Building Briefs – October 1st

National_Gallery_of_ScotlandCall for views on National Galleries extension

Views are being sought on a new Bill which could see an extension built to the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.

Introduced to the Scottish Parliament on June 25, the National Galleries of Scotland Bill aims to dispose a piece of land owned by the City of Edinburgh Council from Princes Street Gardens to the Board of Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland and to change the status of that land to allow for the construction of an extension to the Scottish National Gallery.

A parliamentary committee will take evidence at Preliminary Stage in October and is likely to report on the Bill’s general principles in November 2015.

Written evidence should be submitted to by October 16.


£20 million investment in Highland Spring plant

Soft drinks producer Highland Spring is to invest £20 million in its Perthshire headquarters.

The firm said the planned investment would see an extension added to its existing manufacturing facility at Blackford and a new production line installed.

Planning documents for the project are expected to be lodged with Perth and Kinross Council in the coming days.


Dunoon Pier restoration makes significant progress

Argyll and Bute Council has said its £2.83 million structural repair and refurbishment of Dunoon’s iconic Victorian-era wooden pier is going very well.

The works to the buildings and structure are now expected to be complete by the end of November.

The council’s contractor for Phase 1A, civil engineering firm George Leslie Ltd, has all but completed structural repairs to the pedestrian access route (the southern arm of the pier) and is now focussing on the area of the pier head directly in front of and underneath the old waiting room building.

On the Phase 1B building repair element of the project, contractor WH Kirkwood Ltd has had to tackle a number of unforeseen problems which only became apparent as the buildings were opened up.

Due to the poor condition of the buildings more work has had to be carried out than was originally forecast, however, this work is essential to guarantee the long-term viability of the structures and the cost is being met through the contingency element of the budget.

The old waiting room has been surrounded by scaffolding over the last few weeks while essential work has been carried out while significant rot in the gables and soffits has been uncovered in the harbourmaster’s office, all of which is being removed and repaired. At the same time the cast iron gutters are being replaced.

Over the next few weeks the works to repair the roof will be completed and the external surfaces of the building will be decorated to match those of the other pier buildings.


Highland Council launches online consultations

Three online consultations have been launched by the Highland Council to discuss planning and housing issues across the region

A review of the council’s main planning policy document, the Highland-wide Local Development Plan (HWLDP), is also included.

The HWLDP Main Issues Report is seeking views on updating the council’s main policies for determining planning applications and shaping the future of the Highland area.

The report sets out issues and options for updating a range of planning policies, along with an updated vision and spatial strategy for Highland.

The strategy includes focusing development on existing settlements, support rural businesses and communities, and an emphasis on design and transport issues.

In addition, the council is seeking views on two other documents, the draft Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance and the Local Housing Strategy.

The draft Onshore Wind Energy Supplementary Guidance sets out suggested criteria for assessing proposals for wind energy development.

The Highland Housing Strategy will inform how the Highland Council and others tackle housing issues across different sectors, and how and where to direct investment in housing and related services.

The public consultation on these documents runs from 25 September to 18 December 2015.

The documents are being published through a new consultation portal


Work underway on over 100 affordable homes for Dunbar

East Lothian Council has concluded a legal agreement worth £8.3 million to purchase 71 flats and houses on two sites at Hallhill, Dunbar from Mansell Homes (part of the Balfour Beatty group).

The houses, which will become part of the council’s housing stock, will be built by local firm Hart Builders. Building work started in August.

The first homes will be ready by summer 2016 and the whole development will be completed by autumn 2017. These two sites form part of the larger Hallhill, Dunbar housing site on the south west side of the town, close to the A1. This is one of the strategic housing sites identified in the East Lothian Local Development Plan and has planning consent to deliver 525 houses, of which 131 are required to be affordable in line with the council’s Affordable Housing Policy.

These homes will be built on three separate sites. The council is purchasing two of the three sites, providing a total of 71 homes. The other site is being purchased by Places for People which will provide 60 units through a mixture of housing for social rent, for mid-market rent and housing for shared equity. The other homes on the site will be delivered by Castle Rock Edinvar, which is part of the Places for People group and already owns around 80 homes in Dunbar. These will be a mix of housing for social and mid-market rent and shared equity housing for sale.

The housing being purchased by the council will range in size from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom houses. The homes will be built to meet the appropriate Housing for Varying Needs standards to ensure they are as accessible as possible to suit people with mobility issues.  They will also benefit from very energy efficient heating systems and high levels of insulation which will help reduce heating costs and fuel poverty.

The properties will receive approximately £2.1m in Council House Building Grant from the Scottish Government with the remaining £6.2m being met by the council.


Athletes’ Village homes could be full by Christmas

Homes at the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village looks set to be fully occupied well ahead of schedule.

Increased interest from buyers coinciding with the first anniversary of the Games saw around 50 homes sold in just one month, meaning that only 20 of the 300 private homes are still available to purchase. All 400 socially rented properties at The Village are already occupied.

The Village, which is only three miles from Glasgow city centre, was built by City Legacy - a consortium of Glasgow companies CCG, Cruden, Mactaggart & Mickel and WH Malcolm. The site also has a 120-bed care home under construction, river views and direct access to the Cuningar Loop, a new 15 hectare riverside woodland park which will open in Spring next year.

Also close to The Village is the Dalmarnock Legacy Hub - a centre for the local community with a GP surgery, children’s nursery, chemist and shop which is due to open in a matter of weeks. Glasgow City Council will also build a new primary school and nursery at the Village, due to open in time for the 2017/18 academic year.