Building Briefs – September 23rd

The evening's speakers Craig Miller, Juliana Delaney CEO Continuum Attractions, Bailie Angela Blacklock, Andrew Kerr CEO City of Edinburgh Council with Kevin Smith
The evening’s speakers Craig Miller, Juliana Delaney CEO Continuum Attractions, Bailie Angela Blacklock, Andrew Kerr CEO City of Edinburgh Council with Kevin Smith (Image courtesy of The Real Mary King’s Close)

£500,000 Real Mary King’s Close redevelopment completed

Industry leaders from across the tourism sector gathered last week to celebrate the completion of the £500,000 redevelopment project at The Real Mary King’s Close.

The six-figure investment into The Real Mary King’s Close by operator Continuum Attractions is the largest investment into one of its established attractions to date.

The project has seen the 5* attraction transform with the reinstatement of doorways on the Royal Mile, creating an on-street presence, a new welcome and exhibition area as well as the creation of an internal 40-seat café, The Royal Exchange Coffee House.


Green light for 81 affordable homes in Dundee

Plans to build 81 affordable homes on the site of the former multis in Dundee have been approved by city planners.

Dundee City Council and Hillcrest Housing Association have formed a partnership to build social rented houses on land south/east of Alexander Street in the Hilltown area where four housing blocks were levelled in summer 2011.

The local authority will put more than £3 million into the partnership scheme with Hillcrest to build the 81 homes, including 35 houses and 46 flats.

Designed by KDM Architects, the houses will be a mix of 30 semi-detached houses and five detached, the largest of which will be four-bedroom.

Six of the flats have only one bedroom.

The development is part of the council’s plans to transform the area as outlined in the Hilltown physical regeneration framework, which sets out a vision for the area as “a popular, safe and attractive place to live” and will include a school and community facilities.


Glasgow’s Pollok House needs £1m for woodworm and roof repairs

Glasgow City Council is to consider approving more than £1 million for vital repairs to Pollok House.

The 265-year-old tourist attraction has woodworm, rot and desperately needs slate work, lead work, stone repairs on the roof and an asbestos survey.

Money is needed to remove a number of significant artworks and collections in the Grade A-listed property while repairs are carried out, and the wings of the house also need to be repaired.

Council staff are also working on a grant application to Historic Scotland to generate more cash to help the project and save the house from falling into disrepair. If successful, the government agency would pay for 25 per cent of the costs – more than £250,000.

Repair work is also needed on the wings and council officers are trying to find out if they can submit an application for a Heritage Lottery grant to cover it.


Work begins on £1.4m artist retreat

Work has begun on a new £1.4 million centre at a popular artist’s retreat.

The building, at Cove Park, near Helensburgh, will contain two accommodation units and studios and will provide year-long residences.

It has been funded by Creative Scotland and the Robertson and Monument Trusts.


Kelso racecourse submits solar panel construction bid

A Borders racecourse has submitted plans to put up more than 700 solar panels to help meet its energy needs.

The proposals would see the development on land to the west of the Kelso site, adjacent to its stables complex.

Information accompanying the bid says it could allow the racecourse to boost its “green credentials”.

About half the energy generated by the panels would be used by the racecourse with the remainder being exported to the national grid.

Scottish Borders Council will have the final decision on whether the project can go ahead.


Private rents ‘falling in real terms’ across Scotland

Rents adjusted for inflation have fallen in the majority of Scottish towns and cities since the onset of the credit crunch in 2008, according to new figures from lettings portal Citylets.

Of all towns analysed, only the Fife town of Kirkcaldy saw rents for 1 and 2 beds almost keep up with inflation, ending at 2.1 per cent and 3.8 per cent below CPI over the term.

Even key cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow saw rents fall for 1 bed properties in real terms down 0.9 per cent and 10.4 per cent respectively. In Aberdeen, both 2 & 3 beds underperformed inflation with 1 beds expected to follow shortly by the end of the year. Real rents in Dundee are down across the board.

Where rents have risen, Citylets found that for the key 2 bed markets in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the rises ranged from just 1.45 per cent to 3.8 per cent.


Public consultation into future layout for George Street

The public are invited to share their views to help shape the future of one of Edinburgh’s key thoroughfares.

An open day, on Friday 2nd October, will give people a final chance to meet the designers, landscape architects, planners and civil engineers working on a long-term vision for George Street. Now that the trial year has come to a conclusion, they will be taking public views as the long term design begins to take shape.

The trial has been used to test the impacts on the street and surrounding area when there is more space for pedestrians, cyclists and events, and less space for traffic. The trial was the first time any council in Scotland has used an “Experimental” Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) as a place making and design measure. It is a legal requirement that, at the end of a trial using an ETRO, the street must be returned to its previous layout before the long term plan is settled upon and put to the public.

The public meeting on Friday 2 October from 2pm until 7pm in the Assembly Rooms is an important last chance for residents to have their say on the future layout for George Street.


Spango wind farm refusal recommended

Councillors have been advised to reject plans for a 14-turbine wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway due to its “unacceptably adverse impact”.

Community Windpower is behind the Spango scheme north of Sanquhar.

A number of organisations have opposed the project although local community councils have given their support.

The RSPB has also objected but developers claim their revised plans could actually enhance “ecological and ornithological” conditions.


Scottish Water continues with £7m Glasgow sewer project

Scottish Water is progressing with the installation of a half mile-long new sewer tunnel beneath the streets of Glasgow.

The £7 million project in the Yoker area will help improve the natural environment of the River Clyde and tackle flooding issues.

The scheme, which began in July, involves developing a new sewer tunnel from the grounds of the former Blawarthill Hospital to the north bank of the Clyde.

A Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) has now been put into operation near Dyke Road.

The TBM is 6.7m long, has a diameter of 1.8 metres, weighs over 17 tonnes and comprises of three sections.

The project also involves the construction of a new Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) with powered screens at the former hospital site near Dyke Road and another off Dumbarton Road.

Contractors George Leslie are expected to complete the work next summer, depending on weather conditions.


Cairngorms National Park Authority approves A9 dualling applications

The Cairngorms National Park Authority has approved three quarry applications relating to the A9 dualling project.

The applications involved the Meadowside Quarry at Kincraig.

Breedon Aggregates Scotland brought forward the proposals to create a new temporary access road to the construction site, the installation of new plant and approval to vary a previous condition allowing the company to increase the rate of annual extraction at the quarry.

The company has been given approval to increase the rate of extraction from 50,000 tonnes to 150,000 tonnes per year for a period of two years.

The extra load will supply materials for the Kincraig to Dalraddy section of the A9 dualling project.

In addition, a new access road directly from the quarry to the construction site was approved, along with the temporary erection of a mobile asphalt plant within the quarry site for two years.

Work starts on second phase of Borders flood protection scheme

Scottish Borders Council has announced the second phase of a flood protection scheme is underway.

Phase one of the Skiprunning Burn Flood Protection Scheme in Jedburgh was completed in March 2015.

Local firm JMS Harkin carried out the work over a period of four weeks.

Improvements included upgrades to the grille at Burn Wynd and the creation of a flood relief drain at Duck Row.

Further works were taken forward as Phase 1A in advance of Phase two following discussions with councillors.

These works included replacing the boundary fence at the fire station, drainage improvements at the Canongate and extending planters at Market Square and Canongate.

The council is now due to complete the second phase by the end of 2015.

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