Building Briefs – September 18th

Melville External wall houseMajor energy work to transform Melville homes in Forth

Melville Housing Association customers in the South Lanarkshire town of Forth should see significant savings on their heating bills, following the announcement of a major energy efficiency project that will start this autumn.

The improvement work will see the homes receive external insulation and cladding, reducing damp, improving weatherproofing and vastly improving comfort levels, making them much cheaper to keep warm. It will also significantly reduce the environmental impact of the homes, saving more than 7,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years.

Melville has teamed up with SERS Energy Solutions (Scotland) Ltd to deliver the work, which has been made possible thanks to grant funding of more than £200,000 from the Scottish Government’s HEEPS: Cashback for social housing providers scheme.

Free to Melville tenants, the improvement work is expected to take between four and six weeks per property. SERS will start their initial engagement work shortly with all work due to be completed by the spring.


Council decision paves way for new Aberdeen Ikea store

Aberdeen City Council has granted conditional approval for a planning application that will allow a major international retailer to open its first outlet in the city.

Councillors unanimously backed the proposal for the Makro site at Wellington Road Industrial Estate from Cyan Properties Ltd, subject to a legal agreement on developer contributions to the Strategic Transport Fund and mitigation measures for the local road network.

The applicant made a request to the planning authority to amend a previously agreed planning application that was considered in June this year.

Under the new proposals, the Makro warehouse store would be retained, the provision for a supermarket on site would be reduced from 5,750 square metres to 1,476 square meters and provide a store of 4,274 for a new concept ‘click and collect’ store for Ikea.


Balfour Beatty invests in energy firm

Balfour Beatty’s investment arm has agreed a deal to acquire Alkane Energy, a company described as one of the UK’s fastest growing independent power generators.

Alkane Energy specialises in using methane from abandoned coal mines to generate electricity. It has a total of 145MW of installed generating capacity and an electricity grid capacity of 160MW.

The £61m offer from Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners (BBIP) is already backed by more than 35 per cent of Alkane shareholders and the board is recommending the rest support the deal and take the money.


Action plan agreed to transform Dumbarton Rock and waterfront

An action plan which will help to transform Dumbarton Rock and the waterfront has been approved by councillors.

A total of 22 improvement projects have been identified through the Scottish Government funded Charrette which was held in the town in February.

The projects which are expected to make the biggest difference to the area have been identified as priorities, and discussions to begin making progress on these will begin immediately.

The priority projects include:

  • Creating a new waterfront path to connect the Rock and Castle with the town centre.

  • Investigating the possibility of introducing a multi-use facility at the base of the Rock and Castle which could provide community facilities such as a café and exhibition space.
  • Provide coach and car parking facilities in and around the Rock and Castle to encourage increased visitor numbers.
  • Enhance the public areas close to the Rock and Castle and the approach from Castle Road.
  • Improve the rock climbing area at the Rock.
  • Complete the Castle improvement plan which aims to improve the overall visitor experience.
  • Investigate the feasibility of installing floodlights to illuminate the Rock and Castle.

    £2.3m to develop water source heat pump schemes

    A new Challenge Fund is being launched to encourage the development of large scale water source heat pump schemes in Scotland.

    Water source heat pump technology extracts heat from water even on the coldest days and uses the heat stored in water sources from rivers, canals, and lochs to supply low carbon heat efficiently.

    The Water Source Heat Pumps Challenge Fund, which is part of the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme, will support the development of large scale projects which need assistance to attract further investment. £375,000 is being made available to help with the development of investment grade business proposals.

    The Challenge Fund is targeted at individuals and organisations from the public, private and community sectors with project proposals which can supply low carbon heat to district heating systems in Scotland but need to secure further investment to complete the installation of their scheme.

    Support of up to a further £2 million will be available to those with a fully developed investment grade business proposal but who have been unable to identify private investment and are therefore seeking financial support for commercially viable demonstrator project activity.


    £1.65m Dumbarton all weather athletics track agreed

    A project to create a six-lane all weather athletics track in Posties Park, Dumbarton has been agreed by councillors.

    The running track will be a direct replacement for the current dilapidated blaes facility in Posties. A grass football pitch will also be created in the middle of the track, along with a new changing facility.

    The new track will provide a much-needed facility for the whole community, with secondary schools in Dumbarton and Alexandria as well as local athletics clubs set to benefit.

    This development will be created directly on top of the current track so will have no impact on the open space area of Posties Park which is currently used during the Scottish Pipe Band Championships.

    The successful delivery of this project and the proposed Levengrove Heritage Lottery project, which is currently under consideration, would result in over £5 million being invested in Levengrove and Posties Park which will provide benefits for the whole community.


    Argyll and Bute Council to carry out £40,000 resurfacing works

    Argyll and Bute Council’s roads operations team are to commence £40,000 of vital road maintenance works next week.

    The team will resurface East King Street in Helensburgh as part of the 2015 roads capital reconstruction programme.

    The old surface of the road is to be removed over a two day operation.

    The planed-off surface will be regulated to alleviate previous ponded areas.

    In addition, iron work will be adjusted to a new finished height, while a new surface course will also be laid.

    The work will begin on 21 September and will last for approximately ten working days.


    £315,000 Scottish Borders road maintenance programme to begin

    A £315,000 road maintenance programme is scheduled to begin, Scottish Borders Council has announced.

    Work to improve the road surface of the A1 southbound carriageway will begin tonight, 17 September at 8pm.

    The works will continue until 6am on Friday, 18 September.

    Further weekend works will take place between 8pm on Friday until 6am on Monday, 21 September.

    Both the work phases will require a full closure of the southbound carriageway.

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