Building Briefs – October 20th

Belleisle ConservatoryFirst phase of Belleisle Conservatory restoration complete

The first phase of a project to restore an iconic conservatory in South Ayrshire is now complete, paving the way for phase two works and a full reopening in spring 2016 for local people and visitors.

Registered charity Belleisle Conservatory Ltd (BCLtd) and South Ayrshire Council – supported with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund – have been working in partnership to refurbish Belleisle Conservatory, which was first built in 1879 and was a popular visitor attraction for decades.

Almost half a million pounds – including more than £92,000 that has been raised by BCLtd – has been invested so far to make the conservatory wind and watertight. The phase one works included timber replacement/repairs, new double-glazing, new lighting and venting system, refurbishment of the heating system, and painting of the impressive structure.

The next phase will include the re-laying and refurbishment of the historic tiled floor, improved disability access, and interpretation works to help ensure visitors are fully informed about what they will see on their visits.

Once the works are complete – which is expected to be in spring 2016 – BCLtd will take over the maintenance and management of the conservatory as part of its lease-holding arrangements, and open the conservatory to the public.


Ofgem to spark more competition in building onshore electricity infrastructure

Ofgem is consulting on how to tender out new onshore electricity transmission infrastructure projects worth £100m or more.

The first tender could take place in 2017.

Since 2009 links to offshore wind farms have been competitively tendered, saving consumers between £200m and £400m so far. Now Ofgem wants to apply this successful formula to new, high-value onshore electricity transmission infrastructure.

It will mean that the three monopoly transmission companies in Britain, (National Grid Electricity Transmission, Scottish Hydro Electricity Transmission, and Scottish Power Transmission) will have to compete against other firms for the right to build and own new, high-value transmission assets.

Ofgem is now consulting on the detail of how onshore tendering would work, including how eligible projects would be identified and the revenue that winning bidders would receive from operating the links.


New affordable homes for Balfron

Rural Stirling Housing Association (RSHA) has celebrated the completion of eight new affordable homes for rent at Dunmore Street, Balfron.

A crowd of invited guests including Steven Paterson MP, Claire Baker MSP, representatives from several rural Community Councils and Association members gathered to view the new homes with the kind co-operation of the tenants.

Stirling Councillor Violet Weir, housing portfolio holder, officially opened the new development and congratulated the Association and developer CALA Homes on the quality and energy efficiency of the new homes.

RSHA chair Margaret Vass commented on the innovative funding of the development. In accordance with the S.75 planning agreement it involved no Scottish Government grant but instead required CALA to contribute 60 per cent of the cost of building the homes.

She highlighted the partnership working that had been involved and thanked the council for a contribution to the costs which had helped ensure that the most pressing local needs were met.

The development comprises a bungalow, four cottage flats and three houses. Two of the homes were amalgamated however to accommodate a large family whose needs had come to light during the course of the development. This work is reversible meaning that should needs change in future the unit can once again be separated into two houses. The homes all have gas central heating plus solar thermal roof panels and meet the Scottish Government’s Housing for Varying Needs standard for lifetime homes.


Hillhead opens new East Dunbartonshire office

Hillhead Housing Association has made the move from its office at Highfield Road in East Dunbartonshire to a brand new permanent building at the corner of Meiklehill Road and Redbrae Road.

As well as providing staff with a modern and comfortable working environment, the new facility will offer visitors and tenants a much improved experience with two interview rooms, a bigger and more open reception area, as well as guest Wi-Fi.

The Association’s old base was in a block of nine pre-fabricated cabins which were erected on site as part of the housing stock transfer from East Dunbartonshire Council in 2004. The offices, which were only ever meant to be temporary, quickly became too small as the Association expanded the services it offers to include welfare rights and money & energy advice.

In addition the offices were expensive to heat and were in need of a substantial upgrade. After carrying out an options appraisal a new site which is only 250m away from the old office location was selected and now forms part of a 15 new unit housing development which will see nine flats built on the site of the old office and a further six at a site in neighbouring Rosebank Avenue.

Whilst the office element of the project is being financed out of the Association’s own resources, the new build housing is being supported by a partial grant from the Scottish Government’s Affordable Housing Programme. All 15 new homes will be for rent.

The new office is now more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than the previous premises, with waste reduction and recycling very high on the agenda. With heat and power generated from roof mounted solar panels the Association can now return excess energy generated back into the National Grid adding to the savings in running costs.


Plans to bring Dundee hotel back to life

A former Dundee pub and hotel is set to reopen, with its new owner aiming to create “one of the best pubs in the city”.

The Tayview Hotel, in Broughty Ferry Road, closed down unexpectedly after 19 years under the previous ownership in May 2014 due to financial difficulties.

It has been vacant ever since, but the pub and restaurant is set to reopen in November.

The finished article will include a garden, restaurant, pub room, games room and five bedrooms — four of which will include en-suite bathrooms.


School pupils to name £18m Aberdeen bridge

Pupils at two primary schools in Aberdeen are being given the chance to name a new £18 million bridge.

The structure is to be installed as part of the Third Don Crossing project.

Contractor Balfour Beatty will develop a new single carriageway link road between Parkway/Whitestripes Road junction and the Tillydrone Avenue/St Machar Drive junctions, including the construction of the new bridges.

The project requires the construction of two bridges, with the first being a 26m skew span reinforced concrete bridge over the Mill Lade at Grandholm Village and the second a 90m span steel box girder over the River Don.

Work began in August 2014, with the project expected to be completed in January 2016.

Bridge beams were lifted into place in July by a specialist 1,000-tonne crane.

Remaining works include continuing work on the reinforcement of the bridge structures, painting, along with constructing new roads, pavements and cycle ways.


East Ayrshire road closed for resurfacing works

A road in East Ayrshire has been closed to allow improvements and resurfacing works, the council has announced.

The Ayrshire Roads Alliance is underway with works on the B741 between New Cumnock and Dalmellington.

Work began yesterday and will last for two weeks


A76 Bargower Rail Bridge upgrading works

Road users are set to benefit from £100k of improvement works on the north and southbound lanes of the A76 Bargower Rail Bridge located south of Crossroads roundabout adjacent to Cessnock Water.

Scotland TranServ on behalf of Transport Scotland will carry out the refurbishment of the bridge deck including; waterproofing, joint replacement and concrete repairs in five stages over the coming weeks.

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