Energy Assets Utilities (EAU) is helping to energise some of Scotland’s most innovative community regeneration schemes.
The company is constructing the gas, electricity and water networks for Urban Union developments in Pennywell, Edinburgh; Lauriston, Gorbals (Glasgow); and Muirton, Perth – projects that are transforming mostly brownfield sites and previously challenged city areas through high quality, affordable housing and strong community engagement.
Urban Union is a joint venture between McTaggart Construction and Robertson Partnership Homes and is working alongside local authorities and housing associations to regenerate areas across Scotland.
EAU has been embedded with the design teams for these innovative housing schemes since their inception, working in partnership with the architects and developers to identify and design-out any legacy electricity, gas and water network issues at the earliest opportunity.
“Brownfield sites can throw up challenges for utility provision, so engagement at the design gestation stage is key to overcoming any potential issues,” said Gary Smith, Business Development Manager at EAU. “In the case of Urban Union, our early involvement meant we were able to plan the diversion of high voltage electricity cables and gas supplies, and reposition sub-stations, to meet the requirements of the master plan.”
Urban Union’s development ethos is very different to traditional housebuilders, with all homes designed to similar specifications irrespective of whether they are for sale, rent via social landlords or available on a shared ownership basis. The precise mix will depend on local needs and markets and includes properties purpose-designed for people with special needs.
“Urban Union cares about the future of Scotland and aims to ensure each project not only delivers high quality housing but also brings sustainable long-term benefits to new and surrounding neighbourhoods,” said Neil McKay, Managing Director at Urban Union.
“For us, development is much more than bricks and mortar – our partnerships place community regeneration at the heart of everything, including providing training and job opportunities and using suppliers in local postcodes whenever possible.”
This community commitment is expressed through engagement with local people. For example, when Urban Union moved a water fountain, they acted on a suggestion from local primary school children to carve messages at the new location in the 33 mother languages of pupils. Amongst a whole host of other initiatives they’ve launched an electric car share scheme, supported art projects and contributed to a £10,000 Ideas Fund to finance community enterprises suggested by local people.