Building Briefs – September 2nd

Halliday Fraser Munro Aberdeen flatsAberdeen gas works to make way for new flats

Halliday Fraser Munro has submitted plans for 32 flats on the site of a former Aberdeen gas works on behalf of Barratt Homes.

Situated adjacent to a larger ‘Ocean’ development of 174 flats, now under construction, the scheme takes the form of an L-plan block rising from four to six storeys enclosing a semi-private open space.

DWA have been appointed as landscape architects.


Future of Bon Accord Baths in Aberdeen to be considered

The future of Aberdeen’s historic art deco design Bon Accord baths is to be considered by councillors.

The swimming pool on Justice Mill Lane closed in 2008 because of local authority budget cuts.

Seven bidders have submitted proposals to Aberdeen City Council.

It is being recommended the council hold talks with Bon Accord Heritage, a group hoping to restore the building, to investigate the option further.

The group is hoping to raise about £15m.


Perth & Kinross Council seeks to buy more ex-local authority homes

Perth & Kinross Council is currently seeking people interested in selling their ex-local authority housing to purchase through its ‘Buy-Back’ scheme.

The purchase of ex-local authority properties was approved by the council’s housing & health committee in February 2013. The ‘Buy-Back’ scheme has been taken forward against the background of increasing restrictions on the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme by Scottish Government legislation and also local council policy.

To date the council has purchased almost 50 properties from homeowners through the ‘Buy-Back’ scheme. These have been a valuable addition to the council’s housing stock. The properties have helped to address acute shortage of affordable housing across Perth and Kinross, and address the mismatch between demand from customers and the area’s existing housing stock profile.

Ex-local authority houses, cottages and ground-floor properties are of particular interest. There is a strong demand for single-person accommodation, so one-bedroom properties will also be considered


Perth church pressing ahead with £1m refurbishment

A landmark Perth church is on the brink of a new era with work poised to begin on a near-£1 million project.

The Rev Scott Burton confirmed ambitious plans for a new welcome area, heating system and alterations to make the sanctuary accessible to all will proceed at St Matthew’s.

Although a funding shortfall remains, he said that there are several applications to trusts still being considered and whatever happens, the project will proceed.

The reconfiguration of the sanctuary will mean that it will become a much more flexible area that will better serve the wider community, acting as a venue for a variety of uses.

The Heritage Lottery Fund provided £250,000 for the project and local trusts were also great supporters, with the Forteviot trust providing £100,000 and the Jimmie Cairncross trust £50,000, followed by a further £20,000.


Oban Airport business park access improvement project on site

Councillors on site
Councillors on site

The first of Argyll and Bute Council’s nine Lorn Arc regeneration projects got underway at Oban Airport yesterday.

A £600,000 scheme will see access improvements to the Oban airport site to open up a business park opportunity and will be delivered in two phases – the road itself first then the site specification after that.

Following approval of the full business case and the granting of planning permission earlier this summer, the first phase of works is being designed and delivered by the council’s own roads team rather than an external contractor, providing best value for the public purse.

The 150 metres of two-lane carriageway and single sided footway, with associated service ducting, drainage and street lighting, is expected to be complete by November 2015.


Restaurant plan for Glasgow’s Citizen Building

The Citizen Building in Glasgow city centre has been handed a new lease of life after a hospitality company unveiled plans to open a restaurant in the historic building.

Up to 70 staff will be employed at 7,500 square foot The Trading House on St Vincent Place, which is poised to open on October 5.

The Grade A listed building, once home to The Evening Citizen newspaper, will boast decor inspired by the East India Trading Company, with traditional wood panelling and feature staircase leading to a mezzanine area.


New Borders railway yet to impact housing market

The new Borders railway has yet to have an impact on the housing market in the surrounding area, according to figures published today by Registers of Scotland (RoS).

In the last three years, the volume of residential sales within five miles of the new stops has risen by 50.2 per cent in Midlothian, and 26.3 per cent in the Scottish Borders.

By comparison, the figures for the whole local authority areas of Midlothian and the Scottish Borders rose by 60.6 per cent and 30.1 per cent respectively, and by 28.2 per cent in Scotland as a whole.

Average house prices have also remained largely unaffected. Since the railway was announced in 2006, prices in the Midlothian catchment area have grown 6.1 per cent to £166,639, while houses within five miles of the new Scottish Borders stations have seen average prices increase by 4.5 per cent to £143,283.

Across the local authority areas as a whole, average house prices in Midlothian have risen by 13.4 per cent, and by 9.5 per cent in the Scottish Borders. Across Scotland, there has been a 16.1 per cent rise in average house prices in the same period.

With services starting on Sunday, the new railway line will re-establish a passenger railway service from Edinburgh to Tweedbank for the first time since 1969. The seven new stops include Newtongrange and Gorebridge in Midlothian, and Stow and Galashiels in the Scottish Borders.


GAP boosts Five Sisters Zoo Lion Appeal to over £100,000

Five Sisters Zoo Appeal LionsGAP Hire Solutions has donated £4000 to help Five Sisters Zoo in West Lothian rescue and rehome four ex-circus lions.

The zoo launched the appeal in October 2014 after a rescue centre in Belgium recovered the lions from cramped and cruel conditions whilst travelling through the country with a circus. Five Sisters Zoo want to raise £150,000 to bring the lions to Scotland as the Belgian rescue centre cannot keep them indefinitely.

GAP’s donation brings the total amount raised to over £100,000.

The donation by GAP follows the creation of the company’s GAP Giving Charitable Foundation, which seeks to donate around 0.5 per cent of turnover to charities and good causes annually.

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