Building Briefs – July 4th

Alness Albyn Housing 011Albyn Housing Society takes handover of new Alness homes

The Alness community is set to benefit from a new homes boost after Albyn Housing Society took handover of the first phase of its new Dalmore development.

Featuring a total of 37 homes including 10 for purchase via the LIFT scheme, 12 for mid-market rent and 15 for rent with the Highland Council, the attractive development neighbours Alness Academy and other local amenities including the High Street and health centre.

Representing a total investment of £4.6 million including £1.4m support from the Scottish Government, construction commenced at the site in May 2015 with O’Brien Properties appointed as developer.

The Dalmore site is also set to be home to a unique cluster housing project led by Albyn Housing Society, NHS Highland and Invergordon-based Carbon Dynamic, which aims to develop a new sustainable home design for residents with long-term health and care needs who want to live independently at home.

The project is currently being reviewed by the Highland Council planning committee with a decision expected later in the summer.

Part of the Scottish Funding Council’s innovation centre programme, the Digital Health and Care Institute is supporting the project, which will also deliver invaluable research into the health economics of the FIT Homes concept.


Mulholland Contracts joins Constructionline

West Lothian based groundwork’s, surfacing and multi utilities contractor Mulholland Contracts Ltd has been certified as a registered supplier with Constructionline, the UK’s leading procurement and supply chain management service.

To become a certified member Mulholland Contracts Ltd had to demonstrate that they meet Constructionline’s rigorous assessment criteria. Constructionline collect and assesses a wide range of information during the certification process, from professional conduct, financial information, proof of insurances, previous experience and references.

This process re-assures buyers, from both public and private sector organisations, that they have been assessed in-line with government and industry standards. The certification also allows suppliers to fast-track stage one of the supplier assessment process for Constructionline buyers so they need only provide project-specific data.

Kevin Breen, finance director, from Mulholland Contracts Ltd, said: “Joining Constructionline and in addition to our existing Achilles and Lloyds Certifications are a welcome endorsement of the professional service we aim to deliver our clients.”


Progress on A9 dualling

Motorists are being asked to plan ahead for traffic restrictions on the A9, between Tomatin and Moy, with the next stage of the A9 Dualling programme set to get underway.

Ground investigations will begin on the 11th July 2016 and last for around seven weeks. Although the work will not be carried out on the existing road, the traffic management measures will be in place to allow work beside the carriageway to be carried out safely.

The traffic management arrangements will include short, alternate single file traffic sections controlled by temporary traffic signals.


Lowther Homes builds portfolio with new South Lanarkshire flats

Lowther Homes has further expanded its portfolio of affordable homes for rent with the acquisition of 21 new-build apartments in Hamilton.

The two-bedroom flats, built by Barratt Homes, are situated in the town’s Silver Bell development. With rent starting at £500 per month, each apartment features fitted floor coverings, a fully fitted kitchen, bathroom and blinds.

The first open viewing resulted in five of the homes being reserved immediately.

Tenants will enjoy a central location close to transport links and local amenities, as well as Hamilton Park Racecourse and Strathclyde Country Park.

Lowther Homes, part of Wheatley Group, owns, lets and manages a portfolio of more than 700 quality homes for mid-market and full-market rent across central Scotland.


Dundee community hub work starts

Work on a new £370,000 community space that will deliver services in the heart of a Dundee neighbourhood has got underway.

A pair of vacant units on Lochee High Street is currently being adapted to become the area’s new community hub.

Bringing together public and voluntary sector services as well as local people, the hub is a response to calls for a community space in central Lochee.

Dundee Voluntary Action will manage the hub with support from Dundee City Council and Dundee Alcohol and Drugs Partnership.

A welcoming, friendly relaxed environment has been designed into the facility as well as practical considerations about the services that will be delivered from the building.

The flexible lay out means that it can host services including peer support and help with education and volunteering.

Lochee Community Hub is expected to be up and running by the autumn.


Over £110m worth of empty homes brought back into use in 12 months

The value of long-term private empty homes brought back into use across Scotland in the last year exceeded £110 million, according to a new report.

The annual report by the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership (SEHP), which is funded by the Scottish Government and facilitated by housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, says that despite the good news that almost 700 private empty properties were identified and brought back into use in the last year alone, more work still needs to be done across the country to address the problem of long-term empty homes.

Among its recommendations, SEHP calls for legislation of a Compulsory Sale Order power for vacant and derelict land and properties. The power would allow local authorities to force owners of long-term empty homes or disused land who fail to engage in the process of bringing their property up to standard and back into use, to sell up on the open market.

There are currently around 34,000 long-term private empty homes across Scotland.


RTPI launches new planning bursaries to promote diversity at undergraduate level

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Trust announced today it will fund four undergraduate bursaries for the 2016-17 academic year to help high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds or living with a disability to study planning and gain Chartered membership.

The new bursaries, worth £2000 each, will be offered to undergraduate students already enrolled on an RTPI accredited planning course in the UK or Ireland.

They are designed to help fill the shortage of planners and to increase the diversity of the planning profession. Two of the bursaries will be available for students with a disability and two will be for students who are under-represented in the planning profession, for example those from an ethnic minority.

Accredited Planning Schools with undergraduate programmes will send nominations to the RTPI. Interested students should contact their planning school to express interest in being put forward.


Castlemilk playpark gets makeover from Stewart Milne Group

Jonathan Fair, managing director of Stewart Milne Homes Central (on the slide) and clockwise from top left, Lucy, Anthony, Callum, Aiden, Abbie and Jamie. Behind are staff from COJAC and the team from Stewart Milne Homes who did the work.
Jonathan Fair, managing director of Stewart Milne Homes Central (on the slide) and clockwise from top left, Lucy, Anthony, Callum, Aiden, Abbie and Jamie. Behind are staff from COJAC and the team from Stewart Milne Homes who did the work.

Work to upgrade play equipment at a disability resource centre in Castlemilk has been completed thanks to the support of the Stewart Milne Group’s RUBY campaign, which was part of the company’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

In September, Stewart Milne Group launched its RUBY (Regenerating Urban Back Yards) campaign to improve run-down community spaces across Scotland and north-west England. Following a public vote, the Castlemilk centre, operated by Caring Operations Joint Action Council (COJAC), was chosen to be supported by the campaign. Work has now been completed to upgrade the play equipment which is used by children from the centre and local community.

A team of 11 staff members from Stewart Milne Homes carried out work on the site, including removing trees, landscaping, painting, screening and adding picnic benches. From planning to finish, it took the team ten weeks to complete the project.


Royal opening for historic Corn Exchange after Melville revamp

HRH The Duke of Gloucester (right) officially opens the new offices of Melville Housing Association alongside chair Bob Anderson
HRH The Duke of Gloucester (right) officially opens the new offices of Melville Housing Association alongside chair Bob Anderson

Dalkeith’s historic Corn Exchange, one of Midlothian’s most culturally significant buildings, has received royal approval following its official opening by HRH The Duke of Gloucester.

The royal opening marked the conclusion of an 18 month restoration project by Melville Housing Association that has seen the Grade A listed building, which once played host to Winston Churchill and William Gladstone, brought back into the everyday life of the town for the first time in more than 20 years.

The £3.8 million project was made possible thanks to grant funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland in addition to Melville’s contribution. The carefully restored building, which dates back to 1854, now hosts a new office for Melville, a new museum for Dalkeith as well as facilities for the community.

The restoration project has preserved and enhanced the unique character of the building, while at the same time incorporating sustainable low-carbon technologies including solar panels and a ground source heat pump to provide power and heating to the fully-renovated building.

As well as providing new offices for Melville, the building is also available for community use including a new Dalkeith Museum, managed by the Dalkeith History Society. The museum has its own entrance and is fully accessible to the public. The reception area of Melville’s new office is also open to the public during office hours and includes information boards about the history of the Corn Exchange as part of the Dalkeith Heritage Trail. In addition, the original boardroom of the old Corn Exchange is available for hire.

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