Building Briefs – March 22nd

  • Councillors open first show homes at Bertha Park

A major milestone has been marked at Springfield Properties’ new Bertha Park village as the doors to the development’s show homes were opened with help from local councillors, Ian James and Anne Jarvis.

The private and affordable housing developer officially unveiled five-bedroom and four-bedroom show homes at the development in Perth this week, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and launch event.

(from left) Senior sales manager Lynn Houston, Councillor Ian James, Springfield Properties Central MD Peter Matthews and Councillor Anne Jarvis

Construction is well under way and the opening of the show homes represents the next step towards delivering the landmark development, which has received recognition from the Scottish Government for its innovative approach to planning.

The extensive site includes one, two, three, four and five-bedroom homes; opportunities for businesses like shops, hairdressers, estate agents, cafes and restaurants;  a medical centre and  the first purpose-built school in Scotland in over 20 years. It’ll boast everything required to create a thriving community.

Springfield Properties is building a number of other villages throughout Scotland, including Durieshill in Stirling, Elgin South, Dykes of Gray in Dundee and Gavieside near Livingston.


  • Council issues CPO on Glasgow tenement block owned by slum landlords

Glasgow City Council is to force through a sale of a Govanhill tenement block after its landlords failed to keep the property in an acceptable condition.

The Evening Times reports that a compulsory purchase order (CPO) will be issued for seven flats in Westmoreland Street to seize control of the entire block.

The move will mark the first time landlords will be forced to sell in the area because they have failed to maintain the property. 

It is also thought to be the first time a whole block with existing residents will be taken over under compulsory purchase, in the city.


  • Frustration as housing association cuts ties with Inverclyde Care & Repair

Cloch Housing Association is to cease developing and delivering Care & Repair and the Small Repairs Service for Inverclyde Council, bringing an end to an 18-year partnership.

From April 1 the service will be delivered by another organisation after a 42% budget cut from the local authority proved unsustainable for the Association.

Paul McVey, director of Cloch, said: “Cloch were involved in this service because it met with our values of helping those in need. The service did not make money for Cloch, but it did make a lot of people happy and secure. We provided a range of much needed services to older, disabled or vulnerable owners throughout Inverclyde. Through proper procurement channels, Cloch won the contract each time and has worked tirelessly to deliver high quality, responsive services to our clients.

“In recent years following a reduction in council funding, we introduced a charging policy for Small Repairs, which bridged the funding gap, and we made some other changes to ensure the service wasn’t affected by the reduction.  However, the current funding cut of 42% is simply not sustainable for Cloch to continue to deliver these services. We considered a number of options and ideas but the gap was too big.”

The contract will now be delivered by Bridgewater Housing Assciation.


  • Works under way for new Nairn High Street crossing

A new pedestrian crossing aims to provide a safer High Street for Nairn town centre as works progress on Nairn Courthouse renovations. 

The Highland Council has commenced works to install a pedestrian crossing with lighting outside the Courthouse on Nairn High Street. Bollards will be installed and crossing lighting commissioned after scaffolding has been dismantled and removed from renovation works at the Courthouse building. 

Cable ducting and poles for the crossing lights have already been installed, as have dropped kerbs. White lining and bollards will be completed as soon as the Courthouse scaffolding is removed. 

Members were recently given an update at the Nairnshire Committee on the Courthouse renovation works including an overview focusing on the need to address structural integrity matters of the property; the acceleration of the project start to enable scaffolding to be erected early to address the structural works; and the 48 week programme including the removal of the spire which take place during July - August. 

Members were advised that presentation boards about the renovations works would be made available for the public to view either in the Courthouse lobby or in the external entrance way formed by the scaffold.

A decision has yet to be made on whether the former flagpole will be reinstated, as the existing parapet stonework had been weakened by movement of the pole. The operation of raising and lowering flags via the narrow tower access ladder is also under review.

The xouncil is aware that the steeple clock has stopped and it will be removed by specialist contractors for protection, stored, serviced and restored at the end of the project. On completion of the Courthouse works, Members will review the best use of the building for future events.


  • New app launched to report PRS repairs

A property repair and maintenance reporting system to help residential tenants and landlords has been launched by Scottish Land & Estates (SLE).

Believed to be among the first of its kind for the private rented sector in Scotland, the new app and website provides a 24/7 photo and video reporting platform and aims to provide convenience to both tenants and landlords when communicating about property maintenance.

SLE members collectively provide approximately 9,000 private rented homes in rural areas, the second largest provider of rented housing stock after local authorities and housing associations in Scotland’s countryside.

The technology, developed in partnership with Direct Software Group, utilises a structured form to ensure the right details are submitted first time about required repairs – information which can then be easily forwarded by landlords to contractors to allow repairs to be undertaken more quickly. The system can also be used to schedule alerts and reminders for maintenance to be carried out in future months and years.


  • Housing association extends chance to name Elgin social housing development

 Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association has repeated its call for local people in Moray to suggest names for its new social housing development in Elgin, having already received excellent suggestions from the community.

The Association is building a development of 44 homes near the site of the old hospital at Spynie in Elgin and is asking people to suggest names that reflect the history, culture and heritage of the local area.

The deadline has been extended to March 30 and the entrant who submits the winning name will receive £50.

To date, the Association has received a rich selection of names including Bishop’s View as a reference to Spynie Palace the ancient seat of the Bishops of Moray and The Quarrels after the nearby Quarrel Wood. The name Spynie Heights was suggested by a few entrants to celebrate the area surrounding the development.

The site is being developed in partnership with Health & Social Care Moray (the new Integrated Joint Board involving Moray Council and NHS Grampian), and the Scottish Government, and is being built by Robertson. The new homes are expected to open in September 2019.


  • Budding builders tour GHA site

Budding builders of the future have been given a special tour of a GHA new-build site.

Youngsters from Bellrock Nursery in Cranhill had a look around the site where new GHA homes are being built.

The tour was organised by GHA’s contractors on the site, Engie.

The kids donned their hard hats and saw forklifts, diggers and dumper trucks in action.

Work on 53 new GHA homes in Bellrock Street started in September last year. They should be ready in early 2020.


  • Morris & Spottiswood engages school children in Govanhill housing project

Construction firm Morris & Spottiswood has engaged local school children in a novel site safety project as part of a contract involving Govanhill Housing Association.

The fit-out, M&E and maintenance specialist is currently delivering a large programme of refurbishment work to tenement housing in Annette Street.

In a bid to raise interest with local youngsters the company has formed a partnership with neighbouring Annette Street Primary School, run by Glasgow City Council.

Morris & Spottiswood HSQE business partner, Kirsty Spence, who is leading the outreach work, said team members had recently visited the school to deliver special presentations raising greater awareness of construction site safety.

The firm has further held a health & safety poster competition with the winning design professionally printed and displayed on large billboards around the site.


  • Stirling Developments welcomes new residents with fruit trees

A developer has welcomed new residents to its Calderwood project in West Lothian with free fruit trees for the front garden of properties.

The offering is an annual initiative by Stirling Developments to encourage biodiversity.

Neil Colburn of Stirling Developments helping plant fruit trees at Calderwood

In the fullness of time, it is hoped there will be an orchard running through the development which will encourage biodiversity, community activity and enhance the streetscape.

It has proved to be a great opportunity to get out into the community and meet new residents – and many fruit trees planted in previous years are already bearing fruit.

Stirling Developments was delighted by the fruit tree uptake from residents this year, with over fifty fruit trees planted around Calderwood in one day.

The development company secured planning consent for new village Calderwood for 2,300 homes in 2014. Since then, over 350 houses have already been delivered and, in terms of occupations, has been one of the fastest selling sites in Scotland. Phase 3 of the development is now under way and is set to be the most exciting phase yet, with plans to deliver additional business opportunities, village centre and a new primary school.