This week sees the Scottish Government publish an infrastructure pipeline comprising more than 50 major projects and 30 programmes across Scotland.
The government says that these have been identified as the key capital investments for delivering growth, supporting jobs and keep Scotland’s economy moving “despite savage Westminster cuts to the Scottish Government”s capital budget” and the Chancellor”s Autumn Statement, which was “far too little, far too late”.
Alex Neil, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment said the publication of the Infrastructure Investment Plan demonstrates Scottish Government action, but also underlines the “urgent and pressing case” for substantial new borrowing powers to allow even more investment.
Neil said: "This week I will publish a plan to invest billions in more than 80 major capital projects and programmes. They are all significant developments that will both boost growth and deliver a lasting legacy that benefits generations to come.”
Comments on the implications of the Autumn Statement welcome, send to Stewart@compropscotland.com
Support for property, but concerns remain – British Property Federation (BPF):
Given the perilous state of public finances and the economic maelstrom at home and abroad, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement went about as far as the property industry could have reasonably hoped today.
With many of the announcements widely trailed ahead of time, there were few surprises. Notable successes included the Chancellor dismissing the spectre of a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), continuing to support reform of the planning system and moves to kick-start house building and mortgage lending – all of which the BPF has been encouraging the government to deliver.
While the National Infrastructure Plan, which supports the creation of 35 road and rail projects, was welcome, the BPF was left frustrated with government missing an opportunity to unleash enterprise zones to go for growth.
As things stand, the zones are unlikely to attract developers to build within them without extending the capital allowances on offer. With many of the zones currently being empty plots of land, the need to incentivise developers to build is great.
Liz Peace, BPF’s chief executive, said: “Given the financial climate, there were never going to be mass handouts and tax cuts in the Autumn Statement. That being said, there were several announcements that the property industry will want to throw its weight behind and support."
Government and business must adopt a two-pronged approach to deliver both short and long-term solutions to the housing crisis, says the CBI.
In its report, Unfreezing the housing market, the CBI says boosting housing activity could be a major game-changer for growth and economic recovery, and that a well-functioning housing market is a “critical precursor” to long-term economic health.
The CBI is calling on the Government to rise to the twin challenge with a two-pronged solution, to get the housing market moving in the short-term and help tackle structural failures to ensure long-term stability.
Short-term recommendations include introducing a Mortgage Indemnity Guarantee (MIG) insurance scheme to enable first-time buyers to take out low-deposit mortgages, allowing them to access savings locked up in their personal pension pots to boost their deposits.
Region:Central Belt |Highlands & Islands |North East Scotland |South of Scotland |Sector:Charity |Construction |Environmental |Regeneration |Sustainability |Leisure |Rural |
Lotto money – £9m for Scottish community projects
The Big Lottery Fund is pumping £9 million into the Community Spaces Scotland scheme, an initiative aiming to rejuvenate local areas throughout the country.
The fund will improve local spaces and places by developing allotments, parks and community gardens, as well as improving village halls and community centres.
Speaking in Loanhead at the launch of Community Space Scotland, Jackie Killeen, Big Lottery Fund Scotland’s director, said: "We all know of those outdoor and indoor spaces in the heart of our local areas that with some care and attention could make our communities better places to live."
Region:Central Belt |Highlands & Islands |North East Scotland |Dundee |South of Scotland |Sector:Research |Construction |Environmental |Regeneration |Industrial |Leisure |Pubs |Retail |
Five things we learned this week . . .
At the end of another brick'n week when Andy Murray crashed out of the French Open, editor Stewart McIntosh reflects on the strengths and weaknesses of the bricks and mortar game:
Monday 30 May
Not all developers hate their local planners. Tim Allan, of Dundee-based developer Unicorn Property Group, told us that his ‘forward thinking Council has led the way in a bold regeneration of the Dundee Waterfront and has followed rhetoric with hard money and action’.
Tuesday 31 May
Consumer confidence is flat on its back. A shudder ran along the high street with the news that 77% of British people are pessimistic about their job prospects, turning us into ‘a nation of savers’, according to the latest figures from the Nielsen Company and the British Retail Consortium.
Wednesday 1 June
There’s still some fizz left in the pub trade. Alan Gordon of agents DM Hall argued that lenders should be rolling out the barrel for would-be pub purchasers – there are licensed trade ‘gems’ available on the market.
Residents in Skye are racing against the clock as they pull together the final parts of a funding package to buy a massive 440 hectares of Sleat woodland for their community.
The Sleat Community Trust (SCT) must secure £336,000 before the month is out. Highlands and Islands Enterprise is the latest to invest in the project with a £72,000 grant.
Community ownership of Tormore Forest will provide a wide range of benefits, offering the means to generate income which can be used for community development projects.
The Trust is managed by a team of 12 local directors on behalf of around 450 members and the wider community. It has widespread community support for a number of plans which will improve amenities in the Sleat peninsula.
Region:Central Belt |Ayrshire |Sector:Environmental |Regeneration |
Public opportunity to shape the future of Irvine Bay on March 14
Local people get their big chance to help shape the future of Irvine Bay when Irvine Bay Regeneration Company holds its Annual Public Meeting on March 24th.
The organisation charged with breathing new life into the five towns of Ardrossan, Saltcoats, Stevenston, Kilwinning and Irvine received welcome news recently, when – despite difficult economic conditions – the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise joined with North Ayrshire Council in maintaining existing levels of support for the company’s work, ending a period of uncertainty.
Image: Ardrossan North Shore, where Irvine Bay's partnership with Peel Holdings/Clydeport will create a £70m mixed use scheme on a former oil refinery site
Region:Central Belt |Edinburgh |Lothians |Sector:Environmental |Regeneration |Sustainability |Legal |
HBJ Gateley Wareing's housing department maintains top spot
Law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing's social housing and regeneration department has maintained the top Tier 1 position in this year's Legal 500, the UK legal directory.
Headed by Heather Pearson, a partner with the firm for over 15 years, the 10 strong team has worked on a number of high profile deals - including Dunedin Canmore Housing Association's acquisition of multi-development sites in Edinburgh, Midlothian and West Lothian. Other clients include Castle Rock Edinvar Housing Association, Weslo Housing Management, Hillcrest Housing Association, Link Housing Association and Unity Bank Trust.
Region:North East Scotland |Aberdeen |Sector:Construction |Environmental |Regeneration |Sustainability |Offices |
£66m Marischal College redevelopment tops out
A significant step in the reconstruction of one of the UK's most iconic buildings has been taken with a topping out ceremony at Marischal College.
The ceremony took place on the highest point in the 100-year-old A-listed building, which is being transformed into Aberdeen City Council's new civic headquarters by contractors Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd.
Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Peter Stephen, The Lord said: "This is a significant and exciting step forward in the Marischal College renovation programme. The topping out ceremony marks the hard work carried out to date, not only by the firms involved but also by council officers who have ensured that the work has continued apace and considerably below the budget originally set for it. Marischal College is a remarkable, stunning and world-renowned building which the people of Aberdeen are extremely proud of. It is fitting that Marischal College should be a public building for the people of the city."
Argyll and Bute Council has decided not to part-fund a yacht berthing facility in Oban Bay. The decision was made following the conclusion of a second report into the proposed facility by AECOM, the independent consultancy appointed to assess the viability of the proposal.
The council will now investigate how the £900,000 allocated to Oban Bay and Harbour development should now be spent. The proposal was part of Argyll and Bute's £30 million CHORD programme which aims to assist regeneration and economic development in five towns - Campbeltown, Helensburgh, Oban, Rothesay and Dunoon. The idea of a yacht facility was originally put forward by Oban Bay Marine (OBM), which had requested that CHORD funding be used to provide £900,000 towards the total cost.
Region:North East Scotland |Dundee |Sector:Construction |Environmental |Regeneration |Planning |Retail |
Dundee waterfront's regeneration ramping up (and down)
The multi-million pound project to reconnect |Dundee city Centre with its waterfront is ahead of schedule. Work on realigning the on/off ramps at the Tay Road Bridge to create a crucial new road junction finished weeks before it was due.
The new junction, at the foot of the widened off ramp adjacent to the Tayside House council HQ, will allow drivers to turn right as well as left, after a gap was created in the central reservation.
Dave Doig of DD One, the city's traders group, said: "It is great to see that work is ahead of schedule with minimum disruption to date. DD One welcomes ongoing dialogue with the project team to ensure feedback and concerns from city centre businesses are taken on board. We hope that work continues on schedule, with minimum disruption, and look forward to the benefits it will bring local residents and people visiting Dundee."
Plans to regenerate Portpatrick via a marina complex have been holed below the waterline.
The scheme for the Dumfries & Galloway town had been redesigned following an earlier refusal, but although it had the backing of planning officials the project was rejected by the local Wigtown area councillors - who were supported by the local community council and the Portpatrick Trust.
Opponents claim that the project would have a negative impact on the listed harbour and was out of character with the town's conservation area.
The application included the installation of pontoons, along with construction of a harbour office, flats, a bar, a restaurant, workshop and storage facilities.
Region:Central Belt |Fife |Sector:Environmental |Regeneration |Sustainability |Residential |
Lochgelly Charrette Officially Launched
LOCHGELLY took its first step towards a dramatic expansion, and future of low carbon dwelling, when the Charrette was officially launched last night (Monday, 8 March).
One of only three schemes in Scotland to be part of the charrette process, which involves an intense period of consultation about urban design, Lochgelly is the only one being promoted and led by its local authority.
The proposed new development includes 1,750 new houses, 100 acres of employment land as well as open space. The Lochgelly project aims to provide a model for sustainable community living, developed with extensive public consultation and with a focus on implementing innovative solutions. In particular, the aim is to promote energy efficiency including consideration of density, low carbon output, green space and active travel.
Region:Central Belt |Fife |Sector:Environmental |Regeneration |Sustainability |Residential |
Design team highlight draft proposals for a future Lochgelly
LOCHGELLY COMMUNITY caught a glimpse of how its town and surroundings might look in the next 15 to 20 years, when renowned architect Andres Duany and his team delivered an interim review of their designs.
Members of the public gathered in Lochgelly Town Hall last night, Thursday, 11 March, to view potential plans and drawings and to hear Andres Duany describe the vision which the design 'Charrette' has produced so far.
The closing presentation takes place on Saturday, 13 March in Lochgelly Town Hall, where members of the public are encouraged to attend and to hear Duany present his final proposals for the long term future of Lochgelly.
Region:Central Belt |Falkirk |Sector:Environmental |Regeneration |Residential |
Breaking the Link - regeneration and development specialist moves on
Link Group, the Falkirk-based social housing and regeneration specialists, will soon bid farewell to Brenda Higgins, their well-known director of regeneration and development.Brenda has decided to stand in June in order to devote more time to her other interests and commitments.
Brenda has been a stalwart on the Scottish housing scene for a long time, having started at Viewpoint as assistant housing manager in 1984 then as director at various associations, culminating in her current position at Link. Brenda has also been a member of several housing association boards, forums and working groups.
Link's Chairman, Robbie Robertson said: "Having driven Link's development, community regeneration, wider role, building for sale and new initiatives such as the LIFT Open Market Shared Equity Pilot since joining us nearly ten years ago, Brenda has contributed significantly to Link's growth and good reputation.
"I'm sure everyone will join me in wishing her good health and good fortune in her future adventures."
Thumbs up for first phase of Armadale mixed use scheme
The first phase proposals for an ambitious mixed-use scheme in West Lothian have been given the thumb-up from locals.
An April 28th exhibition on the latest phase of the Armadale Station development revealed "overwhelming" support to plans for 170 homes, a 60 bed care home and associated roads, footpaths, landscaping, play area and SUDS (sustainable urban drainage system).
Armadale Station is a comprehensive redevelopment of former opencast brownfield site to the south of Armadale, within the Armadale Core Development Area (CDA).
The development plan is focused around a new railway serving the proposed Bathgate/Airdrie rail link. The CDA seeks to create a sustainable community of up to 2,000 houses and 35 hectares of employment land.
A proposal of application notice for the residential and care home elements has been lodged with West Lothian Council. Work will start on site this year should planning permission be granted within four months of submission.
Region:Central Belt |Glasgow |Sector:Appointments |Environmental |Regeneration |Residential |
New development and regeneration boss for GHA
Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) has appointed Alex McGuire as its new Executive Director of Development and Regeneration.
Alex, 44, joined GHA in April 2008 as Head of Investment, with responsibility for the city-wide capital investment, revenue, repairs and maintenance programmes.
He became Acting Executive Director of Housing and Customer Services last year. A father of three, Alex grew up in Armadale, West Lothian, and was educated at Napier University in Edinburgh.
His remit in his new role at GHA includes overseeing the delivery of around 3000 new-build houses for tenants, while continuing the massive investment programme required to modernise homes and make them warmer, safer and drier.
Martin Armstrong, GHA Chief Executive, said: "Alex's commitment to improving homes and communities, as well as driving continuous service improvement, make him the ideal candidate to help lead GHA as we step up our efforts to become a first-class landlord."
Alex said: "I'm thrilled to be given this great opportunity to help GHA play a major role in the regeneration of Glasgow. I look forward to working with staff, tenants and our partners to create homes and communities the people of Glasgow are proud to live in."