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Multi-million pound plans unveiled to enhance visitor facilities on CairnGorm Mountain

Multi-million pound plans unveiled to enhance visitor facilities on CairnGorm Mountain

Plans for a proposed multi-million pound project to enhance facilities on CairnGorm Mountain and transform it into a year-round destination will go on public display for the first time this week.

Natural Retreats, which currently operates CairnGorm Mountain, is holding consultation events on Tuesday 27th October (11.30am – 7pm) at the Cairngorm Hotel in Aviemore, and Wednesday 28th October, Wednesday 4th November and Thursday 5th November (all 11:30 am – 7pm) in the Aonach Room of the CairnGorm Mountain Base Station. These events will allow local people and interested parties to view the proposals, hear from members of the project team and architects Keppie Design and have their say on the plans.

Natural Retreats aims to create a world class mountain destination with all-year-round appeal by sympathetically enhancing the visitor facilities and broadening the activities that the mountain destination offers. The project, which has an estimated cost in the region of £10m-15m, will include a replacement day lodge building with food and beverage outlets, shops, ski and bike hire, a crèche, adventure zone, gym, offices and conference and event space. There would also be staff bunkhouse accommodation which would allow the facilities to open earlier and close later and a mountain rescue and medical centre.

Also proposed as part of the plans are an artificial ski slope, mountain biking, increased snow making facilities, improvements to the ski uplift, ski slopes and runs, improved signage and way-finding, and improvements to car parking and landscaping.

Wherever possible, Natural Retreats plans to use local firms to carry out the work, and source Scottish materials for the construction of the new building.

Natural Retreats has already submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) for the plans and met with Highland Council and the Cairngorm National Park to discuss the proposals ahead of submitting a formal planning application for the project.

Adam Gough, Head of Technical Services at Natural Retreats said: “CairnGorm Mountain is one of the most beautiful and most visited places in Scotland. We want to create a world class facility that matches the stunning setting and increases the long term economic benefit to the local communities in the Badenoch and Strathspey area. Current activities on the mountain are heavily weather-dependent and the buildings are no longer fit for purpose. This project will address both of these problems and transform CairnGorm into a four-season mountain destination. We expect that this additional activity at the mountain will result in the creation of an additional 40-50 jobs.

“As part of the planning process, we have already carried out a number of pre-consultation meetings with Highland Council and Cairngorm National Park and we have been greatly encouraged by the positive response so far.

“We are now keen to hear the views and feedback on our plans from as many tourists, local people and businesses as possible at these consultation events. The responses that we receive will then be taken into account as we move forward. We will keep participants up to date with the progress we make with our detailed plans prior to our planning applications being submitted early next year. I truly believe our plans will elevate CairnGorm Mountain to one of Europe’s top leisure and adventure destinations, which would be a fantastic boost to the area’s economy.”

Perceptive Communicators finalists in UK-wide Construction Marketing Awards

Perceptive Communicators finalists in UK-wide Construction Marketing Awards

Perceptive Communicators has been named as a finalist in two categories at the prestigious UK-wide Construction Marketing Awards 2015.

We are absolutely delighted to be a finalist in the PR Agency of the Year category, one that the judges have described as “particularly competitive” in a year where the awards received a record number of entries. We’re also chuffed to be flying the flag for Scotland as the only non-English representative in this category!

We’ve also made it to the final five in the Best Use of Press and Public Relations category for our work at the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village, where our work gaining extensive positive media coverage has helped developers City Legacy sell almost 300 homes, two years ahead of schedule.

Julie McLauchlan, founder and managing director of Perceptive Communicators said: “This is the first time we have entered the Construction Marketing Awards, and indeed any UK-wide PR awards, so it was great to be shortlisted in both categories that we entered. I’m really pleased that the hard work of the team for all our many construction clients has been recognised, in what has been another very busy year for Perceptive Communicators.”
The winners will be announced in London on 9 December.

A Lasting Legacy of The Games – Homes at The Athletes’ Village could be full by Christmas

A Lasting Legacy of The Games – Homes at The Athletes’ Village could be full by Christmas

The Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village looks set to be fully occupied by Christmas – well ahead of schedule and demonstrating a lasting legacy for Glasgow’s East End. Increased interest from buyers coinciding with the first anniversary of the Games saw around 50 homes sold in just one month, meaning that only 20 of the 300 private homes are still available to purchase. All 400 socially rented properties at The Village are already occupied.

The Village, which is only three miles from Glasgow city centre, was built by City Legacy – a consortium of Glasgow companies CCG, Cruden, Mactaggart & Mickel and WH Malcolm. The site also has a 120-bed care home under construction, river views and direct access to the Cuningar Loop, a new 15 hectare riverside woodland park which will open in Spring next year.

Also close to The Village is the Dalmarnock Legacy Hub – a centre for the local community with a GP surgery, children’s nursery, chemist and shop which is due to open in a matter of weeks. Glasgow City Council will also build a new primary school and nursery at the Village, due to open in time for the 2017/18 academic year.

Joanne Casey, Sales and Marketing Director for City Legacy said:
“While we always knew The Village would be successful, we have been taken aback by the speed at which the homes have sold, in what is still a challenging time for the housing market. To be on course to fill this entire development by Christmas 2015 is a phenomenal success. We put this down to the high quality and energy efficiency of the homes, the fantastic value for money, and the close proximity to Glasgow City Centre, transport connections and world class sporting facilities.

“As our intention was to create a real community here, not just desirable homes, we are particularly pleased with the high number of first-time buyers and extended families that have moved here. Dalmarnock has undergone a huge transformation and it is important that this regeneration area leaves a lasting legacy, so we made a conscious decision not to sell our homes to buy-to-let investors. We were determined to ensure that homes were sold to buyers who will actually live here, and I think we are reaping the benefits now as you can really begin to see a new community being established.

“We believe that The Village is really challenging the way the East End of Glasgow has been perceived for many years, and is a fantastic example of the lasting legacy that the Games has made.”

Over the past year, the Village has gained over 20 awards for high quality design and excellent energy efficiency measures. These include Best Sustainable Development at the Scottish Business Awards, winner in the Large Scale Housing Development category at the Scottish Saltire Design Awards, and the Regeneration winner at the Scottish Design Awards.
A community consultation on plans for a further 200 homes, immediately to the south-west of the site, has recently been completed.

More information on buying a new home at The Village is available at

Innovative App could help Social Landlords Tackle Fuel Poverty

Innovative App could help Social Landlords Tackle Fuel Poverty

An innovative new app for social landlords and housebuilders, developed by Building Research Establishment (BRE) in partnership with Cruden, was officially launched on 13 October 2015 by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP

Mr Swinney visited the award winning BRE Innovation Park at Ravenscraig to hear how the new RetrofitLab App will allow housing associations, social landlords and housebuilders to easily calculate the benefits of refurbishing their existing properties, how much the work will cost, and how much can be saved in maintenance and running costs. Ultimately the App is expected to result in more energy efficient homes, reducing fuel poverty and carbon emissions and improving the health of tenants.

The data incorporated within the App is the most up to date on the marketplace and follows months of monitoring at the “Refurbished House” on the BRE Innovation Park in Ravenscraig. Delivered by BRE Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and Historic Scotland and constructed by Cruden Buildings and Renewals, the home represents a recreation of the “four in a block” model of which there are over 250,000 in Scotland and 3 million of a similar design in England. The App presents technical information in a user-friendly way, and importantly, helps the user make maximum benefits to properties with the minimum disruption to the resident.

Allan Callaghan, Managing Director of Cruden Building and Renewals said:
“The RetrofitLab App has wide-ranging social, health, environmental and energy saving benefits. Energy-inefficient housing and fuel poverty are big issues in Scotland and are linked to poor physical and mental health. The RetrofitLab App will help tackle this problem by making it easy for social landlords to see the benefits of refurbishing their poorly-performing housing within just a couple of minutes.

“Cruden has invested heavily in this project, and we are now working with a like-minded client with difficult to improve housing stock challenges who would work with us on a pilot project. We are in advanced discussions with a large housing association to take this forward.
“We expect the app to be a success because the solutions it offers are both practically and commercially realistic. We’re also looking at developing the App for use on different types of homes such as flats, terraced, semi-detached and detached properties.”

Dr David Kelly, Group Director BRE Innovation Park Networks said:
“At BRE, we combine science and technology with innovation and entrepreneurship to develop and share solutions for existing and future buildings not only in Scotland but across the UK, Europe and around the world. This project is a prime example of BRE’s overriding objective to generate new knowledge through research and we are delighted that, following prolonged testing and monitoring at the Refurbished House, a range of innovative retrofit solutions for some of the country’s most energy inefficient homes have been identified.  In addition, and as a direct result of that research, we have been able to develop the BRE RetrofitLab App which is now available for free download. We believe this will be of particular interest to those operating within the housing sector as it allows energy efficiency options to be compared quickly and effectively, and just as importantly, it details the associated cost implications of each.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I welcome the launch of the new RetrofitLab App which will help housing associations, social landlords and house builders to easily calculate the benefits of refurbishing their existing properties. Ultimately this should encourage the creation of more energy efficient homes and benefit tenants living in the properties, for example by reducing their fuel and energy costs, improving the quality of their home and having a positive effect on their health and wellbeing.
“The Scottish Government supports innovation across the construction sector. By investing over £9 million, through the Scottish Funding Council, in the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre we are ensuring the best environment for businesses and academia to interact, taking forward innovative ambitious projects of excellence that have the potential to bring millions more to the economy.”

The BRE RetrofitLab App is now available for free download on Apple iPads.

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre approves funding for first six innovation projects

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre approves funding for first six innovation projects

A proposal for the UK’s first patented prefabricated timber frame party wall system is one of the first six innovation projects to be approved by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s Technical Advisory Group of industry and academic experts.

The new party wall system is the brainchild of Stewart Milne Group, which will receive almost £100,000 of investment by CSIC to help bring the product through the industrial research and development stage and onto the market. Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Napier University will contribute to product design and performance validation in a laboratory and site environment to analyse the product’s structural, acoustic, fire and thermal performance.

With a total value of over £800,000, the project has also levered £230,000 of government innovation funding from Innovate UK, bringing in additional industry collaborators and expertise.

When the product is fully developed, it should become the first patented prefabricated timber frame party wall system in the UK, with great potential for export. It is expected to contribute to improved whole life performance of buildings with enhanced thermal, acoustic and fire performance as well as ease and speed of installation and cost effectiveness as key benefits.
The project aims to create 24 new jobs at Stewart Milne Group’s Scottish and English production plants, thanks to the creation of two new production lines to manufacture the walls, which can be used in the construction of housing, hotels and student accommodation.
The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, which was launched in October 2014, was set up to transform the Scottish construction industry by encouraging companies to focus on driving profitable growth through innovation. CSIC provides Scotland’s 31,000+ construction businesses with a ‘one-stop shop’ for accessing a team of academic experts and public support. The Centre is supported by Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and 12 Scottish university partners.

CSIC’s initial pilot project, sponsored by construction infrastructure client Transport Scotland to evaluate the performance and suitability of a low cost noise barrier system made from recycled tyres, has just completed. Transport Scotland now have further funding in place to continue developing this product, with the eventual aim of running a pilot on the trunk road network in Scotland.

CSIC’s Head of Business Development, Gillian Fleming said: “We are delighted to support this Stewart Milne Group project, which has the potential to deliver significant economic impact and help put Scotland firmly on the map in leading edge offsite construction.
“Our industry led Technical Advisory Group, which consists of leading figures from the construction sector and experts from our partner universities, have recommended 4 further projects for Board approval that will commence soon. This, coupled with a healthy pipeline of over 40 diverse innovation project enquiries suggests the construction industry in Scotland is ready to innovate and we predict exciting times ahead for our industry.”

Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems said: “We’re delighted that CSIC has chosen to support our next innovation and we are looking forward to working to develop a new and exciting product to bring to market to add to our current portfolio of innovative and effective products. The market is growing and the increased interest in timber frame and offsite manufacture demonstrates the value that the industry increasingly places on new and cost effective ways to build.”

Simon Hart, Built Environment Program Leader at Innovate UK said, “The project from Stewart Milne Group was one of the nine winners of our £4m Building Whole Life Performance competition and was scored highly by an independent assessment panel. It is great to see this level of collaborative innovation in construction and we look forward to following the progress.”

Clyde Gateway wins coveted national award

Clyde Gateway wins coveted national award

Clyde Gateway, the urban regeneration company responsible for transforming some 2,000 acres in the East End of Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, has won a coveted award at this year’s British Council for Offices’ national ceremony.

The company was presented with the award for projects up to 2,000m2 for The Albus situated at 110 Brook Street, Glasgow. The judging panel praised The Albus as a superb example of a building that has been developed by a client with a clear vision, and a design team and contractor with the skills and expertise to deliver those aspirations.

The success follows last month’s award win in the same category for the British Council for Offices’ regional award in which The Albus was ranked best in Scotland.

The Albus was recognised as a sustainable development; delivering not just sound environmental credentials scoring a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ and ‘B’ rated EPC, but also embracing both the social and economic needs of the area.

Fionna Kell, Inward Investment Manager for Clyde Gateway said: “This national recognition further cements Clyde Gateway’s position as the place to do business. The Albus provides an office solution that directly meets the needs of business, and offers contemporary and efficient space, a point not lost on the judging panel.

“This win is not only good news for Clyde Gateway, but for Scotland as a whole, at it shows that commercial property sites in the country are beginning the lead to way.
“Businesses recognise that to succeed and grow, they require the very best transport links and high-quality facilities alongside an interlinking network of community groups, technology and infrastructure. Clyde Gateway offers all this and more.”

Judges noted that the close collaboration between all those involved in the project had resulted in the office successfully avoiding a feeling of ‘cheap and cheerful’. They also emphasised the quality of the design, workmanship and internal environment stands out, not just in a changing part of the city, but the rest of Glasgow and indeed Scotland as a whole.
The Albus is home to MadeBrave, a full-service digital creative agency serving national and international brands.

The British Council for Offices Awards Programme provides public recognition for top quality design and functionality and a benchmark for excellence in workplaces.

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