Building Briefs – January 5th

Botanic CottageArchitectural accolade for Botanic Cottage restoration

The brick-by-brick rebuild of the historic Botanic Cottage in Edinburgh has received a prestigious accolade from a Georgian architecture society.

The Georgian Group, a UK charity dedicated to the preservation of buildings dating from about 1700 to 1840, holds architectural awards each year, backed by estate agent Savills.

It says its intervention has “helped save many such buildings from destruction and has protected others from unsympathetic alterations”.

The Botanic Cottage building was originally the central reception hall of the first such garden in the Scottish capital but as it faced demolition, it was painstakingly moved to a new location in the current garden.

Sutherland Forsyth, community engagement co-ordinator for the Botanic Cottage project, said those who had worked on the restoration were delighted.


College buildings ‘in dire need of upgrades’

Some of Scotland’s college buildings are in “dire need” of upgrading with hundreds of millions of pounds required for repairs, it has been claimed.

Colleges Scotland has told ministers at least £280 million will be needed in capital cash on top of £105m for maintenance over the next three years.

The figures were contained in the organisation’s official submission to the Scottish Government ahead of this month’s budget.

Officials told the Scottish Government: “The college sector is reliant on public funds for their capital investment needs so, to maintain and improve the learning environment for the most deprived communities and to ensure the college estate supports the delivery of vocational training while students acquire the necessary skills to enter the workforce, investment is a necessity.”


Aldi eyes eight new Scottish stores

Aldi plans to create more than 550 new jobs in Scotland over the coming 12 months as it opens eight additional shops.

The supermarket has identified sites in Annan, Polmont, Newton Mearns and Strathaven along with one in the Cornhill area of Aberdeen and at the Auldhouse retail park in Glasgow.

The other two stores are both in Edinburgh with one in Portobello and the other at Fruitmarket Place.

That will take its Scottish estate to 72 while its workforce here will be around 2,500 once all the new locations are open.


Superfast broadband programme reaches half a million homes and businesses

The planned nationwide roll-out of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband programme is now two thirds complete with more than 500,000 Scottish homes and businesses now connected to high-speed broadband.

The engineering milestone was passed as a new fibre cabinet in Gretna Green became the latest project to go live through the £410 million programme, which still has two years to go.

More than 2,200 new fibre street cabinets have been built, with the most northern serving 80 homes in Bod of Gremista, Shetland and the most southern covering 250 premises in Isle of Whithorn, Dumfries & Galloway. Openreach engineers have laid more than 5000KM of fibre cable which, laid end to end, would reach from Glasgow to New York.

The Digital Scotland rollout consists of two projects – one covering the Highlands and Islands area, led by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and the other covering the rest of Scotland, led by the Scottish Government.

Other funding partners include the UK government through Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), local authorities and the European Regional Development Fund. BT is investing £126 million in the two projects, which are being delivered on the ground by engineers from its local network business, Openreach.


Waverley Station’s broken mosaic on track for restoration

Damaged Victorian mosaic flooring hidden in Waverley train station in Edinburgh is to be returned to its former glory.

The historic decoration will be restored in a joint project by the Railway Heritage Trust and Virgin Trains East Coast.

Passengers will soon be able to see the colourful design which remained hidden under concrete and lino for years while the room was used by rail staff.

Work began with a £150,000 joint grant from East Coast Trains and the trust last year, which partially restored the room.

But after Virgin took over the line in March, a further grant of £25,000 was made to completely restore the mosaic.


Festival focus shifts to buildings

Some of Moray’s most stunning architecture will be highlighted during a celebration of the region’s whisky industry next year.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival will take place over late April and early May, bringing thousands of tourists from across the globe to the region’s various distilleries.

This year, to help mark a national initiative focusing on Scotland’s architecture, the festival will pay special tribute to some of the distinctive buildings Moray’s malt is crafted in.

The range of venues featured in the programme range from 18th-century malthouses to modern production facilities built within the last year.