Building Briefs – October 23rd

Scottish Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Josh Taylor, Ziggurat Student Living Director, Jim Pike and Barry McGuigan MBE
Scottish Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Josh Taylor, Ziggurat Student Living Director, Jim Pike and Barry McGuigan MBE

Leith Walk student accommodation unveiled

A student accommodation development in Edinburgh has been officially opened by boxing duo Barry McGuigan MBE and Scottish Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist, Josh Taylor.

Designed by CAG Architects, the purpose-built 272-bed Ziggurat Student Living development is one of two accommodation locations which are within a few hundred metres from each other, at Murano Place and Shrubhill on Leith Walk, and total 532 beds.  The Shrubhill site will also house over 18,000 sq ft of retail space, with Sainsbury’s confirmed to create a convenience store on the ground floor.

The main contractor on both buildings is Ogilvie Construction.  Royal Bank of Scotland provided financial backing for both new facilities.


Global giant buys Brechin window blind firm

Stevens (Scotland), a family-owned window blind maker employing more than 100 in Brechin, has been sold to Dutch giant Hunter Douglas in a multi-million pound deal.

The Scottish business was founded in 1968 and is controlled by 79-year-old chairman Pamela Stevens with a 57 per cent stake. Her son Gordon, 52, is the firm’s managing director and owns the balance of 43 per cent.

Stevens turned over £7.4 million last year and made a pre-tax profit of £496,000. It has shareholder funds of £2.3m.

The Angus firm upped its workforce in 2014 from 97 to 111, and also raised the dividend payable to Mrs Stevens from £84,000 to £210,000, and to Mr Stevens from £64,000 to £160,000.

Hunter Douglas, based in Rotterdam, is a group of 125 companies in more than 100 countries, employing about 16,000.

It is the world market leader in Luxaflex window coverings and a major manufacturer of architectural products.


Edinburgh community group unveil Fountainbridge ‘Wikihouse’

An Edinburgh community group has built a temporary community meeting space in Fountainbridge on the site of EDI’s planned India Quay development, helping to foster a sense of community work ahead of construction work getting underway.

Built by Fountainbridge Canalside Initiatiive over the course of a single weekend by a team led by architect Akiko Kobayashi, the open source design was assembled from prefabricated components using mallets and pegs.

Designed by Architecture 00, the Wikihouse will host a variety of temporary projects including workshops, classes, talks and meetings.


North Lanarkshire Council could cut over 1,000 jobs to save £68m

Over 1,000 full-time jobs are at risk at North Lanarkshire Council as the local authority bids to save £68.3 million over the next two financial years.

Councillors will be asked next week to accept measures to save £22.7m, a move which will result in 23 post reductions.

A report to be considered by the policy and resources committee on Wednesday, detailing nearly 100 options being considered to make the savings the council needs to find for 2016/17 and 2017/18, will also seek approval for a consultation on savings of £45.6m, which will see over 1,000 post closures.

The council warned of “consequences for the vital services” and said it would look to avoid compulsory redundancies.


Tesco lost £6m in Fort William Blar Mhor land deal

Supermarket giant Tesco made a loss of more than £6 million after abandoning plans to build a new store in Lochaber, BBC Scotland has learned.

The company has sold its development site at Blar Mhor near Fort William to Highland Council for £2m. There are plans to build a hospital on the land.

The BBC has reported that Tesco paid just over £7.9m for the site. It also paid for road links into the area.

The company dropped its plan for the store at Caol earlier this year.

Highland Council, which confirmed its purchase of Blar Mhor earlier this month, has made the land available for the building of a replacement to Fort William’s ageing Belford Hospital.

A science academy could also be built on part of the eight acre (3ha) site.


Fife Council to use part of Madras College land for hospital car parking

Part of the land Fife Council is to buy for a new secondary school in St Andrews will be used for hospital car parking.

The local authority confirmed a car park for St Andrews Community Hospital will be created on the site at Pipeland it is to purchase from Muir Group.

Depending on the outcome of a legal challenge, the deal will be made in exchange for an area of on-street parking used for the hospital to allow improved access to the new £40 million Madras College.


Saughton prison to install solar panels

Saughton Prison in Edinburgh has unveiled plans to install hundreds of solar panels on its roof in a bid to slash electricity bills over the next 25 years.

If proposals are given the green light, around 300 photovoltaic (PV) panels would be mounted on top of the prison’s games hall, generating huge savings and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 tonnes annually.

The solar energy plan comes after Perth and Kinross Council last month approved a scheme which will see panels installed at HMP Perth at a cost of just over £41,000.

Similar projects are being carried out at HMP Low Moss and the Polmont young offenders facility.


Warning of long-term bridge closure near Selkirk

A bridge near Selkirk may take more than a year to repair.

Broadmeadows Bridge, on the A708 at Yarrowford, may have to close entirely while the work takes place.

Traffic lights are currently in operation on the crossing, to allow single file traffic across the structure.

Engineers discovered the structural problems following a road accident earlier this month.


Falkirk Council to hold consultation on open spaces and parks

Falkirk Council is to hold a consultation on the regions open spaces and parks, it has been announced.

A new single strategic plan has been drawn up setting out a vision for the future of the areas.

A twelve week consultation on the new Open Space Strategic Plan will be officially launched in November.


Work starts on new Fife skatepark

Work is underway to build a new skatepark in Fife. 

The new facility is being built at the playpark in Keltyhill Avenue and will replace the former facility at Blairadam Park.

It will be the second of four skate park’s in the Cowdenbeath area.

The project is being funded by Fife Council’s Cowdenbeath Area Committee local community planning budget and the Fairer Scotland Fund.

Construction is set to begin in 2016.