Building Briefs – October 24th

Countesswells landscapingMulti-million pound landscaping investment at new Aberdeen community

Millions of pounds are being invested in making the new community at Countesswells one of the most green and attractive places to live in Aberdeen.

Work is about to begin on the first phase of landscaping that will see around 600 new trees, an orchard and wildflower meadow that will differentiate Countesswells from any other new community being built in the country.

As part of Countesswells’ first phase of development, more than 4.5 hectares of new, public space and parkland is now being created, alongside the first streets, pavements and supporting utilities.

The new community at Countesswells will comprise 3,000 homes – ranging from apartments to detached homes – set around a series of public squares and parks, well connected with pathways and cycle routes that will link new schools, leisure and health facilities, as well as retail and business space.

Around a quarter of the 165-hectare Countesswells’ site will be dedicated to open space including four main parks, which enhance the existing landscape features.

The first phase of the parkland being developed includes almost 600 metres of new  burn channel, utilising the existing field drain network. More than 1.7 kilometres of new paths, four new bridges over the burn, an orchard, two playparks and areas of amenity lawn are all part of the green framework for the community.

The earthworks are currently being formed for the burn channel and drainage basins and seeding and turfing have also now started.


Edinburgh office market posts strong Q3

Take-up of Edinburgh office space remained robust in Q3 2016, despite the uncertainty caused by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, according to analysis from independent real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

Scotland’s capital saw 120,000 sq. ft. let across the city during July-September 2016; down on the first two quarters of the year, but broadly in line with the same period in 2015 (148,000 sq. ft.).

Technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) companies continued to drive activity in the market, accounting for 49,000 sq. ft. of Edinburgh-wide take-up– 40.83 per cent of the total.

Demand for Grade A space also remained voracious in the city centre, with 176,000 sq. ft. already let in the year to date. This puts the capital on course to outperform the 220,000 sq. ft. 10-year average for annual city centre, Grade A office take-up by the end of 2016.


Partnership working showcased at Fife House Builders Forum

PR-House-Builders-Forum-2016-picAround 60 delegates from across the house building industry came together for Fife’s 10th annual House Builders Forum last week to discuss a number of pertinent issues facing the sector.

The event titled Breaking New Ground - Quality and Quantity was organised by Fife Council’s economy planning and employability service with Kevin Stewart MSP, minister for local government and housing, delivering the key note address.

Speakers at this year’s event showcased recent developments and debated the current challenges within the industry. Robin Presswood, head of service for economy planning and employability services, began the event with a review of the housing completions of the last year and highlighted the increase was largely due to the success of the affordable housing programme. Garry Nicoll, building standards and public safety, showed how Fife Council are modernising the Building Standards function though the introduction of the service and the benefits this brings to house builders.

Brian Pettigrew of Robertson Partnership Homes presented some of the great public and private partnership working that is currently happening to deliver the affordable housing programme at sites in Methil and Kirkcaldy and William McBride of the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre provided an insight into the benefits of innovative thinking across all aspects of the construction industry.


Murray Capital backing for New Brannock

The property firm owned by Sir David Murray’s family has expressed confidence in the commercial prospects of its longstanding plans for a big housing development on a former open cast mine site in North Lanarkshire.

The New Brannock business is working on plans to develop land for housing next to its Torrance Park golf club near Newhouse. These have been complicated by planning issues for about 20 years.

The business is owned by Murray Capital, which first applied for planning permission for the site in the 1990s.

Only about 50 houses have been built on the site so far, on land which Taylor Wimpey acquired in return for funding infrastructure.

Sir David’s son, David D Murray, noted North Lanarkshire Council’s planning committee recently approved a local development plan, which includes a section of the New Brannock site. The land concerned has potential capacity for 689 housing units.

Mr Murray said: “We are pleased with overall progress to date and remain confident of realising the full profitable potential of New Brannock.”


Improvement works complete at Spire View Housing Association

CCG has completed upgrade works at over 100 homes in Glasgow.

The company’s Asset Management division installed new kitchens and bathrooms at 124 properties for Spire View Housing Association in Royston.

In addition, the company carried out full boiler replacements to enhance energy efficiency at the homes.


Work to begin on major phase of AWPR/B-T

Work is to begin on a major phase of the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route/Balmedie to Tipperty (AWPR/B-T) project.

The scheme will take place at the Charleston Junction and construction is scheduled to get underway on Wednesday.

Features include building a new structure to carry vehicles over the existing A90 and existing Charleston Junction slip roads, realigning the A956 and widening the A90 to three lanes in each direction.

For safety reasons, access from Lochton to Auchlunies to Nigg Road (C5K Banchory – Devenick Road) to the A90 will be closed. Other traffic management measures include a new signed diversion for road users and the implementation of a 50mph speed restriction on the A90 at Charleston. Work will also take place to install speed cameras through this section to enhance safety.

When complete, the AWPR/B-T will help to reduce congestion, cut journey times, improve safety and lower pollution in Aberdeen City Centre.

The scheme is due to be completed in winter 2017.


Plan for new school as Glasgow’s population rises

A primary school is to be built to cope with Glasgow’s growing population.

A public meeting and consultation will be held on the preferred site for the non-denominational school at Kelvinside Avenue, the former site of North Kelvinside Secondary.

After decades of population loss, the population of the city is growing again.

Over the next decade, the number of primary pupils is predicted to rise by as much as 18 per cent.

The ten-year forecast for Maryhill/Kelvin and Canal says the level of housing developments planned over the next ten years means there is a need for a new primary.

That would reduce the capacity pressures on Cadder, Caldercuilt, Kelvindale, Parkview, Highpark, Dunard and Saracen primaries.


Affordable home developments officially opened in Denholm

Eildon chairman Trevor Burrows with new tenant Suzanne Winters and former CEO, Peter Lee
Eildon chairman Trevor Burrows with new tenant Suzanne Winters and former CEO, Peter Lee

Two affordable home developments in Denholm were officially opened last week bringing a total of 16 new homes to the Scottish Borders.

Croft Field Court was built for Bridge Homes by Cruden Homes and provides eight two-bedroom houses, rented at mid-market affordable rents.

A further eight homes for social rent have been provided by Eildon Housing Association at Jedward Terrace and Selby Close. These include two and three bedroomed homes and a wheelchair accessible bungalow.

The Croft Field Court homes were built for and acquired by Bridge Homes under the council and Scottish Futures Trust’s affordable housing investment programme, a model which builders Cruden Homes have experience of elsewhere in Scotland.


Sustrans awards £15,000 to Rosneath path project

Sustrans Scotland has awarded £15,000 of match funding towards a creating a new pathway in Rosneath.

Work is to begin on the development phase of the scheme, which will link the B833 with Castle Park.

The council will start researching detailed designs and costs to secure further external funding for the project.

The development forms part of the Scottish Government’s plan to make 10 per cent of everyday journeys made by bike by 2020.


Heron Bros continues work on Scottish schools

Contractor Heron Bros is continuing with work on two major education contracts in Scotland.

The contractor is currently building a £18.2 million Faith Schools’ Joint Campus in East Renfrewshire, as well as the £7m refurbishment of Crookfur Primary School & Nursery.

The Faith Schools’ facility, which is being built for Catholic and Jewish communities in the region, is believed to the first of its kind in Europe.

It will serve as a replacement for the existing Jewish school Calderwood Lodge and an additional primary for the Catholic community.

Heron Bros has so far finished installing the foundations, structural steel and standing seam & flat roofing structures. Further work to be undertaken on the 66-week scheme includes developing the main external envelope works as well as 2nd fix M&E trades. The main external envelope works are also progressing well and are due to be completed in the coming months.

In addition, Phase One of the 65-week refurbishment at Crookfur Primary School & Nursery is complete, including dining and plant room works.

A new extension to the nursery & administration block is also nearing completion, as is Phase 2 which includes a new assembly area, court yard and classrooms. The third phase of classroom works is due to begin next month.

Both projects are part of the Scottish Government’s £21m pledge to kick-start primary school construction, which forms part of the wider £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme.


Lowther’s mid-market homes offer lifeline for struggling house hunters

Lowther tenants Brian (left) and Alan Cowan were among the first to move into the new Ellerslie Path flats
Lowther tenants Brian (left) and Alan Cowan were among the first to move into the new Ellerslie Path flats

As new research shows working Scots are being priced out of the property market, Lowther Homes is providing an alternative option for people looking to rent an affordable home.

Lowther, which has just welcomed tenants into its 46 new apartments in Yoker in Glasgow, is growing its portfolio of properties for mid-market rent, offering people on modest incomes the opportunity to live in top quality homes.

It comes as research by the GMB union shows Scots earning average wages in 21 local authority areas can’t get a foot on the property ladder – sparking calls for more good quality, affordable rental properties.

The development at Ellerslie path in Yoker is one of Lowther’s latest developments and has seen 46 new one- and two-bedroom apartments built in partnership with Cube Housing Association. The flats offer views over the River Clyde as well as fantastic value for money.

New tenants are benefitting from rents starting at £430 for a one-bedroom property and £510 for a two-bedroom property – as well as floor coverings, blinds and fully-fitted kitchens and bathrooms.

Lowther, part of Wheatley Group, now offers 246 mid-market properties across the west of Scotland with around 2,000 more planned to come on stream across the central belt in the next five years.


Hunter Construction delivers new £800,000 all-weather pitch

Hunter Construction has delivered a new £800,000 all-weather pitch in Aberdeenshire.

The scheme is part of an upgrade programme at Catto Park and included replacing the grass football pitch, installing new floodlights, fencing and drainage systems.


Plans approved for historic West Lothian well restoration

Plans have been approved for a historic well restoration project in West Lothian.

The Linlithgow Town Management Group is investing £65,000 to repair the 19th century well at The Cross in Linlithgow.

The town’s Local Area Committee (LAC) plans to restore the well’s stone works, replace floodlighting on the structure and restore its water supply. Further plans include installing a tourist interpretation board to provide further details about the heritage site to locals and visitors.

In addition, a time capsule will be placed in the underground chamber below the well.