Keppie Design

Scotland’s first purpose-built film & TV studio wins formal government backing

Scottish ministers have granted planning permission in principle for the country’s first purpose-built film and TV studio following a long-running planning battle.

Developers PSL Land Ltd said the Pentland Studios, which will be based near Straiton, outside Edinburgh, could help kick-start Scotland’s film industry and create more than 900 jobs.

The decision to back the Keppie-designed facility overturns an earlier recommendation from a Scottish Government reporter that permission be refused.

The proposal was called in by the government after Midlothian Council failed to make a ruling on the application, which was originally submitted in 2014. Ministers deemed the studio to be of “national significance” and used its Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals to rule on the application.

Developers behind the £850 million development on the site of the St James shopping centre in Edinburgh tried to block the plans last January amid fears it could undermine its own project.

WSP in Edinburgh, which has been instrumental in helping client PSL Land Ltd achieve planning permission in principle, has welcomed the decision.

The engineering professional services consulting firm was appointed in 2014 to assist in the planning of the world-class film and TV studio. As the project progresses onto the next stage, the team in Edinburgh will continue to support on the civil and structural, environmental and geotechnical areas of the project.

PSL Land Ltd is now working towards securing planning in detail.

David Campbell, technical director at WSP, said: “We are delighted that the scheme has been granted planning permission from the Scottish Government. It’s truly a unique project and we’ve enjoyed helping Pentland Studios in the planning process. We now look forward to start working on the next stage.”

Director of development for PSL, Jim O’Donnell, added: “We are extremely pleased to have reached this major milestone in the studio complex’s journey, after a considerable period of time and work to date. We particularly want to thank those including WSP who have supported the project throughout the past three years, and we look forward to reaching the next milestone as soon as possible.”

NHS Orkney hospital tops out

NHS Orkney tops out

A ceremony has taken place to mark a major milestone for NHS Orkney’s new flagship hospital and healthcare facility.

The £64 million project will see the development of a purpose built facility to replace the existing Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, two GP practices and the Public Dental Service.

NHS Orkney chief executive, Cathie Cowan, and members of the NHS Orkney Board, formally held the topping out ceremony alongside representatives from Robertson Group.

Cathie Cowan said: “This is a proud moment for NHS Orkney and marks a vital step towards ensuring we can continue to provide high quality care in Orkney for generations to come.

“We are absolutely delighted that this stage of the project has been reached, with our fantastic new facility a step closer to reality. NHS Orkney staff have worked tirelessly to make this happen, and local residents have been incredibly patient and supportive. Once again, my thanks go to the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust for their support in this project.

“This will be a truly first class facility and the benefits it brings shouldn’t be underestimated. On a personal level it is great to see our hospital and healthcare facility take shape. I am in no doubt that this facility will enable us to provide even better care and services, as well as help us attract clinical professionals from across the country and further afield. When I joined NHS Orkney we had a vision to bring where appropriate and safe, more services back to Orkney. I am delighted this vision is now a reality as a result of this significant investment in healthcare here in Orkney.”

Bill Robertson, founder and executive chairman, Robertson Group, added: “Tremendous progress has been made on the new hospital and healthcare facility since work started earlier this year. The topping out ceremony represents a major milestone and brings us one step closer to completing the facility in 2019.

“Many of our businesses have been involved in the project, from Capital Projects to Construction and Facilities Management – and that expertise has been crucial in building a strong partnership with NHS Orkney.

“We have also forged great relationships with the local community, putting them at the heart of the project and providing apprentice and graduate opportunities, not to mention creating opportunities for local SMEs.”

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Keppie Design has been appointed as architects, while AECOM and TUV SUD make up the rest of the successful team.

Global professional services consultancy WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff secured the role of Independent Tester on the project last year.

The scheme is due to be completed in spring 2019.

Fresh proposals lodged for former Dundee College campus

VOX DundeeRevised plans to transform a former Dundee College campus into flats and apartments have been lodged with the city council.

Keppie Design and Whiteburn Projects, which had previously gained planning permission to covert the 1970s building in 2015, have now drawn up new plans to include 111 rental flats and 24 serviced apartments together with a café, laundry, cinema, gym and co-working spaces.

Covering an area of 2.26 acres, Vox Dundee will retain and enhance the existing structure through the sensitive removal of elements which inhibit development in order to provide a sustainable future for the crumbling college building.

The west wing of the development would comprise solely residential apartments while the east wing would be made up of a mix of residential and serviced accommodation.

VOX Dundee 2Moves to transform the building, which closed its doors for the final time six years ago, have been in the pipeline since 2014.

Whiteburn Projects was previously granted planning permission to convert the building into 110 one and two-bedroom flats.

The £15 million project was given the green light, but in summer last year factors including the UK voting to leave the European Union led the investment pool to conclude that putting money into property in Dundee was regarded as having a higher-risk profile and the funds were no longer available.

VOX Dundee 3In a statement Keppie wrote: “This model supports Scottish Government’s active pursuit of a private rental sector that provides good quality homes with a high standard of management. The Vox model is fundamentally sustainable: in Britain we continue to swallow green belt and expand our suburbs, in search of bigger homes, bigger gardens and ‘idealised’ communities.

“Meanwhile many of our city centres have declined. It is not enough to tell people that city living is more sustainable. To encourage people to recolonise our urban centres we need to make our cities ‘liveable’. Vox provides a prototype for development that we believe could contribute to a sustainable future for our cities.”

Keppie contributes to Kilmarnock primary school success

P15_271_N767Whatriggs Primary School and Early Education Centre in Kilmarnock has been successfully handed over by Morrison Construction in advance of the new 2017 Autumn term.

Collaborating throughout with East Ayrshire Council’s architecture department and education team, Keppie Design developed the exemplar design provided at tender stage, remodelling the elevations and rationalising the plan to provide added value.

An amalgamation of two local schools (Kirkstyle and Bellfield Primaries), the school now accommodates approximately 500 pupils, with a further 110 places available within the Early Education Centre which caters for 0-5 year olds.

Constructed on the site of the Bellfield Community Centre, Keppie employed Hirst Landscape Architects to complete the design of all external spaces, responding to the council’s desire for less structured and more flexible play areas for all ages.

Morrison Construction and East Ayrshire Council recently celebrated the success of Whatriggs Primary School when they received the GO Best Service Award for Contractors working with the Scottish Public Sector.

P15_271_N802Keppie said it was delighted to have been involved in the evolution and construction of the design, which highlights one of the success stories within this type of public sector procurement.

Allan Cunningham, operations director for Morrison Construction Scotland, said: “Whatriggs is the latest school in our series of successful partnerships with Keppie, and an excellent example of Client, Contractor and Architect working in true partnership to deliver excellent outcomes. East Ayrshire Council had not previously followed a Design and Build route; but were impressed with our innovative and collaborative approach; Lesley Buntain’s professionalism and personal commitment to the project was instrumental in engaging all the project stakeholders, particularly school staff, to produce what has proven to be an exemplary design.

“The design itself, and the collaborative processes behind it have been recognised with national awards, and have set a high benchmark. It shows that good school design need not come with a cost premium, the key to success is to engage designers who deeply understand the education sector, and can relate to all the users, teachers and pupils to optimise the outcomes.”

P15_271_N752John Thomson, SENIOR ARCHITECT for East Ayrshire Council (EAC Capital Programme), said: “Early meetings after appointment at Keppie’s offices in Glasgow were instrumental in co-ordinating the input from all disciplines, and this early dialogue allowed the design to be developed in line with the aspirations of all key stakeholders from the various EAC departments that had to be incorporated. From the very outset Keppie Design took ownership of their particular design responsibilities and, with subtle modifications drawn from their schools experience, enhanced the council’s initial proposals. From the pre-development process right through to operations on site and completion there was a collaborative, can-do positive attitude.

“Their duty of care, professionalism and considerable input, including attendance at various client/end user workshops throughout the process was instrumental in the ultimate success of the project which was delivered exactly on programme ahead of the new school term this August.”

Lesley Buntain, associate for Keppie Design, added: “This was a great project for Keppie right from the start. The collaborative working relationship that developed between East Ayrshire Council and Morrison Construction created an open atmosphere where decisions really were made as a team. East Ayrshire Council, although the originators of the exemplar, were always willing to consider changes where we felt improvements could be made or value added. We always welcome feedback from everyone involved in projects, particularly teachers and their pupils, and we are especially pleased that everyone associated with Whatriggs seems to be thrilled with their new school.”

Keppie unveils ‘cultural quarter’ vision for Kilmarnock

Aspirational Sketch_Dick Institute redevelopment sculptural park

A sculptural park within the Dick Institute redevelopment

A study to develop recommendations for the historic area to the east of Kilmarnock town centre has been completed by Keppie Design.

The Glasgow-based practice was appointed by East Ayrshire Council to consider the transformational opportunities that exist in advance of the imminent relocation of Kilmarnock Academy.

Sketch showing a flexible public plaza adjacent to the Dick Institute

Sketch showing a flexible public plaza adjacent to the Dick Institute

The Kilmarnock Cultural Quarter is in the vicinity of the renowned Dick Institute and the Palace Theatre complex, and the conclusions of the study are expected to significantly improve the long-term prospects of both facilities.

Keppie’s recommendations for the area were framed in eight core themes and emerged during collaborative consultation events with a number of stakeholder groups, building on the momentum of parallel projects such as The Halo at Hill Street, and a Town Centre Improvement study currently being carried out by TGP.

Aspirational Sketch_Aerial OverviewDavid Ross, Keppie’s design director, said: “It’s a very exciting time for the town. There is a palpable sense of positive anticipation in the local community born out of the council’s desire to develop a unique identity for the town based on vibrant and connected public space. Our vision for the Cultural Quarter captures that spirit.”

DIAGRAMS edit2 100517Karl Doroszenko from East Ayrshire Council added: “The study generated a lot of good ideas, stimulated creative thinking and will be invaluable as we look towards a new, forward thinking, placemaking plan for Kilmarnock Town Centre.”

Plans unveiled for Fort William car wheel plant

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, and SNP leader in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford MP, dropped in on the GFG Alliance aluminium smelter and hydro power facilities at Fort William on Tuesday

Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP, and SNP leader in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford MP, dropped in on the GFG Alliance aluminium smelter and hydro power facilities at Fort William on Tuesday

Industrial group GFG Alliance has unveiled plans to build a new car wheel factory in Fort William.

The new plant, which could get underway next year, will be located next to the town’s aluminium smelter and hydro power facilities, which it acquired in a £330 million deal.

It is expected that the new factory will create 400 jobs.

At a consultation event in Fort William this week, Brian King, director of Lochaber operations, GFG Alliance, said: “We want to get the planning application in by the end of next month. It is ambitious and a push but we are hoping to have approval by the end of March next year and begin construction as soon as possible after that, hopefully in the second quarter of next year.”

It is hoped that the factory could start producing wheels at the start of 2020.

Mr King added: “Initially it was thought that 320 jobs would be created, but as we have got more into detail it is closer to 400. That is just direct jobs. If you take into account the knock on effect, you could probably double that.”

The new factory, in the shadow of Ben Nevis, is being designed to look unobtrusive from above and blend in with the landscape as much as possible.

Richard MacDonald, architect, Keppie Design, said: “We have designed the factory buildings to look like the aluminium ingots (or slabs). The site is pretty visible from Nevis Range and we wanted to break it down.”

There are long term plans for a research and development centre which could design car wheels for the customers.

There will be a second public consultation towards the end of October.

Contractor appointed for anchor development at Ayr’s Riverside Block

Ayr Riverside BlockPlans to kick-start the regeneration of an historic part of Ayr town centre have taken a major step forward with the appointment of a contractor and design team to develop new office accommodation at the Riverside Block.

Morgan Sindall have been appointed as the project’s Tier 1 contractor, while architects Keppie Design, who were employed to provide the original designs for the new offices, have also been appointed as design consultants.

Ayr Renaissance submitted a masterplan for a mixed development between High Street and the River Ayr last year. This includes provision for quality office accommodation and housing, as well as for niche retail units, cafes, restaurants and public spaces. The masterplan sets out a commitment to top quality design to an overall scale that respects the surrounding conservation area.

With demolition of the existing site now well advanced, the South Ayrshire Council is now moving ahead with its plans for a new modern office development that will eventually house around 350 workers. The final design will respond to the requirements of the masterplan and incorporate active space which can be used outside of normal office hours.

Councillor Peter Henderson, South Ayrshire Council’s portfolio holder for resources and performance, said it was encouraging to see the development gather momentum.

He added: “With the contractor and design team now in place we can start to bring together concrete plans to breathe new life into this landmark project.

“Work on site is already making a real difference to the local landscape with the old buildings on High Street now largely demolished, revealing the true scale of the project that will, in time, transform an historic area of Ayr’s town centre.

“The council block is the anchor development for the wider plan, and I look forward to seeing further progress in the coming months as construction work gets underway.”

Stuart Parker, Morgan Sindall’s managing director of construction in Scotland, added: “Having been appointed as a Tier One contractor on the hub South West framework last year, we’re obviously very proud that the first project we’ve been selected to deliver through it is such a significant one.

“South Ayrshire Council’s ambitious masterplan is set to transform the town centre, providing much-needed regeneration. As the anchor development, the commercial office space will be sympathetic to Ayr’s historic architecture, while providing a modern workplace to support 350 jobs. It will also be the foundation for subsequent retail, residential and outdoor space which will play an important role in the town’s future, and be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, the development partner on the project, said: “The Ayr Riverside Office Development will symbolise a new era in the history and future development of the town.

“This is the first such infrastructure construction contract to be awarded to Morgan Sindall since it joined hub south West’s Tier 1 contractors supply chain as a Tier 1 contractor last year.”

Work is expected to begin in spring 2018, following the conclusion of demolition and archaeological works.

UWS gains approval in principle for Keppie designed residential masterplan

P15-273_160222_3Dc.psdThe University of the West of Scotland (UWS) has secured planning permission in principle for 102 residential dwellings at its Craigie Campus in Ayr.

The masterplan by Keppie Design has been highly commended by South Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire Roads Alliance for its interpretation of the latest Scottish Government design guidance; Creating Places, Designing Streets and National Roads Development Guide.

P15-273_160222_3Db.psdThe masterplan contains a mixture of high quality detached, semi-detached and terraced dwellings, surrounding a central shared activity space, providing a focal point and meeting place for all residents.

The aim being to create a safe and desirable people-focused community of landscape and buildings, where the streetscape is not dominated by vehicles.

Location Plan SmallThe next step for the project is to engage with house builders and developers to ensure that the principles of the design are carried through to completion.

David Ross, design director at Keppie Design, said: “We are delighted to have assisted our Clients in securing this extremely important approval. Our wider knowledge of the campus context and of the potential market was a significant factor in its development.”

P15-273_160307_Site Plan.psdKevin Stewart, project architect at Keppie Design, added: “The relationship between people, dwellings and circulation was fundamental to the success of the design from the outset. Our aim is to help form a vibrant community through considered design, which has been achieved due to our ongoing close working relationship with the project stakeholders.”

‘Best Commercial Workplace’ award for Keppie’s Capitol building in Aberdeen

CAPITOL __The Keppie-designed Capitol office building in Aberdeen’s Union Stree has been recognised as one of the best workplaces in Scotland.

It was crowned winner of the ‘Best Commercial Workplace 2017’ category at the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) regional property sector awards in Glasgow.

The BCO awards recognise the highest quality developments in the UK and sets the standard for excellence in the regional and national office sector.

HyperFocal: 0Judges said the Capitol, a joint-venture between Aberdeen-based Knight Property Group and M&G Real Estate, was “one of the finest examples of regeneration in action”.

They also described the refurbishment of the former cinema as a “masterclass in high-quality building restoration”.

As well as leading the architectural design for the development, Keppie’s Interiors team were instrumental in visioning the complete refurbishment of the listed, former cinema’s art deco interior, bringing it back to its former glory.

HyperFocal: 0BCO chief executive, Richard Kauntze, said: “The Capitol has provided an addition to the office market that Aberdeen can be proud of for many generations to come.”

Fraser Low, director of Keppie Interiors, said: “Considering what we encountered on our first building visit, I am delighted that the clarity of our initial design thinking remains true in the finished spaces. This is testament to our Client’s early buy-in and the team’s unwavering drive for sympathetic restoration married to innovative workplace ideas.”

Straiton film and TV studio plan approved by ministers

StudioA major new film studio looks set to receive planning permission after the Scottish Government said it was minded to approve plans for the development.

Planning permission was agreed in principle yesterday after ministers overturned a decision against the studio, which will be built on green-belt land at Straiton on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Developers PSL Land Ltd said the Pentland Studios could help kick-start Scotland’s film industry and create more than 900 jobs.

The decision to back the Keppie-designed facility overturns an earlier recommendation from a Scottish Government reporter that permission be refused.

The proposal was called in by the government after Midlothian Council failed to make a ruling on the application, which was originally submitted in 2014.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The intention to grant planning permission in principle for the Pentlands development, subject to conditions and a planning obligation, has been made after careful consideration of the planning report and issues raised in objections.

“We welcome the potential for significant socio-economic benefits on a local and national scale through job creation and economic development.”

PSL hopes the studios would be open by late 2018.

A PSL spokesman said: “We will be moving forward immediately with the application for planning permission in detail for the film studio, academy and energy centre sections of the development.

“Working together with Midlothian Council, we hope this next stage will be expedited accordingly, recovering the construction scheduling that will enable delivery of the key studio operation by late 2018.

“It is anticipated that a detailed schedule to progress the planning application will be agreed with Midlothian Council in the next few weeks, producing a phased timeframe with the studio, academy and energy centre as the first buildings to be progressed to full planning consent.”

213030_N15_mediumKeppie’s planning team were heavily involved in gaining government support for the plans which could lead to around 1600 jobs as well as delivering other social-economic benefits for the local area and community.

Richard MacDonald, director of Keppie Design, said: “We’re delighted to see positive progress taking place on this dynamic new initiative. It’s another great addition to Keppie’s growing portfolio of leisure and entertainment related projects.

“During the design journey, we’ve been able to draw on our multi-sector experience and broad skill base to make sure the blend of studio, film academy, creative industries hub, hotel and energy centre were all carefully considered. There’s no doubt that this unique development will allow the Scottish film and TV industry to successfully compete with the very best of the existing studio facilities in the UK.”

Gordon Allerton, director at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, , which was appointed in 2014 to assist in the planning of the project, said: “We are delighted that the studio has received consent from the Scottish Government.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed supporting Pentland Studios in the planning process and are very grateful to be involved in a project that will have such a positive impact for the whole country.

“Our hope is that we can add to the work that has already been completed, in particular working closely with Midlothian Council to identify a route map for the proposed A701 relief road.”

Gordon Ash, director, PSL Land Ltd, added: “The team at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff  have been extremely supportive and professional during the planning stages of the studio.

“It is an exciting prospect for everyone now to begin work on bringing Scotland its first world class film and TV studio complex.

“We look forward to working with both WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and Midlothian Council on the next stages of the project.”