Building Briefs – August 19th

STHA Fern Gds screen res 3Housing minister opens Shettleston Housing Association’s latest development

Shettleston Housing Association welcomed Kevin Stewart, minister for local government and housing, residents and many other guests to the official opening of its latest new build development Fernan Gardens this week.

Occupying the site of a former social work centre which has lain derelict for a number of years, the development provides 29 amenity flats for an older tenant group.

Designed by Anderson Bell Christie and developed by Lovell, the high quality homes incorporate a number of design features intended to enhance the quality of life of residents in the development. These features include triple glazing, Heat Recovery Ventilation Systems, solar panels, secure car parking via remotely operated electric gates, and in a first for Shettleston Housing Association – communal Wi-Fi will soon be installed, with access throughout the development.

It is hoped that access to the internet will encourage the older tenant group to make use of online services and become more digitally included.

All homes in the development surround a common courtyard offering a good quality space for residents to share. Residents in the ground floor flats also enjoy a private terrace area with raised planting beds, which have been built at a height that makes them convenient for residents to plant and work at, should they so wish.  The residents in the upper flats benefit from Juliette balconies with glass balustrades.

A stunning feature of the new development is the pedestrian pend entry which is entered via bespoke gates, and houses some beautiful artwork making the entrance to the development, warm, inviting and inspirational. Carved creations from the former World Chainsaw Sculpting Champion, Iain Chalmers, will soon be arriving onsite, including a three piece suite, coffee table and a standard lamp for the courtyard.

It is hoped that the design features of Fernan Gardens will entice residents to get together socially and develop new friendships, and the proximity of the development to local amenities and transport links will encourage residents to contribute to and benefit from community life in Shettleston.


Funding confirmed for Hawick Flood Protection Scheme

The first tranche of funding for the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme has been confirmed by the Scottish Government.

Councillors at this week’s Scottish Borders Council executive meeting heard the government has provided an initial £1.342 million to the project as a general capital grant in 2016/17.

The Hawick Flood Protection Scheme was included on a list of 40 new flood protection projects by the government earlier this summer. The scheme will receive 80 per cent (£29.2m) of the overall project costs from the government, which currently stands at £36.4m.

The confirmation of Scottish Government support comes ahead of a public exhibition on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 August in Hawick Town Hall, which will give members of the public the opportunity to make their views known on the scheme.

The public exhibition runs from 9am to 9pm on both days.


Housing plan for Perth city centre church

Plans have been unveiled to build 21 flats and a new YMCA operations centre on the site of a church in Perth city centre.

The young people’s charity has submitted proposals to demolish the former St Andrew’s and St Stephen’s Parish Church and pave the way for the development.

The old church, which is owned by the charity, is on the official buildings at risk register and has been described as unusable and unsafe. The Perth-based YMCA also wants to demolish two tenement blocks on North William Street.

If approved, the scheme would see 21 flats and a new YMCA operations centre built on a site in Atholl Street and North William Street.

The flats, a mixture of one and two bedroom apartments over three storeys, will be run by Caledonia Housing Association.

A public consultation will be held before the plans are considered.


Drew Hendry MP visits Kier Construction Scotland’s Inverness base

Sean O'Callaghan, operations director for Kier welcomes Drew Hendry MP to their Inverness office
Sean O’Callaghan, operations director for Kier welcomes Drew Hendry MP to their Inverness office

Drew Hendry, the SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, visited Kier Construction’s highland base at Beechwood Business Park in Inverness this week to hear about the various projects that Kier is delivering in the local area, and to discuss the industry’s role in driving economic growth and tackling the skills shortage.

Kier provides a diverse range of employment opportunities, both within their own office in Inverness, which now employs 8 full time staff, and through building strong relationships with the local supply chain which has resulted in additional jobs and apprenticeships for local people.

Kier’s recent contract wins include the expansion and modernisation of Inverness Airport’s passenger lounges, as well as a £7m contract to upgrade council house heating across the highlands through the Scape National Minor Works Framework.

Kier is also delivering a £14m community centre and primary school campus at Caol, Fort William for The Highland Council and has completed various projects for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, including a custom-built business facility at Sandbank Business Park in Dunoon and upgrading the visitor facilities at the Ptarmigan, Cairngorm Mountain Top Station.

Mr Hendry learned about Kier’s outreach work with primary and secondary pupils that introduces them to the construction industry at an early age, and the various initiatives that Kier has put in place to attract a diversity of new talent and to narrow the skills gap.


Plans to redevelop Queen’s Hall given go-ahead

Plans to redevelop the Queen’s Hall are set to go-ahead, Argyll and Bute Council has confirmed.

This week the council will be asked to invest £2 million in the project, which will be funded from money available in the existing capital plan.

It is expected a contract will be awarded for the project in September.


Carriageway and footpath resurfacing to commence in Fife

Fife Council has announced the commencement of essential carriageway resurfacing and associated drainage improvement works between Cupar and Pitscottie.

The work on the B940 will begin on Monday, 29 August, and be completed in approximately 13 weeks.

During the works the road will be closed, with a traffic diversion in place. Traffic will be diverted via B940 to B939 and A916 to A914 and A91 to B940 and vice versa.

During the closure the council said it will also undertake footway reconstruction from Cupar to Tailabout Farm. Access for businesses and residents will be maintained with traffic light control.


Highland Council adopts Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance

The Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance has been adopted by members of the Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee.

The guidance will now be used as material consideration in any applications and will have full weight in the planning process as part of the Development Plan.

The Highland Council has been reviewing its planning policies and guidance since new national planning policies were published in June 2014.

During the process stakeholders and members of the public have had a number of opportunities to take part in public consultation at each stage.

The guidance identifies a spatial framework showing areas with potential for wind farm development as a guide for developers and communities. It sets out the criteria for assessing whether specific development proposals are appropriate and clear guidance for communities seeking to explore small-scale on-shore wind development opportunities. It also takes into account that other areas need to be protected due to their importance, for example for nature conservation or landscape value.


Edinburgh council leader to stand down next year

Councillor Andrew Burns has announced that he will not be putting himself forward for re-election as leader of the City of Edinburgh Council in the 2017 election.

The 52-year-old, who has been the council leader for four years and Labour group leader for eight, will stand down at the 2017 local government election to pursue other interests. He will stay in office up until the elections next May.

In a post on his blog, Burns said he wanted to “focus on a different phase” in his life not involving “front-line politics, in any shape or form - whatsoever”.