Developer proposes to build 850 homes at Glenrothes paper mill

Aerial site of former Tullis Russell Paper Mill site in Glenrothes

Aerial site of former Tullis Russell Paper Mill site in Glenrothes

Advance Construction has submitted plans for a major regeneration project which will transform the historic Tullis Russell Paper Mill site in Fife.

The Bellshill-based company, which specialises in large-scale groundworks and civil engineering, is proposing circa 850 much-needed homes as well as retail and leisure facilities, employment, business space, industrial units and a new care home.

The Proposal of Application Notice to Fife Council also outlines plans for two public consultation events in December to give members of the public a first look at the plans.

At the heart of the 58-hectare site between Glenrothes and Markinch is an extension to Riverside Park, which will see the reclamation of an unused brownfield site to create another park that connects the new district to the town centre.

Tullis Russell went into administration in April 2015, with a total of 374 employees made redundant in the process.

Lynsey Breen, development manager for Advance Construction, said the plans will spark regeneration of the town of Glenrothes.

She said: “Advance Construction’s plans to deliver a significant number of new homes, together with creating new jobs will signal a major transformation of the area over the coming years.

“It’s an exciting regeneration project that will give Glenrothes the substantial economic boost it deserves, allowing it to continue to grow in the future.”

Lead consultants Barton Willmore will work closely with Advance Construction to provide Town Planning, Masterplanning, Landscape, EIA and Socio-Economic Assessment services during the project.

Planning director for Barton Willmore in Scotland, Colin Lavety, said: “The former Tullis Russell Paper Mill site is an important landmark historically for the town of Glenrothes. Plans to regenerate the area by delivering much needed housing together with new jobs will be a major transformation of the community over the next few years. We are delighted to be playing a part in helping give the area a new lease of life and make it an exciting place to live, work, play and visit.”

Two informal drop-in events have been organised with lead consultants Barton Willmore and design partner Fairhurst at the Rothes Halls this week.

Representatives from Advance Construction, Barton Willmore and Fairhurst will be in attendance from 1pm to 8pm on December 7 and 8 to explain the plans, discuss the project with the community and respond to any questions raised.

Lynsey added: “We would encourage members of the local community to come along to the drop-in events to find out more information and talk to members of our project team.”

Planning approval paves the way for Scotland’s largest Data Centre Campus

Queensway Park data centre GlenrothesDetailed planning approval was granted this week for phase 1 of what will become Scotland’s largest data centre facility and the first of its kind to be completely powered by a renewable energy source.

The £150 million campus will cover an area equal to eight premiership football pitches and create over 300 construction jobs during the build programme. The completed development will provide up to 100 full time jobs and will help boost other inward investment in the area once known as Scotland’s Silicon Glen.

Queensway Park Data Centres managing director, Alan O’Connor, said: “The rapidly expanding data centre industry is predicted to require 4% of global energy consumption by 2020. It is therefore imperative we maximise the use of renewable power wherever we can and minimise the impact on our environment.”

RWE owns and operate the UK’s largest biomass plant located next door and both companies are nearing completion of terms for a huge energy connection to the campus.

Fife Council’s convener of economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation, Councillor Altany Craik, said: “We are delighted Fife is set to become home to Scotland’s largest and most energy efficient data centre. Fife is at the forefront renewable energy and this development reinforces our position as one of the most innovative local authorities in the country.”

Fife Councillor Fiona Grant, chair of Glenrothes Area Committee, added: “This state of the art facility is an exciting addition to our ambitious plan for the regeneration of Queensway Technology and Business Park.”

Phase 1 at Queensway Park data centre campus is scheduled for completion by the end of next year and the completed campus will eventually host around 4,000 high performance computer racks.

Green light for Glenrothes public heating scheme

(from left) Fife Council lead professional Bill Dewar, Rev Alan Kimmitt, Barbara Whiting Fife Council lead professional and Martha Maclachlan energy promotion and development officer during a public exhibition of the plans earlier this year

(from left) Fife Council lead professional Bill Dewar, Rev Alan Kimmitt, Barbara Whiting Fife Council lead professional and Martha Maclachlan energy promotion and development officer during a public exhibition of the plans earlier this year

A project to provide heating for homes and businesses in Glenrothes from a biomass plant at nearby Markinch has received planning approval.

Councillors have granted planning permission for a vast network of underground pipes to be installed throughout the town as part of the Glenrothes District Heating Scheme.

Spearheaded by Fife Council in conjunction with energy firm RWE and the Scottish Government, the £17.1 million Glenrothes Heat scheme is a heat distribution network utilising the output from the RWE-run biomass plant at Markinch, with hopes it could be up and running by the end of the decade.

The proposal is designed to heat businesses, public facilities and offices and up to 372 homes in the town centre catchment area once fully operational.

While the project will initially focus on the town centre, further phases could see the network expand to more homes and to the south of the town, as far as Pitteuchar West Primary School, Fife College and the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre.

Members of Fife Council’s central area planning committee approved the plans on Monday.

Council case officer Alex Laidler insisted that any disruption from laying the pipes would be kept to a minimum.

He told committee members: “There will be a need to connect pipework to homes.

“The pipework will generally follow the route of roads and will try and avoid existing utilities and greenspaces.

“All excavated land will be replaced as it is.”

Addressing concerns from councillors that additional fuel may be needed to provide the necessary levels of heat, Mr Laidler added: “The emphasis is on using the existing power plant.

“It effectively has waste heat and the aim of this is capturing about 80% of that heat to minimise any additional burning of material.”

Around £8.5m is expected to be secured from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Programme Fund, while £7m has also been committed by RWE Markinch Ltd.

£20m lodge development planned near St Andrews

Plans for the leisure hub at the proposed development

Plans for the leisure hub at the proposed development

Plans have been unveiled for a new £20 million lodge development on the outskirts of St Andrews.

Gleneagles Holiday Parks Limited hopes to create the tourist, commercial and leisure development at North Bank Farm, Lathockar, and has formally submitted new documents – including an environmental impact assessment – accompanying its application to Fife Council.

The masterplan for the near seven-hectare site has revealed the development will comprise 82 lodges of five different designs; a hub building with bar/restaurant, retail/leisure facilities and a reception area; landscaped open space and play areas; and other site infrastructure and utilities.

With the proposals tweaked following public consultation and talks with council officials, Alan Seath, from Seath Planning Consultancy, acting on behalf of Gleneagles Holiday Parks, has called on the local authority to support the project.

He argues the allocation of the site for tourism purposes in the current Local Development Plan establishes a principle for such a development.

He told The Courier: “In particular there is a demonstrable need in the St Andrews area and distinct economic advantages can be derived from this proposed development.

“The planning application is supported by a number of technical studies, including the detailed environmental statement, and these confirm that the proposed development can be accommodated without any adverse impact on the existing built or natural environment and the rural community.

“In addition, other material considerations add significant weight to the case presented by the project team to allow the council to take a positive decision on this planning application.”

Planning permission in principle was granted in March 2010 covering a larger site.

That consent was extended by a further two years to allow more time for the plans, but the current applicants acquired part of the site in December 2016 with a view to developing out the luxury lodge element of the planning permission.

They said that the increased number of lodges has been proposed “in order to offer the critical mass necessary to make this a vibrant, viable and functioning tourist development”.

The company claims the scheme would create more than 90 jobs, 25 of them at the park, and construction could begin in May.

Housebuilders look to sustain growth at annual Fife forum

(from left) Pam Ewen, Ian Drummond, Mark McEwen, Nicola Barclay, Cllr Altany Craik, Gordon Nelson, John Mills and Hugh Hall

(from left) Pam Ewen, Ian Drummond, Mark McEwen, Nicola Barclay, Cllr Altany Craik, Gordon Nelson, John Mills and Hugh Hall

Lochgelly, last year’s winner of Scotland’s Most Improved Town, was the venue of the 11th Fife House Builders Forum this week.

Over 70 delegates from across the house building industry came together at the Lochgelly Centre on Monday 13th November to discuss the recent upturn in the house building industry in Fife and debate how this growth can be nurtured and sustained.

The event, “Sustaining the Growth”, was organised by Fife Council’s Economy, Planning and Employability Service.

A packed audience was presented with a packed programme with Hazel Cross (economic advisor, Town Centre Development Unit, Fife Council) showcasing Lochgelly’s journey to becoming Scotland’s Most Improved Town; Gordon Nelson (director, Federation of Master Builders Scotland) speaking on the importance of the small and medium sized builders to the diversity and supply of new housing; Ian Drummond (managing director, Taylor Wimpey East Scotland) addressing the opportunities and blockers in maintaining housing growth; Nicola Barclay (chief executive, Homes for Scotland) emphasising the need for change, challenge and collaboration in smoothing the path to increased housing delivery; Mark McEwen (general manager, Customer Service, Scottish Water) explaining how infrastructure to enable development was being put in place; Pam Ewen (senior manager, Planning, Fife Council) highlighting the importance of the housing building industry to achieving £3 billion investment in strategic growth within Fife; Hugh Hall (principal, Fife College) tailoring the training offered by Fife College to the future needs of the construction industry; and John Mills (head of housing services, Fife Council) showing that affordable housing is key to the reduction of poverty in Fife.

Nicola Barclay, chief executive of Homes for Scotland, said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to address the House Builders Forum, particularly in light of the ongoing collaboration between Homes for Scotland and Fife Council to support the delivery of more homes of all tenures across Fife.  The key themes of change, challenge and collaboration that I highlighted in my speech must remain the focus for Fife and all other authorities if we are to strengthen trust and resolve to work together to deliver more homes.”

The Forum was chaired by Councillor Altany Craik (convenor, economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee, Fife Council) who added: “It is pleasing to see the commitment of all parts of the development community to delivering investment, skills, jobs and, above all, houses for the people of Fife. The prospects for further growth in the house building sector are good and Fife Council will work with the industry to sustain and increase this growth. Central to this is the highly successful Affordable Housing Programme and the council’s continuing drive to build on the previous success of 2,700 affordable homes already on the ground.”

Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries named Scotland’s best building

The Carnegie Library and Galleries in Dunfermline

The Carnegie Library and Galleries in Dunfermline

The Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries scooped the UK’s richest architecture prize last night as it was awarded the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for 2017.

Designed by Richard Murphy Architects and built by BAM Construction, the project was selected by judges as “a clear winner” from a shortlist of twelve winners of RIAS Awards for 2017, which were presented in June.

The winner of this year’s RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award receives a gold medal cast by internationally renowned Scottish goldsmith James Brent Ward and a cheque for £25,000. This makes it the richest architectural prize in the UK and one of the most significant architecture awards in Europe. The award is generously supported by the late Andrew Doolan’s family and by the Scottish Government.

The judges for this year’s award were RIAS President, Stewart Henderson PRIAS, Professor Sue Roaf FRIAS, recently retired Professor of Architectural Engineering at Heriot-Watt University and Susie Stirling, head of placemaking & housing in the Scottish Government’s Planning & Architecture Department.

DunfermlineCarnegieLibrary&Galleries1The full judges’ citation for the winning project reads: “In 2007 Richard Murphy Architects won a competition for a major new cultural hub in Dunfermline’s historic centre. The new 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.

“Internally the new spaces connect with the existing library, reference rooms repurposed as events spaces. At the lower level the local history reading room is organised in three tiers.  The children’s library, opens directly onto the garden.  On the floor above the café’s terraces offers views over the Abbey.  Above is a double level, barrel vaulted museum and three flexible art galleries. The circulation ‘architectural promenade’ offers key views of significant historic buildings, culminating in a cube window framing views of the Abbey.”

Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries_Richard Murphy Architects_M LambieThe award was presented at a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland (Doolan Award winner for 2011) by the cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP alongside Mrs Margaret Doolan Hon FRIAS (the late Andrew Doolan’s mother).

Fiona Hyslop said: “Last year the RIAS-led national Festival of Architecture focussed international attention on Scottish architecture and the quality of the shortlist for this year’s RIAS Andrew Doolan Award illustrates again the continuing excellence of new architecture in Scotland.

“I am always delighted to announce the winner of the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award and, in this Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, the quality of the winner and of all the shortlisted projects illustrate that we are building a future heritage in Scotland that we can truly be proud of.”

The shortlist for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award comprised this year’s RIAS Awards winners, as follows:

  1. City of Glasgow College – City Campus    

Reiach and Hall Architects / Michael Laird Architects for City of Glasgow College

  1. Due West, Craobh Haven

cameronwebster architects for Gordon and Margaret Turner

  1. Dunfermline Carnegie Library & Galleries

Richard Murphy Architects for Fife Council

  1. Eastwood Health and Care Centre, Glasgow       

Hoskins Architects for hub West Scotland on behalf of NHS Greater Glasgow &    Clyde with East Renfrewshire Council

  1. Edinburgh Road, Musselburgh

A449 LTD for Archie and Tricia MacDonald

  1. Fernaig Cottage, Stromeferry

Scampton and Barnett Architects for Andrew and Gillian Barnett

  1. Glendale Primary School, Glasgow          

Glasgow City Council – DRS Project Management & Design for Glasgow City Council

  1. James Gillespie’s Campus, Edinburgh     

jmarchitects for The City of Edinburgh Council

  1. Moray Place, Edinburgh     

Somner Macdonald Architects (for a private client)

  1. Newhouse of Auchengree, North Ayrshire          

Ann Nisbet Studio for Dr Michael Law and Sally Law

  1. Powis Place, Aberdeen       

Carson & Partners for Alumno Development

  1. Rockvilla – National Theatre of Scotland HQ, Glasgow

Hoskins Architects for National Theatre of Scotland

Fife councillors give green light to progress industrial hub project at former mine

Fife - Westfield Energy Park   L1949-04Proposals to develop a new energy park and industrial estate at the site of the former Westfield open cast mine in Fife have been granted planning permission in principle.

Under plans submitted by Durham-based Hargreaves Services, the 423-hectare site would be transformed into a major new industrial hub including a solar energy park and other energy-related work, waste recovery and recycling unit, light industrial units and agricultural greenhouses with as many as 2,500 new jobs in the pipeline.

The development could also potentially see the reactivation of a disused rail line, though councillors were told no guarantees could be offered at such an early stage in the process.

Westfield masterplanNeil Crooks, chair of Fife Council’s central area planning committee, said: “The potential presented is significant for us.

“When you’re on site and have seen what can be done then this is something that we should be really excited about.”

The Westfield site has lain dormant since 1998 having previously been mined for more than 40 years.

Hargreaves predicts that its regeneration plans could create around 1,000 construction jobs over a 10-year period, with the completed complex sustaining in the region of 1,500 full time posts.

Despite Monday’s decision, David Alexander, Fife Council co-leader, suggested that the scale of the development means there are no guarantees every aspect will come to fruition, adding subsequent planning applications will reveal more information.

“All the low hanging fruit is in the detail,” he said, before adding that he expected the development to generate interest from business and workers from across Fife and the rest of Scotland.

Portakabin helps deliver Fife nursery in just three months

Lynburn Primary School 4Modular building specialist Portakabin has worked with Fife Council to provide over 550m² of space for 75 children.

Thanks to being engineered off-site, the nursery was delivered and installed while the school remained fully open throughout.

Following a local government challenge, Fife Council was exploring ways to build high-quality nurseries to meet new educational targets, and was keen to investigate modular construction as a solution for projects with very tight timescales. Lynburn Primary School in Dunfermline was in need of a large nursery quickly and Portakabin was called in to deliver a solution.

Lynburn Primary School 3Diarmid McLachlan, lead architect at Fife Council, said: “We have a lot of experience of designing nursery buildings that work well for the Scottish education system, and the Portakabin modular building system offered the adaptability and quality we were looking for.”

Portakabin worked with Fife Council to engineer a building that fulfilled all of the school’s requirements; a dedicated room for younger children, and two spacious areas for three-to-four year olds. There is also a dining area, a separate community meeting room, kitchen and office.

Lynburn Primary SchoolAlan Hyde, business development manager for Portakabin, added: “We provided a complete turn-key service, from helping the school gain planning permission, through to installing all foundations and constructing and fitting out the building. We also installed a CCTV access system, outdoor fencing, and playground.”

Groundworks and site preparation were completed while the units, which were manufactured offsite. Twenty-one modules were delivered and installed to form a weathertight and secure building within four days. Fitting out the interiors followed shortly afterwards and was completed in just three months, allowing the nursery to be operational for the start of the new term in August.

Lynburn Primary School 2Lynburn Primary was delighted with the way Portakabin and Fife Council Property Services managed the project, which ran to schedule throughout. The clean, self-contained nature of modular meant Portakabin was able to separate the site completely from the operational school. It meant the school could remain open throughout the construction process, with no impact on the children’s education or safety.

Fife Council secures £3.1m to regenerate abandoned opencast coal site

Fife CouncilFife Council has secured over £3.1 million from the Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance PLC to restore the former Blair House opencast coal site near Oakley, having settled its lengthy legal battle in the Court of Session with the company, out of court.

The site had been left in a derelict state when the Scottish Coal Company went into liquidation in April 2013, prompting fears around the future use and safety of the site.

Fife Council has recovered the full amount of the restoration bond which will now allow plans to restore the site to progress.

Councillor Alice McGarryconvener of the South West Fife area committee & planning committee, said: “This is a great outcome for the environment, and for the residents of Oakley and surrounding areas. In the coming months, Fife Council will work with the current site owners, MRL (Mines Restoration Limited), and the local Community Councils, to finalise the restoration plan and remove this unsightly and potentially dangerous site from the countryside.”

The Scottish Mines Restoration Trust (SMRT) works with communities and other stakeholders involved in the opencast mine restoration process, to address the issues left by unrestored opencast sites where coaling has ceased.

SMRT chairman, Professor Russel Griggs OBE, said: “This is a very positive development for the future of Blair House and has the potential to have a significant impact on the site and the surrounding community.

“Our objective has always been to deliver a pragmatic approach to restoration. We’re looking forward to working with all of the stakeholders involved to help facilitate a sustained programme of activity, which will incorporate significant land and environmental works.

“We are committed to working with Fife Council and the local community councils involved to finalise a restoration plan that makes best use of the available funds to improve the environment for local people.”

Councillor Altany Craikconvenereconomy, tourism, strategic planning & transportation committee, said: “I am delighted at this news and look forward to the restoration of the Blair House site beginning as soon as possible. Fife Council’s Legal and Planning teams have worked tirelessly over a number of years to secure this victory, which means that all three of Fife’s opencast coal sites that were abandoned when the market for coal collapsed now have restoration budgets.”

Shop units at Inverkeithing housing development submitted for planning

Inverkeithing shop unitsA detailed planning application has been submitted for new shop units which will service a Kingdom Housing Association development in Inverkeithing.

Working with the Association and Campion Homes on behalf of Fife Council, 7N Architects said the plans form a key part of the emerging regeneration project for the wider estate, one of the most disadvantaged areas in the country.

The delivery of the new units will allow the existing shops, which are currently located at the base of an empty block of flats, to be demolished within a rolling programme of demolition and construction.

The designs for the new retail units have been conceived as a pavilion with strategic civic significance, addressing new and existing dwellings, as well as an existing bowling club, to create a public amenity for the wider community.

Inverkeithing shop units 2Sited adjacent to the bowling club pavilion, the linear pitched roof form offers a domestic presence within the residential setting, while the colonnaded walkway simultaneously reinforces the idea of a building with a civic identity and a public purpose.

The construction of the new shops will run in parallel with the delivery of the first phase of new terraced housing currently emerging on site. The designs for Phase 1 for Kingdom Housing Association recently received a Commendation in the Innovation in Housing category at the Saltire Society Housing Design Awards 2017.

Councillor Judy Hamilton, convener of the community and housing services committee, said: “I am delighted that the project has reached another significant milestone with the submission of the planning application. I know that the design team undertook consultation with the existing shops owners and the wider community so would like to thank everyone who took time to get involved in this process and provide valuable feedback. There is still much work to be done but I would thank the design team for the hard work in reaching this stage.”

Plans for the housing element of the Inverkeithing development

Plans for the housing element of the Inverkeithing development

Speaking on behalf of Kingdom Initiatives, Scott Kirkpatrick, director of development, added: “Kingdom Initiatives, 7N, Fife Council and Campion Homes have enjoyed working closely with the community and local businesses on the design of these retail units. Building them alongside Kingdom Housing Association’s 53 new homes for social rent is a key element within Fife Council’s regeneration masterplan for the area.”

The new retail units and homes forming the first phase are due for completion by the end of 2018, with subsequent phases of the regeneration project progressing thereafter.