3500 more affordable homes in Fife

Fife Council’s Community & Housing Services Committee has given final approval to the Council’s Affordable Housing Programme, which will see 3500 new affordable homes built throughout Fife by 2022.

This phase of building builds on the 2700 new Affordable Homes built in Fife over the last Administration (2012 -2017) and includes proposals for 1500 Council houses.

The programme continues to be a great example of partnership working between Fife Council, the Fife Housing Association Alliance, the Scottish Government and private developers.

Cllr Judy Hamilton, Convener of the Community & Housing Services Committee, said: “There is no doubt in my mind that good quality, warm and safe housing is a determinant of health and well-being. It is the bedrock of strong communities.

“We are pleased to be working with partners once again and our commitment to the people of Fife is that we will deliver our new target of 3,500 new affordable homes by 2022.

“The programme that my Committee approved today will have a strong focus on building houses for specific needs, including larger family homes. By listening and talking to tenants, we have prioritised our building programme; and we are demonstrating our commitment to building affordable homes where they are needed most; and create jobs and apprenticeships, to support the Fife economy and the construction industry.”

Scott Kirkpatrick, director of development with Kingdom Housing Association, added: “The Fife Housing Association Alliance members (Kingdom Group, Glen Housing Association, Ore Valley Group and Fife Housing Group) have worked closely together and with Fife Council, for many years. Over the next five years we will be continuing this productive partnership to provide high quality housing, which helps meet Fife’s growing housing needs.”

£10m project to breathe life into Glenrothes town centre

Work has begun on a new £10 million development in the heart of Glenrothes town centre.

Atmore Properties Limited and contractor Easy Living Developments are working on the North Street site, which was once home to the recently relocated CISWO.

Not only will the development transform and regenerate the area, but it will also make way for a number of new retailers and restaurants including Marks and Spencer Food Hall, Tony Macaroni and Kentucky Fried Chicken

Councillor Altany Craik, convener for the economy, tourism. Strategic planning & transportation committee, said: “This is the largest town centre investment in Fife in over 20 years, and excellent news for local people, communities and businesses.

“We’re committed to supporting the on-going regeneration of Glenrothes town centre and are looking forward to seeing the completion of this exciting development. This is the most significant town centre development in Glenrothes for many years.”

“Speaking about the investment, Charles Shepherd, Managing Director at Atmore (Glenrothes) Limited, said: “We have worked closely with the Council and CISWO over the last three years to create an exciting masterplan, which will benefit the town and its residents.  Relocating CISWO to its new facility has unlocked the land upon which we will create a new vibrant development for residents of Glenrothes and beyond to enjoy.”

It’s expected that the development will create jobs for around 100 people and be complete by the end of the year.

Councillors agree to £86m investment in Fife’s council homes

Judy Hamilton

Fife Council is to invest more than £86 million in its council homes over the next two years with a further £42m earmarked to fund a new build affordable housing programme in 2019.

Councillors on the community and housing services committee discussed the plans last week and convener Judy Hamilton welcomed the boost that will bring improvements to homes across the Kingdom.

Councillor Hamilton said: “This investment is great news for our tenants who have already had the opportunity to see the new kitchens, bathrooms, windows and energy saving methods this money will fund at the recent Better Homes Exhibition in the Rothes Halls.

“We are committed to making sure all our homes are of the highest quality possible, and energy efficient too. Our ambition is to create a warm, dry and affordable home for every Fifer that needs one and that people are proud to live in. This investment will go a long way to delivering that.”

A total of £6m will be spent on installing new heating systems in homes which will help meet government energy efficiency targets three years early. And almost £51m will be used to fund projects including retirement housing and regeneration work. Funding will also be set aside to implement any recommendations from the Grenfell public enquiry when that is announced.

The council is also committed to providing 3,500 new affordable homes by 2022 in partnership with Fife Housing Association Alliance. The aim is to build homes of the right size and type where they are needed most – whether that’s for bigger families, elderly people, young people in rural areas or people with disabilities.

Councillor Hamilton added: “Fife invests more in housing than any other council in Scotland, which underlines how important we feel it is for our communities to enjoy quality affordable homes.”

Green light for £11m golf course on Fife coast

Councillors have approved the construction of an £11 million golf course on the Fife coast.

The 18-hole pay-as-you play course at Dumbarnie Links, near Lower Largo, was given the green light by members of Fife Council’s North East Fife planning committee despite concerns about its impact on ecologically-sensitive areas, including a designated Site of Special Interest and a Scottish Wildlife Trust nature reserve.

Committee members were assured alterations could be made to some of the holes planned to mitigate any harm. They were also promised that rare orchids said to be present in the area would be protected.

The development, which includes an 18-hole course, clubhouse and ancillary buildings, is estimated to attract 28,000 visitors a year. It is also claimed that the course could create 30 full-time jobs, 10 seasonal part-time jobs as well as work for 90 caddies.

Planner Chris Smith said there would be an economic benefit for the area.

He said: “They are not providing holiday accommodation. They want to spread the benefits to the wider community.

“Taxi firms, bus firms, local hostelries, you name it, they will all benefit from visitors coming to the site itself.”

Mr Smith also said the visual impact of the course overlooking Largo Bay would be limited, aided by 75% of the course comprising “out-of-play” areas.

“Part of the ecological and visual balance would be the formation of these landscaped areas which would involve, for example, replicating the dunes.”

Applicant Dumbarnie Links Ltd say the project would provide a high-quality links course experience, which they hope would rank in the world’s top 100 courses alongside the Old Course, Kingsbarns Golf Links and Carnoustie.

Green light for Glenrothes energy network

Fife Council has approved the construction of a district heating network in Glenrothes town centre.

A collaborative local heat scheme between Fife Council, RWE and the Scottish Government, Glenrothes Energy Network will provide sustainable low carbon heat to a mix of industrial, commercial, community and domestic properties in Glenrothes as well as the Fife House complex.

Fife Council’s co-leader David Ross said: “Today’s decision sees Fife once again leading the way in tackling climate change. Bringing a district heating scheme to Glenrothes will help us reach our goal of reducing carbon emissions by 42% by 2020.”

Co-leader Councillor David Alexander added: “This is a major investment of nearly £24 million for Glenrothes town centre. It will not only provide clean sustainable energy but will help to secure jobs and reduce fuel poverty in Glenrothes.”

Mark Picton, Markinch site manager, said: “We are extremely pleased with the Committee’s decision today. We believe that the Glenrothes Energy Network delivers low carbon heat efficiently and cost-effectively. The scheme has the ability to grow and develop over the next 40 years: enabling thousands of homes and businesses to access the available heat from the power plant.

“We believe that this project is important environmentally and it could continue the very important work that Scotland has already done on de-carbonising its economy.”

Councillor Fiona Grant, Glenrothes Area Committee convener, said: “This is great news for Glenrothes. Millions will be invested in the heart of Glenrothes with the potential for significant further investment if the scheme is extended to include Warout and Auchmuty.”

The district heating network will be operational by the end of January 2019, with building and development of the network and Energy Centre beginning in spring 2018.

New court complex proposed for Kirkcaldy

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) is submitting plans to Fife Council to build a two-court complex to hear sheriff and jury cases and custodies in Kirkcaldy.

The proposal is for two new criminal courtrooms and a court custody unit to be located within the existing Kirkcaldy police station building.

The SCTS said that with the new court complex comes the opportunity at a later stage to develop the entire building into an enlarged justice centre providing the full range of justice services from a single location in Kirkcaldy.

Eric McQueen, SCTS chief executive, said: “With financial support from the Scottish government we are taking this initial exciting step to improve court services within Kirkcaldy, which is consistent with our longer term ambition to establish justice centres in key locations in Scotland, including Fife.

“Current court performance at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court remains strong and continues to improve, with summary trials being offered within the agreed 16 week period.  However  the reporting and detection of crimes, particularly domestic abuse and sexual offences, has increased, not only in volume but in complexity requiring more court time, and the new court facilities will provide the flexibility to accommodate this business.”

Chief Superintendent Colin Gall, Divisional Commander for Fife, said: “This new partnership approach will ensure greater collaboration between our organisations and will ultimately improve efficiency for everyone within the criminal justice process.

“As part of Policing 2026, Police Scotland is committed to strengthening partnerships and improving outcomes for local communities.

“This opportunity will result in a key criminal justice partner being located within Kirkcaldy Police Station along with Police Scotland criminal justice resources and the existing local policing team.”

Once the new court complex is operational, the current Justice of the Peace court will be offered for sale on the open market.

Campion Homes completes 1000th home for Kingdom Housing Association

Bill Banks, chief executive of Kingdom Housing Association, with Peter Bell, chairman of Campion Homes

Campion Homes has marked the completion of its 1000th home for Kingdom Housing Association with the hand-over of a property at Kincardine.

Staff and design team consultants from the Dunfermline-based builder joined Kingdom employees at Kincardine to celebrate the milestone event and to mark the completion of the final phase of the redevelopment of Kincardine High Flats which has delivered 133 new affordable homes on the site of three former high-rise blocks.

Handing over the keys of their 1000th home for Kingdom, Campion chairman Peter Bell said: “This is a proud day for us and I would like to congratulate all those involved from our own company and also Kingdom Housing Association who have worked together to successfully complete this development.

“Over the last 28 years we have worked very closely with Kingdom and grown alongside them to attain a turnover of £30 million and become an important employer in Fife with a staff of 125 and over 200 more sub-contractors.”

He added: “Kingdom has been at the forefront of pioneering the use of modern methods of construction and introducing energy efficient systems and it has been exciting to be involved in constantly improving standards while delivering much needed homes.

“It has also been very rewarding to work with Kingdom to deliver additional value to strengthen local communities by creating training and apprenticeship opportunities, working with schools and delivering public art programmes.”

Peter Bell and Bill Banks outside the 1000th property in Kincardine

Campion, established by Mr. Bell and George Cruikshank in 1989, has worked with Kingdom on some its most innovative projects including the award-winning Passivhaus in Pittenweem and the Housing Innovation Showcase development in Dunfermline.

Mr. Bell explained: “It has been a pleasure to work so closely with Kingdom and to have been able to take forward the expertise and experience we have acquired with them to work with other housing associations in East and Central Scotland.”

Bill Banks, group chief executive at Kingdom, congratulated Campion on the 1000th unit completion and said: “Campion has been one of our development partners for many years and the completion of their 1000th home for us is a remarkable achievement. We have always felt Campion is a proactive, local family-based contractor that has consistently delivered for Kingdom and the Fife Alliance of housing associations.

“They recognise what we are trying to achieve and embrace our objectives both in terms of the provision of high quality sustainable housing and the added value that can be provided through delivering community benefits as part of the affordable investment programme.”

Bill added: “It is a tremendous credit to Campion that their drive, capacity and ability has been aligned well with Our aims and objectives, for so long and to such effect.”

CMS meets contemporary glazing brief for Carnegie Library project

Carnegie Library and Galleries, Dunfermline

Window, door and curtain walling manufacturer and installer CMS Window Systems has played a key role in the creation of the new Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries (DCL&G), which was crowned Scotland’s best building in the 2017 RIAS Awards.

The company was appointed to deliver the major window and curtain walling contract for the spectacular £12.4 million project by Fife Council and Fife Cultural Trust.

The Richard Murphy Architects-designed project took an existing B-listed library, which was the world’s first Carnegie Library, built with money donated by Scottish businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and a former bank to create a major new cultural centre.

In addition to the Carnegie Library, the new building houses a new museum, exhibition galleries, local history Reading Room, new children’s library and a mezzanine café with stunning views over the landscaped garden to Dunfermline Abbey and the Heritage Quarter.

Benefiting from a £2.8m award by the Heritage Lottery Fund and a donation of £1m by The Carnegie Dunfermline Trust, the DCL&G building is organised along a top-lit internal street, criss-crossed by bridges. To provide access, an adjacent car park was redesigned as a walled garden leading to an entrance courtyard. External materials are sandstone, oak and Corten steel, acknowledging the town’s industrial heritage and the steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, after whom the building is named.

CMS Window Systems was awarded the fenestration contract by main contractor BAM Construction, with the brief being to manufacture and install a range of aluminium windows and curtain walling finished in RAL 7024 graphite grey. All windows use the Metal Technology 4-20 Hi+ system which incorporates a thermal break to deliver windows with excellent thermal properties. The complementary curtain walling – capped and silicone pointed – was fabricated using the Metal Technology System 17 Latitude to provide consistency in aesthetics and performance.

Stephen Anderson, aluminium contracts director at CMS Window Systems, said: “The new Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries project was a superb project to be part of and we are delighted to have been part of the project team. We have worked extensively with Fife Council over the past decade in social housing projects, educational buildings and a wide variety of other non-residential schemes, so it was pleasing to be appointed to work on this most prestigious of projects that people across Fife, and Scotland as a whole, can be proud of.”

1000-home masterplan for St Andrews West formally submitted

Planning permission in principle is being sought for a major development to the west of St Andrews which will deliver around 1,000 new homes, of which 30% will be affordable housing.

The St Andrews West LLP, a partnership made up of the University of St Andrews, Headon Holdings and other local landowners, has submitted a masterplan for the project which will comprise a mix of residential, university, business, education, local retail and community uses as well as associated infrastructure.

Developers claim the development will create a dynamic business, residential and learning quarter to the west of the Fife town, with the site comprising land at North Haugh, Langlands, Northbank and land between the Strathkinness High and Low Roads.

Approval of the masterplan is also seen as key to the success of plans for a new £50 million replacement for Madras College at Langlands.

If approved, the aim is to develop the masterplan east to west over a period of 20 years, with the first phase of development predicated over the need for a new Madras College and a new link road from the A91 to the edge of proposed school site.

A spokesperson for the St Andrews West LLP said the project should be an exemplar for creating development that feels like a “place” and a not a “bolt-on symptomatic of too many urban expansions in recent times”.

“St Andrews West should support and facilitate St Andrews as a place that will continue to flourish as an international centre of academic and cultural excellence,” the spokesperson told The Courier.

“There should be long lasting benefits to the residents and businesses of St Andrews and Fife.

“The concept here is to create a new community which feels like a place and – like the medieval core – has texture, vistas and connectivity with a clear sense of identity that reflects the best character of St Andrews through richness of place, and the scale of buildings.

“This application is at planning permission in principle stage and so it sets the framework and vision that will guide future development coming forward within the masterplan area.

“The St Andrews West LLP is however committed to creating a place of quality, a legacy development, and recognise that this application is only the first stage of the process toward realisation.”

Members of the public will now have the chance to scrutinise the plans and make comments through the normal Fife Council planning process.

The plans can be viewed here.

Planning application milestone finally reached for new Madras College

The long-running saga surrounding a £50 million replacement for Madras College in Fife could soon be at an end after detailed plans were formally lodged with the local authority.

The move comes after councillors approved a proposal to relocate from the existing school sites at South Street and Kilrymont Road to a new single home at Langlands last year.

The idea of a replacement was first mooted many years ago and there appeared to be no end in sight to the wrangling over where the new school would be located.

A judicial review into a challenge by St Andrews Environmental Protection Association Ltd (STEPAL) was dismissed in March 2015 but the construction of the school was delayed until January last year after an appeal to the Court of Session.

However, following the legal challenge, Fife Council was forced to go back to the drawing board.

A deal was then struck with the University of St Andrews to use a site at Langlands, next to the university, following a statutory consultation with pupils, parents, teachers and the wider community.

Fife Council co-leader, Councillor David Ross, said: “We have worked relentlessly to have a new school building for Madras College, to replace the buildings in South Street and Kilrymont, and to finally bring the school community together on one site.

“We have not at any time given up on making sure that this project succeeded. It has been a long process with disappointments along the way, but I am delighted that this application has now been lodged and this marks a significant further step towards the construction of this much needed new school.

“Hopefully we have found a solution now which can bring the community together and we can give the children of St Andrews and the Tay Bridgehead area the new facility which they deserve. The application will be considered in due course but in the meantime I would encourage stakeholders and members of the public to go online and express their views of the plans.”

It is hoped the building could be open in time for the 2020/21 session if consent is granted.