Author: George Gardner

I’m happy to report that the project to create Darvel’s Main Street Market on the site of the derelict cooperative buildings is gradually moving forward. However much we would have wanted it to move forward quickly, we need to abide by the rules when we are spending public money, which often takes more time than we would like. It is appropriate at this stage to give an update on the progress made to date.

The project is in three phases

  1. The demolition of the derelict building and site clearance
  2. The appointment of architect to produce the detailed specifications
  3. The construction of the market and garden

DEMOLITION

This work is being taken forward by East Ayrshire Council (EAC). You may remember that there were suggestions that some materials from the building could be salvaged. The salvage issue has been the subject of discussion with EAC and the tender documents have now been finalised and we understand that the documents will be issued at some point on the week beginning Monday 10th June. It is important to bear in mind that the salvaging of material comes at a cost, which might be better spent on the construction phase. This will be a factor when decision is taken on the extent of salvage which can be done.

The normal timescale for tendering allows for a 4-week pricing period then the checking and appointment process can take place – usually over the following 2 to 3 weeks This means that demolition and site clearance will take place in August rather than July. We have been advised that demolition is expected to be carried out over 4 days.

Contrary to some rumours, the current plan is not to close the A71 during demolition although the pavement around the building will of course be inaccessible. There may be closure of Ranoldcoup Road at times during the demolition.

APPOINTMENT OF ARCHITECT

In spending public money our small project team must follow the required process of procuring the services of an architect. Invitations to tender for the work have been issued to 5 architect firms. The detailed tender document for the architect has been prepared and will be issued to those who express interest in taking on the project.

The following has been included in the tender

  • preparing outline drawings and data necessary for planning permission for the full project with outline costs,
  • developing detailed technical drawings (by engaging quantity surveyors as appropriate) required to obtain building warrant and to identify detailed costs,
  • production of tender documentation for construction (in two phases should the costs exceed the current budget), and issuing these to selected builders who have experience of similar projects,
  • advising our project team on the choice of contractor to carry out the work,
  • monitoring the builders work in terms of meeting the standards required, finishing on time and not exceeding the contract figure.

We anticipate that the architect firm will be appointed by the end of July or beginning of August.

CONSTRUCTION

The budget which has been allocated from the Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund for the project is £200,000 which includes the architect’s fees and any additional cost for salvaging materials during demolition. It is possible that the cost of the full project will exceed this sum and therefore the construction will be in two phases

Phase 1: The necessary groundworks including the provision of electricity, water and drainage and the construction of the market itself. Should the costs exceed the allocated funds

Phase 2: The remainder of the work in constructing the garden area.

If it is necessary to find additional funding, then the project team will seek to secure additional this from a variety of external sources.

THE PROJECT TEAM

The project team is made up of a group of volunteers from the Darvel & District Community Council and Darvel Improvement Group – Frank Donnelly, Max Flemmich, George Gardner, Steve Gillies, Les Pittams, Sandy Mair and Maureen Ross. Vibrant Communities (East Ayrshire Council) provide additional support.