Building Briefs – December 2nd

custom house Greenock
Custom House, Greenock

Inverclyde secures £1m regeneration funding

Two Inverclyde projects have been successful in securing national regeneration funds totalling over £1 million.

The Inverclyde Council supported project to deliver a new Horticultural Training and Community Facility has received an indicative award of £397,308 and the Riverside Inverclyde project to deliver an enterprise workspace at the Custom House building is set to receive £649,332.

The Riverside Inverclyde project is set to deliver restoration of the landmark Grade ‘A’ listed building to create an affordable office space for small and medium enterprise companies to drive regeneration and economic activity in the Greenock area.

And the Horticultural Training and Community Facility aims to develop a community and training centre in the Broomhill area of Greenock, to provide facilities and activities to promote and enhance wider regeneration and community cohesion.

The current works in the lower West Wing are due to be completed in Spring 2015. The Phase 4 works at the upper West Wing, funded by the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, will begin later in that year.


Dundee unveils schools consultation proposals

Formal consultation could be launched early in the New Year over major proposals for the Dundee school estate.

Dundee City Council’s education committee will be asked next week to agree in principle plans which include the construction of a new campus to replace the current Longhaugh Primary and Nursery.

Formal consultation would begin on Monday January 12 2015 and close on Friday February 27 2015 if the education committee agrees.


Havelock issues profit alert

Scotland’s only listed shop fitter lost almost a tenth of its market value this week after warning that delays to orders would see its annual profits fall short of last year.

Havelock Europa also told investors that it expects to rack up almost £1 million in costs related to senior management changes and a shake-up of its Stage Systems business.

In a trading update, the Fife-based company said profits before one-off charges in the year to 31 December “will be below the board’s previous expectations and last year’s profit of £632,000” after some customers in the retail and financial sectors pushed back orders.

The warning saw shares in the group end down 1.88p, or 9.7 per cent at 17.5p, having hit a session low of 16.5p.

The profit alert came just two months after Havelock announced a 5 per cent fall in first-half revenues to £32.5m amid a decline in education activity and “quieter” conditions in the financial services sector.

Sales at the firm’s educational supplies arm dropped 9 per cent to £3.2m in the first half. The fall was blamed on project delays and the UK government’s decision to give all infant pupils in England free school meals, which saw many schools using their discretionary cash to upgrade.


More than 70 homes planned for Aberdeen campus

Aberdeen University is seeking contractors to build more than 70 homes on the site of former halls of residence.

The university hopes the development on the site of the former Dunbar Halls of residence building will meet the needs of mature and postgraduate students and junior members of staff.

The plans are for 73 one, two and three bedroom, affordable flats on the Old Aberdeen campus.

Dunbar Halls in Don Street were once home to around 270 students before being demolished around a decade ago.

The university has now issued contracts for quantity surveyor and structural, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services to develop the new residences.


SHIP steers towards 600 new South Lanarkshire council homes

More than 600 new council homes are to be built in South Lanarkshire to help with the shortage of affordable housing in the area.

South Lanarkshire Council’s proposals to deliver the 600 new council homes for rent were highlighted in the council’s latest Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) 2015-2020, which was approved at the Housing and Technical Resources Committee last week.

The SHIP is a five-year plan that is used by the Scottish Government to help inform the allocation of its funding to the council for investment in new affordable housing.

The council has committed to building 500 new homes by 2020 but, in addition to these, work is already underway this year on developing 102 additional properties on three sites across South Lanarkshire.

Construction started on 28 homes in Baird Hill, East Kilbride in September, while it is expected that work will start in December on 22 properties at Belmont Drive, East Kilbride, and 70 in Fernhill, Rutherglen.


SSE announces £460m living wage contract

Power firm SSE has awarded what is thought to be Scotland’s largest living wage contract.

The £460m contract, awarded by SSE networks business SHE Transmission, will apply to a new subsea electricity link being built by engineers ABB Ltd.

SSE said the contract for part of the Caithness to Moray Transmission Project would support at least 600 jobs.

All staff and contractors will be paid at least the living wage of £7.65 per hour, and £7.85 from April next year.

The living wage is based on the amount an individual needs to earn to cover the basic costs of living.

The new subsea link, which will feature more than 100 miles of underground and subsea cable, is needed to transmit electricity from renewable sources in the north of Scotland.

Construction work is expected to be completed in 2018.


Angus Council househunters plan to boost homes to let

Angus Council’s communities committee has approved plans to buy houses on the open market.

Housing in Angus is under significant pressure, with 3,227 applicants on the council’s waiting list.

Of the 7,776 council houses, 974 became available for let in 2013-14 and demand is high for affordable housing.

While 71 council homes were built in the last year, construction is below the required level and challenges, such as lack of available land, make it necessary for the local authority to explore other ways to increase affordable housing in Angus.

Scottish Government grant money is available for councils to buy houses on the open market, reducing the demand on other funding streams, and Angus Council will establish a scheme to manage this type of house-buying.

Scottish Government funding of £30,000 is available for each home purchased for under £100,000, and £35,000 for those costing more.

The council will prioritise ex-right to buy homes and it is proposed that the first five properties will be bought by March, with the properties being considered as new supply social housing, so that the right to buy will not apply to future tenants.

The move comes as the council officially opened new affordable council housing for rent at Newmonthill in Forfar.

The 18 new three-bedroom family town-houses have been built on a steeply sloping site that needed a creative solution to make the most of the location close to the town centre.

The cost of construction was £2.8 million, of which £495,000 grant funding was contributed by the Scottish Government. The contractor was T.A Kernoghan.


New Police Scotland HQ completed

The new headquarters of Police Scotland has been completed and unveiled by Clyde Gateway.

The Glasgow development will be home to around 1,100 Police Scotland staff from 2015.

The finished building, Riverside East, is a £24m, five-storey block located on a brownfield site which overlooks the River Clyde in Dalmarnock.

Clyde Gateway has said the project, which took 17 months to complete, is one of the most important regeneration projects in a generation.


Hare Hill Wind Farm extension approved

Plans to extend Hare Hill Wind Farm have been approved, ScottishPower Renewables has confirmed.

The proposals were approved by East Ayrshire Council and will see 39 turbines installed on the site, which is located to the south east of New Cumnock. They will have a generating capacity of around 33MW.

The project has been in development for more than nine years, and the new turbines will be built adjacent to the existing 20 wind turbines at the wind farm, which have been operational since 2000. Work on the extension will commence in late 2015, with a scheduled completion date given of 2016.


Riverside Group issues £250m bond at historically low cost

Housing association the Riverside Group has made its debut issue on the capital markets through its subsidiary, Riverside Finance plc, with the launch of a Moody’s Aa3 rated £250 million benchmark bond, of which £100m is retained.

The issue priced by reference to the 4.5 per cent 2042 gilt, with a spread of 135bp. The 3.875 per cent coupon is the lowest achieved to date in the housing sector for a new primary 30 year bond issue.

With its roots going back almost 90 years, Riverside Group is a nationally established provider of housing care and support, with just under 53,000 homes in management from South East England to the South West of Scotland. Valued at over £1.8bn, the Group includes a thriving care and support business and a number of commercial subsidiaries, all of which contributed to a turnover of £303.9m in 2013/14.

Riverside Group’s advisers on the bond issue were Centrus, with Barclays, Lloyds, RBS and Santander acting as book runners.


New affordable housing development unveiled in Glasgow

Cruden Homes Prospecthill Circus02Cruden Homes’ King’s View, a new affordable housing development in Glasgow’s South Side, was put firmly on the map last week as it was officially named by Bailie Cameron, executive member for economic development at Glasgow City Council.

The £6 million development will comprise 55 one, two and three bedroom homes for private sale which will be sold ‘off plan’, in advance of the properties being built.

The naming ceremony took place on site at Prospecthill Road when Bailie Cameron was joined by John Gallacher, managing director of Cruden Homes and Gordon Sloan, chair of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to unveil new signage for the development – a giant five metre structure designed to represent a Google map pin.

Following on from their huge success as part of the City Legacy consortium in delivering the Athletes’ Village in the East End of Glasgow, Cruden is again bringing their regeneration expertise to the south of the city. King’s View is being constructed on land which is currently a brownfield site on one of Glasgow’s eight Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRAs) bordering on King’s Park and Hampden and just two miles from Glasgow city centre.

Cruden is also currently building 100 homes in the area on behalf of GHA. The TRA programme, delivered by Transforming Communities: Glasgow – a partnership of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association and the Scottish Government - will deliver a major economic boost, create jobs and deliver new homes and community facilities. Cruden’s strong heritage in successful regeneration projects will also see further opportunities for apprenticeships, training and employment for the community as well as recruiting a number of local sub-contractors.


ACHA completes 40 desperately needed new homes in Oban

Glenshellach opening
Mike Brown Chair of ACHA, Councillor Roddy McCuish, Mary MacIntyre and her son Izyan MacIntyre and Alastair MacGregor, Chief Executive of ACHA - at the opening of Glenshellach

Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) has completed 40 new homes for rent in the Glenshellach area of Oban.

The properties are a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom flats and terraced houses and have been on-site for the last 2 years. The new residents will benefit from solar panels to heat hot water.

The building work was carried out by Argyll based firm M&K Construction and 70 tradesmen, including 10 apprentices were on site for the duration of the works. Oban and the villages around the town have a pressing current housing need with over 600 families and single people looking for accommodation.

Officially opened by Councillor Roddy McCuish the Chairman of Argyll and Bute Councils Oban, Lorn and the Isles Area Committee, the £5,000,000 development was funded by grants from the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council and ACHA`s own finance facilities.

The new development has been named Catalina Avenue after the flying boats which practiced in Glenshellach during the Second World War.


Lochfield Park wins ‘outstanding’ empty homes award

Lochfield Park Housing Association was honoured at a prestigious awards ceremony in Glasgow last month for its work on the Brucefield Park Estate in Easterhouse.

The Association was presented with the ‘Outstanding Project Special Mention Award’ at the Shelter (Scotland) Scottish Empty Homes Conference 2014.

The award was in recognition of the outstanding work done by the Association in managing the insulation and repair of 216 tenement properties along with addressing the issue of empty homes and environmental problems which had blighted the area for many years.

Many properties had been lying empty for as long as 15 years and allowed to fall into disrepair which was impacting on residents quality of life and property values declined to a point where owners could not get a decent price for their property.

A total of 23 empty homes have now been brought back into use and significant environmental improvements are ongoing, crime is down and property values are improving once again.

The success of the project could not have been achieved without the support of Glasgow City Council staff and local councillors who have been with the Association from the beginning and continue to support the project to this day.


Shepherd appoints consultant management surveyor to Edinburgh office

Shepherd Chartered Surveyors has appointed Arlene Bryen in the role of consultant management surveyor in its Edinburgh office.

A native of Glasgow, now resident in Edinburgh, Bryen graduated from Strathclyde University with a degree in Geography and Geology and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1995.

Prior to joining Shepherd, she worked for national surveying firms in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, most recently with Savills where, as Associate Director, she led the Edinburgh management department.


Heartlands plants 50 trees for National Tree Week

To coincide with National Tree Week launching on 29 November, developers at Heartlands, one of Europe’s largest reclamation and regeneration sites, will replant over 50 trees

Ecosse Regeneration, the firm behind Heartlands, will replant the trees within parts of the 610 hectare site as part of their continued commitment to place sustainability at the heart of the project. The trees are part of the original group of 2,500 which were removed from the site of the former colliery and taken into a dedicated nursery to be used in the regenerated landscape. To date, more than 100,000 trees and plants have been planted on the site.

Heartlands is a £650m business, retail, residential and leisure destination, providing around 4,000 new jobs.

The development is sited halfway between Scotland’s two biggest cities, approximately 37km from Glasgow in the west and 34km from Edinburgh in the east.

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