Building Briefs – December 11th

Public views sought for Edinburgh trams inquiry

The chairman of the Edinburgh tram inquiry said he wants to hear about the impact of the project on people’s lives as his team sifts through more than two million documents about the transport fiasco.

However Lord Hardie – who was appointed six months ago – said he did not want submissions until he determines key areas for investigation.

The former judge - who was speaking publicly about the investigation for the first time - said there would be a preliminary hearing, at a date to be agreed, at which he would set out the issues people should address in written ­evidence.

It is hoped that lessons can be learned after the £776 million project was finished in May, three years late and some £200m over budget, despite being significantly scaled back from original plans.

Lord Hardie said the inquiry would “provide the public with the answers they want and ­deserve to have”.

Details of the procedures will be published on the inquiry’s website today.


Councillors back Pipeland site for new Madras College

Fife councillors have voted by eight votes to four in favour of a new Madras College being built at Pipeland.

The decision was taken by Fife Council’s North East Fife Planning Committee following a lengthy discussion.

Only a judicial review being heard at the Court of Session next week can now prevent the school being built on the greenbelt site.


Hotel, leisure and sport construction at highest level since 2012

The value of UK hotel, leisure and sport construction contracts awarded in November reached its highest level in two years, figures released today have revealed.

Barbour ABI has published its latest Economic & Construction Market Review revealing that the value of hotel, leisure and sport construction contracts totalled more than £574 million in November, an 8.8 per cent increase on October and 34.3 per cent higher than November 2013.

The report also shows that the sector accounted for 10 per cent of the total value of all construction contracts UK-wide, with 40 per cent of these awarded in London.


Construction charity welcomes Mott MacDonald as patron partner

CRASH, the property and construction industry’s charity for homeless people, has expanded their support base by welcoming a new patron partner, Mott MacDonald.

The buildings division of the global management, engineering and development consultancy joins an elite group of organisations that achieve measureable corporate community investment through direct involvement with homelessness projects.

Mott MacDonald employees will benefit from meaningful and impactful volunteering along with exclusive industry networking opportunities.

CRASH focuses on improving buildings that offer help and shelter to homeless people across the UK by providing professional expertise, supplying free materials and awarding cash grants.

The charity encourages its patron companies to get directly involved matching their expertise to the needs of a particular homelessness project. This unique, practical approach means that vital renovations and developments of emergency night shelters, day centres and hostels can be carried out to a high standard.

As a result of sponsorship and donations, safe, sustainable and welcoming places are created where vulnerable people can seek help.


Haymarket redevelopment readies for New Year start

Tiger Developments are preparing to commence groundworks on their Haymarket development in the New Year as site stabilisation works, including reinforcement of underground railway tunnels, near completion.

The Richard Murphy Architects designed complex will deliver 340,000sq/ft of office space alongside 54,000sq/ft of retail and leisure and 326 underground parking spaces.

First phase works should be completed by 2016.


Outdoor velodrome and BMX track plans backed

Cyclists are on track to get a new outdoor velodrome, speedway course and high-speed BMX track as part of a £7 million overhaul of the Jack Kane Centre sports facility in Edinburgh.

Plans which would see the park given a major revamp to replace the Meadowbank velodrome are set to be approved by councillors.

Two 3G pitches for football and rugby will be created, while six grass pitches will be retained on the Niddrie site, also known as Hunter’s Hall Park.

Plans for a 1km closed road circuit for street cyclists have been dropped after objections were raised.

Councillors will vote on the plans next week and are expected to give them the green light.


Eassie wind turbine plan fails at final appeal hurdle

A final appeal over a contentious Angus wind turbine application has been refused by councillors.

Angus Council officers refused planning permission for a 77-metre turbine at Ingliston Farm, Eassie, due to a “significant” perceived loss of amenity.

Locogen, agents for the applicant William Shaw, appealed the decision and the matter went before the five-councillor development management review committee in Forfar on Monday.

The local authority refused the application by delegated powers, based on loss of amenity for residents, cumulative impact on the Sidlaws along with other turbines, and the effect on burial mounds and a hill fort.


New call for national film studio to be built in Glasgow

More than 50 leading names in the Scottish film industry will today urge the Scottish Government to build a national studio in Glasgow.

An open letter signed by Tommy Gormley, the co-producer and assistant director of the new Star Wars film, as well as a number of other directors, actors, producers and senior executives, has been sent to the body established by the government to deliver a film studio for Scotland.

The letter urges the Scottish Government’s Film Studio Delivery Group to build a studio in Glasgow after “years of inertia and procrastination”.


‘Iconic’ golf view saved after Rusacks Hotel extension is rejected

A multi-million-pound extension of a landmark St Andrews hotel has been refused by councillors amid concerns it could change one of the most famous views in world golf forever.

The Rusacks Marine Hotel on Pilmour Links overlooks the 18th hole of the Old Course, the backdrop for some of the greatest stories of triumph and tragedy in the history of the game.

That instantly recognisable vista faced change as owners Macdonald Hotels sought permission for an ambitious development.

The project would have seen a six-storey extension built next to the hotel, providing an extra 43 bedrooms.

The lower ground floor of the building would have comprised car parking and service areas, managed by a valet service system.

But the proposed extension, which was expected to cost more than £5 million, was yesterday turned down by Fife Council’s North East planning committee after being recommended for conditional approval by Fife Council planners.

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