Business Briefs - May 27

Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management has submitted plans for the first phase of housing at a former Angus prison.

Open establishment HMP Noranside was closed in August 2011, with all the inmates moved to Castle Huntly near Dundee.

Mr Gilbert, was given planning permission last year for 45 homes on the site of the old cell blocks attached to B-listed Noranside House, which will be turned into three properties.

The development will take place in four phases: one – five houses built and a former stable block turned into three houses; two – 18 houses built and offices in Noranside House converted into flats; three – 15 houses built and gardener’s cottage refurbished; four – three houses built in the walled garden.

The first phase will go before Angus Council’s development standards committee for approval before September this year.

Major developments in Edinburgh will be told to incorporate cultural elements in their plans in future under a drive to bolster the city’s artistic scene.

Senior councillors have pledged to redraw the capital’s planning policies and insist developers make space for artists in their masterplans as part of a new drive to give culture a greater priority.

In its first response to a “call to action” from the cultural sector demanding more protection for existing cultural venues, the City of Edinburgh Council admitted arts and culture was too often sidelined from “mixed-use” developments.

Deputy council leader Sandy Howat admitted the whole city needed to change its view of its cultural scene and festivals as an “entertainment industry”.

He pledged that they would no longer be regarded as a “sideline” by the council and would be recognised in future policies as being at “the very heart of the city”.

Mr Howat said developers would be told to pay more heed in future to what venues were already in an area and asked what they would be doing to enhance the city’s cultural offering.

UK law firm Weightmans has announced a record turnover of £83.2 million for the 2014/15 financial year, an increase of £2.2 million on the previous year’s result.

The company enjoyed a “positive year of growth and development”, buoyed by the doubling in size of its Scottish team, which it facilitated by relocating its Glasgow office to larger premises at James Sellars House on 144 George Street.

New partners and team members joined the firm’s Scots operations to focus on real estate, insurance, and employment specialisms, and client demand for services in Scotland suggests that “growth will continue apace over the next 12 months”.

The firm has worked to restrict its reliance on external borrowing and claims to have relatively low levels of debt in comparison to peers and in relation to both profit and turnover.

ScotgoldResourcesScotgold Resources, the company behind a bid to extract gold from a mine in Cononish in Tyndrum has revealed its latest estimates for the amount of the precious metal on the site.

Scotgold Resources said the total ore reserve was now 198,000 ounces of gold and 851,000 ounces of silver.

The report also estimated that the life of the mine would be eight years.

The new figures followed the publication of a revised development plan from Bara Consulting.

The company now hope to complete a feasibility study to estimate costs for the venture by the end of July.

Scotgold’s chief executive Richard Gray said the firm would continue on a quest to attract financiers, and prepare to begin production at the site.


Newsquest, the regional media group has acquired Romanes Media Group, a local news publishing business operating in Scotland, Berkshire and Northern Ireland.

Newsquest counts the Glasgow Herald amongst its titles.

Romanes, which began life as the Dunfermline Press, was founded by the Romanes family in 1859.

Its local news brands now include the Greenock Telegraph, the Dunfermline Press, the East Lothian Courier, the Reading Chronicle and the Impartial Reporter.

The company’s stable of titles includes one daily, 19 weekly paid-fors and nine weekly papers, plus associated websites.

The price of the acquisition was undisclosed.

An area of land needed to complete the missing piece of one of Scotland’s Victorian jewels could be sold for £6.3 million.

On Thursday, Glasgow City Council will decide whether to sell the land in Park Quadrant to Leeds based developer Expresso Property.

It wants to build 111 flats in the internationally renowned conservation area near the city centre.

A plan in 2007 for a £15m housing development of 106 flats and six houses on the same site fell through because of the international financial crisis but the city council put the site back up for sale in October last year.

A report to councillors says: “The site forms the final missing piece of famous 19th century Scottish architect Charles Wilson’s vision for the Park Quadrant classical townscape.”

A total of 11 bids were received for the site which was narrowed down to four with each developer asked to provide a con temporary interpretation of the original architect’s design.

The preferred scheme is for 111 flats over five storeys with a penthouses on the sixth floor.

A 107 space car park will be concealed under a landscape deck which provides amenity space for residents.

If the scheme gets the go-ahead there will be 12 one bed flats, 73 two bed flats and 26 three bed.

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