Urban Union

Planning submitted for next phase of Pollokshaws regeneration

Urban Union - Pollokshaws daytimeGlasgow’s Pollokshaws area is a step closer to its next phase of regeneration after developers Urban Union submitted a planning application to Glasgow City Council.

Developed with the assistance of architects and town planners Barton Willmore, the application includes plans for 137 residential properties, landscaping and associated drainage and infrastructure at the site.

The proposal aims to create an urban village on the site located between Shawbridge and Pollokshaws Road and will provide the area with much needed sustainable family homes.

If successful, the property mix will include 77 new homes including two, three, four and five bedroom terraced properties, as well as 60 one and two bedroom apartments.

Neil McKay, managing director, Urban Union, said: “Since purchasing the site at Pollokshaws earlier this year we’ve been working closely with architects and town planners, Barton Willmore, to create a robust planning application which meets the needs of the local area.

“Drawing on our experience at Laurieston in Glasgow and our sites in Perth and Edinburgh, we are confident our proposals will deliver high quality homes which combine superior architecture and urban design. We eagerly anticipate starting work on the site in 2018.”

The site, which formerly occupied high and low rise blocks, is one of eight Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRA) in the city earmarked for regeneration as part of the Transforming Communities: Glasgow (TC: G) programme, a partnership between Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government.

TC: G’s programme aims to provide new sustainable mixed tenure communities through the provision of new housing, community facilities, green space and, where appropriate, commercial units.

Urban Union has already acquired the land and work is scheduled to start on the 5.74 acre site in summer 2018 for a period of around 36 months. The homes created will be a mix of terraces and apartments, with award-winning architects Barton Willmore leading the design on the project.

Head of Barton Willmore’s Architecture team in Scotland, Stuart Bishop, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Urban Union on the Pollokshaws development, further strengthening our design portfolio in Glasgow.

“Our team of architects, town planners and landscape architects have produced an extremely high quality design for a new urban village, which will provide a diverse range of private housing.

“It will offer a contemporary way of living, alongside vibrant public parks, with the added bonus of being a stone’s throw away from the superb Pollok Country Park.”

Various jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase of the project, with Urban Union committed to providing employment opportunities for local people.

Urban Union appoints new finance director

Neil McKay (left) and Kenny Downs of Urban Union

Neil McKay (left) and Kenny Downs of Urban Union

Regeneration specialist Urban Union has hired a new finance director as it gears up to launch additional sites across Scotland.

The organisation, which is a partnership between Robertson Group and McTaggart Construction currently operating in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth, has appointed Kenny Downs to the role.

He joins Urban Union in its Glasgow head office having previously worked as regional financial controller for Keepmoat Regeneration. A graduate of Strathclyde Business School, he has eight years’ experience in construction and property services and is a qualified accountant.

Neil McKay, managing director, Urban Union, said: “This is an exciting time for Urban Union – our three current sites are doing exceptionally well, and we are preparing to start work on a fourth site in Glasgow’s Pollokshaws area.

“It is essential that we have a robust finance operation and Kenny has an abundance of experience, not only in regeneration but in the wider construction area. He’s proving a vital asset already and a fantastic addition to the growing team at Urban Union.”

The appointment of a new finance director marks the eighth new hire for Urban Union since the start of 2017. Other new roles include three sales advisors, an assistant quantity surveyor, a customer service manager, a sales and marketing assistant and an additional business development manager.

These new roles will allow Urban Union to strengthen its offering to customers in all areas.

Kenny Downs said: “Urban Union has a strong reputation within the industry for delivering successful regeneration projects so to join as finance director is a real honour.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Neil and the wider team, using my operational finance skills to ensure an even more successful future for the business and its partners across Scotland.”

Urban Union’s first development is Laurieston Living in Glasgow. In the first phase, a total of 240 affordable homes were delivered for New Gorbals Housing Association, together with 69 private for sale properties. A further 55 affordable homes are currently being constructed for the Association. The second phase, currently underway, will see 173 private for sales homes built.

Urban Union’s second project, launched in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council’s 21st Century Homes housing division, is in Pennywell, North Edinburgh. To date 193 homes have been created, of which 108 were for social and mid-market rent and 85 were for private sale. A further 177 homes are currently under construction on Phase 2 of the development with 30 properties already handed over and occupied.

The partnership is also working on a third development in the Muirton area of Perth, building 203 homes as part of the final phase of a regeneration project in conjunction with Caledonia Housing Association and Fairfield Housing Co-operative.

Employability minister praises Robertson’s skills commitment

Minister for employability and training Jamie Hepburn MSP (centre) with Stewart Shearer, managing director of Robertson Partnership Homes and apprentice Laura Docherty

Minister for employability and training Jamie Hepburn MSP (centre) with Stewart Shearer, managing director of Robertson Partnership Homes and apprentice Laura Docherty

Robertson Group’s commitment to addressing the skills shortage in the construction industry has been praised by the Scottish Government’s employability and training minister.

Jamie Hepburn MSP visited the Pennywell regeneration project in Edinburgh, where hundreds of affordable homes are being created by Robertson Partnership Homes for Urban Union.

During the visit he met Laura Docherty, an apprentice working as an assistant site manager for Robertson Partnership Homes and the milestone 100th employee for the business.

The recent growth of Robertson Partnership Homes is a direct result of the decision to carry out trade works, including joinery, plumbing and electrical works. This has led to the employment of 40 joiners, eight apprentices and a number of general managers responsible for overseeing specific regions.

The minister also learned about the wider regeneration of Pennywell and Muirhouse, which is also being delivered by Robertson Partnership Homes. The project includes affordable housing, retail space and a civic square.

Laura Docherty is Robertson Partnership Homes' 100th employee

Laura Docherty is Robertson Partnership Homes’ 100th employee

Employability minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Congratulations to Robertson Partnership Homes who have actively taken steps to address the skills gaps they have identified within their business.

“This is exactly the type of approach that is benefitting our economy and is in line with the Scottish Government’s commitment to making sure our skills system is aligned with employer needs.

“The Scottish Government continues to invest significantly in work based learning and is enhancing and diversifying our apprenticeship programmes, including building on the early success of Graduate Level Apprenticeships. We are on course to meet our target of 30,000 new starts each year by 2020 while our Flexible Workforce Development Fund is offering opportunities to up-skill and re-skill existing employees.”

Robertson’s steps to help future-proof the industry follow recent findings from a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) report highlighting the need for the skills gap to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Jamie Hepburn MSP visits Pennywell in EdinburghStewart Shearer, managing director, Robertson Partnership Homes, said: “Due to the current labour shortages within the industry, we decided that in order to secure the correct resources for our pipeline we had to employ our own in-house trades.

“The current skills gap is threatening to derail the wider built environment industry, and we’re working as a priority to help address this. As well as joiners, we are currently recruiting for plumbers and electricians across all regions, and will also be offering eight further apprenticeships in 2018.

“We’re part of a dynamic and innovative industry with diverse opportunities – and it’s up to us to communicate it. By providing and encouraging young people to take up an apprenticeship, we can help raise the profile of the industry, inspire a new generation and ensure vital trades have a well-trained and sufficient source of labour.”

To date, Pennywell Living has seen 193 homes completed, 108 of which are for social and mid-market rent and 85 properties for private sale. A further 177 homes are under construction with 315 properties in planning. In total nearly 800 homes will be delivered at the development, with work expected to be completed in 2023.

Neil McKay, managing director, Urban Union, said: “Pennywell Living has been a tremendous success and is already making a significant difference to residents living in the area. It is fantastic to see continued progress being made across Pennywell and Muirhouse, all of which will help to enhance the area and show it is a quality place to live.”

And finally… Gorbals’ notable natives immortalised at Laurieston development

Laurieston CGI 2A host of famous faces from the Gorbals are to be honoured at a new housing development in the area.

A total of 19 well-known names have had a house type named after them at the next phase of Urban Union’s Laurieston Living development.

Hundreds of people voted for their preferred option, with popular TV host Lorraine Kelly and former Manchester United star Paddy Crerand emerging as the most popular names.

The 19 winning names are:

  1. The Kelly (Lorraine)
  2. The Crerand (Paddy)
  3. The McLintock (Frank)
  4. The Robertson (Charles)
  5. The Millar (Robert)
  6. The Duffy (Carol Ann)
  7. The Thomas (Sir Lipton)
  8. The Haughey (Lord Willie)
  9. The Harvey (Alex)
  10. The Lynch (Benny)
  11. The Pinkerton (Allan)
  12. The Oscar (Marzaroli)
  13. The McEnroe (Tom)
  14. The Frank (Bruno)
  15. The Glasser (Ralph)
  16. The Boyle (Jimmy)
  17. The Hutton (Alexander Watson)
  18. The Hannah (Frank)
  19. The Thomson (Alexander “Greek”)

Upon entering the competition participants were entered into a draw to win a night at the Citizen’s Theatre and a meal for two in a city restaurant, with a winner selected and set to enjoy a night on the town.

Neil McKay, managing director at Urban Union, said: “Regeneration is all about building new communities and that is already happening at Laurieston – but we also wanted to find a way to honour the history of the area.

“We received a great response from the public and look forward to unveiling The Kelly and The Crerand – as well as the other 17 homes – when the next phase of homes at Laurieston go on sale later this year.”

In the first phase at the Laurieston Living development, a total of 240 affordable homes were delivered for New Gorbals Housing Association (NGHA), together with 69 private for sale properties. A further 55 affordable homes are currently being constructed for NGHA.

The second phase will see 173 private homes built, with the first residents expected to move in from next summer and the development expected to be complete by 2021.

Planning submitted for another 315 homes at Pennywell

UrbanUnionLorimer 1Regeneration firm Urban Union and architects Barton Willmore have submitted plans for the next phase of regeneration at the Pennywell Living development to the City of Edinburgh Council.

The application includes plans for 315 dwellings, landscaping and associated drainage and infrastructure at the site. If successful the dwellings will comprise 175 flats and 140 houses of which 134 will be available for private sale.

The plans form phase three of four at the Pennywell development, which is part of the council’s 21st Century Homes programme and is one of Scotland’s largest housing-led regeneration projects.

Urban Union has already delivered 193 homes of which 108 were for social and mid-market rent and 85properties were offered for private sale. In total over 700 homes will be delivered at the development, with work expected to be completed in 2021.

Neil McKay, managing director of Urban Union, said: “The first two phases at Pennywell Living were a great success. Hundreds of people are now enjoying the high quality and energy efficient accommodation. The transformation of Pennywell is already well underway and we look forward to receiving the council’s decision regarding phase three and, if successful, we anticipate work will start in summer 2018.”

Jon Parry, associate architect at Barton Willmore, said: “Submission of the planning application for this major phase of the area’s regeneration is a significant milestone. Our masterplanners, architects, planners and landscape designers have worked closely with Urban Union, 21st Century Homes and the local community to ensure the proposals meet the needs of the area; we are extremely proud of the positive change that our designs are contributing towards.”

The extensive Pennywell development is the result of a major investment of £42 million by the City of Edinburgh Council and includes £7.9m grant funding from the Scottish Government. It was also recently shortlisted in the Inside Housing Best Regeneration Project (non-London) Awards with the results announced in November.

Urban Union creates revitalised communities through building new, high quality, affordable homes. It currently has three live developments in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Perth with plans to add a further two Glasgow locations in 2017.

Urban Union – a partnership between Robertson and McTaggart Construction – is keen to ensure projects benefit the local landscape and community so the site features a linear park and a mix of accommodation, with potential for commercial opportunities and retail outlets.

Starting orders for second phase of Laurieston regeneration

Laurieston Phase Two (1)Work is set to get underway on the next phase of regeneration at the award-winning Laurieston Living development in the Gorbals area of Glasgow.

Laurieston is one of eight Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRA) in the city earmarked for regeneration as part of the Transforming Communities: Glasgow programme – a partnership between Glasgow Housing Association, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government.

TC: G’s programme aims to provide new sustainable mixed tenure communities through the provision of new housing, community facilities, green space and, where appropriate, commercial units.

In Phase 2 a total of 173 private for sale homes will be built at Laurieston by Urban Union following planning permission being granted. The new development is expected to complete by early 2021 with the first residents able to move in from summer 2018.

Laurieston Phase Two (2)In the first phase at the Laurieston Living development, a total of 240 affordable homes were delivered for New Gorbals Housing Association (NGHA), together with 69 private for sale properties. A further 55 affordable homes are currently being constructed for NGHA.

Laurieston Living is a £100 million revitalisation of the Gorbals area, with plans to deliver a total of four phases over a nine-year period.

Cllr Kenny McLean, Glasgow City Council’s city convener for neighbourhoods and chair of Transforming Communities: Glasgow, said: “The next phase of housing to be built in Laurieston will, I’m pleased to say, bring more high quality new housing to this neighbourhood. Laurieston is undergoing a tremendous transformation, with award-winning private and housing association homes being built in a great location close to Glasgow city centre.  I look forward to this next stage of the area’s regeneration bringing more benefit to the local community.”

Neil McKay, managing director of Urban Union, added: “The first phase at Laurieston Living was a real triumph, and was Scotland’s largest ever grant-funded project for a single housing association grant.

“Hundreds of people are now enjoying the high quality accommodation, and with the next phase we will look to ensure that even more people can reap the benefits of Laurieston Living.”

Laurieston Phase Two (3)Urban Union – a partnership between Robertson Group and McTaggart Construction – is keen to ensure projects benefit the local landscape and community so the site features a Linear Park and a mix of accommodation, with potential for commercial opportunities and retail outlets.

The homes will be a mix of terraces and apartments, with architects Anderson Bell + Christie leading on the design.

Mark Sneddon at Anderson Bell + Christie Architects said: “The second phase will continue to build upon the successful transformation and regeneration of Laurieston.

“A restrained palette of bricks will be used to create a series of carefully detailed facades generating three interesting and well-articulated urban blocks. Phase 2 will also include the exciting first phase of a new Linear Park, providing quality outdoor space at the heart of the development, in line with the masterplan.”

Linda Malone, chairperson of New Gorbals Housing Association, added: “We are particularly delighted to see this crucial phase progressing because it will provide a fantastic new park, which the local community helped design, and other much needed amenities which will benefit all of Laurieston.”

Urban Union’s second project, launched in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council’s 21st Century Homes housing division, is in Pennywell, North Edinburgh.

The partnership is also working on a third development in the Muirton area of Perth, building 203 homes as part of the final phase of a regeneration project.

Urban Union celebrates growth with seven new appointments

Urban UnionRegeneration company Urban Union has welcomed seven new staff as it celebrates growth in the first half of 2017.

The joint venture between McTaggart Construction and Robertson Group Holdings has strengthened its team across the business from graduate hires to senior management.

The roles include three new sales advisors, an assistant quantity surveyor, a customer service manager, a sales and marketing assistant and a business development manager.

New business development manager Suzanne Lawns was previously a national project manager for the Sanctuary Group. She has worked in housing for 15 years and in development for the past nine years. She led negotiation of land purchases, compulsory purchase orders, development of community space and offices.

Sales advisors Irene Espie, Michelle Ferguson and Lynne Williams have over 50 years’ combined experience in property and sales.

Two recent graduates have also joined the company; Chloe Thompson as sales and marketing assistant and Vivienne Holland as assistant quantity surveyor.

Urban Union has also welcomed James Lynch as customer service manager. James is a joiner by trade and has over 30 years’ experience within the building industry.

Neil McKay, managing director of Urban Union, said: “We’ve had many new faces join our team so far this year and we expect the workforce to continue growing in the latter half of 2017.

“We have attracted lots of talent to the business with these additional positions, including new junior members of staff with great potential. It has been a pleasure welcoming them all into their new roles and I look forward to building the business with our enhanced team.”

Urban Union seals deal to deliver over 130 homes in Pollokshaws

The Laurieston Living development delivered by Urban Union in the Gorbals

The Laurieston Living development delivered by Urban Union in the Gorbals

Glasgow’s Pollokshaws is set for its next phase of regeneration after developers Urban Union acquired land in the area.

Pollokshaws is one of eight Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRA) in the city earmarked for regeneration as part of the Transforming Communities: Glasgow (TC: G) programme, a partnership between Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government.

TC: G’s programme aims to provide new sustainable mixed tenure communities through the provision of new housing, community facilities, green space and, where appropriate, commercial units.

A total of 137 homes for sale will be built on Shawbridge Street in Pollokshaws by Urban Union, the partnership behind the award-winning Laurieston Living development in the Gorbals.

Work is due to start on the 5.74 acre site in summer 2018 for a period of around 36 months. The 137 homes by Urban Union are part of a major mixed tenure regeneration project which has already seen GHA, part of Wheatley Group, build 140 new homes for social rent.

GHA has also refurbished 40 flats for mid-market rent in partnership with its sister organisation Lowther Homes. Loretto Housing Association, also part of Wheatley, is set to start work on a further 42 homes for social rent in the area.

Cllr Kenny McLean, Glasgow City Council’s city convener for neighbourhoods and chair of Transforming Communities: Glasgow, said: “Urban Union has a great track record in the city, having delivered a fantastic development at Laurieston TRA, and this is another investment in building the kind of vibrant and sustainable neighbourhoods that are transforming our city.”

Neil McKay, managing director at Urban Union, said: “Pollokshaws TRA has seen significant regeneration over the past few years and we are delighted to be delivering the next phase.

“Drawing on our expertise from Laurieston in Glasgow and other sites across Scotland, we will deliver high quality homes – combining superior architecture and urban design.

“As with our other developments, community engagement will be at the heart of our plans and we look forward to building relationships with the local community to ensure the homes we build are to the benefit of the people of Pollokshaws.”

The homes created will be a mix of terraces and apartments, with architects Barton Willmore leading the design on the project.

Various jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase of the project, with Urban Union committed to providing employment opportunities for local people.

Arts vital to successful regeneration, Scottish Parliament hears

Art on display in Laurieston

Art on display in Laurieston

Regeneration projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been held up as best practice at the Scottish Parliament.

Urban Union – a joint venture between McTaggart Construction and Robertson Group – has successfully completed the initial phases of regeneration at Laurieston Living in Glasgow and Pennywell Living in Edinburgh.

Key to that success has been the inclusion of an award-winning arts strategy which has brought together current and future residents.

Holyrood’s cross party group on culture invited the organisations delivering these programmes to take part in a panel discussion titled ‘Cultural Regeneration – can planners and artists work together?’

Peter McCaughey of WAVEparticle and Kate Wimpress of North Edinburgh Arts explained how the arts has been integral to each development and showcased some of the innovative programmes they have created at Laurieston and Pennywell.

Neil McKay, managing director of Urban Union, said: “Regeneration is about much more than simply building new homes. That can only be the starting point – truly successful regeneration has to be about building communities and that is why we embed an arts and living strategy into each of our projects.

“It is fantastic that the Scottish Parliament has recognised the importance of this, and I am sure that Peter and Kate impressed upon those attending the Cross Party Group the importance of a holistic approach to regeneration.”

Laurieston Living is a £100 million revitalisation of the Gorbals area, with plans to deliver four phases over a nine-year period. The first of those phases is complete, with enabling works underway for phase two.

In Laurieston, WAVEparticle’s Open Spaces project has made use of some of the vacant areas around the development, with pop-up events, exhibitions, community workshops, film screenings and theatre performances being held.

Pennywell Living – launched in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council’s 21st Century Homes housing division – features 700 homes, half of which are either affordable, social housing or mid-market rent.

At Pennywell, the arts strategy has led to events such as ‘Bright Nights’ in 2015, an installation created by local artist Alice Betts which transformed the area around Muirhouse Shopping Centre.

The partnership is also working on a third development in the Muirton area of Perth, building 203 homes as part of the final phase of a regeneration project.

New managing director appointed as Urban Union continues to expand

Neil McKay

Neil McKay

Growing specialist regeneration company Urban Union has appointed Neil McKay as its managing director.

Taking up the post formally in October 2016, Neil, 47, brings 30 years’ construction industry experience as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor with expertise in developing major building and civil engineering projects in the UK and the Middle East. He also has a depth of experience in overseeing the contractual and commercial requirements of projects and partnering consortium arrangements.

Previously Neil held various senior positions within Al Habtoor Leighton LLC and most recently was appointed a director on the Robertson Executive Board.

Neil will now lead Urban Union as the company continues to deliver ongoing large-scale regeneration projects across Scotland, including significant award-winning housing developments currently underway at Laurieston in Glasgow, Pennywell in Edinburgh and now Muirton in Perth which just launched in summer 2016.

Urban Union has significantly evolved since its formation in 2011. This latest appointment marks the start of a new chapter for the company – which is a partnership of two renowned Scottish companies, McTaggart Construction and Robertson Group Holdings – as it continues in its ambition to create quality homes and communities throughout Scotland.

Gary Climson of McTaggart Construction said: “This is a great opportunity for Neil, who is already a key part of the consortium, to further develop Urban Union and to lead the business into this next stage of expansion and growth.”

Derek Shewan of Robertson Group added: “Neil offers a wealth of knowledge in project management and has extensive experience in delivering high standard, sustainable communities. His expertise will be a great asset to Urban Union as the company continues its ambitious plans for the future.”

Commenting on his new role Neil said: “Urban Union has an admirable ethos to build communities as well as homes. I feel my international experience within a stock market listed company at a senior level will bring another dimension to the business.”