Building Briefs – January 20th

Sanctuary's plans for the former Victoria Infirmary
Sanctuary’s plans for the former Victoria Infirmary

Sanctuary finalises Victoria Infirmary consultation programme

Local residents will soon be able to share their views on the development of the former Victoria Infirmary site in Glasgow.

Having bought the site in August 2016, Sanctuary Group is committed to public consultation about the development and details about this process have now been finalised.

The consultation will be conducted at a number of two-day ‘drop-in’ events at Langside Library on Sinclair Drive in February and March.

The first consultation events will take place on Thursday 9 February and Saturday 11 February. They will focus on the ‘masterplan’ stage of the development and encourage discussion about the site in the context of the wider Battlefield area.

Four weeks later, on Thursday 9 March and Saturday 11 March, the second set of consultation events will take place – this time looking at more detailed design ideas and proposals.

The consultation programme will conclude with two final drop-in sessions over on Thursday 23 and Saturday 25 March, where the findings of the previous events will be presented alongside an exhibit of the proposed planning design. These final sessions will also act as the statutory consultation meeting.

The Thursday sessions will run from 2pm till 7pm, while the Saturday sessions will be from 10am till 3pm.

Representatives from Sanctuary and the design team, Collective Architecture, will be attending each drop-in session to answer questions, capture opinions and discuss people’s concerns.


Edinburgh A-listed building converted back to residential splendour

Mail AttachmentThe future of one of Edinburgh’s elegant Victorian listed townhouses has been secured after a developer reclaimed it from commercial use to develop it as family homes in a sympathetic restoration.

The property, situated in Chester Street in the city’s highly-regarded West End conservation area and World Heritage Site, has been saved by businessman Mark Emlick’s Charlotte Square Property Group Ltd (CSPG) which will turn it from offices back into residential.

The purchase of the iconic A-listed building for residential use is the latest transaction in the city’s boom in converting offices back into residential CSPG has led the trend and recently completed a project on a similar building in Chester Street.

Historically the townhouses were built to house several generations of family, along with domestic workers. Most are too large for today’s requirements and so CSPG specialises in sensitively splitting off extraneous space to allow for the creation of a range of properties, from the tradition to the unique.

The developer’s previous project in Chester Street refurbished and converted former DTZ offices. The latest property to be purchased was previously occupied by the Marine Conservation Society and the surveyors Wren and Bell. CSPG is creating a two-bed, two-bathroom lower-ground apartment and a four-bed townhouse with garden on the site.


New community health and wellbeing hub planned for Letham

A landmark public building in Perth is to be redeveloped as a community health and wellbeing hub providing modern, needs-based, and community-led services from the heart of Letham.

Local residents have worked closely with Perth & Kinross Council and its partners to come up with the plan for the Letham Recreation Centre building on Tweedsmuir Road.

The Letham Recreation Centre has provided sporting and community meeting facilities in Letham, run by Live Active Leisure (LAL) for 25 years. The Local Area Housing Office, which was previously housed within the Recreation Centre, has now moved to new premises on Rannoch Road providing an opportunity for the community and locality-based staff to rethink the design and use of the building.

To allow for redevelopment to commence, LAL will wind-down sports activities from late summer this year. LAL are currently contacting all customers of the current facilities to make transitional arrangements for future lets and health and fitness programmes whilst the refurbishment is ongoing.

Perth & Kinross Council has committed £2.8 million towards the refurbishment of the building. An application for £1m has also been made to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) fund. Stage 1 of the application has been successful and a final decision is expected around February 2017.

Consultation will take place in the next few months with the Letham community about the facilities and design of the new Community Hub, so local people can have their say on what they would like to see provided from the building.

Designs will then be drawn up in the spring of 2017 and construction is due to begin in October. It is hoped the new facility will be completed by March 2019 and opened to the community in April 2019.


Scottish Government unveils draft Climate Change Plan

The Scottish Government has unveiled plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 66 per cent by 2032.

Having already reached its 2020 target by achieving a 42 per cent reduction in emissions six years early, the new draft Climate Change Plan aims to raise Scotland’s green ambitions.

Proposals include:

  • Scotland will have a fully decarbonised electricity sector able to remove CO2 from the atmosphere
  • 80 per cent of domestic heat will be provided by low carbon heat technologies
  • The proportion of ultra-low emission new cars and vans registered in Scotland annually will reach at least 40 per cent
  • 250,000 hectares of degraded peatlands will be restored (against 1990 levels)
  • Increasing annual woodland creation target to create at least 15,000 hectares per year

The draft will be scrutinised by the Scottish Parliament over a 60 day period, after which the final Climate Change Plan will be published.


Permission granted for oil depot development at Oban Airport

Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee has approved a planning application from Oilfast to develop an oil depot on the site of the former roads depot next to Oban Airport.

The new depot is expected to create jobs and provide kerosene heating oil for homes and business across Argyll and Bute.


Scottish builder is runner-up in national house-building awards

NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton, Mactaggart & Mickel Homes’ site manager Stuart Gilliespie and comedian Greg Davies
NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton, Mactaggart & Mickel Homes’ site manager Stuart Gilliespie and comedian Greg Davies

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes’ site manager Stuart Gilliespie has been revealed as a runner-up for the Medium category in the NHBC Pride in the Job Awards.

Beating around 16,000 site managers, Stuart was recognised a gala dinner to an industry audience of 750 people, with special guest comedian Greg Davies, for managing the Mactaggart & Mickel Homes’ build at Greenan Views, Ayr.

He said: “I’m so proud to have been named runner up in the Medium Builder category at the NHBC Pride in the Job Supreme Awards for our Greenan Views development in Ayr. Our category featured some strong competition from across the UK and we were honoured to be included among some of the best in the industry.

“It is great to have my efforts recognised in this way as over the years I have worked hard to provide an exemplary contribution to the industry and show the highest commitment to quality. This is something that has been instilled in me since my days as an apprentice at Mactaggart & Mickel Homes over 20 years ago. I want to thank every single one of my team as they are all part of what makes us an award-winning, fourth-generation family housebuilder.”


Malcolm Hollis makes three key promotions in Scotland

Independent commercial building surveying firm Malcolm Hollis LLP has promoted three people in Scotland.

In Glasgow, Colin Edgar is promoted to partner. Colin has 29 years’ experience in the industry and specialises in vertical transport and electrical engineering and is an expert in dilapidations, due diligence work and maintenance management with both regional and national responsibility.

Gerry McGuigan, a specialist advisor in building and condition surveys, is promoted to associate. Gerry advises local and national clients including Quidnet Capital, the British Heart Foundation and Faifley Housing Association.

In Edinburgh, Clare Holyoake is promoted to associate. Clare joined Malcolm Hollis in London as a graduate successfully passing her APC in 2011 before relocating to Edinburgh in 2014.  Clare now specialises in dilapidations acting for a number of local and national clients, including Wolseley UK and AMEC Foster Wheeler.

These promotions come off the back of a couple of key appointments to the firm’s environmental team based in Glasgow.

Vikki Aitkenhead joined the team as an associate and has experience of working with many of the top private equity firms, corporations and public sector bodies. She is a registered Environmental Auditor with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and is a member of the UK Environmental Law Association.

Senior environmental consultant David Smith joined from Ramboll Environ and specialises in contaminated land and construction environment management.


Aberdeenshire engineering firm lands Wimbledon roof deal

Aberdeenshire engineering firm Power Jacks has landed another ace contract for a project at the home of tennis.

The company, which employs about 65 people at its base in Ellon, will make and supply parts for a retractable roof on Wimbledon’s No 1 Court.

Power Jacks previously provided components for the roof that was installed on Wimbledon’s Centre Court in 2009 to reduce the number of rain delays at the annual tennis championship.

The installation of a retractable cover on No 1 Court will help tournament organisers limit disruption further.

Roof engineers SCX Special Projects awarded Power Jacks the new contract following a tendering process.

Power Jacks – which provides lifting, positioning and load monitoring equipment for a range of industries, including energy – will deliver the parts to SCX in early 2017, with assembly and installation planned for 2018.

The retractable roof will be ready for the Wimbledon championship of 2019.

The value of the contract was not disclosed.


Ex-offender training project among businesses to benefit from Social Enterprise Fund

A support system for ex-offenders is one of the latest businesses to benefit from a West Dunbartonshire Council fund aimed at improving the economy and creating sustainable jobs.

The Social Enterprise Challenge Fund was launched in 2012 to help create local businesses that address social or environmental needs, and offer new employment opportunities.

Successful applicants receive investment of up to £15,000 and the latest recipients of funding represent a diverse range of innovative, community-focused ideas.

Alan McGlashan from Renton plans to start up a social enterprise supporting and rehabilitating ex-offenders by providing them with training in the construction services and enabling them to move into employment or self-employment.

The enterprise will provide paid employment and training to local individuals while providing a service to the social and private housing sector in property maintenance.

Alan has been awarded £10k towards the start-up and running costs of his business which he plans to launch this month.

Now in its fourth year, the Social Enterprise Challenge Fund was set up with an investment of £225,000 and sees the Council working alongside Scotland’s social enterprise development agency Firstport.


Section of Hawick road to close for vital flood scheme work

Essential work associated with the Hawick Flood Protection Scheme requires a section of Commercial Road to close for three weeks.

The section between North Bridge roundabout and Bruce Motors will be shut from Wednesday 25 January to allow Hawick Flood Protection Scheme team to confirm the suitability of the road structure for future flood defences along Commercial Road, which is part of the A7 road.

All businesses in the closed section will still be accessible for members of the public via the signed diversion route, with a loop road system using Princes Street and the High Street aiming to keep traffic moving during the closure.

The project team have worked closely with Transport Scotland and Scottish Borders Council’s roads department to consider a number of options, including the use of traffic lights. However, this could have potentially extended the works to 10 weeks.


European construction output grows

Output across Europe’s construction sector rose by 0.4 per cent in November 2016 compared with October.

Initial estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, show the same level of growth both in the Eurozone (EU19) and across the EU (EU28). In October, production in construction had grown by 0.4 per cent in the euro area and by 0.3 per cent in the EU28.

In November 2016 compared with November 2015, output remained stable in the euro area and rose by 0.2 per cent in the EU28.

In terms of the monthly comparison, the increase of 0.4 per cent in production in construction in the EU19 area is due to civil engineering rising by 1 per cent and building construction by 0.3 per cent. In the EU28, the increase of 0.4 per cent is due to civil engineering rising by 1.7 per cent and building construction by 0.3 per cent.

Among member states with available data, the highest increases in production were recorded in Slovenia (+9.4 per cent), Poland (+6.7 per cent) and Slovakia (+5.7 per cent), while decreases were observed in Romania (-4.1 per cent), Sweden (-1.3 per cent), Spain (-0.8 per cent) and France (-0.2 per cent).

For the annual comparison, the stable production in the euro area in November 2016, compared with November 2015, is due to civil engineering rising by 2.2 per cent, while building construction fell by 0.6 per cent. In the EU28, the increase of 0.2 per cent is due to building construction rising by 1.1 per cent, while civil engineering fell by 2.1 per cent. The highest increases in production in construction were recorded in Sweden (+7.6 per cent) and the Netherlands (+7.0 per cent), and the largest decreases in Slovenia (-15.0 per cent), Hungary (-14.4 per cent) and Romania (-13.9 per cent).


Inquest to decide fate of Perthshire windfarm

Scottish ministers have called a public inquiry to determine the fate of a giant Perthshire windfarm.

An inquest into the Dulater Hill project will be held in Birnam at the end of March.

The scheme involves the installation of 17 turbines — each twice the height of the Scott Monument — across an area of land the size of 16 football pitches.

Developers say the scheme, north of the A923 near Butterstone, will dramatically slash carbon emissions and help reach crucial green energy targets.

But the plan is up against strong opposition from residents and local organisations. Perth and Kinross Council has also lodged a formal objection.

The inquiry is due to begin at the Birnam Institute Arts and Conference Centre from 1pm on Tuesday, March 28. It is expected to run until Friday, April 3.


£200k revamp for Edinburgh restaurant

Work has started on a £200,000 refurbishment of popular Italian restaurant Contini George Street in Edinburgh.

This project will see the restaurant close until the last week in January while contractors work round the clock on the new look.


Lochaber communities to benefit from twenty new affordable homes

Six completed properties at School Road in Strontian
Six completed properties at School Road in Strontian

A collaboration between Lochaber Housing Association (LHA) and The Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) has delivered twenty new affordable homes across four Lochaber communities.

After listening to the needs of local communities the new homes are located in Kilchoan, Lochyside (Fort William), Mallaig and Strontian.

This ambitious development programme forms part of an agreement between LHA and HSCHT to build 40 new homes per year. Development is currently on-going in several areas in Lochaber to invigorate the area by offering a diverse range of housing tenures to strengthen the communities.

LHA provides social rented homes and low-cost home ownership properties (LIFT), to complement HSCHT’s Rent to Buy Scheme and self-build options.

Kilchoan has recently benefitted from three properties for social rent, built by S&K MacDonald Homes Ltd, and there are ten properties at Lochyside, made up of eight for social rent and two through the Scottish Government’s LIFT scheme, which were developed by Campbell Joinery (Lochyside).

In Mallaig, there is a two bedroom Rent to Buy property completed by A & N Fraser Joinery & Building Contractor Ltd, which is due for occupation next month.

In Strontian six new homes have been recently completed alongside a serviced plot for self-build. To aid potential self-builders the Scottish Government has provided a £4 million fund, The Highland Self-Build Loan Fund, where eligible applicants can borrow up to £175,000 to fund the initial stages of their build.

Occupants are soon due to move into the properties built next to the High School in Strontian. This is the first stage of an inspiring wider development which is strongly supported by the Sunart community following a masterplanning exercise for the larger site. The development also includes Scotland’s first community owned primary school being driven forward by the Strontian Community School Building Group Ltd and currently project managed by HSCHT.

The group currently has a live invitation to purchase shares to raise funds for the project.

The properties in Strontian were completed by R.HOUSE, a partnership between local construction firm James MacQueen Builders Ltd and Skye based architects Rural Design.


Plans agreed for affordable housing in Angus

Angus Council has agreed plans to build ten new affordable homes in Brechin.

The terraced houses will be developed on the former Damacre Community Centre site.

The facility closed earlier last year following the opening of the new £26.5 million Brechin Community Campus.

Councillors have now approved proposals to move forward with demolition work and build ‘affordable’ housing for existing council tenants on the Damacre Road site.


CNPA still seeking submissions for potential LDP sites

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is still seeking submissions for potential development sites for the next CNP Local Development Plan (LDP).

The deadline for submissions to the ‘call for sites’ process is 5pm on Friday, 03 February.

Work is underway to prepare the next LDP for the 2020 – 2025 period. Ideas from land owners, developers and agents, as well as community councils and associations, are being welcomed.

To help those who are being invited to respond to the ‘call for sites and ideas’ process, maps have been prepared which show areas that are subject to particular environmental protection and are unlikely to be suitable for development. The maps also show a number of broad search areas where there may be fewer constraints on development.

For more information, visit here.


A76 road maintenance scheme to begin

Scotland TranServ is to begin a road maintenance project in Dumfries and Galloway.

The company will start patching works on the A76 at Sanquhar from Sunday, 22 January.

In order to carry out the scheme safely, a total closure of the A76 at the Tollbooth in Sanquhar will be in place from 8am – 6pm. Diversions and traffic management will be in place.


Perth & Kinross Council continues home improvements despite rents freeze

Significant investments in council houses in Perth and Kinross over recent years has seen the percentage of council houses achieving the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) reach an all time high.

A positive report on housing conditions will be considered by members of Perth & Kinross Council’s housing & health committee next week alongside proposals for a nil increase to housing rents in 2017/18 to allow a new rent model to fully bed in.

As a landlord Perth & Kinross Council is committed to achieving the SHQS requirements for tenants, and is delivering the standard through a sustained programme of housing investment and improvement, including improvements to the external fabric of buildings, upgrades to central heating, kitchens, bathrooms, double-glazing and energy efficiency works.

As a result of this investment programme almost 95 per cent of council housing stock met or exceeded the standard as at 31 March 2016. Of those which were not compliant, fewer than 0.5 per cent of the overall stock, a total of 36 houses, were recorded as failing the standard.

The remaining non-compliant properties were a combination of where elements of the standard are ‘exempt’ because the work cannot be carried out for technical reasons (0.19 per cent of stock), and where work has been prevented in common areas where private owners refused to participate (4.76 per cent of stock).