Glasgow News November 2013 : Buildings in Scotland, Architecture Information

Glasgow Building News : November 2013

Strathclyde Architectural Developments – Built Environment West Scotland

Glasgow News – November 2013

Strathclyde Architecture Design News

Scottish Home Registration
29 November 2013 – Home registration rise encouraging but supply-side issues must be tackled if output is to increase to meet housing need

Responding to statistics published by the National House Building Council which show a 27% increase in the number of new homes registered in Scotland for the rolling quarter August to October compared to the same period in 2012, Chief Executive of industry body Homes for Scotland Philip Hogg said:

“Following the recent launch of the Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity initiative, which is already making a big impact, and a choice of 95% mortgage guarantee schemes now also available, buyers have a range of solutions open to them to help meet their individual needs and home ownership aspirations.

“Such measures are clearly contributing to the growth demonstrated by today’s figures. These are very encouraging but it is important to put them into context given that housing output in Scotland has fallen over the last five or so years to its lowest level since 1947.

“Whilst we hope this upturn in activity is sustainable and continues into 2014, major supply-side issues such as land supply and skills shortages will need to be tackled if output is to increase to the levels required to meet housing need.”

Lomondgate Development Award News
The multi-million pound Lomondgate development, near Dumbarton, has received a commendation award in the new public and private partnership category at the Scottish Government’s 2013 Quality in Planning Awards. 29 Nov

Glasgow Student Flats Development
27 Nov 2013 – Plans for a £70 m development in Glasgow which will accommodate 1200 students will go on show to the public this week.

The proposed development, called Seventeen Acres, will go on display on Thursday in the Merchant City Square Courtyard on Albion Street.

As well as student accommodation, developers say Seventeen Acres will provide a new cultural and outdoor space for the city, a ‘Roundhouse’ multi-purpose venue and space for 15 shop units accommodating a range of businesses, from dentists to food stores.

To be designed by Glasgow architects Stallan-Brand, the proposed development will deliver much needed accommodation to meet the demand for student flats in the heart of the city.

It will be built on the site of the original University of Glasgow, just behind High Street Station.

The plans will be developed by the Jepford Partnership, led by local company Merchant City Properties, owners of Merchant Square.

Kevin Maguire, managing director of Merchant City Properties, said: “The higher education sector is vitally important to Glasgow’s economy, with more than 160,000 students studying in the city.

“However, there is a shortage of appropriate accommodation.

“Seventeen Acres will provide quality student accommodation within easy reach of the city’s universities and colleges and will transform an area that is currently used as a car park, bringing to life elements of its past through the development.

“This will include landscaping and planting inspired by an original inventory of the old university’s ‘College Gar dens’ which stood on part of this location and inspired the name Seventeen Acres.

“It will create employment during construction and beyond and will offer new opportunities for local businesses.”

The design of the development is inspired by the site’s history, including the nearby Molendinar Burn.

The public will have the opportunity to view the proposals, see an outline of the plans and meet with the team during the pre-planning application consultation phase.

The event will be hosted by Merchant City Properties on Thursday from 4pm to 7pm.

Silverburn Extension News
The £20m extension to Glasgow’s Silverburn shopping centre designed by BDP has begun with contractor Graham Construction moving on-site of the 120,000sqft build.

Developer Hammerson is funding a 14 screen cineworld cinema, nine new restaurants, improved bingo facilities and new retail opportunities at the south side centre.

First phase works will entail demolition of the last remaining units at the Pollok Centre together with an existing bingo hall to create a new western entrance and improve connections to the bus station. 27 Nov

Russell Institute Building
27 Nov 2013 – Plans to restore one of Paisley’s architectural treasures have moved closer after Renfrewshire Council secured £2m funding.

The Russell Institute is one of the town’s most striking landmarks – but the former health centre is lying empty and needs work to be brought back into use having closed in 2011. The Category A-listed Russell Institute is located on the corner of New Street and Causeyside Street and was opened in 1927.

The council has been working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on a plan to save the building, with the health board having gifted the Institute for the good of the community. An organisation has been lined up to move in if funding to help pay for the revamp could be secured.

Latest Scottish mortgage figures encouraging, say home builders
26 Nov 2013 – Responding to today’s figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showing Scottish house purchase lending at its highest quarterly levels since 2008, Chief Executive of industry body Homes for Scotland Philip Hogg said:

“Today’s figures are very encouraging across the whole of the market. With the recently launched Help to Buy (Scotland) shared equity initiative already making a big impact and a choice of 95% mortgage guarantee schemes now also available, buyers have a range of solutions open to them to help meet their individual needs and home ownership aspirations.

“We hope this trend is sustainable and continues into 2014 so that this upturn in activity may translate into the building of much needed new homes. However, major supply-side issues such as land supply and skills shortages will need to be addressed if output is to increase to the levels required to meet housing need.”

Whistleblowers in Scotland are Ignored
Standards Commissioner’s Flawed Report Signals Loss of ‘Checks and Balances’ in Scottish Public Life

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) is taking the unusual step of issuing this press notice to highlight significant failings by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland in his recently published report on the George Square, Glasgow design competition.

Since the publication of the Commissioner’s report on 26th September, the Royal Incorporation has supplied a detailed analysis of the report and written to the Standards Commissioner detailing significant misapprehensions, misrepresentations, failures and errors of fact which fundamentally undermine his report and the validity of its conclusions. To date the Commissioner has given no indication of any intent to reopen his investigation.

Regarding the broader implications for Scottish society arising from the lamentably poor quality of the Commissioner’s report, RIAS Secretary, Neil Baxter, commented:

“Most local politicians in Scotland work hard on behalf of their communities. However, this report ignores clear concerns about unfair treatment of local authority staff; failure to follow good ethical public standards and well established standing orders and legal principles.

The Commissioner’s decision also sends out a strong signal to those who witness wrongdoing and consider acting as whistleblowers. The message seems to be ‘no matter what you are witness to, no matter how wrong you see it to be, no matter how your moral and ethical judgments are offended, if you say something you stand a very good chance of being ignored and after a cursory investigation it may well be you who is cast as unreliable.”

Among other failings, the Commissioner’s investigation into the George Square farce,

• did not interview key witnesses, including four of the five competition judges (only Councillor Matheson was interviewed),
• failed to cross-check the evidence,
• relied upon factual errors in the argument which underpinned his conclusions,
• accepted Councillor Matheson’s evidence at face value while disrespecting evidence from the whistleblower or the Royal Incorporation with no rationale as to why.

In the absence of any undertaking from the Standards Commissioner that he proposes to review any aspect of his investigation, the Incorporation has now written to the Public Services Ombudsman for Scotland seeking his intervention and a review of the Standards Commissioner’s investigation and to the Minister for Local Government, seeking a review of the legislation under which the Standards Commission operates.

The RIAS’ submission to the Ombudsman contains 13 separate documents in support of the Incorporation’s complaint. Key among these is the original whistleblower, Kerr Robertson’s annotations of the Standards Commissioner’s report (80 in 18 pages) and a detailed, 13 page analysis, highlighting the flaws in the original report from the Standards Commission (latter attached).

The Royal Incorporation considers that if the Standards Commission’s report is allowed to go unchallenged, the checks and balances which the Scottish public should expect within its political system have fundamentally failed. The implications for Scottish public life of the absence of any thorough, objective and reliable complaints mechanism are of the utmost concern. 19 Nov

Girvan Harbour Building
Planning underway for new South Ayrshire leisure facility The final proposed designs for the new leisure and community facility at Girvan Harbour have been unveiled.

South Ayrshire Council and South Carrick Community Leisure are working together on the £8 million development.

The external designs – by architects PagePark – propose creating an iconic landmark at the site of the former swimming pool, beach pavilion and existing parking area at Knockcushan Street in the South Ayrshire town.

The designs give a flavour for what’s planned for the inside with proposals for the 3,425 square metre facility including:

• a four-lane swimming pool and teaching pool, with associated viewing gallery
• a children’s soft play area
• a cafe
• a community hall for theatre, cinema and other activities
• a fitness suite
• a rooftop viewing gallery with panoramic views towards Ailsa Craig
• civic space, parking and landscaping

The start of the planning process also marks the beginning of a 12-week consultation period, which will give local people and interested parties the chance to have their say on the planning aspects of the proposals.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “This really is a milestone for the people of Girvan and marks the start of the formal process to turn the vision of a new leisure and community facility into a reality. I’m sure the designs and the progress of the proposals will create a real buzz in the town and I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to get involved in the consultation.”

Andrew Sinclair, Chair of South Carrick Community Leisure, added: “We all know it’s been a long time coming but the important thing is for us to get the planning and design process right so that we can deliver a facility we can proud of – not just now – but for years to come. I’m really pleased with recent progress and delighted the planning process will give local people the chance to have their say on these final designs, which I have to say are truly impressive.

“The next task will be to focus on raising the £4 million investment required to match the Council funding so that we can get to work on the actual construction of the new facility as soon as possible.” 6 Nov

New Glasgow Hotel
Plans have been submitted by Unite the Union for the demolition of Typographical House on Glasgow’s Clyde Street to make way for a new 54.5m tall hotel development, Urban Realm has reported. Designed by Glasgow/Manchester based Haus Collective the scheme would incorporate north and south facing terraces as part of a double height rooftop restaurant with 13 floors of accommodation below.
Meeting the street with a ground floor commercial unit and first floor reception area the scheme would also incorporate informal meeting spaces. It is the latest in a series of speculative hotel visions for the Clyde Street corridor following plans for the former Custom House and a mothballed scheme immediately adjacent. 5 Nov

Scottish Low Energy Houses
Work on an innovative low energy affordable housing development will get underway in Fraserburgh this month. Aberdeenshire Council’s housing team joined forces with experts at Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment to submit a bid for 30 low energy units to the Scottish Government’s Greener Homes Innovation Scheme (GHIS), successfully winning a significant share of the £10m fund. The design for the new development at Fraserburgh is based on the principles of the award-winning sustainable housing previously designed by RGU professor Gokay Deveci in Dunoon: Dunoon Low energy Housing. 4 Nov

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