of hotels & resorts consulting, Colliers International, said: “The data in our third annual report reveals the ever-changing nature of the UK hotels market. Cities such as Bath and Belfast have really upped their game in the last year to make it into the top five, despite failing to feature in the top 10 last year. Our Index is formulated in such a way that high land and construction costs and sluggish hotel market growth are penalised. That’s why some markets will rank lower than expected.

“Of course this is a general market index and site specific factors will lead to significant variances but the data demonstrates which cities investors should be watching and offers a credible indication to influence their decision making process.”

Construction underway at Edinburgh St James

Construction work has now commenced for the 1.7 million sq ft Edinburgh St James development following the completion of a significant demolition programme, marking a major new phase in the regeneration of the east end of Edinburgh.

Four tower cranes have arrived on site in recent months, including one of the largest tower cranes in Europe. Led by the project’s main contractor Laing O’Rourke, the construction process will see 200,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete being used to build the development, with over 5,000 workers on site throughout the duration of the build.

Opening to the public in 2020, the mixed-use scheme in the heart of Edinburgh is one of the largest and most significant regeneration projects currently underway in the UK. Comprising 850,000 sq ft of retail space, including 85 new shops and 32 food and beverage units, an Everyman Cinema, up to 150 new homes, a five-star luxury W Hotel, a Roomzzz Aparthotel and three new public squares, Edinburgh St James is set to revolutionise and regenerate the city’s East End.

Martin Perry, project director, Edinburgh St James, said: “The start of construction marks an exciting new phase in the progress of Edinburgh St James. The next stage of the construction process will, over time, start to see buildings coming out of the ground and will allow the public to get a taste of what is to come in 2020.

“Edinburgh St James is going to be a major new landmark for the city, opening up the East End of Edinburgh and creating a truly inspiring place for people to live, shop and play. We look forward to making further announcements about progress on site ahead of the opening in 2020.”

The news coincides with a number of important milestones from the project’s sustainability programme, as part of the project’s ongoing commitment to the wider Edinburgh community, economy and environment; 79% of people inducted on the project live in the local area 60% of construction value has been sourced locally, and 98% of non-hazardous construction waste diverted from landfill.

The team has also undertaken over 480 hours of volunteering on local curriculum engagement activities and community engagement and supported over 230 days of work experience and pre-employment opportunities – reaching almost half of the agreed target of 500 days.

Tim Kelly, project director, Laing O’Rourke, said: “The level of progress onsite since the former St James Shopping centre closed almost 18 months ago has been remarkable. We have put the local community at the heart of the development and have ensured that this is demonstrated through our continued commitment towards community engagement and a variety of local sustainability initiatives.”

Councillor Gavin Barrie, convener of the housing and economy committee, said: “This is a key milestone in the Edinburgh St James Project which, when open, will transform the city centre, deliver over 3,000 new full time permanent jobs, and give a fantastic boost to the city’s economy.”