Building Briefs - January 28th

  • Castlehill Housing Association affordable homes handed over in Banff

Castlehill Housing Association has taken delivery of properties at Golden Knowes in the Aberdeenshire town of Banff.

Building Briefs - January 28th

These high-quality properties were built by Springfield Properties and will offer much needed affordable properties to the people of the North East.

The development is named after the picturesque coastline with streets named for those who have made a historic impact upon the town. Castlehill’s properties comprise 29 properties made up of 2-bedroom flats, and 3- & 4-bedroom houses.

There is also a 3-bedroom bungalow. Five of these properties are being leased to subsidiary Castlehill Housing Trust to provide accommodation for people with complex needs.

Castlehill added that the new housing helps to meet needs identified with its strategic partner Aberdeenshire Council and delivery of the development was made possible with grants from the Scottish Government and loan funding from the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Bank.


  • £1.5m to improve safety of Fife community link paths

Almost £1.5 million is being spent on the construction of three major multi-use paths in Fife.

These paths are designed to keep path users away from fast moving traffic, allowing safer passage between communities.

The pathways will link Crossgates and Fordell Firs, then on to Dalgety Bay; Kinghorn and Burntisland - part of National Cycle Route 76; and Thornton to Glenrothes - part of National Cycle Route 766.

Between Crossgates and Fordell Firs, the 3m wide pedestrian/ cyclist/ equestrian path will follow the line of the B981, a distance of approximately 3km. The new path will link up to the existing multi-use track from Hillend and Dalgety Bay, 2km away. From Dalgety Bay there are links to the National Cycle Network at the shoreline, and west to Inverkeithing. The route also links to Dunfermline via the Aberdour Road cycle track across the M90. The cost of the works is £535,000.

Cyclists following National Cycle Route 76 between Burntisland and Kinghorn are currently using the carriageway which has a 40mph speed limit. The new 2.5km long pedestrian/cycle path will follow the line of the A921 and will allow the two communities, and users of the Pettycur Bay caravan site, to walk or cycle without traffic concerns. This work will run over two phases. The first phase will be Kinghorn to Pettycur Bay Caravan Site and cost £292,000. Phase 2, Pettycur Bay to Burntisland, will then follow on.

The National Cycle Route 766 between Thornton and Glenrothes currently uses a narrow footway along Blackwood Road. This will be widened to 1.5m and be extended to the Eastfield Industrial Estate. This new pathway will give pedestrians and cyclists more space to pass each other. This is a popular route for commuter cyclist travelling between Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes. The cost of these works is £350,000.


  • Network Rail provides Stonehaven-Montrose recovery works update

The railway line between Stonehaven and Montrose will remain closed until Monday February 22 as engineers work to complete repairs on a damaged bridge between the towns.

The rail bridge, located three miles north of Carmont, has been closed since January 15 after masonry fell from the sidewall on its southbound side.

Full structural assessments on the bridge - which was built in the 1840s - have now been completed by our specialist engineers and plans are in place to repair the bridge and reopen the railway for passengers and freight customers.

Engineers will be working around-the-clock to fix the damaged parapet (sidewall) and also provide additional strengthening of the bridge deck beneath the southbound line.

To do this engineers will first install additional concrete supports on the bridge deck to help retain and support the track and ballast.

The parapet wall will then be reconstructed and ties installed on the bridge to further strengthen the masonry on the structure. Once those works are complete, the ballast and track will be relaid.

The bridge was last inspected in October 2020 and also received a detailed examination in March 2018.

There was no significant deterioration in its structural condition found in these inspections.

Investigations to establish the cause of the parapet’s failure are ongoing.

Network Rail will invest over £300m between 2019 and 2024 renewing and refurbishing bridges and spends £10m each year on inspecting structures.

Additional inspections have also been carried out as a precaution on other similar bridges between Aberdeen and Montrose, and elsewhere on Scotland’s Railway.


  • Glasgow takeaway plan approved

A central Glasgow premises can be split to create two hot food takeaways, planned have agreed.

The unit at 119 Great Western Road, near St George’s Cross, is currently occupied by Oriental eatery Lemon Tree.

The city council has given permission for sub-division, with Lemon Tree taking a smaller space and Glasgow’s first Chilli Flames chicken outlet being based in the rest.


  • SKILLcard launches ‘academic’ card

One of the construction industry’s largest skills certification registers is launching a special card for engineers with degrees and other higher-level qualifications.  

Engineering Services SKILLcard, which has over 64,000 card holders across the UK, has developed the Academically Qualified Person (AQP) card so individuals with higher level qualifications can visit construction sites to help them gain more practical experience. 

SKILLcard, which is managed by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and is part of the construction-wide CSCS scheme, is used by heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration operatives to provide proof of qualifications, skills and experience.  

It already offers a Professionally Qualified Person (PQP) card, but this requires a certain level of industry experience. The new AQP card will enable graduate engineers and those holding further education qualifications such as HNDs and HNCs to provide evidence of their qualifications including the health & safety training needed to be allowed on site. 

Many of these academically qualified engineers do not fit the standard craft and operative criteria recognised by the industry, but need to spend time on site for employment purposes and/or to gain valuable experience to progress to the next stage of their careers. 

The card was developed in partnership with London South Bank University (LSBU) who stressed the important role it will play in allowing newly qualified engineers to gain site access and build their experience. 

BESA has also extended the list of recognised professional qualifications that qualify for the PQP card and increased the number of professional bodies considered appropriate for the industry to 23 – allowing all their members to apply for an Engineering Services SKILLcard.  

For full details and to apply for a SKILLcard go to: 


  • DM Hall secures new lease on celebrated Aberdeen watering hole

The long-established licensed premises in Aberdeen’s Windmill Brae, familiar to locals as the former Steinhaus, Traffic Nightclub and The Garage, or even to those of a certain age as Zuu, Berlins, or even Henry J Beans, has been let by DM Hall to OGV Taprooms.

With an eight-year lease at an initial annual rental of £40,000, the new occupier is undertaking a full fit-out of the premises with a view to opening for trade in early Spring 2021, or as soon as current restrictions allow.  

The refurbished premises will comprise of two bars – one operated by OGV Taprooms and the second by CASC which is expanding its offering currently available at its Merchant Quarter Bar.  

It is envisaged that the former Garage nightclub area will be split into two areas: a bar with over 40 taps, while the current dance floor and stage area will be a multi-use conference, exhibition and performing area. Downstairs, the former Steinhaus area will be opened as a new bar/eatery. 


  • Highland Council to extend consultation on Sandown lands

The Highland Council has received a request to extend the period of the current consultation in respect of the proposal to dispose, by sale for development, of Sandown Lands, Nairn.

Sandown Lands form part of the Common Good property of the former Burgh of Nairn.

After full consideration, the council has agreed to allow an additional 2 weeks period for the consultation.

The consultation will now close on February 26.

A consultation briefing outlining the background and key questions can be found on the council’s website.

In terms of process, please refer to the guidance available.

Written responses to the consultation can be submitted either by email to or by post to Sara Murdoch, The Highland Council HQ, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, IV3 5NX.


  • Lomond completes four acquisitions in three cities

Scottish estate agency and lettings group Lomond has announced the completion of four acquisitions following the recent announcement of its merger with Linley & Simpson.

Two of the businesses joining the Lomond group, Pad Residential and Allison & Co, are based in Manchester and the remaining two are Halls Estate Agents in Brighton and Craigflower Lettings in Edinburgh. In total, a further 700 properties under management have been added to the Lomond portfolio.

With market-leading letting and estate agencies already operating across all three cities, each of the acquired businesses will be integrated into existing Lomond brands, namely Thornley Groves in Manchester, Brand Vaughan in Brighton and Braemore in Edinburgh.

The news comes after Lomond merged with Yorkshire residential lettings firm Linley & Simpson at the beginning of 2021. Linley & Simpson added more than 600 homes to its portfolio only last month with the purchase of the residential lettings and management division of Dacre, Son & Hartley in December 2020.

The merger brings together some of the strongest letting and estate agency names on the UK High Street. Lomond merged with Linley & Simpson in January 2021 and now manages over 23,000 residential properties and employs more than 580 members of staff, through a network of regional businesses in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh, St Andrews, Manchester, Brighton, Leeds, York, Hull and Sheffield.


  • Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan goes out to consultation

A consultation that will help shape future development across the Inner Moray Firth area has been published by the Highland Council, with affordable housing listed as one of the main areas of interest.

The Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan Main Issues Report sets out the council’s view on how and where the area should grow in the future. 

The Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan covers the areas of Nairnshire, Inverness district and the eastern part of Ross and Cromarty. The initial consultative document is called the Main Issues Report and asks for people’s views on nine Main Issues affecting the area, including climate change, economic recovery and delivering affordable housing. It suggests ways in which local planning policy and decisions can best address these issues. It also asks for people’s views on development site options, locally important greenspaces and other community priorities for every main settlement. 

Comments can be made anytime up to 5pm on Thursday 1 April 2021. 


  • Angus Council launches £100,000 empty homes campaign

Angus Council is launching a £100,000 campaign to turn empty properties into homes that people want to live in.

The Empty Homes Grant Fund will help owners of empty homes to bring long-term unoccupied properties back into residential use.

There are an estimated 47,000 long-term empty properties in Scotland, with around 1200 of those in Angus where demand is high for affordable housing.

Owners of an empty property that has lain empty for at least six months could benefit from the fund, which launches on Monday 1 February.

Grants are awarded on a discretionary basis for property types where the council considers there is a demonstrable demand for housing, subject to availability. Grant subsidy is capped at a maximum of £7,500 per bedroom and is directed at necessary improvements to bring properties up to a standard that is fit for occupation.

On completion of the project, successful applicants must rent the property out as affordable housing for a minimum period of five years. By receiving the grant, owners are also committing to renting their property to a person who is working with the housing service to explore their housing options.

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