Fife

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.

£4m distillery and brewery plans submitted in Fife

Plans have been submitted to transform a former paper mill into a new distillery and brewery in Fife

Situated just metres from its current headquarters in Guardbridge, Eden Mill hopes the £4 million expansion project will become the brewer’s new home.

Sitting within the University of St Andrews’ new Eden Campus, the development also includes plans for several visitor areas, with a café/bar, visitor’s centre, shop, presentation room and a VIP tasting area on the top floor of the distillery offering views over the university campus and estuary.

The Opfer Logan Architects-designed facility will enable Eden Mill to double the number of tourists taking distillery tours from 25,000 to 50,000 a year.

Paul Miller, co-founder of Eden Mill, said: “With ambitions to grow the business, it’s the right time for Eden Mill to move forward with plans for a new distillery and brewery. We have always been pioneering, and this expansion can open the door to new product development and continued success.

“To stay competitive, the spirits industry in Scotland needs to embrace new ideas and experimentation while respecting its heritage and traditions, particularly with whisky. At this new site, Eden Mill will be in the perfect position to invest in new products and lead the way with innovation.

“We firmly believe that this development will greatly benefit the local area and the wider Scottish economy, which is always what we have set out to achieve as a business.”

Pending approval of the application, Eden Mill aims to be on site by summer 2018 with the buildings operational by autumn 2018.

Once complete, Eden Mill will become one of the first tenants within the University of St Andrews’ Eden Campus. Eden Mill, together with other innovative companies working alongside the academic community of St Andrews, will be helping the University to grow a sustainable local economic model fit for the 21st century. The Campus is currently home to a biomass Energy Centre, a key part of the University’s drive to become the UK’s first energy carbon neutral university.

Museum redevelopment planned at University of St Andrews

The Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) is to undergo a major redevelopment and extension to enable important artworks and collections to go on display in the town.

The University said the existing facility, housed on The Scores in St Andrews, has been extremely successful since its opening in 2008 as the centerpiece of the University’s museum service. MUSA has been consistently awarded the highest ranking of five stars under Visit Scotland’s Quality Assurance scheme – the only university museum in Scotland to do so.

However, the success of the museum means it is running at capacity, with the education space fully booked and insufficient space for a regular programme of temporary exhibitions.

The new £1.6 million extension will provide two new galleries for temporary exhibitions, greatly increasing the University’s ability to display its own collections and to host visiting exhibitions from prestigious galleries, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum. The smaller of the two spaces will allow the Museum Collections Unit to work more closely with local community groups to create exhibitions and for University academics to showcase their cutting edge research to the public.

The Scores

While the major works are underway, MUSA will close from summer 2018 for around 18 months and digital resources will be launched to enable access to the collections during this period.

Emma Jane Wells, co-director of the Museum Collections Unit, said: “We are very excited about this development, which will be the largest change that MUSA has undergone since its opening 10 years ago.

“The two new exhibition spaces will allow us to extend and improve the exhibitions on offer, allowing us to display major travelling exhibitions from national and international institutions. It will also enable us to work more closely with community groups and schools as well as with the University’s own academics and students.

“While we are closed, two of the permanent galleries will also be completely re-modelled so that when we re-open in 2019, there will be even more for our visitors to see and enjoy.”

In addition, the works will add a new studio/workroom for seminar groups to study the museum’s collections and an improved environmental control system to precisely regulate conditions across the new and existing galleries, enabling the display of a greater variety of environmentally sensitive items.

Kingdom completes £18m housing project in Kincardine

The completed homes at Devilla in Kincardine

The final phase of a major affordable housing development in Kincardine, Fife, has been completed by Kingdom Housing Association after a multi-million pound construction project.

The redevelopment of Devilla in Kincardine began nearly eight years ago on the site of three former blocks of high rise flats. The development has delivered 133 new homes providing housing for a range of affordable housing tenures, including social rent, mid-market rent and private sale.

The total project cost around £18 million, with the Scottish Government and Fife Council providing approximately £10m in subsidy to support the redevelopment with the balance of the funding raised by Kingdom.

The latest phase, the third and final aspect of the work, saw the construction of 49 properties in total, providing 2 homes for social rent, 31 homes for Mid-Market Rent (MMR) and 16 homes for Affordable Sale to Priority Purchasers, supported by Scottish Government grant funding and investment through Allia’s charitable bond programme. Work on this final phase began in April 2016 and was finished in December 2017.

The Kincardine flats before demolition

The new homes for MMR and sale were provided by Kingdom Initiatives, a subsidiary of Kingdom Housing Association.

Bill Banks, Kingdom’s chief executive, said: “This has been a very successful regeneration project progressed through collaborative working with the community and various partners. Close collaboration with Fife Council enabled the project to proceed and Kingdom Initiatives were able to access the private funding for the project through the on-lending of funds, from Kingdom Housing Association, that were raised through the Allia bond, which provided £2.75m, of the private funding with £1.85m being the receipts from sales recycled back in to future Kingdom Initiatives provision.”

Nick Pollard, director of corporate support services for Kingdom, said: “The funding Kingdom obtained through Allia’s charitable bond programme with Scottish Government was complementary to this significant multi tenure development at Devilla, Kincardine delivering added benefits in terms of our corporate social responsibility objectives. The 10-year funding is unsecured and the most attractive aspect is that the process for acquiring and on-going management and monitoring of the borrowing was and is both simple, effective and efficient.”

Phil Caroe, director of social finance for Allia, said: “Allia’s charitable bond programme provides funding to help housing associations develop new affordable homes, so it’s great to see how our loan to Kingdom has supported the completion of this new housing development for the benefit of the community in Kincardine.”

Minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart MSP visited the project during the construction stage

Two of the high-rise flats that previously stood on the site were demolished in June 2010, following a council decision to redevelop the area. The other high rise was demolished in 2013, when some new housing had been constructed to meet needs of tenants who wished to remain in the area.

Bill Banks added: “The homes that have all been built to high quality standards and have been designed to meet the building regulations silver sustainability standard. They have highly efficient boilers, waste water and gas flue heat recovery, high levels of insulation and triple glazed windows. The new homes will be very efficient to run for residents and meet Secured by Design standards. Completion of the Devilla development marks a major step forward for the standard of housing available in Kincardine and we are sure it will be a benefit to the community for years to come.”

Dunfermline based Campion Homes acted as the main contractor for the project, which was designed by Oliver & Robb Architects, Scott Bennett Associates, both of Dunfermline, and Langmuir & Hay of Glasgow.

University of St Andrews submits Guardbridge staff relocation plans

Plans for a multi-million pound development which will see 400 University of St Andrews staff relocate to the Eden Campus at Guardbridge have been lodged with Fife Council.

To facilitate the strategic move, the former paper mill at Guardbridge will be transformed into a modern working environment for key professional staff.

The £20 million plan will involve the sensitive restoration and refurbishment of buildings to create state-of-the-art office space, storage for library stock, a canteen and associated parking and landscaping. A key part of the development will be a café which will be open to the public as well as University staff.

A new entrance to the Campus will be created to reconnect the community of Guardbridge to the site and make it accessible to the public for the first time in over 150 years.

‌The plans provide for a total office space capacity for 500. It is anticipated that around 100 jobs will be created during the two-year construction and fitting out phase.

The relocation of staff to Eden Campus will ease the pressure on office and parking space in St Andrews and release space in the town centre and North Haugh for teaching and research purposes.

University of St Andrews Quaestor and Factor, Derek Watson, said: “This is a major strategic move for the University which will provide an exceptional working environment for our staff, breathe new life in the local economy of Guardbridge and have a beneficial impact on the town of St Andrews.

“We are committed to rejuvenating the former paper mill site and the development will result in the reuse of existing buildings, introduce a modern yet sympathetic new entrance into the site, and foster a sense of vibrancy and vitality.”

The relocation of University staff to Eden Campus is due to begin in phases from the end of 2019.

All images of the Eden Campus Redevelopment Project are provided courtesy of Atkins

Jobs lost as Glenrothes manufacturer goes into liquidation

A Glenrothes-based kitchen manufacturer has gone into liquidation with the loss of almost 40 jobs.

The employees at Murray and Murray Limited were made redundant with immediate effect after directors took the decision to wind up the company amid huge debts.

The firm designs and manufactures bespoke kitchens and interiors.

The Courier has reported that while creditors have been invited to a meeting in Dunfermline next week to discuss the situation, it is not yet clear how much is owed and to whom.

Dunfermline-based Thompson Cooper has been appointed liquidator.

A spokesperson said: “Known creditors have been made aware of the liquidation, however, if anyone else wishes to discuss the position please contact Thomson Cooper on 01383 628800.”

Raeburn Construction builds itself a new home in Fife

Raeburn Construction is to invest £440,000 to build a new head office and four additional industrial units in Kirkcaldy.

Work on the new site at Dunnikier Business Park began last month, with the firm projecting it will move its 11 office staff into its two storey unit by Easter.

Currently located in Mitchelson Industrial Estate, Kirkcaldy, the company, which has been helped by Business Gateway Fife, will look to rent the remaining units.

In the past 12 months, the company’s 50-strong site operatives have worked on around 40 projects including running four major groundworks contracts in Edinburgh at the same time.

The company is now looking to take on four apprentices in the New Year and is projecting turnover will hit a minimum £6m by May 2018.

Sarah Raeburn, director, Raeburn Construction, said: “It’s always been our goal to build our own office space – we actually began to look for the right location four years ago – but it became a priority last year when we realised we’d outgrown our current location. By buying the land it lets us build to our own specification and meet future needs.

“With the build now underway, we’re looking to invest in a new IT systems and Business Gateway Fife has helped us secure funding to work with an IT specialist so we can find the best platform for our needs. We are also investing in a new website to showcase what we do and our adviser has organised for us to work with a content marketing specialist who will give us guidance on how to properly tell our story. This could potentially lead to the creation of a new position within our office team.”

Stephen Mitchell, adviser at Business Gateway Fife, added: “Raeburn Construction has cemented a reputation for providing outstanding service, and moving into a purpose-built head office is a major step for the family-firm. Over the years they have used our advice as the business has grown, most recently tapping into support that will help them identify the best IT system and increase their digital skills as they look to improve their online presence.”

Having originally hired out freelance site engineers to the construction industry, Raeburn Construction took a new direction in 2008 following the economic crash, moving into groundwork provision for civil engineering contracts.

Scott Raeburn, director, said: “Because we were a relatively small firm we were able to adapt and react quickly to changes in the industry during the economic downturn. That flexibility helped us weather the storm, and when we decided to become a full-time employer Business Gateway Fife provided us with HR and Occupational Health advice.”

In 2015, the company took the decision to offer its freelance staff full-time positions to provide greater stability and control and launched its own apprenticeship scheme.

“We are very proud of our apprenticeship scheme,” added Mr Raeburn. “It helps fill skill gaps in our industry and allows us to invest in the younger generation who will ultimately be the future of the company. The scheme is a great way to enter the industry and get the skills and qualifications needed for a successful career. We’d be delighted to hear from young people interested in working in our industry who’d be able to start training in early 2018.”

Final planning hurdle cleared for 1,400 new homes in Fife

An aerial view of the Kingdom Park development site in Kirkcaldy

Fife Council has given the green light to public art plans that will pave the way for new housing developments in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, The Courier has reported.

The Kingdom Park plan, at the Kingslaw site at the north of Kirkcaldy, is to be the town’s biggest expansion for a generation, with as many as 1,100 homes earmarked for construction at the former opencast site.

Councillors also agreed a public art strategy for a second planning major application at Sappi Road, which borders Glenrothes and Markinch.

Planning permission for up to 300 homes at the site was approved in October of last year, subject to a suitable artwork strategy for the site being approved.

The new housing estate will also result in the upgrading of the A911 between Glenrothes and Leven, which runs alongside the planned development.

Neil Crooks, the chair of the Kirkcaldy Area Committee, hailed the impact the scheme could have on the town, including the redevelopment of the nearby Redhouse Roundabout.

“This development will be massive for the town,” he said.

“It will be great to see it coming together as we have been close a few times. But we have kept working at it and hopefully this can move forward next year.

“It is my understanding that there has been transportation issues to resolve, with a roundabout to be created and traffic lights between the Gallatown and Redhouse roundabouts.

“That is expensive for the developer but I believe the Scottish Government can help with those costs.”

Following the Glenrothes approval, local councillor Mick Green said: “This is very exciting news.

“It is a lot of houses and I’m pleased that they will be putting in a roundabout on the A911, as that road has needed upgrading. This is big news for Glenrothes.”

And finally… Video reconstruction shows historic buildings as they appeared 500 years ago

Historic buildings at the heart of St Andrews have been digitally reconstructed to reveal how they looked nearly 500 years ago before the Reformation changed the face of the town forever.

St Salvator’s Quad and Chapel, at the heart of the University of St Andrews, can now be seen in a virtual recreation which reveals how these historic buildings appeared before the religious changes of the Reformation.

The reconstruction, created by Historians and Computer Scientists at the University, drew from images and manuscripts in the University’s Special Collections department.

This is the first phase of a wider project to digitally recreate the entire burgh of St Andrews as it appeared in 1559 – just before the citizens of the town officially adopted Protestantism and set about transforming the community’s Catholic religious foundations.

The St Andrews 1559 project is led by the University of St Andrews’ Professor Michael Brown, of the School of History, and Dr Alan Miller of the School of Computer Science. The digital model of St Salvator’s was created by Sarah Kennedy of the School of Computer Science, with historical advice from Dr Bess Rhodes of the Schools of History and Computer Science and with help from students.

The St Salvator’s site was chosen as the first release from the St Andrews 1559 project because of its significance in the early phases of the Scottish Reformation. In February 1528 a 24-year-old academic, Patrick Hamilton, was burnt outside the gates of St Salvator’s College for advocating support for the German Reformer Martin Luther’s criticisms of the Catholic Church. Hamilton was the first person to be executed in Scotland for voicing Protestant ideas.

This year marks five centuries since the event regarded as the start of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses attacking the practices and doctrines of the late Medieval Catholic church in Wittenberg, a University town in Eastern Germany.

Dr Bess Rhodes said: “We selected St Salvator’s as the place to begin our reconstruction as a major landmark in the modern university and the town. It was of course also the scene of one of the most horrific events of the Scottish Reformation – the burning of Patrick Hamilton for his Lutheran beliefs.

“Particularly chillingly, Hamilton’s death was something the university was directly involved in – playing a role in the prosecution and conviction of this very young man. Yet at the same time St Salvator’s has been the scene of fantastic academic achievement and many happy incidents in the University’s history.”

St Salvator’s College was founded in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy as both an educational and a religious institution, providing a rigorous academic training for young men who would primarily go on to serve in Scotland’s late medieval Catholic Church.

During the Middle Ages St Andrews was the religious capital of Catholic Scotland. However, in the sixteenth century many Scots turned against Catholicism, inspired by new ‘Reformed’ interpretations of Christianity coming out of continental Europe.

In 1559 the St Andrews burgh officials (inspired by the Protestant preacher John Knox) officially rejected Catholicism, and set about transforming local religious buildings, smashing altars and statues, burning church furnishings and books, and ending the religious function of many sites within the city.

The St Salvator’s buildings were altered by the Reformation, and by further rebuilding work in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Although, today only small sections of the medieval College buildings survive the glories of the medieval College can now be explored virtually.