Building Briefs – October 1st

The winning concept design by New York architects wHY

Public feedback informs plans for West Princes Street Gardens

A new report sets out proposals for the future management of West Princes Street Gardens following a major public consultation exercise.

‘West Princes Street Gardens Project – Update’ will be discussed by councillors on the City of Edinburgh Council’s transport and environment committee on October 4.

It will recommend the gardens remain under the management and operation of the council, rather than an arms-length external organisation (ALEO) as had previously been proposed, and that no more than five major events take place in the Gardens per year in line with the park’s current rules.

The suggestions follow a major public consultation exercise which was carried out by the council and the Ross Development Trust between June and September, which drew more than 1,200 responses from residents.

It found the project to revitalise the gardens and replace the Ross Bandstand has strong citywide support, with 54% saying they agree with the proposed vision for West Princes Street Gardens. 59% also believe infrastructure investment is needed, with a replacement Ross Pavilion and improved accessibility the areas of most importance to residents.

The survey responses demonstrated a lack of support for the proposed charitable ALEO to take on the day to day management responsibilities of the Pavilion once built (46%) and also highlighted support for hosting no more than five major annual events (68%).

Responding to the feedback, the Trust and council officers have revisited several aspects and have brought forward an updated set of recommendations which provide an alternative route towards the project’s original objective of providing a guarantee that the new infrastructure for the much-loved West Princes Street Gardens will be suitably maintained.

The report details suggested revisions to the current Development Agreement between the council and the Trust, to protect the legacy of the Trust’s investment and enable the continuation of the project.

It will outline that the council will maintain all infrastructure within the gardens to an agreed standard. It will also ask the council to agree a robust business plan for the Pavilion and wider area, working in partnership with Ross Development Trust. This plan will be developed in parallel with design developments and fundraising campaigning while outlining that no physical work will commence in the gardens until all funds are in place.

The full report and results of the consultation can be viewed here.


Shepherd and Wedderburn expands property and energy expertise with 11 appointments

Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP has appointed three new property and infrastructure partners and a further eight specialist lawyers and paralegals to its property and infrastructure division.

Joanna Hamilton, Anthony McEwan and Moray Thomson, all of whom have particular expertise in the energy sector, join Shepherd and Wedderburn from DWF. The appointments mark the return to Shepherd and Wedderburn of Anthony and Moray, who spent two-and-a-half years and six years respectively at the firm early in their legal careers.

Joanna, Anthony and Moray will be joined by eight other property and planning specialists – three associates, three solicitors and two paralegals. The entire team will be based in the Glasgow office as part of the firm’s expanding property and infrastructure division, bringing the total number of partners at Shepherd and Wedderburn to 81.


JML Contracts help build a future for primary school pupils

Sam Hart, operations and development manager at JML Contracts (far left), welcomes pupils from Gargunnock Primary School and their headteacher, Mrs Rushton (far right), to JML’s manufacturing facility

Pupils from Gargunnock Primary School near Stirling travelled to Auchterarder last week to learn all about how their new outdoor classroom space has been designed and manufactured.

JML Contracts, the local company selected to carry the project forward, treated the children to a behind the scenes tour of their manufacturing facility.

The new classroom space will be a three-sided timber framed structure, clad in larch and measuring 10m x 6m. It will form the centre of an Outdoor Learning Zone designed to be used both by the school and by members of the wider community such as Scouting groups or for village functions.

The new classroom shelter will be constructed on site during the October half term holidays and will be ready for the school to use in the new term.

During their visit to JML Contracts’ factory, the children were given the opportunity to explore the 3D modelling system on which their new classroom was designed and see the full process from concept to construction. They watched the company’s machines precision cutting timber from computer-based designs and even saw the off-site manufactured panels that will form part of their new Outdoor Learning Zone.

The six pupils who visited JML Contracts’ factory are all representatives of the school improvement team and have played a key role in deciding how the new outdoor space will be used through a series of workshop sessions. It will provide a hands-on teaching environment, sheltered from inclement weather, and can be used for everything from environmental science or music lessons through to a quiet space for pupils to read at lunchtime or to eat their packed lunches in the summer.

Funding for the project has come from a variety of sources, including RBS, Gargunnock Community Trust’s FALCK Renewables Windfarm Community Benefit Fund, the school’s Parent Council and fundraising by members of the local community. The engineering work for the project was donated from IDOM, a Stirling based engineering consultancy firm, via Alison Tunnah one of the school parents.


Further recognition for affordable homes at Leith Fort

Having already won a string of awards including the coveted Saltire Medal at the Saltire Housing Design Awards, Leith Fort has been named Affordable Housing Development of the Year at the Herald Property Awards for Scotland.

The £11.5 million development of 94 affordable homes was developed by Port of Leith Housing Association (PoLHA) and the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) on the site of the former 18th century Leith Fort, working with Collective Architecture.

Sixty two of the one to four bedroom colony-style properties are for mid-market rent by PoLHA’s subsidiary Persevere Developments Ltd, and 32 units are owned by the CEC for social rent.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of Port of Leith Housing Association, said: “I’m very proud of the fantastic homes we have created at Leith Fort along with the City of Edinburgh Council. The development has helped to breathe new life into the area and really is a great place for people to call home.”

The main contractor for Leith Fort was CCG (Scotland) Ltd and the development was funded by PoLHA, CEC and the Scottish Government.

The Herald Property Award was received on September 27.


Scouts ‘Gang Show’ receives boost from Mactaggart & Mickel Homes

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes’ Building Communities Fund has donated £750 towards South Western District Scout Council’s Gang Show - a theatrical performance bringing together boys and girls from Scout Groups across the Southside of Glasgow from all social and ethnic backgrounds and empowering them to develop their talents in the performing arts.

The Gang Show will be performed in November to an audience of approximately 1,000 people from across the community, by a staff team of volunteers with professional theatre experience and a cast of young people from the local communities, which include some of the most deprived in Scotland. The much-needed funds have been invested in costumes and sound and lighting technology.

The South Western District Gang Show team staged their successful first performance in November 2017. In response to popular demand, their new show, with a bigger cast and a more professional image, involves many young people from different communities presenting live theatre entertainment, allowing them to gain life-changing and hugely positive experience. Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Sales Consultant Emma Lepkowski dropped in to a rehearsal on Sunday 23rd September to see for herself how the show was coming together and to meet members of the cast and the volunteer team.

Mactaggart & Mickel Homes has a happy history of supporting good causes. The Building Communities Fund was created to continue the company’s ongoing efforts to help organisations and projects which enhance the lives of people within their local communities.

The fund is open throughout the year to applications from charities, community groups, sports teams and schools within a five mile radius of any live Mactaggart & Mickel Homes development like Milverton Grange in Lower Whitecraigs.


West Dunbartonshire set to share senior road officer with Inverclyde

West Dunbartonshire Council is set to share a senior roads and transport officer with Inverclyde Council, after revised proposals were agreed by councillors.

The new structure will mean greater collaboration between the two authorities in a bid to avoid duplication and improve value for money across both areas.

It is hoped the appointment of a new strategic lead officer – who will be employed by Inverclyde but will have responsibility for the service at each council – will also mean improved resilience and common working policies and practices.

Councillors had previously considered whether these services could be shared between both councils under the leadership of a single management team, with staff working across both areas.

But a revised approach has now been adopted to reap the benefits of shared working without introducing changes to frontline services or staff.

Previously, a joint committee with Inverclyde and East Dunbartonshire councils was established with a view to bringing services together.

East Dunbartonshire opted not to proceed with the arrangement at that stage, but at a council meeting this week, councillors heard there was potential to engage with East Dunbartonshire on collaboration in future.


Edinburgh blazes green trail with new electric vehicle infrastructure plan

A pioneering plan to introduce a strategic, citywide network of electric vehicle charging points will be considered by councillors this week.

Edinburgh is the first city in the UK to put forward such an ambitious and comprehensive Electric Vehicle Infrastructure business case, amid a growing popularity of electric cars among city residents.

The City of Edinburgh Council and Transport Scotland commissioned the Energy Savings Trust (EST) to prepare the business case, which will go before the council’s transport and environment committee on October 4.

In the business case, the EST proposes that by 2023, the Capital will need to install 211 new charging points at a cost of £3.4m.

The majority of these charging points will be “fast chargers” for on-street residential charging, although there will also be some charging facilities for taxis and at park and ride sites.

The business case follows the innovative zonal approach set out in the Council’s Electric Vehicle Action Plan, which would see infrastructure installed in three strategic charging zones: Zone 1 (City Centre), Zone 2 (Residential areas) and Zone 3 (Peripheral - eg Park and Ride sites).

A total of 68 locations hosting multiple charging points have been identified across the Capital, creating strategic charging hubs for users.

If the business case is approved by councillors, a work programme will be developed that will detail the final list of locations, costs, timelines and all associated works including liaison with Scottish Power as the network provider. This will also detail the delivery model and management of the project.

A six week consultation period is proposed with a range of stakeholders, to help select charging locations from the long list of sites identified as suitable.


Erskine waste water treatment works goes green

Green energy is helping to power Scottish Water’s waste water treatment facility in Erskine.

A £500,000 investment made by the utility’s commercial subsidiary Scottish Water Horizons has seen 1,720 solar PV panels installed at the works which serves around 114,600 people living in Erskine, Bishopton, Bridge of Weir, Elderslie, Houston, Howwood, Inchinnan, Johnstone, Kilbarchan, Kilmacolm and Linwood.

The carbon reducing technology will offset 15 percent of the electricity required to operate the facility, with the new solar PV system generating 0.36GWh of energy on an annual basis – that’s the same amount of energy needed to power one hundred homes for a year.

More than 70 of Scottish Water’s water and waste water treatment works are either self-sufficient or partly sufficient in their power requirements, leading to lower operating costs and a more sustainable business. A major energy milestone was achieved in May of this year after it was confirmed that the amount of renewable energy the company generates and facilitates is now more than double its electricity consumption.

Through a combination of Scottish Water’s own investment in renewable energy and hosting private investment on its estate, the company now generates and hosts around 923 Gigawatt hour (GWh) per annum of renewable energy.

This new installation at the facility in Erskine contributes to the Scottish Government’s targets for renewable sources to generate the equivalent of 100 percent of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption by 2020.

Renewable energy experts Absolute Solar and Wind Ltd delivered the project on behalf of Scottish Water Horizons.