As 2022 draws to a close it seems like a good time to give an update on the last year at Port Ellen Playing Fields. Although construction hasn’t yet begun SID have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that the project continues to move forward. Here’s a round-up of the last 12 months…
The year got off to a good start as SID went out to tender for a construction team on Public Contracts Scotland. SID and the design team optimistically expected building to begin in Spring 2022!
Islay Energy Trust awarded funding towards an air source heat pump and solar panels to be installed on the new building. This will help keep running costs down in the long term. This funding, alongside all other project funding, is currently secured until construction is underway.
SID received the news that a decision on the Planning Permission had been delayed. Further delays occurred due to a lack of construction tender returns. In the post-covid building boom there were so many building projects underway that no contractors could commit the time or workforce to the project. While good news for Islay’s builders, not such good news for SID.
March to May 2022
At a Pre-Determination Hearing in March SID presented the project to Argyll & Bute Council. Planning Permission was finally granted, by a unanimous vote from all the Councillors present! This was fantastic news and the SID Board began to look forward to getting the new facilities up and running.
In April SID received further good news that the Building Warrant for the new building had been approved.
A revised tender was issued in March; however it took until May 2022 before two tenders were finally received. Unfortunately due to rapidly increasing construction costs at the time both of these were significantly over budget, and SID were unable to appoint a contractor.
June to August 2022
The difficulty in securing a construction team was new territory for everyone involved. SID worked alongside the design team and funders to try and secure extensions for the existing funding while also finding a way to progress the project.
Alongside this, work continued to discharge the Planning Conditions. Argyll Archaeology carried out a site evaluation, and confirmed the good news that no detailed archaeological investigation was required prior to construction!
SID successfully secured additional funding from CARES. This was added to the funding from Islay Energy Trust and will eventually go towards the renewable technology within the building.
SID took advice from Highlands & Islands Enterprise, and began work with a procurement specialist to try and secure a construction team.
Work continued on the new playpark plans and Port Ellen Mother & Toddlers choose two new pieces of playpark kit to be included in the relocated playpark.
Following feedback from contractors and the procurement specialist the decision was made to split the project into two smaller lots and retender. Lot 1 now includes the relocation of the playpark, the access upgrades, roads and parking and the motorhome area. Lot 2 will be the new community building. This allows contractors to bid for either one or two lots, depending on their available resources and will ensure both lots progress as quickly as possible.
November to December 2022:
Following a positive response from interested contractors the tender was reissued. SID and the design team expect tender returns in early January and all going to plan, work to begin onsite in Spring 2023.
Fingers crossed that 2023 will bring some positive changes to the Playing Fields as construction begins! Thank you all for your patience and continuing support throughout 2022 and please keep an eye out for the next Playing Fields update early next year.