South Lanarkshire

Wind farm aims to deliver £100m boost to South Lanarkshire economy

Ryan Newall and Jeannie Kielty of Banks Renewables

A South Lanarkshire wind farm development is well on the way to delivering an estimated £101 million boost to the local economy.

Connect2Renewables (C2R) was launched in 2014 by Banks Renewables with the support of local communities and South Lanarkshire Council, and seeks to maximise the social and economic benefits of the company’s wind farm developments in the local area.

With construction of the 88MW Kype Muir Wind Farm, south of Strathaven, well underway, it is now estimated that the project will be worth more than £100m to the local economy.

To date nearly £20m of contracts have been awarded to firms based within 30km of the Kype Muir wind farm.

Local firms that have benefited from large contracts include Drumclog Plant Hire, Hillhouse Quarry Ltd and KT Montgomery.

Colin Anderson, development director of Banks Renewables, said: “We’re very proud to know that the work we carry out will have long lasting and significant benefits for the local area.

“A key part of Connect2Renewables is to ensure we use as many local contractors as possible, as we know this has a hugely positive knock on effect for the local economy and the people living and working there.

“The construction of Kype Muir Wind Farm will positively contribute to the area for a generation, with local community groups, shops, businesses and individuals seeing tangible benefits.”

As well as the Connect2Renewables commitments, Banks will work with South Lanarkshire Council and the local communities to maximise the benefits delivered by the £11.5m of direct community funding flowing from the project.

Kype Muir Wind Farm will also contribute nearly £30m in business rates over its lifetime that will support South Lanarkshire Council to provide high quality services to the communities of South Lanarkshire.

Colin added: “Connect2Renewables is a ground-breaking initiative that is all about giving local people opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have. It also shows that as we increase the amount of clean, renewable energy in our country to address the climate change imperatives, that we can do it in a way that has very clear social and economic upsides for our communities and businesses.”

Construction works, including turbine erection, and connecting the wind farm to the National Grid, are programmed to be completed by early 2019.

University of the West of Scotland’s urban village plans approved in principle

Plans to transform the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) site in Hamilton into an ‘urban village’ complete with 365 homes and a five-storey hotel have been given the green light.

South Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee has approved in principle a multi-million pound Hamilton Urban Village development on the 7.5 hectare site bordering Almada Street, Bothwell Road, Beckford Street and Caird Street.

UWS is set to vacate its home since 1972 and move to a new campus in Hamilton International Technology Park later this year.

Councillors on the committee have now given the green light to the joint proposal by UWS and the council to create a mixed-use development – to be known as ‘Hamilton Green – to be completed over 15-20 years.

Proposals included in the masterplan, which was devised by Ironside Farrar, are:

  • Residential development of between 345 and 365 homes including affordable housing
  • A 60-80 bedroom hotel
  • Retail, cafe and restaurant facilities
  • Care home and retirement flats
  • Extensive open space and landscaping
  • Retention of the 5000 sq metre Caird Building as a business and office hub

Councillor Alistair Fulton, the chair of the planning committee, welcomed the outline masterplan.

He said: “This proposal gives us a unique opportunity to strengthen and reinvigorate this area of Hamilton, which is well known as home to the town’s civic core of court, council and health board.

“It therefore seeks to increase the residential population and encourage a greater variety of uses while creating an innovative and high quality townscape. The plans also reflect the wider ambitions of the council for high quality homes and public spaces, supporting a high quality of life, and contributing to the aspirations of the town as a whole.”

The committee also agreed that a Section 75 legal agreement be concluded between the applicants and the site owners to ensure financial contributions towards additional nursery and school provision and affordable housing.

Contractor fined £80,000 after gas explosion at South Lanarkshire home

A contractor has been fined after a gas explosion at a domestic property in Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire.

Lanark Sheriff Court heard that, on 22 March 2007, Turriff Contractors Limited had been contracted to construct and install a gas main on a street in Lesmahagow.

The court also heard that, on 25 March 2012, the gas main Turriff constructed and installed failed and caused extensive damage to a bungalow on the street, the two occupants of the bungalow escaped with minor injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the cause of the explosion was due to the poor construction of the gas main in 2007, the company also failed to adequately supervise the construction and installation of this gas main.

It was found that the gas main was constructed near to a low voltage electrical cable which later short circuited and the heat generated from this caused the release of natural gas subsequently leading to the gas explosion.

Turriff Contractors Limited, of Stepps, Glasgow, pleaded guilty to breaching Sections 3(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £80,000.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE head of gas and pipelines, Julie Voce, said: “It was very fortunate the two residents escaped this life-threatening incident with minor injuries.

“Duty holders must construct and install all gas pipelines to the required standard. In this case Turriff Contractors failed to do so and we hope that lessons have been learned to avoid similar events occurring in the future.”

Buyers sought for Birkwood Castle as administrators appointed at developers

Plans for the completed Birkwood Castle

The developer behind the transformation of a 17th century Gothic mansion in South Lanarkshire into a luxury hotel has fallen into administration.

Birkwood Estates was redeveloping Birkwood Castle in Lesmahagow into a boutique hotel and residential development of luxury homes.

The development is now for sale with planning permission as well as adjacent land consented for residential development.

The hotel was scheduled to open in spring 2019, and the administrators Johnston Carmichael are now seeking buyers to take the site forward.

Administrator Donald McNaught, partner at Johnston Carmichael, said: “This is an historic site which the previous developers knew had enormous potential as a hotel. The local authorities and community are very supportive of attempts to preserve an important feature of the area’s heritage.

“We’re hopeful of being able to find a buyer who recognises the opportunity presented by the site, so the future of this local landmark can be secured.”

The castle, a former psychiatric hospital, is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the UK, with local paranormal experts taking a keen interest in reported ghostly activities at the site.

ASDA lodges proposals to redevelop Blantyre store

View 18 DaySupermarket ASDA has lodged a planning application with South Lanarkshire Council to redevelop its store and related commercial units in Blantyre.

The redevelopment on Glasgow Road will serve to deliver much needed improvements to Clydeview Shopping Centre and represents a multi-million pound investment.

Under the proposals, external improvements will be made to the ASDA store and the retained western parade of units, while the eastern parade of units will be demolished to make way for new units for a mix of shops, service and professional offices, food and drink or hot food shops.

Alterations will be made to the existing petrol filling station, a small sales kiosk will be introduced and ‘Click & Collect’ lockers will be installed beside the store with canopy and dedicated parking area.

Car park alterations will include improved taxi rank facilities, accessible spaces and parent & child parking spaces.

The development proposals were brought forward following a comprehensive assessment by ASDA of the trading environment at Blantyre, including the lack of demand for the vacant shop units. The complete development can be expected to contribute positively to the vitality and viability of the town centre.

The proposals contained within the planning application will involve the reuse of existing brownfield land in a sustainable manner.

With demolition of the eastern parade of units the public realm will be greatly improved. The new, purpose built units will serve to meet the specific requirements of the identified operators and could be occupied for a range of uses.

The existing Asda store façade will be improved along with the retained western parade of units fronting Glasgow Road.

Alan Jones, senior communications manager for Asda, said: “We are pleased to be lodging our planning application for the redevelopment of Clydeview Shopping Centre. Our proposals represent a multi-million pound investment into Blantyre and will help enhance the vitality and viability of the centre.”

Improved planning consent sought for 105 new East Kilbride homes

Flatted Blocks 2&3Swan Group has applied for planning consent for a 105-home development at Law Place, East Kilbride on behalf of Link Group Ltd.

The company, which specialises in the development and delivery of affordable housing, acquired the site with the benefit of planning consent for a smaller scheme, however the application for the significantly improved housing development has been submitted following successful pre-application discussions with South Lanarkshire Council.

Link Group Ltd has appointed Swan Group as both principal designer and contractor to complete the development, which comprises of a mix of terraced housing and flats.

MAST Architects have been commissioned to design the development and work is expected to start in early 2018, to be completed in 2019.

Family Houses - ViewThe project, in partnership with Link, will form a vital part of South Lanarkshire Council’s aim to address the high demand for new affordable homes throughout the area. The council has already set a target of 500 new homes under their ownership by 2020 to be boosted by around 2,500 homes for housing associations within this period.

Phil McGinlay, managing director of Swan Group, said: “This development demonstrates our commitment to collaborating with Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) and local authorities such as Link Group and South Lanarkshire Council. We all share an ambition to deliver high quality, affordable housing to meet the growing demand across Scotland.”

Ross Martin, Link Group’s chairman, said: “Developments like Law Place in East Kilbride will help to address the real need for rental accommodation that is affordable, for people on relatively low or fixed incomes. Link can help to provide a secure future for them by working with developers like Swan Group, who also understand this market.”

Landmark £10m hotel investment for Hamilton Park Racecourse

Hamilton Races

Hamilton Park Racecourse has unveiled plans for a multi-million pound hotel development on its grounds, with a formal planning application made to South Lanarkshire Council.

The prestigious venue aims to open a hotel on the site on the town’s Bothwell Road for the first time in its 90-year history.

The 118-guestroom property, operating under Hilton’s fastest growing brand, Hampton by Hilton, is to be built on what is currently the main public car park of the racecourse grounds.

The £10 million project will bring up to 20 new jobs to the racecourse, doubling the current number of employees, with a variety of roles in managerial, professional, customer service and administrative positions.

The Hamilton Park executive team has undertaken extensive feasibility studies into the development and projects it will generate an additional £5.9 million per year in additional visitor expenditure in the area, and add a gross value of £700,000 per year to the economy, with £400,000 of that directly in South Lanarkshire.

Vivien Currie

Vivien Currie

The hotel, which has been designed by local practice, ICA Architects, is expected to double the size of the racecourse’s business within three years of opening.

Vivien Currie, chief executive at Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to unveil this landmark project for Hamilton Park Racecourse and are certain it will deliver substantial benefits to our business and the wider economy.

“The project has been driven by both public demand, largely from our local customer base, not only for racedays but for weddings and other events, and from our racing personnel. With an onsite hotel, Hamilton Park Racecourse will further enhance its reputation as a wide-ranging, world-class sporting and hospitality attraction, whilst also providing a fantastic facility for racing staff when they visit Hamilton Park for our 18 race meetings.

“We are constantly competing with racecourses further south to attract top trainers and jockeys. Having an onsite modern Hampton by Hilton hotel for them to stay in will add to the host of benefits and incentives we offer to racing connections to ensure we stage top quality racing here in Hamilton. Our prize money increased by 15per cent this past season and now it’s time to invest again in our facilities and attract new visitors.

“This key project for Hamilton, its inhabitants and many visitors will encourage investment in the town and create jobs whilst enhancing the Hamilton Park experience.”

A great deal of planning has been put into the design of the hotel, which will be constructed in a modular fashion, and proposals have been developed in such a way that the project will cause minimal disruption to the area.

Designated parking will be available at the limited service hotel with little impact on raceday parking.

Graham Dodd, Senior Director, Development, UK & Ireland, Hilton said: “Hampton by Hilton has grown rapidly since being introduced to Scotland last year. We will soon have six hotels operating under the brand in four key locations across Scotland and we look forward to welcoming guests to Hamilton and its racecourse in the coming years.”

Vivien added: “As a Lanarkshire business we are incredibly excited by the core economic and regenerative objectives at the heart of this project and have no doubt that the site will excel as a venue, taking Hamilton Park to the next level.

“Historically, Hamilton Park Racecourse has been at the forefront of development in Scottish and UK racing, all the way back to being a pioneer for evening racing in 1947. These latest plans are a further marker of the ambitions of the team.”

South Lanarkshire glazing firm closes with loss of 40 jobs

Westcrowns Contracting ServicesA glazing and flooring firm in South Lanarkshire has closed with the loss of 40 jobs.

STV reports that Westcrowns Contracting Services entered administration on October 20 amid “severe cash flow difficulties” and the business ceased to trade with immediate effect.

The Rutherglen firm is part of the Westcrowns Group, which has been in operation for nearly 150 years and continues to trade as normal.

A spokeswoman said: “Administrators were appointed due to the company experiencing severe cash flow difficulties.

“As a result, the business will cease to trade with immediate effect.

“Forty members of staff have been made redundant, and nine have been retained to assist with the wind down of the business and sale of assets.”

UWS outlines ‘Hamilton Green urban village’ proposals

Hamilton Green Hamilton Urban VillageNew plans have been revealed to transform the Hamilton campus of the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) into an ‘urban village’ complete with 365 homes and a five-storey hotel.

A masterplan framework devised by Ironside Farrar on behalf of South Lanarkshire Council and UWS calls for wholesale redevelopment of the 7.5 acre town centre campus following the university’s relocation to an out of town technology park next year.

The application for planning in principle for Hamilton Green: Hamilton Urban Village also includes refurbished office space, care home and retirement flats with complementary retail and restaurants.

The site, which sits between Almada Street, Beckford Street and Bothwell Road, is set to feature up to 365 mixed residential homes, including townhouses and flats, some of which will be affordable housing.

And the area could also host an 80-bed, five-storey hotel that will replace the current University of the West of Scotland student accommodation.

Office space would occupy the Caird Building at the university with a leisure/retail space and a 70-bed care home.

Plans include a distinctive “north-south linear greenspace” at the heart of the new development. The area is described in the proposals as being “inspired by the large parade grounds at the centre of the former barracks, and this open space gives structure to the new urban form connecting Almada Street with Caird Street.”

In the report’s planning statement, Ironside Farrar wrote: “The proposed design strategy takes its cue from the former barracks use of the site to form a large rectangular public greenspace which provides the development with a clear central focus and the area with a civic greenspace.”

A University of the West of Scotland spokesperson said: “The university is working in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council to explore various options for redevelopment of this location. We are in the early stages of development, having recently completed a number of joint public consultation events.”

Two community engagement events, where members of the public could drop in and inspect the proposals, have already taken place earlier this year.

The development, depending on market conditions, is expected to take place between 2018 and 2028.

First building tops out at Glasgow’s new urban business district

Shawfield 14A topping out ceremony has taken place for the first building at Glasgow’s new urban business location, Magenta @ Clyde Gateway.

The £9 million Red Tree Magenta building is currently under construction by contractors Robertson, and is due for completion in summer 2018. Investment funding is being provided jointly by Clyde Gateway, the Scottish Government and South Lanarkshire Council.

On the site of the former Shawfield industrial estate, Magenta @ Clyde Gateway is set to become one of the UK’s largest office locations, set on 27 acres next to the River Clyde and M74 motorway network, under two miles from Glasgow’s city centre. It is estimated that the development will bring at least 12,000 new jobs to the area.

The four-storey, 3,780 sq m Red Tree building will provide Grade A business suites ranging in size from 10 to 168 sq m, aimed at encouraging the growth of SMEs and creating local employment opportunities for local people, including those moving into the area’s numerous new residential developments. When fully occupied, the building has the capacity to create 250 new jobs.

Highbridge Properties Plc – Clyde Gateway’s development partner for Magenta – is a specialist business park developer which has successfully developed over 13 million square feet of office and industrial space, including Cobalt, the largest office park in the UK. Situated near Newcastle, Cobalt employs over 14,000 people and is home to numerous blue chip companies including Hewlett Packard, Proctor & Gamble, Accenture, EE and Santander. Highbridge is now planning the next phase of development at the Magenta site.

Shawfield 02Guy Marsden, director at Highbridge Properties PLC, said: “Topping out is a major construction milestone in what is a landmark project – the very first building at Magenta, which will eventually become one of the UK’s largest office locations.

“Magenta is a very compelling option for businesses who want great value for money, superb infrastructure, and a location that’s under two miles from the city centre, 15 minutes from Glasgow Airport, and two minutes from the M74. It’s also within walking and cycling distance of a growing local population, who are taking advantage of the various new residential developments that are springing up in the area. Magenta’s close proximity to the Cuningar Loop woodland park is also good news for the wellbeing of people who will be working here.

“Magenta provides a great addition to the Scottish economy – with Grade A office space that offers savings of up to 37 percent on similar new-build offices in city centre locations.”

Ian Manson, chief executive of Clyde Gateway, said: “This £9 million investment marks the beginning of what will be a remarkable and eye-catching regeneration of Shawfield. These offices are the third to be developed by Clyde Gateway under the Red Tree brand, with two already in place at Bridgeton and Rutherglen, but this is the first to involve a complete new-build.

“We’ve already attracted over 5,000 jobs to the Clyde Gateway area, and many of our tenant companies are from the creative, media and digital industries such as Think Publishing, Made Brave, Peebles Media and Cloud Cover IT. Our Red Tree developments have been really popular, so it’s great to see construction work coming on so well and we are on schedule for opening this flagship building in summer 2018.”