Building Briefs – September 12th

New Peel Park retail estate set to serve up 260 new jobs

Developers London & Scottish Investments expect 260 jobs will be created in its new 125,000 square feet, £35 million Bulky Goods retail park proposed for Peel Park in East Kilbride.

In addition, around 90 construction jobs will be in the town during the 12-months construction programme prior to opening.

London & Scottish Investments said it is “absolutely clear” that the new retail development can operate successfully without any significant impact on ‘the vitality and viability’ of the town centre.

Bryan Wilson, development director with LSI said the firm has proposed that all seven of the large retail units on the new estate would be restricted to sell only ‘Bulky Goods’ and this would be controlled by planning conditions imposed by South Lanarkshire Council’s planning department.

Bulky Goods retailing involves categories such as furniture, carpets, DIY, kitchens, bathrooms, furniture, beds and homeware. East Kilbride does not have a dedicated Bulky Goods retail park, unlike many similar sized towns such as Paisley, which has over 150,000 square feet of Bulky Goods retailing.

Mr Wilson stated that there is no suitable existing space for Bulky Goods retailers within East Kilbride Town Centre so there can be no impact on the vitality and viability of the Town Centre as a result of LSI’s proposed development.

LSI’s Peel Park proposals also include two drive-thru restaurants and five small retail units or ‘pods’, which typically appeal to pizza delivery companies and small local businesses with two or three employees, serving the immediate local area.


McIlvanney’s next chapter marks new era for education in East Ayrshire

Heralded by messages of support and congratulation from renowned Scottish authors, educators and politicians from all parties, the £45 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock has been officially opened.

William McIlvanney was a former Kilmarnock Academy pupil, who became a teacher, before achieving global recognition for his writing. He died in 2015.

To formally mark the campus opening, a plaque was jointly unveiled by Professor Liam McIlvanney and Doctor Siobhan McIlvanney, the late author’s son and daughter.

The event was also attended by members of Mr McIlvanney’s family, including his partner Siobhan Lynch, his grandsons Andrew, Caleb, Isaac and Diarmid, and close family friends, who joined over 100 specially invited guests – including pupils, parents, campus staff, MSPs, Church Moderators, dignitaries and representatives from media, publishing, education, construction and local government.

The multi-million pound state-of-the-art campus houses three new schools:

  • Kilmarnock Academy
  • James Hamilton Primary School and Early Childhood Centre and,
  • Sgoil na Coille Nuaidh (New Woods School for Gaelic education).

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, and Paul Wilson, senior project manager at Kier Construction, gave a presentation on the construction of the Campus.


SPF highlights slow down in LBTT revenue from residential sales in 2018/19 to date

Analysis of the latest Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) figures has highlighted a subdued generation of revenues from residential sales over the first four months of the current tax year.

The data from Revenue Scotland and analysed by the Scottish Property Federation (SPF), shows that for the four months from April to July 2018, revenues from residential sales were down £1.8m (2%) against revenues for the same period in 2017/18. If this trend continues, SPF said it will be increasingly difficult for the Scottish Government to achieve its revenue forecast for residential LBTT of £305m in 2018/19. This forecast was set out in the last Scottish Budget and relies on a 17% (£45m) increase in residential revenue compared to 2017/18.

The data points to much of this fall being caused by less LBTT flowing from the £325,000+ section of the property market, which typically makes up around 70% of all residential LBTT revenue.

By contrast, tax paid by home buyers of properties below £325,000 marginally increased, while nearly half of all house sales (46%) in the tax year-to-date were below the Scottish Government’s £145,000 threshold, meaning that no LBTT was payable.

The bands and rates for residential LBTT are structured in such a way that most of the revenue generated from the tax is dependent on a relatively small number of high value transactions. Just under 60% of LBTT was paid by transactions worth between £325,000-£750,000, despite properties sold in this price range accounting for just 9% of the total number of transactions in April to July 2018.

Properties sold for over £750,000 made up 0.5% of all residential sales so far in the 2018/19 tax year (to July 2018) but accounted for 14% of residential LBTT revenues.


Capita re-selected by HSE to manage Gas Safe Register

Capita has been re-selected by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to continue to manage the Gas Safe Register. The renewed contract is worth £93 million over a five year term and will commence on 1st April 2019.

The Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas businesses who are registered to work safely and legally on boilers, cookers, fires and all other gas appliances. Capita is also responsible for checking the competence of engineers through a team of gas safety inspectors; promoting awareness of the register, and general gas safety awareness to consumers across the UK.

Capita has been delivering this service since 2009 and, in this time, approximately 40% more businesses are now registered. Gas Safe Register has developed its brand to build trust; undertaken significant gas safety awareness campaigns for the general public; handled 2.8 million calls to the helpline; and, carried out around 40,000 inspections annually to ensure gas work is safe.

HSE renewed the contract with Capita following a competitive tender process. As part of the new contract, Capita will deliver a new digital platform, providing an electronic register, enhanced contact centre, website and mobile application. It will also increase inspections of gas installations and drive broader consumer awareness about gas safety.


Dunedin Canmore completes first homes in new East Lothian village

The first phase of a major expansion of an East Lothian village has taken shape and residents are delighted with their spacious new homes.

Dunedin Canmore’s 44 energy-efficient houses in Wallyford are part of a wider regeneration project which will see almost 1500 new homes, new primary and secondary schools, open spaces and sports facilities.

East Lothian Council’s housing spokesperson, Councillor Jim Goodfellow, marked the completion of the first homes, which are all for social rent, and welcomed tenants to their new community in Affleck Rise.

The £5 million development is a mix of one and two-bed cottage flats and two and three-bed terrace houses. Solar panels have been fitted to generate electricity, helping tenants cut their fuel bills.

The ground floor flats have walk-in showers, with one designed for wheelchair access, and all tenants have a private garden.

He was joined by some of the new residents, staff from Dunedin Canmore and its parent company Wheatley Group, local elected members and representatives from Scottish Government, East Lothian Council and contractor Hart Builders, part of the Cruden Group.

The development was part-funded with a £2.4m grant from the Scottish Government.


Flagship Osprey development gets the go ahead in Stonehaven

Work is set to start on a major new development for Osprey Housing in Aberdeenshire.

The project in Stonehaven has been given the go ahead following a successful planning appeal, with Osprey taking a total of 43 properties at the Stewart Milne Homes site.

Osprey’s 43 properties will be made up of one, two, three and four bedroom homes including cottage style flats, houses and bungalows, of which 11 properties will be at mid market rental.

The Scottish Government provided a grant of just over £3 million with further funding for the Osprey development coming from Bank of Scotland.


Site identified for new housing development in the Highlands

A site has been identified for a new housing development in the Sandown area of Nairn.

It will form part of the Highland Council’s plan to deliver 2500 new affordable homes over a five-year period.

The site, south of the A96, was labelled a zoned site within the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan, with potential for housing development. It also benefitted from an approved development brief.

Highland Housing Alliance (HHA) is conducting feasibility work on the site, including contacting statutory authorities to determine whether there would be any significant constraints on the site. The work also involved contacting the council’s planning service with regard to a screening application to determine whether an environmental statement would be required if a planning application were to be submitted.

The feasibility work being carried out will assess if the site is suitable and viable for potential housing development, and whether HHA should consider submitting a proposal of application notice (PAN).

The council is now required to undertake a consultation process before any disposal of Common Good land can proceed. Representations received must be taken into account when reaching a decision on disposal.

Any potential planning application would have to follow the major application process. No planning application would be made without approval from the Nairn Common Good and prior to submission of any planning application, full public consultation would take place.


Coatbridge building shortlisted for award

Coatbridge’s Carnegie Library has been shortlisted for the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2018.

The former library in Coatbridge, which was designed by Alexander Cullen, built in 1905 and financed by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, is situated in the historic core, central to Monkland Canal.

This prominent red sandstone ‘Beaux Arts’ style building makes an important contribution to the townscape and unique character of the area. However, it had been vacant since 2010 and it was important that the future of the building could be secured.

The council and Clyde Valley Housing Association (CVHA) worked together to create an exciting and viable redevelopment scheme. And, with funding help from Historic Environment Scotland, CVHA brought the vacant property back into use with the development of 12 affordable, modern flats with outdoor amenities.

Careful consideration was given to the overall design proposal and the sympathetic design resulted in securing the future of a significant and important piece of North Lanarkshire’s build heritage for the future.

All shortlisted projects are entered into the People’s Choice Award which gives everyone a chance to get involved and express their support for whatever they consider to have been a great project in 2018.

Voting is set to close at the end of September.


Two new lifts to be installed at Kilmarnock Station

Story Contracting is working to install two new lifts at Kilmarnock Station.

The lifts will allow for easier access to the Victorian station, whose platforms are currently only accessible via a long steep hill or by steps from the newly renovated underpass.

The new lifts will be operational in time for Christmas 2018.


Surfacing works to begin on Cuiken Burn path

Surfacing works are to begin on a multi-use footpath beside Cuiken Burn next week, 18 September.

The works involve the widening of the existing section of path from Edinburgh Road and a full footway construction on the non-surfaced route leading to Rullion Road.

Solar lighting will also be installed on sections of the path not currently covered by street lighting.

Midlothian Council will carry out the works for a duration of 10-12 weeks.

Suitable diversions will be put in place where possible but sections of the path will be closed throughout the works.


Essential survey work to take place in Bearsden

Contractor Clancy Docwra is to carry out essential survey work on the Station Road in Bearsden.

The work conducted will help identify potential improvements to the water infrastructure in the area.

Surveying will begin on 24 September.

A section of the Station Road will be closed for five days between the road’s junction with Drummore Road and Chesters Road, stretching to a point on Station Road half way along Colquhoun Park, to enable the works.

Road users are asked to follow local diversions via Kinfauns Drive and Canniesburn Road, and Chesters Road, Thorn Road and Drymen Road. Access will be maintained for local residents.