Perth & Kinross

Plans approved for for 650-home expansion of Perthshire village

Homes previously delivered by A&J Stephen

Housing plans which will more than double the size of a Perthshire village have won support from councillors.

Local developers A&J Stephen and I&H Brown want to build up to 650 houses on the southern edge of Luncarty. The firms said the project will create jobs, deliver wider benefits to the local economy and address a need for affordable housing.

It is estimated the scheme, across 100 acres of farmland, would increase the population size from 1,600 to nearly 4,000.

Councillors on Perth and Kinross Council’s planning and development management committee followed the advice from the authority’s planning officers to approve the masterplan.

In her report, interim quality manager Anne Condliffe said: “The expansion of Luncarty is a longstanding proposal.

“The site is well placed to deliver a sustainable community, serving as a well-connected satellite settlement to Perth.”

She said: “The proposal will provide a significant contribution toward meeting the projected population growth of Perth and Kinross. It will also help assist funding of significant community infrastructure improvements that will benefit Luncarty and the wider area.”

John Stephen, managing director of A&J Stephen, stressed that the proposal complied with the Tayplan and the Local Development Plan. He proposed building at a rate of around 25 homes a year.

Plumber fined £3000 for causing gas explosion at Perthshire bungalow

A plumber has been fined £3000 for causing a gas explosion which blew up a pensioners’ bungalow and trapped its occupants beneath the rubble.

Craig Hall left a gas pipe liable to come loose in Robin and Marion Cunningham’s home in Callander, Perthshire, by crucially failing to solder a vital 90 degree joint where it attached to the new equipment.

For eight months the dodgy fitting was held together by just a little paste used to prepare the joint for connection.

But eventually it separated, pouring gas at up to nine cubic metres an hour into the couple’s utility room.

Around 5.45 am on March 28, 2013, the flammable atmosphere ignited, possibly sparked by a light switch, or the compressor on a fridge freezer, “totally demolishing” the property.

Mr Cunningham was taken by air ambulance to Glasgow Royal Infirmary with burns to his head, face and hands, and spent a week in hospital.

Mrs Cunningham, then 74, had less serious injuries, but Stirling Sheriff Court was told she has been left “frail and very anxious” by what happened, while Mr Cunningham’s Parkinson’s Disease had “obviously progressed”.

Hall, of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, was told to pay the £3000 fine at a rate of £150 per month at Stirling Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

He had denied causing the blast by carrying out the installation of the boiler dangerously, but he was found guilty by Sheriff William Gilchrist.

Passing sentence, he said he was satisfied Hall hadn’t meant to cause the explosion but found that he had failed to take reasonable care.

The court was told Hall remains employed but has had to undergo further training.

159-home Perthshire development called-in by ministers

The Scottish Government will decide the fate of proposals for 159 new homes on the outskirts of Perth following concerns over the development’s transport links.

Councillors were poised to approve the Oudenarde development last week at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Council’s planning and development committee.

However, the Scottish Government seized control of the application at the eleventh hour following concerns that had been raised by Transport Scotland regarding how the proposed development would impact the nearby M90 Perth to Inverkeithing motorway.

Set on the site of the old Bridge of Earn hospital, the homes represent the next stage of an ambitious bid for a 1,500-home village. Hillcrest Housing Association has already built 109 affordable houses at Oudenarde.

The project is being spearhead by local construction firm GS Brown and was first announced more than 20 years ago. The Perthshire developer teamed up with Taylor Wimpey to submit an initial planning application for 159 two, three and four bedroom homes in Janauary last year.

Transport Scotland had raised concerns that the plan was about to be passed without paperwork in place to demonstrate how the new settlement will link safely to the M90.

The latest proposals went before councillors in October, but were due to return to the planning and development management committee for final approval.

Councillors were to be asked to withdraw a planning condition requested by Transport Scotland, calling for GS Brown to submit details of improvements for the M90/A912 junctions.

However, according to The Courier, Perth and Kinross Council’s legal team ruled this wasn’t a valid condition.

GS Brown chairman Geoff Brown said he received word about the Scottish Government’s intentions in an e-mail at 8.30am on Wednesday – less than two hours before the planning meeting.

“We’re really unhappy that this has happened so late in the day,” he said.

“We have – or had – a contractor in place to be on site by March. Obviously, what’s happened may have jeopardised this agreement and we will need to go back to the contractor and work something out.”

Mr Brown, who is also chairman of St Johnstone Football Club, added: “We have to make sure that this delay won’t impact on jobs.

“In my career, I’ve never known anything like this to happen before.”

Before last week’s meeting, a Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We have been in discussion with Perth and Kinross Council and developers for over 10 years in respect of developments at Oudenarde, and would be concerned about the potential removal of the previously agreed planning condition.

“We have sought to promote development in accordance with the published Masterplan, whilst meeting the clear need to maintain the safety and efficiency of the road network, and this remains our position.”

A Scottish Government spokesman added: “The application for Oudenarde in Bridge of Earn has been called in by ministers due to the proposal’s potential impact on trunk road infrastructure and road safety.

“This application will be considered and a decision will be issued by ministers in due course.”

Perth commissions feasibility study into St Catherine’s Square flats revamp

An ageing housing block on the edge of Perth city centre is to be regenerated to complement plans for a nearby £30 million cinema and shopping complex.

The Courier has reported that Perth and Kinross Council is planning an overhaul of St Catherine’s Square to ensure it fits in with the Mill Quarter development earmarked for neighbouring land. The authority also hopes to address concerns about a high number of empty, hard-to-fill properties.

The Mill Quarter project, which is scheduled to open next year, will feature a state-of-the-art multi-screen cinema, a mix of bars, restaurants and shops, as well as 58 new homes.

The development is being progressed by Expresso Property and will be built on the nearby Thimble Row car park.

The local authority is spending £7,650 on a feasibility study to support the “proposed regeneration and environmental improvement works” to all flats at St Catherine’s.

Glasgow-based ECD Architects have been tasked with carrying out the study and will report back to officers later this year.

Plans for the Mill Quarter project in Perth

Perth City Centre councillor Peter Barrett, who heads the authority’s housing committee, said: “The council is looking for proposals for the regeneration of St Catherine’s Square.

“Despite having a great High St location there is a high number of vacancies and the square is becoming harder to let. I believe there is real potential for regeneration and transformation here.”

The Lib Dem councillor added: “With Espresso Property’s multiplex-cinema, retail and restaurant development at Thimble Row, right opposite the flats and the improvements starting to take hold at St Paul’s, the time is right to consider how best to invest in the properties to further energise and re-animate this part of the city centre.

“I am looking forward to seeing the proposals in due course.”

St Catherine’s Square recently hit the headlines when Royal Mail said it would no longer deliver mail to all properties in the square following an assault on a female postal worker two years ago.

In recent years, some of the 54 flats have been used as emergency accommodation for the city’s homeless population.

Judge finds plumber guilty of causing gas explosion at Perthshire bungalow

A plumber has been found guilty of causing a gas explosion which blew up a pensioners’ bungalow and trapped its occupants beneath the rubble.

Craig Hall left a gas pipe liable to come loose in Robin and Marion Cunningham’s home in Callander, Perthshire, by crucially failing to solder a vital 90 degree joint where it attached to the new equipment.

For eight months the dodgy fitting was held together by just a little paste used to prepare the joint for connection.

But eventually it separated, pouring gas at up to nine cubic metres an hour into the couple’s utility room.

Around 5.45 am on March 28, 2013, the flammable atmosphere ignited, possibly sparked by a light switch, or the compressor on a fridge freezer, “totally demolishing” the property.

Mr Cunningham was taken by air ambulance to Glasgow Royal Infirmary with burns to his head, face and hands, and spent a week in hospital.

Mrs Cunningham, then 74, had less serious injuries, but Stirling Sheriff Court was told she has been left “frail and very anxious” by what happened, while Mr Cunningham’s Parkinson’s Disease had “obviously progressed”.

After a five-day-trial, Sheriff William Gilchrist took less than 40 minutes to find Hall, of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, guilty of installing the combination boiler “otherwise than in accordance with appropriate standards and in such a way as to prevent danger”.

He said: “I’m satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the failure to ensure that the gas supply pipe was adequately joined to the gas inlet pipe had the consequence of allowing gas to escape, thereby causing the explosion.”

Hall in evidence, insisted that he had applied heat with his blow-lamp to solder the so-called “Yorkshire fitting” between the inlet pipe and the boiler, but accepted that the solder had not “run” and the joint had not been properly made.

Sheriff Gilchrist said heat could only have been applied “very fleetingly”, because not only had the solder in the joint not run, but even some of the flux paste, applied as part of the process, had not melted.

The court heard that it was this sticky paste that held the joint together and allowed it to pass a “gas tightness” test that Hall carried out before firing up the system.

Sheriff Gilchrist, who deferred sentence until February 7 for background reports, said he was not considering jail, but Hall could face a fine or a community-based sentence.

Deputy First Minister marks start of work on new Bertha Park school

Bertha 7Deputy First Minister and cabinet secretary for education and skills, John Swinney MSP, performed a turf cutting ceremony yesterday to mark the official start of works to build a new secondary school at Bertha Park in Perth.

Due to open in August 2019, Bertha Park High School will be the first additional secondary school to be built in Perth and Kinross since 1972. Perth and Kinross is one of the fastest growing areas of Scotland and as a result Perth Secondary schools will be near to capacity by 2021. A review of the school estate identified a new Perth secondary school as a priority.

Mr Swinney said: “Bertha Park marks the 100th school in our £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme and I am very pleased to get work underway on this milestone project.

“We are providing £19.6m towards the school as part of our aim to ensure our children and young people have access to inspiring environments which enable all of them to engage with their learning.

“We have made fantastic progress and have wonderful, award winning schools across all parts of Scotland which stand as testament to that.

“Bertha Park will be a very welcome addition to the school estate and I look forward to seeing the project once it is complete.”

BerthaParkImage-e1486731065880-1-672x372Designed by NORR architects and being delivered by Robertson Group, the project forms part of Perth & Kinross Council’s ongoing capital programme of school upgrades and improvements through hub East Central Scotland to enhance the environment for learning and teaching across the area.

Gary Bushnell, chief executive of hub East Central Scotland, said: “It is great to see the project progressing well and we look forward to delivering a high quality building for the community next year. We work closely with Perth & Kinross Council to support their education and learning strategy and this is now our sixth major school project in the region.”

Councillor Caroline Shiers, convener of the lifelong learning committee, added: “Bertha Park Secondary School is the hundredth new school to be built under the Scottish Government’s £1.8 billion Schools for the Future Programme and this project will be a unique opportunity to build a new school community from the ground up.

“We look forward to welcoming our first cohorts into the innovative learning environment that will be Bertha Park High School. The council will work with the parents and carers of the young people who will become pupils at the new school and continue to communicate with them throughout this process to ensure any questions are fully addressed.”

Engineering firm secures £5m deal to light up Perth city centre

David Taylor

David Taylor

Engineering services group IKM Consulting has secured a contract to help deliver a £5 million public sector project to transform Perth city centre.

The company, which is headquartered in Grangemouth, will deliver the electrical infrastructure design element of the Perth City of Light Action Plan.

The plan has been launched by Perth and Kinross Council to develop the city’s cultural and night time economy through the functional and decorative lighting of key public spaces and landmarks.

The team at IKM Consulting – who are celebrating the business’ 20th anniversary year – expect to start on the first project in Norie-Miller Park, in the centre of the city, in March 2018.

Lancashire-based specialists in dynamic and architectural lighting supply and installation LITE Ltd, partnering with IKM Consulting, will be responsible for the supply and installation of the feature lighting.

David Taylor, managing director of IKM Consulting, said: “IKM is thrilled to be a part of the Perth City of Light Action Plan and we are pleased to be partnering with LITE Ltd for this significant project.

“We hope that the lighting schemes can be something the people of Perth are proud of.

“This is a growing sector for IKM and we look forward to collaborating with LITE Ltd and Perth and Kinross Council to deliver value added lighting solutions.”

IKM Consulting’s Building Services team has a strong history of delivering complex engineering solutions.

The new win serves to further strengthen the company’s reputation as a solid mechanical and electrical designer, whilst increasing their design and project management pipeline and laying a good foundation for further long term public sector framework appointments.

The six year Perth City of Light Action Plan was announced in 2016 and will see buildings and public spaces transformed with colourful lighting.

IKM Consulting’s Building Services team has delivered projects in industrial, commercial and oil and gas facilities throughout the UK, including works to the value of £7m at BP’s RLPG field operation building in Grangemouth, a £1.5m contract for Aspen Healthcare’s new endoscopy unit in Edinburgh and £2m contract at Forth Port’s new Grangemouth warehouse.

Perth City Hall and Perth Museum and Art Gallery designers selected

Perth City Hall Mecanoo 3

Mecanoo’s plans for Perth City Hall

The designers for the revamped Perth City Hall and Perth Museum and Art Gallery have been unveiled following a competitive process.

Metaphor has been appointed as the “interpretation and exhibition designers” for the city centre venues and will work with Mecanoo and Hoskins Architects, the architects of the respective projects, to develop new interiors and exhibition spaces in both buildings and bring the stories of Perth’s Ancient Roots and its Modern Scots to life.

London-based design practice Metaphor has a track record of major cultural projects in the UK and beyond which include Shakespeare’s Globe, the Ashmolean Museum, major galleries in the V&A London and in the National Museums and Galleries of Scotland. It is currently developing the exhibitions for the proposed St Kilda visitor centre to be located on Lewis.

Councillor Ian Campbell, leader of Perth & Kinross Council, said: “The council’s plans to make culture accessible to everyone have taken another step forward with the appointment of Metaphor. Interpreting and explaining art and artefacts is a key part of a successful cultural venue and will ensure the Museum and City Hall are the top-class attractions that Perth and Kinross deserves.”

Helen Smout, chief executive of Culture Perth and Kinross, added: “The museum collections of Perth and Kinross are of National Significance and we will be bringing the stories they tell to life at City Hall and Perth Museum – for local people and visitors from across the UK and the world.”

Dutch practice Mecanoo was appointed to transform Perth City Hall into a £20 million major arts hub in August.

BAM Construction will work with hub East Central Scotland to redevelop the Edwarian building, with construction expected to start work in 2019 and the grand opening scheduled for 2021.

The contractor will also lead the £10m Hoskins Architects-designed revamp of Perth Museum and Art Gallery with Ogilvie Construction tasked with building the new collection store on a separate site.

Expresso Property to make £100m investment in Scottish mixed development schemes

Nick Robinson and Stephen Hampshire  of Expresso Property

Nick Robinson and Stephen Hampshire of Expresso Property

Expresso Property Limited has announced a major investment in mixed development property schemes which will transform three significant sites in Glasgow and Perth, and is actively seeking further development opportunities.

The company said its portfolio will have an end investment value of £100 million and will support the creation of over 1000 Scottish new jobs.

York-based Expresso is investing in three major projects, at Park Quadrant Residences in Glasgow’s West End; Perth’s new leisure hub, Mill Quarter, and a new mixed-use site at Glasgow’s Pacific Quay.

The company is also actively seeking further UK sites and is funded to purchase schemes ranging from £1m to £50m.

Park Quadrant Residences A

Park Quadrant Residences will complete the missing piece of Park Circs

Designed by architects Holmes Miller and developed in conjunction with development partner, Park Quadrant Residences will complete the vision of the architect Charles Wilson’s concentric ringed design of a 19th century masterplan of the area. Building on site begins in Autumn 2017 and will complete in 2020, supporting up to 500 construction jobs. Park Quadrant will have a total end investment value of £53m.

Expresso Property has concluded missives on The Mill Quarter site, a new leisure hub at the heart of Perth, comprising a state of the art multi-screen cinema: a mix of bars; restaurants and speciality shops, a 205 space multi-storey car park and 58 new apartments. During the construction phase, the scheme will support 200 jobs, (107 direct construction jobs and 93 indirect supplier jobs), and will have an end investment value of £30m, creating around 126 new jobs in Perth on completion.

The Mill Quarter will 'transform Perth’s visitor destination offer'

The Mill Quarter will ‘transform Perth’s visitor destination offer’

The company said the scheme will be a catalyst for economic change in Perth and will significantly transform the city’s visitor destination offer. Construction works are due to commence in 2018 and is due for completion in summer 2019.

Expresso Property has also been named as the preferred developer by Scottish Enterprise, for a new mixed-use development at Pacific Quay Glasgow, comprising offices and shops overlooking the river basin. The development will sit adjacent to the Cineworld Cinema, Glasgow Imax at the Glasgow Science Centre, the BBC and STV. With an end investment value of circa £12m, Pacific Quay will accommodate over 400 new jobs.  Works begin on site in next year with completion due in 2019.

Nick Robinson of Expresso Property said: “Expresso is funded to purchase schemes ranging from £1m to £50m and we are delighted to announce that the Scottish schemes will support the creation of 1000 new jobs in Glasgow and Perth.”

Stephen Hampshire of Expresso Property added: “We have various UK schemes underway, three of which are major Scottish projects. We turn each development on its head and look at what design fits the site, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. By replicating this success across key UK cities, our schemes will regenerate vacant, floundering and under-utilised spaces to benefit residential, and business communities for people to enjoy and be proud of.

“We share information and ideas and our teams are actively looking to invest in sites from Bath and Bristol to Birmingham and the North of the UK. To include Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, York, Leeds, Dundee and Scotland. With funding now in place we are actively looking to acquire further commercial, office, residential and retail development propositions.

“These may be currently on the market or direct approaches from company principals wishing to explore their thoughts and ideas.”

Progress made on £15m Perthshire resort development

DCIM102MEDIATaymouth Marina, a self-catering resort on the banks of Loch Tay in rural Perthshire, has announced the completion of its housing project as part of its overall £15 million development plan.

The £1,425,000 housing project compiles of five self-catering properties located on the shores of Loch Tay.

Taymouth Marinas general manager, Angus Mackay, said:  “Perthshire is such a beautiful location and the people we get visiting us here often tell us that they never want to leave. Well, now you have a chance to own your view, so to speak.”

The £15m development plan includes the addition of a 40-bedroom hotel.

externalshowAngus added: “This is a really exciting time for us at Taymouth Marina. We get families, couples and regular holiday makers and tourists visiting us up here. We are thrilled that stage 2 of our overall development has finished. Now we just want to share them with people who love Perthshire as much as we do.

“The properties would be ideal for people wanting that holiday home to escape from the city. Alternatively, they could be an ideal investment opportunity. We fully manage the properties, so the option of buying it and renting out is certainly one to be considered.”

Taymouth Marina already boasts Scotland’s first award-winning Lochside sauna and the Cranog Centre.

Future plans at Taymouth Marina includes adding an activities centre to the already array of water sports selection, helping make it a resort in its own right.

The properties were designed by McKenzie Strickland Associates.