Building Briefs – March 1st

Hart Builders get work underway at Chirnside

Berwickshire Housing Association’s vision of creating thriving rural communities continued apace as work started on a new affordable housing development in Chirnside.

The 25 unit development at The Glebe/Glebe Place will be a mix of housing types suitable for individuals and families on what was previously a greenfield site on the southern edge of the village.

This new development, being built by Hart Builders, is part of a larger 1.4-hectare zone identified in Scottish Borders Council’s local development plan as a proposed housing site. The houses are due to be completed in 2019.

BHA owns the site which has been divided into two development areas.

The larger part of the development will have a series of semi-detached two, three and four-bedroom homes facing north and south, all looking onto the main street and each having private front and rear gardens and parking spaces between them. A total of 42 car parking spaces are also proposed.

There will also be a courtyard space on the larger development with one and two-bed cottage flats, plus a three-bedroom wheelchair accessible home at ground-floor level with its own dedicated parking space. Each flat will have its own front door.

In the smaller development area, two semi-detached three-bedroom family homes are planned to the south side of Erskine Place. It is proposed that these two homes will make use of existing adopted on-street parking.

The housing association acknowledges that the site is relatively steeply sloped, and the design plan ensures level access from the pavement into all properties.

BHA’s plans for phase four of their Todlaw development in Duns are also gathering pace. Their planning application for a further 27 units is almost ready to be submitted to Scottish Borders Council’s planning department for approval and they are currently in discussions with the existing tenants and other householders in the vicinity.


Island projects first to be backed under new £6m Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund

Three sites on Skye and in Orkney are being given support to help them prepare for the tourist season, thanks to a new Scottish Government fund.

Plans for a £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund were announced last autumn – to address notable rises in visitor numbers experienced by some of the most popular destinations in the Scottish countryside.

Tourism secretary Fiona Hyslop has now revealed that three pilot projects are receiving up to £480,000 towards the completion of urgent works.

  • Standing Stones of Stenness: Orkney Islands Council will receive £80,000 to help build a car park at the site, part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site
  • Fairy Pools, Skye: The Highland Council will receive up to £300,000 on behalf of the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland to develop visitor facilities, including toilets, at the Glenbrittle pools and waterfalls
  • Neist Point, Skye: The Highland Council will receive £100,000 towards work to improve road access and parking at the Neist Point lighthouse, a landmark and view point at the western tip of the island

Administered by VisitScotland, the fund will be open from April for applications from local authorities, on behalf of their communities. Infrastructure improvements - including parking, camping, visitor facilities and recycling points – will be supported.


Maggie Sandison

Shetland Islands Council appoints new chief executive

Shetland Islands Council has announced that Maggie Sandison has been appointed as the local authority’s new chief executive.

Maggie has served as director of infrastructure services since October, 2013.

She joined Shetland Islands Council in 2004 and held the posts of service manager for environmental health and executive manager for environmental health and trading standards.

She has served in local government all her working life.

Maggie will take up her new role immediately.


Scottish private rent costs soar in January ‘in anticipation of rent controls’

Almost half (44%) of Scottish tenants saw their rent costs rise in January, a considerable contrast to the national average of 19%, according to new figures.

The statistics were revealed in an online survey among 361 ARLA Propertymark members, which was carried out by Opinium Research from February 1-8.

ARLA said the findings, which follow the introduction of the new Private Rented (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act on December 1, highlight a market reaction to indefinite tenancies and the potential for rent controls.


Residents invited to submit views on draft Elgin masterplan

Residents are being invited to submit their views on plans to develop hundreds of affordable homes in Elgin.

The draft Bilbohall masterplan contains proposals to develop around 370 homes towards the western edge of Elgin. More than half of the units will be affordable, with further plans to develop open space and landscaping.

A public consultation on the scheme will get underway next month. Once it ends, comments will be considered and a final masterplan will be presented to members of Moray Council’s planning & regulatory services committee in June for approval.

Once given the go-ahead, the plan will be used to inform future planning applications.

In addition, a drop-in exhibition will be held for members of the public to view the masterplan, as well as ask planning officers questions, at St Giles Church in Elgin on Saturday, 17 March.

For more information, visit here.


£6m investment revealed for North Lanarkshire communities

Up to £6 million is to be invested in local improvement projects in North Lanarkshire.

Over the next two years, communities across the region will benefit from a range of projects including new and enhanced play areas, off street parking, environmental improvements, local heritage projects and community safety initiatives.

A number of Local Area Partnership (LAP) meetings are now scheduled to take place to gather ideas from residents on how the money should be spent.

Council leader Jim Logue said the £6m funding comes from a re-prioritisation of existing budgets.

The LAP meetings take place in all seven localities four times a year; the next meetings will be held on:

  • Northern Corridor - Tuesday 13 March at 6.00pm - Chryston Cultural Centre
  • Cumbernauld & Kilsyth - Thursday 15 March at 6.00pm - Cumbernauld New Town Hall
  • Coatbridge - Tuesday 20 March at 6.30pm, St Kevin’s Primary school, Bargeddie
  • Motherwell - Tuesday 20 March at 7.00pm, Newarthill Community Centre
  • Airdrie - Wednesday 21 March at 6.00pm, Gartlea Community centre Airdrie
  • Wishaw - Thursday 22 March at 7.00pm, St Aidans HS
  • Bellshill - Thursday 22 March at 7.00pm Cardinal Newman HS


D&A College students win coveted construction prize

When the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) opened up its Student Challenge to colleges for the first time this year Dundee and Angus College stepped up to the plate.

HND Year 2 students Helen Monckton (Civil Engineering), Greg Ireland (Building Surveying) and Renan Millares and Murray Angus (both Architectural Technology) teamed up for the challenge.

The event took place at Crieff Hydro where students from universities and colleges spent a day designing, reporting and presenting.

Teams had no prior knowledge of the brief and were given three hours to research and produce a PowerPoint presentation, which they delivered that afternoon. The brief involved the study and design of a proposal for a new gym complex in Peterhead Harbour. Marks were awarded for various elements including Building Information Modelling (BIM), Life Cycle analysis, Future Maintenance and BREEAM, and the production of an Environmental Impact Assessment.

The winners were announced on the day with Dundee and Angus College taking the top spot. As a prize the students have been given the fantastic opportunity to undertake a full week’s work experience on site with construction company Robertson. They will also receive a voucher, trophy and the Winners’ Cup.