Building Briefs – February 9th

Council homes plan for Gregory’s Girl school site in Cumbernauld

Council houses could be built on land where a school made famous in the film Gregory’s Girl once stood.

The cult comedy was set at Abronhill High in Cumbernauld, which was demolished last year after an unsuccessful campaign to save it.

Now the Evening Times has reported that North Lanarkshire Council has added the land to a list of potential sites for council houses.

The local authority estimates that up to 60 homes could be built on the ground where the Bill Forsyth comedy was filmed in 1981. Before the building was razed to the ground, parents and campaigners had planned to take court action in a bid to keep the school open.

North Lanarkshire Council’s head of housing, Elaine McHugh, said any housing proposals would go through a public planning process.


Duns supermarket replacement bid rejected

Plans for a new supermarket in the Scottish Borders have been rejected due to fears over its impact on a town centre’s “vitality and viability”.

The Co-op wanted to replace its Newtown Street store with a £4m facility on the outskirts of Duns.

Council planners said it would have an “unacceptable and detrimental impact” on the heart of the town.

The new store would have been built on a site near the new Berwickshire High School.


Glasgow approves £9.3m plan to bring private flats into social housing sector

A £9.3 million plan to bring four blocks of privately owned tenement flats into the social housing sector has been approved by Glasgow City Council.

The move, planned for blocks in the city’s Govanhill area, is seen as a way to address issues such as poor landlord practice, a lack of factoring arrangements, overcrowding and a rapid turnover in tenancies.

Despite council investment in repairs and maintenance in private housing of around £14m in recent years, difficulties with property conditions have persisted. Working with Govanhill Housing Association, the council has devised the South West Govanhill Property Acquisition and Repair Programme, which is intended to bring a more systematic approach to addressing the area’s problem housing.

With the council backing the overall scheme with some £5m worth of investment, the programme will also be supported by £4.3m of funding from the Scottish Government up until the end of 2016/17. The funding from the government will support the scheme during a two-year pilot phase, with discussions ongoing on the nature of the longer-term plan for the area.

The funding will be channelled through Govanhill Housing Association, which will identify and acquire properties while also undertaking improvement works to bring the properties up to a lettable standard.

The committee paper approved by the council’s executive committee can be found here.


Manufacturers boosted by rising sales and falling fuel costs

The Construction Products Association’s latest State of Trade Survey for the fourth quarter of 2014 indicates that manufacturers of construction products ended the year with continued growth in sales.

A further increase in sales is expected for the year ahead and optimism extends beyond the domestic market, with increased demand from overseas markets anticipated during 2015.

Key points include:

  • 44 per cent of heavy side firms and 87 per cent of light side firms reported that sales rose during the fourth quarter of 2014

  • 61 per cent of heavy side product manufacturers and 60 per cent of light side product manufacturers reported that they anticipate sales rising over the coming year
  • 33 per cent of firms on both the heavy and light side reported that costs rose in Q4 compared with a year earlier
  • Fuel costs fell for 61 per cent of heavy side firms and 20 per cent of light side firms, to the lowest balance recorded in the survey
  • 18 per cent of heavy side manufacturers and 25 per cent of light side firms reported that exports rose in Q4

  • 50 per cent of heavy side firms and 70 per cent of light side firms anticipate a rise in exports during 2015.

    Amended planning application for Elgin Link Road

    Moray Council has outlined a new timeframe for the resubmission of the revised Elgin western link road planning application.

    It is thought the new plans could be lodged this summer.

    Earlier plans for the scheme were rejected by councillors in Moray last November.

    The council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee has since reaffirmed its commitment to the project.

    In a statement, the local authority said: “Council officers are now working with the appointed consultants with the aim of submitting a revised application during summer 2015 with a view to this being determined before the end of the year.

    “If this is achieved it is intended to begin construction works in spring 2016, with an estimated 18-month construction programme resulting in completion before the end of 2017.”

    The proposed link road, between the A96 and Elgin’s Edgar Road retail park, aims to relieve traffic congestion in the town. However, the plans have been opposed by a number of local residents, citing cost and safety concerns.


    Improvements planned for Crieff road

    Perth & Kinross Council is making various improvements to Crieff’s Broich Road that Tesco had previously committed to before pulling out of opening a new store in the town.

    The works include the widening of the existing footpath, the installation of street lighting and the introduction of a 30mph speed limit along the length of the road.

    These works will be completed in summer 2015, before the schools resume for the autumn term.


    Refurb for VisitScotland Information Centre

    A series of refurbishment works are to get underway at VisitScotland’s Information Centre on Union Street, Aberdeen.

    To enable the works to be carried out, the organisation will temporarily relocate to a new premises, Marischal College, in the city.

    The Information Centre on Union Street will be refurbished and upgraded with new branding, increased information provision, digital technology and free Wi-Fi for customers. The venue is expected to reopen in time for Easter.


    Help shape the future of Dumbarton Rock and Waterfront

    Dumbarton residents, businesses, landowners, historians and tourism chiefs are being invited to help shape the future of Dumbarton Rock and waterfront.

    The Scottish Government has selected the Rock and its surroundings for a design ‘charrette’, which is an intensive consultation that will involve local people, businesses, landowners and other interested parties in the design of proposals for the Rock and the areas around it, with a particular focus on how to promote it as a tourist destination.

    The charrette will take place over 4 days between 25-28 February 2015, split between Dumbarton Football Club (25 & 26 February) and Dumbarton Burgh Hall (27 and 28 February).

    The event is being run by West Dunbartonshire Council, architects and urban designers Anderson Bell Christie, tourism specialists TRC, heritage consultant Lesley Kerr, ARUP Engineers, Ryden property consultants and community planning facilitators Kevin Murray Associates, with input from Historic Scotland. The results of the charrette will inform future Council policy and Historic Scotland’s strategy for the Rock and Castle.


    Planners praise TAYplan template

    The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has praised the work of Tayside’s local strategic development planning authority for its co-ordination of key policies.

    A recent report has highlighted TAYplan’s co-ordination of economic development, housing, transportation and other policies.

    The report showcases the way effective partnership working, created through strong local buy-in and commitment from local councillors, and its importance to strategic planning and delivering real benefits to communities.


    Eco Insulate Ltd secures Orkney schools’ contracts

    Eco Insulate Ltd has secured insulation work at two schools in Orkney.

    The work follows on from a successful pilot project completed for Orkney Islands Council (OIC) three years ago.

    Following a formal tender process, the latest work will see Eco Insulate carry out spray foam insulation work at Papdale Primary School and Stromness Academy. The firm will work alongside the main contractor, but application of the foam insulation will be started ahead of the main contract, thereby taking advantage of local school holidays.

    However, the scope of the treatment means a majority of the work will be carried out during normal school hours when staff and pupils are present.

    The work will see the underfloor areas of the school sprayed with BASF Enertite. The open cell foam will be applied to depths up to 100mm to provide underfloor insulation with the additional benefit of preventing heat loss through air leakage.


    New school build planned for Aberdeen

    A consultation period is to commence in relation to a proposed new school in Aberdeen.

    The plans could see a new school building created for Stoneywood School in the city. If approved, it is anticipated the new facility will be operational for the commencement of the 2017/18 academic year.

    As part of the process, Aberdeen City Council is to hold two public meetings to allow the local community to view and comment on the proposals.

    The location of the new building is yet to be confirmed, but the proposals include rezoning the ground to the north of the A96 trunk road, currently within the Brimmond School zone, to Stoneywood School.

    This would come into effect from August 2015, if approved.

    The consultations will be held on:

    • Wednesday 4 March at Stoneywood School, Stoneywood, from 7pm to 8pm.

    • Thursday 5 March at Brimmond School, Bucksburn, from 7pm-8pm.

    Any comments must be received by the local authority before 5pm on Friday 27 March 2015. Further details on the consultation process will be available to view here.

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