Building Briefs – November 14th

First image of city centre landmark’s hotel transformation revealed

Halliday Fraser Munro has revealed the first image of a plan to transform an Aberdeen landmark into a 98-bedroom hotel.

The former Esslemont and Macintosh building on Union Street could be converted into a hotel and restaurant seven years after the popular department store closed.

Developers Castlecall also plan to remove the building’s granite extension and replace it with a four-storey glass structure.

E&M closed its doors after in 2007 134 years, and plans to turn the building into a 97-room hotel and shops were approved in 2008.

But the development was not taken forward and part of the building was converted into a Jamie’s Italian restaurant in February 2013.

A decision on the plans is expected later this year.


Celtic cleared after European Commission land deal investigation

Celtic Football Club and Glasgow City Council have been cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation by the European Commission into historic land deals.

The European Commission carried out their duty after a complaint was made that Celtic had benefited from State Aid.

The alleged deals concerned areas around Celtic Park.

A statement read: “Following complaints of citizens, the Commission carried out an informal, preliminary investigation into alleged aid provided by the City of Glasgow to the Celtic football club.

“Contacts with the UK authorities and information received from authorities however did not confirm that Celtic received any state aid, because the City did not grant any financial advantages to the club.

“Therefore, on the basis of the available information, the Commission’s services did not see a basis to investigate the matter further.”

A council spokesman said: “We are pleased that the Commission has found in our favour following its consideration of the claims of State Aid.”


Jedburgh flood protection plan views sought

Public views are being sought on plans to protect properties in Jedburgh from a repeat of serious flooding suffered in August 2012.

Homes and businesses in the town were affected by waters overflowing from the Skiprunning Burn.

The proposed £313,000 scheme aims to cut the risk of flooding in the area.

Details of the plans can be viewed at Jedburgh library, Scottish Borders Council (SBC) headquarters in Newtown St Boswells or online.

The scheme focuses on four key areas, which include improvements to protection measures near the culvert at Larkhall Farm and the introduction of a debris trap and other debris management measures at Wildcat Cleuch.

There will also be a range of flood protection measures at the town culvert inlet at Burn Wynd and improvements to Jedburgh’s main town culvert.


Moray councillors reject Elgin link road

Plans for a multi million pound Elgin link road have been narrowly rejected by Moray councillors.

Members of the planning committee voted against the plan by seven votes to six.

It followed more than a day of evidence and deliberations.

The plan was for a link between the A96 and Elgin’s Edgar Road retail park. It was aimed at relieving congestion in the town. However many residents opposed the development, on cost and safety grounds.


Armed robbers dress as construction workers

Police in Edinburgh are hunting for a gang of armed robbers who were disguised as construction workers during a raid on a city centre shop.

The incident happened around 6.40pm on Wednesday at the Canongate Store in the Canongate.

A 21-year-old man was working alone in the store when four men entered and brandished knives.

Two of the suspects then seized the till, which contained a large three-figure sum of cash.

Police said: “All of the men were wearing construction hats and facemasks covering their noses and mouths.”

The raiders were also wearing high-vis jackets.


‘Community anchor’ bodies critical to regeneration, says GWSF

The role of community controlled housing associations and other community anchor bodies will be critical if the Scottish Government’s regeneration strategy is to be realised, according to the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF).

Launching its new brochure publication on the work of local associations at its Annual Conference in Glasgow, GWSF says that whilst housing associations aimed to work with councils, health boards and Community Planning Partnerships wherever possible, some regeneration activity happened despite formal structures rather than because of them.

See GWSF’s new brochure publication here.


Green light for homes in derelict Dundee pub

The future of a historic building that once housed a pub has been secured after plans for its redevelopment were approved.

Businessman Jimmy Marr has been granted planning permission to convert the dilapidated Mains of Claverhouse into two flats.

The old function suite will be demolished and two detached houses built on the ground.

In 2013, planning permission was granted on the site for an extension to form a licensed restaurant, however, due to the decline in the economy and the reluctance of lenders, the viability of the development could not be proved and it was never started.


Historic Fife Arms hotel to be revamped masterpiece

A pair of international art dealers have announced plans to restore the historic Fife Arms hotel in Braemar to its former glory with a multi-million-pound investment.

Iwan and Manuela Wirth expect to complete the acquisition of the property from East Kilbridebased Hart Hotels in January. The couple, who set up Highlands Hospitality Ltd to acquire the hotel, have enlisted Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI) to advise on the redevelopment. ICMI runs tennis star Andy Murray’s luxury country house hotel, Cromlix in Perthshire, as part of its portfolio of luxury Scottish hotels under management.

The refurbishment project will see the hotel closed for renovation and refurbishment in January, with a planned reopening in 2017.

The Fife Arms, built as a hunting lodge in the 19th century by the Duke of Fife, will offer 60 bedrooms and employ 50 people.


AECC homes plans on way

Plans calling for the construction of hundreds of homes on the current site of Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) are to be lodged at the end of the month.

The move follows a series of consultations earlier this year at which Bridge of Don residents expressed their views on the future of the site, which will be redeveloped when a new conference centre is built in Bucksburn.

The first of two proposals features more homes than the second, alongside a neighbourhood retail centre, other business use and an extended park-and-ride.

The second aims for fewer houses and a recycling centre on the land nearest Gordon Barracks.

Henry Boot Developments revealed earlier that the site was large enough to accommodate 350-600 homes.

It plans to keep roundabouts at Exploration Drive and the roundabout between Exploration Drive and Exhibition Avenue.

The firm would also create a priority junction between Exploration Drive leading into the main entrance of the residential development.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen City Council is expected to meet next month to decide whether to approve design plans for the new £185 million AECC, according to Henry Boot Developments.

Group finance director John Sutcliffe said construction could get under way at the Bucksburn site in 2016 if approval was granted, although planning permission would still be needed.

The new centre is scheduled for completion in early 2018.

Its main arena will house up to 15,000 people standing, while there would be enhanced conference space and a four-star, 200-bedroom hotel.


AGM Group reward student with Top Level 3 Building Surveying award

Leanne Miller
Leanne Miller

In its 5th year of sponsoring the award, AGM Group has presented the Top Level 3 Building Surveying Studies Student Award to Leanne Miller, originally from Elgin and now working at Doig & Smith part time whilst completing her studies.

More than 300 people attended the glittering ceremony this week at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Andrew Meek, managing director of AGM Group, said: “This is the fifth year AGM Group has supported these awards and they give well deserved recognition to students who have put in that bit extra work and hopefully by winning this award, it will help Leanne to progress even further in her career.”


BDP achieve a BIM Level 2 certification first

International architecture and engineering practice BDP are the first company to be assessed and certificated under BRE Global’s BIM level 2 Business Systems Certification Scheme.

This demonstrates that BDP have the policies and procedures required to deliver level 2 BIM in line with the Government’s strategy, meeting the requirements of PAS1192-2:2013 and the BS1192 pre- questionnaire document.

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