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Wavegarden Scotland reports positive public feedback as it submits planning application

Wavegarden Scotland reports positive public feedback as it submits planning application

Wavegarden Scotland, the company which hopes to develop Scotland’s first artificial wave park, has submitted its planning application today (30 May) after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from public consultation events held earlier this year.

The planning application proposes to redevelop Craigpark Quarry near Ratho, Edinburgh into a word-class surf and leisure facility offering a variety of water sports on its man-made loch.

The 23 hectare wave park has been masterplanned and designed by landscape architects HarrisonStevens, with engineering and technical consultation provided by WSP, and planning and development advice by Colliers International.

Wavegarden Scotland held two public consultations in February where over 260 people attended with more taking part online and via the company’s social media channels.

In an unprecedented scenario for a major application, zero objections were raised.

Andy Hadden, co-founder of Wavegarden Scotland said: “We’re cautiously optimistic that our years of research, consultation and planning will pay off. We believe our facility will enhance Ratho as an international destination for adventure sports, and we’re delighted that we have the chance to deliver the project in a brownfield site within an old quarry.”

Wavegarden Scotland will be an ecologically responsible and diverse space for the surrounding communities and visiting public, with a large country park for walkers, runners and cyclists to enjoy. The proposal details how the former quarry site has guided the design, with extensive re-use of onsite materials and stone to capitalise on the natural character of the site, while carefully considered plant and landscaping choices will help restore the area’s original ecology which was lost during the former quarry’s operations.

The overall design will develop existing integrated transportation and leisure links, including with the nearby canal network, into the heart of Edinburgh as well as the wider central belt.

With surfing due to debut as an Olympic Sport at Tokyo 2020, the team envisions that Wavegarden Scotland will be delivered in time for the event and will encourage future generations of Scottish surfers to dream big as they perfect their skills on some of the most advanced surfing facilities available.

Using recently released, state-of-the-art wave generation technology called The Cove, Wavegarden Scotland will be among the most advanced surfing and water sport facilities in the world, with the capability to enable elite-level sports training and development.

Scott Brewster, co-founder of Wavegarden Scotland said: “We are hopeful we’ll be able to open the doors to these world-class waves in the near future. The high-performance offering of our facility will cater for a number of different sports and we hope that Wavegarden Scotland will help future generations of water sportsmen and women take their skills to the next level.”

Mark Boyd, captain of Scotland’s national surfing team, said: “Scottish surfing is growing and becoming more and more competitive on the world stage. Scottish Women’s Champion, Megan Mackay, took the Women’s gold medal at the Nordic Surf Games earlier this year, and we have proven we can make heats on the world stage in previous World and European Championships and at this year’s ISA World Games in Biarritz. Now we are hoping to raise enough funds to send a team to the European Surfing Championships in Norway in September.

“A facility like Wavegarden Scotland would give the Scottish surfing team a huge edge as a training facility, thereby helping us cost-effectively prepare for different conditions in competitions.  It would also be very important in encouraging and developing future talent, while showcasing this wonderful sport to a wider audience.”

Andrew McNab, director of Colliers International, which is handling the development’s planning application said: “The consultations received a very positive reception from those that attended and viewed the information online. Wavegarden Scotland will provide a huge economic boost to the area.”

Located beside the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, Wavegarden Scotland’s proposal also includes self-catering luxury lodges, glamping pods, a waterfront café and restaurant, retail spaces, zip line, water tubing area, snow-sports area, and a car park.

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 26 May 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 26 May 2017

As the General Election campaign enters its final fortnight, the focus this week should have been on bespoke Scottish manifestos and a campaign increasingly being fought over about eight or nine marginal seats in Scotland.

But all that changed at 10.33pm on Monday when a terrorist bomb brought carnage to our shores as thousands of young fans were leaving a pop concert in Manchester.

Quite rightly, all parties immediately suspended campaigning ‘until further notice’ and what little has resumed has been discrete and localised, avoiding any direct voter contact (canvassing, public meetings etc.) that is the mainstay of campaigning.  The often-hollow rhetoric of the stump has been replaced by a shared unity to stand firm against cowardly terrorism. Some semblance of normal election activity is expected to start again from today.

Most routine events in Holyrood were cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday and Chamber business was significantly changed to allow the party leaders and MSPs to express their support for the people of Manchester.  Wednesday’s STV leaders’ debate was also cancelled.
For anyone visiting the Parliament, please allow extra time and carry photo ID in case challenged as security has been tightened.  Additional armed security has also been deployed in light of the Critical threat level declared on Tuesday night. Don’t be alarmed if you see armed soldiers in the building.

By way of an update, the main UK parties have now started to publish ostensibly tailored Scotland versions of their UK pledges.  UKIP was the last UK party to publish (yesterday) and their main manifesto is here: 2017 UKIP manifesto Links to Scottish manifestos are available on request (Scottish Labour’s, as an example, is available here: Scot Lab 2017) but the SNP manifesto launch was cancelled and awaits a new date, likely Monday or Tuesday. The Scottish Greens and Scottish Lib Dems will also publish their (delayed) manifestos early next week.

Elsewhere, Scotland’s 32 local authorities are slowly finalising administrations for the next five years, mostly minority run or coalitions.  This BBC news link shows the latest state of play including a few areas where the controlling party has changed (like East Dunbartonshire): Scotland council changes

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932578 or julie.mclauchlan@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk


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Green light for 140 homes for social rental in Glasgow’s south side

Green light for 140 homes for social rental in Glasgow’s south side

AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd has been granted planning permission by Glasgow City Council for 140 new homes for social rental on Maxwell Road in Glasgow’s Pollokshields.

The development will see 90 houses and 50 flats, including 10 cottage flats, built on a brownfield site formerly belonging to SGN Ltd, the local gas network company. The homes will be built for social housing provider Home Scotland, part of Home Group.

The two-bedroom flats will be arranged in three or four storey blocks, with the terraced and semi-detached houses a mix of two, three and four bedrooms. The development will also contain significant areas of landscaped public space, including two equipped play areas, one for toddlers and another for older children.

All homes will be highly insulated, air tight and will be fitted with photovoltaic roof panels, making them highly energy efficient, therefore reducing fuel bills for residents.

Paul Kelly, Managing Director of AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd said, “Pollokshields is an area of Glasgow which badly needs affordable homes for social rental, so we were delighted to receive planning permission for this development. The added benefit is that it will bring this long-term empty site back into use, delivering a major economic boost and creating new jobs for local people in the process. We plan to be on site within the next month.”

Stuart Dixon, head of development and delivery at Home Scotland, said: “Home Group nationally has a target of delivering 10,000 new homes in the next five years. This circa £20m project, which is being developed in partnership with Glasgow City Council, will contribute to this ambition and further strengthen Home Scotland’s already strong presence in Glasgow.”

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 19 May 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 19 May 2017

In the General Election campaign, the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems have published their manifestos with Labour promising to tax the rich (i.e. anyone earning over 80k) and the Lib Dems prioritising policies that will help young people.  The full UK Labour manifesto is available via this link: 2017 Labour manifesto and the Lib Dem equivalent here: 2017 Lib Dems manifesto

The Conservatives are essentially promising more of the same including curbs in immigration and their manifesto will be heavily scrutinised in the coming days.  It is available via this link: 2017 Conservative manifesto The SNP have yet to publish.

Nicola Sturgeon has returned to the Brexit theme and said a vote for the SNP would strengthen Scotland’s hand over Brexit and allow her to argue for a seat at the Brexit negotiating table. The Scottish Government wants Scotland to remain in the EU – and in particular the single market, but the UK government has insisted that Scotland will leave alongside the rest of the United Kingdom. At the referendum last June voters in Scotland backed the UK remaining in the EU by 62% to 38%.

The first major leaders’ debate of the campaign takes place this Sunday, and BBC Scotland’s live election hustings from Edinburgh will now feature six party leaders.  The BBC had originally announced a 90-minute debate featuring Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson, Kezia Dugdale, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie.  However, following confirmation of the number of candidates standing in the election, UKIP Scottish leader David Coburn will now join them (UKIP are contesting ten Scottish seats). The debate will take place at 19:30 on Sunday (21 May).

The campaign has taken a bitter turn with the Scottish Conservatives saying that Nicola Sturgeon must end her silence over allegations of financial impropriety involving a senior SNP candidate – an MP seeking re-election – and spell out what she knew of the growing scandal. The party is calling on Ms Sturgeon to come clean after it emerged that the party’s candidate for Ochil and South Perthshire, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, is facing an official probe by the Law Society of Scotland. It has been reported that the SNP knew about the probe by the Law Society before it was revealed in the press last week. It also emerged that the SNP ignored a request for information on the allegations last week, and only replied once the deadline for nomination papers for candidates had passed.

Elsewhere, new official figures show that unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 14,000 in the three months to March to reach 120,000. It takes the jobless rate to 4.4% – below the rate of 4.6% for the whole of the UK. The labour market statistics also show that employment in Scotland increased by 5,000 and now stands at 2,620,000.

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932578 or julie.mclauchlan@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk


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true Student bookings ahead of schedule as students opt for an easier life

true Student bookings ahead of schedule as students opt for an easier life

true Student has said bookings for rooms at its new student accommodation complex in Glasgow have exceeded expectations, with postgraduates a surprise dominant group of confirmed bookings to date.

Feedback given to the firm from some of the students who have booked indicates that they are choosing to move into purpose built student accommodation because they want accommodation which makes life easier and frees them up to focus on their studies rather than worry about issues such as property maintenance.

Personal en suites and kitchen facilities, as well the quality of the accommodation, have also been mentioned as reasons that students of all year groups have chosen the all-inclusive offering at true Glasgow West End.

Scott Black from Stirlingshire, who will be studying at University of Glasgow said: “What attracted me to true was the fact that it is a brand new good quality development in a good location. It ticks all of the boxes and offers good value for money.”

Eilidh Douglas, from Nairn, also a student at University of Glasgow said: “I especially like the vast array of social spaces, and I feel that the company also genuinely has an interest in resident welfare. In particular, I am excited to make use of the onsite gym and the personal trainer. I believe that staying with true will give me opportunities that no other student accommodation would, which is why I have chosen true over the company I am currently staying with.”

true believes the feedback and bookings it is receiving indicates a shift in what students now expect from their accommodation and study experience. It is holding two open days on 24 and 27 May for prospective guests and their families to tour the site, meet the true Glasgow team and experience the accommodation first-hand so that they can see what true believes students should now expect from their accommodation.

Marc Carter, managing director at true Student said: “We’re very happy to say that bookings are above what we expected at this stage in the season and that interest is really heating up. We’re also not surprised to be getting this sort of feedback, because we have believed for a long time that students deserve and expect more from their study experience than sub-standard accommodation.

“In Scotland, students generally have a little more to spend on their university experience because there are no fees and it seems that at least some of these are choosing to invest that in a comfortable, safe and fun place to live while they take on the new challenge of being a student.”

Construction of the 589 bedroom complex is also on track, with 80% complete and true Student expects to see bookings rise significantly in the next few months as more university places are confirmed and families start turning their attention to the issue of accommodation.

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 12 May 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Friday 12 May 2017

In the General Election campaign, nominations have now closed with the four main parties representing Scottish seats at Westminster standing in all 59 constituencies. Both the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour launched their campaigns saying it must not be all about independence – and then spent half the media launch talking about just that.  The first of the party manifestos is expected next week (likely to be the Conservatives).

Meanwhile another MSP, Green Co-leader Patrick Harvie, has joined four Tories standing as MPs next month.  Mr Harvie, who represents Glasgow at Holyrood, wants voters to “take the fight to the Tories” – but will stand in SNP held Glasgow North.  The announcement comes on the back of a reasonable council election for the Greens in Glasgow, where a record seven councillors were elected across the city, including Hillhead in the heart of Glasgow North, where the Greens topped the poll.

The four Tory MSPs standing have a reasonable chance of being elected – as does now former Tory MSP John Lamont.  All four are regional MSPs meaning the next Conservative on the party’s 2016 list will replace them at Holyrood. Keep an eye on Iain McGill, next in line in Lothian (should Miles Briggs unseat Joanna Cherry in Edinburgh SW).  Iain is also standing in Edinburgh North and Leith for Westminster – so could be elected to two parliaments at the same time!

Councillor Michelle Ballantyne has confirmed her intention to take up the South Scotland list Conservative seat vacated by Rachael Hamilton. Mrs Hamilton stood down as a regional MSP to contest the seat vacated by John Lamont, who in turn is challenging the Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk seat at the Westminster Election.

Still at Holyrood, the Culture, Tourism, Europe & External Relations Committee has published the Scottish Government’s response to its report on determining Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union. Brexit Minister Michael Russell MSP refers to the Committee’s views on Scotland’s access to international markets, proposals put forward by the Scottish Government, UK Government proposals, the impact of EU withdrawal on the devolution settlement, and intergovernmental relations. He also accused the UK Government of failing to “give meaningful consideration” to the Scottish Government position paper, but added he would continue to engage to ensure Scotland’s interests were represented.

Discussions are ongoing in town halls across Scotland to put coalition deals in place for the next five years as all of the country’s councils returned no single party majority. The full results of last week’s Scottish council elections show the SNP won 32% of the first preference votes. The Conservatives finished second overall on 25%, with Labour on 20%, and the Lib Dems on 7%. The SNP’s share of the vote was unchanged from 2012, with the Conservatives increasing by 12%. Overall turnout was 46.9% – higher than the 39.6% recorded in 2012. The highest turnout was in East Renfrewshire at 57.8% while Glasgow recorded the lowest at 39%.

Finally, this week Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill tabled a parliamentary motion congratulating our client, City Legacy Homes, a consortium comprising CCG, Cruden, Mactaggart & Mickel and WH Malcolm which delivered the Athletes’ Village for the Commonwealth Games on winning the highest UK business award, the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.  This motion also acknowledged that this was the 25th award to have been won by City Legacy.   We worked with client, City Legacy on this Parliamentary motion and these award submissions.

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight, specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932578 or julie.mclauchlan@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk


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Scottish Political Insider – Thursday 4 May 2017

Scottish Political Insider – Thursday 4 May 2017

We are sending this week’s Insider a day early as we will be flat out tomorrow monitoring the changes happening across Scotland’s 32 local authorities.  Polls opened at 7am this morning for what many will see as a dry run for next month’s General Election.   Some councils count overnight but most start at 8.30am tomorrow including Glasgow and Edinburgh.  Most councils will have declared by lunchtime.

So have we reached ‘peak SNP’?  Will the Tory poll surge carry through to Scottish council seats?  Are Labour truly damaged beyond repair?  Will it be Willie’s weekend as the Lib Dems seek to recover ground from losing half their councillors last time round?  And will the Greens be squeezed or rewarded for their close links to the SNP?  All this and more will be the talk of the proverbial steamie in less than 24 hours.

The shadow of the Westminster election has dominated the last week of council campaigning, and may yet be a factor in both the outcome and turnout. The main parties have almost completed their candidate selections and a few more key seats have adopted names who will make up the next generation of Scottish parliamentarians at Westminster.  Three names to watch from the four parties currently represented from Scotland:

SNP

  • Ex MSP Jim Eadie, standing again in Edinburgh South against Labour’s sole MP Ian Murray
  • Defeated Edinburgh West candidate Tony Guiliani trying to retain the seat vacated by independent Michelle Thomson
  • Activist David Linden standing in Glasgow East after Natalie McGarry was barred

LIB DEMS

  • Journalist and former candidate against Alex Salmond Christine Jardine hoping to retake Edinburgh West
  • Former MSP Jamie Stone trying to win back Caithness and Sutherland
  • Ex Fife Council deputy leader Elizabeth Riches standing in North East Fife

CONSERVATIVE

  • MEP Ian Duncan standing against SNP MP Pete Wishart
  • NE MSP Ross Thomson fighting Callum McCaig in Aberdeen South
  • Highlands MSP (and football referee) Douglas Ross taking on SNP Angus Robertson in Moray

LABOUR

  • Ex Glasgow MP Ian Davidson standing in the Scottish Borders (a seat likely to be taken by the Tories from SNP Calum Kerr)
  • Ex MSP Lesley Brennan (who served just 12 weeks) fighting Dundee East
  • Cara Hilton seeking election in her ex Holyrood seat, Dunfermline

If you or your organisation would benefit from our political insight and specialist knowledge and contacts at all political levels, please get in touch with Julie McLauchlan on 07734 932578 or julie.mclauchlan@perceptivecommunicators.co.uk


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