AUTUMN / WINTER 2017
INSIDE #6 CENTRE FOR CREATIVE INDUSTRIES THE CULTURAL ECONOMY LOCAL ENTREPRENEURIAL ECONOMY
IN THIS ISSUE
Cover: City Hall artists’ impression, courtesy of Mecanoo.
Lorenz Cairns, Sector Development Director, Creative and Cultural Industries
Cultural offer takes centre stage
NEWS FROM THE REGION: 4-7
The circular economy is taking root
Perthshire companies making a mark
Getting creative for tomorrow’s economy
Blairgowrie’s example of how to enhance local economies
FAST TRACK: INTERVIEW:
Perth is a perfect fit for Molke
PROPERTY/INFRASTRUCTURE: 20 Investment news
THE NUMBERS: Regional statistics
Follow Invest in Perth on Twitter. www.twitter.com/investinperth Invest in Perth is published by Invest in Perth. Written and designed by Resolve Creative. e. firstname.lastname@example.org | w. resolve-creative.co.uk
THIS MAGAZINE IS PRINTED ON ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE PAPER MANUFACTURED USING 100% RECYCLED WASTE.
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Developed with local businesses, Perth City Plan sets out a vision for Perth to be recognised as one of Europe’s great small cities and is a significant step on our journey to accelerate growth. The ambitious agenda is driven by Perth and Kinross Council and our commitment to working in partnership with the private sector. Progress is already evident on several fronts – most noticeably the work underway on the £113m A9/A85 junction improvement and link road to Bertha Park. But our ambition also reaches out into the huge rural areas of Perthshire and Kinrossshire, and we are equally determined to create and sustain jobs and businesses in our beautiful countryside. Bridging Lowland and Highland, connectivity is key to the region’s appeal: Perth is truly at the heart of Scotland, with Broxden the only roundabout with signposting to all seven of Scotland’s cities. And our long-term investment plans also prioritise digital connectivity, as much as our physical links. As these pages highlight, our vibrant and competitive business base is already bringing forward exciting opportunities to invest or expand in, or relocate to, Scotland’s heart… come and join us!
Councillor Colin Stewart, Convenor of Environment, Enterprise and Infrastructure Committee
INVEST IN PERTH CAN HELP We offer a comprehensive investor support programme tailored to each individual business, including: • Help with identifying and accessing funding • A comprehensive search to find suitable land and property • Introductions to key contacts locally.
Invest in Perth Kirsty Easton, Pullar House, 35 Kinnoull Street, Perth, PH1 5GD t: 01738 475364 e: email@example.com w: investinperth.co.uk
CONNECTIONS: CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
Perth City Plan has around £500m of investment opportunities
2017 MARKS THE 21ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST QUALIFICATION IN SOUND ENGINEERING BACKED BY THE SCOTTISH QUALIFICATIONS AGENCY (SQA). THAT FIRST COURSE WAS DEVELOPED HERE IN PERTH, IN 1986, BY STEVE DU CANE, WHO WAS A COLLEAGUE OF MINE ON THE STAFF HERE AT PERTH COLLEGE UHI.
Steve was also involved in the development of Scotland’s first HNC and HND courses in sound production, and Perth College UHI is now known throughout the world for the quality of its audio engineering academic staff, and students, as we highlight elsewhere in this issue. That progression, from pilot project to acknowledged centre of excellence, reflects more than just the story of a single course. The emerging importance of the creative industries – those centred around individual creativity, skill and talent – is one opportunity where Scotland has a comparative advantage, which can be built upon to increase productivity and growth. Perth College, now the largest campus of Scotland’s newest university – the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) – has more than 600 students enrolling annually in our School of Creative and Cultural Industries. The College in total has more than 9,500 students, and offers WWW.INVESTINPERTH.CO.UK
skills development from access courses through to post-graduate qualifications, all built around close links with business and industry. Earlier this year Perth was one of 11 cities to bid for the title City of Culture 2021. The award generally goes to help re-establish towns that have suffered through the decline of traditional industries, such as this year’s vibrant and inspirational title-holder, Hull. It was hardly surprising then that Perth was not selected for that award. But the ambition within the city’s bid document remains, and under the title ‘Perth is the Place’ the partners that drew together to support the initial bid – including Perth College UHI – remain determined to collaborate around our creative economy, to make Perthshire a place where artists, creative industries, and business innovation can flourish. Perth is unique: both the oldest city of Scotland – the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings – and its youngest, granted
city status in the modern era, in 2012. This has always been a meeting place where generations, cultures and creativity come together and catalyse change. With millions now being invested in refurbishing our historic city theatre, extending Perth Museum, and creating a new visual arts attraction at City Hall, Perth is continuing that journey of renewal. With a quality of life that sees 85% of those who work in the city region also choosing to live here, and a cost of living nearly 20% cheaper than London, many in the vanguard of today’s creative industries are choosing to live and base their businesses here, from audio engineers to lighting technicians; from actors to artists. Perth is aiming to be recognised as one of the best small cities in Europe, and the skills, ideas and innovation of its expanding creative business base will continue to cultivate new cultural activity and talent. Perth is the Place!
Lorenz Cairns, MMus. Sector Development Director, Creative and Cultural Industries, Perth College UHI e: firstname.lastname@example.org AUTUMN / WINTER 2017_INVEST IN PERTH
EXCELLENT FOOD AND DRINK
THE DISTILLERY LAUNCHED IN 2016 AND HAS DEVELOPED THREE AWARD-WINNING AROMATIC GINS.
PERSIE NOSE THEIR GIN Persie Distillery, based outside Blairgowrie in Highland Perthshire, has been awarded a Silver Medal at the inaugural Scottish Gin Awards, with its Sweet & Nutty Old Tom securing second place in the Best Speciality Gin category. Recognising the best gin brands in
Scotland, only 12 gins among 75 entrants scored Silver or Gold. The award follows a Gold Medal awarded to Persie Distillery in July, when Scottish Field voted Persie Zesty Citrus best gin under £35, and second overall in the Top 10 Scottish Gins round-up.
The distillery, launched in 2016, has now developed three aromatic gins.
> INFO persiedistillery.com
STRATHEARN’S WIN IN FIRST YEAR Perthshire’s only cheese producer, The Strathearn Cheese Company, which launched in 2016, topped its first year in business by winning the award for the best Scottish cheese at this year’s Royal Highland Show (RHS), in June. Strathearn is made from cow’s milk and is a rind-washed cheese, which uses local Glenturret whisky. Business partners Drew Watson and Pierre Leger launched the business in the former Cultybraggan prisoner-of-war camp near Comrie, in January 2016, converting the camp’s old kitchen and cowshed into a creamery.
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Strathearn also won the reserve championship award and a prestigious gold medal at this year’s RHS, one of Scotland’s most iconic events, showcasing the very best of farming food and rural life for the past 178 years. The cheese also won a gold medal at the world cheese awards in Spain. The company’s other product, The Lady Mary, a soft creamy cheese flavoured with wild garlic and truffle oil, won a bronze medal at the show as well.
> INFO strathearncheese.co.uk
STRATEHEARN IS MADE FROM COW’S MILK AND IS A RIND-WASHED CHEESE, WHICH USES LOCAL GLENTURRET WHISKY.
RETAILERS SEE LOCAL SPEND FROM CITY CARD
The Perth City Card, launched in 2015, is continuing to grow in appeal. As Christmas approaches, the card can now be used in 85 local retailers and attractions. “That’s double the businesses participating compared to last year,” says Colin Munro, managing director of Perth-based Miconex, the business behind the cards. “The average value of cards sold is £35, and the experience of retailers participating is that customers tend to spend more than the card’s face value. However, the card doesn’t have to be redeemed in one go, and a growing demand is coming through from local employers who are using the card as a reward or as a retirement gift, as it allows people to enjoy a delicious meal, the latest blockbuster movie, some great new clothes, and much, much more. Miconex operate similar card schemes around the UK, working with BIDs, towns and cities to establish local gift card programmes and keep customer spend within local economies. Nine further cards are due to be launched in the next few months.
THE AVERAGE VALUE OF CARDS SOLD IS £35, AND THE EXPERIENCE OF RETAILERS PARTICIPATING IS THAT CUSTOMERS TEND TO SPEND MORE THAN THE CARD’S FACE VALUE.” Leading Perth names to sign up include Perth Concert Hall, Simon Howies, Perth Playhouse, Charlie Taylor Hair and Beauty, Tabla, Perth Leisure Pool, Kisa’s Perth, Craigdon Mountain Sports and Santé.
Expenditure in the core catchment area for Perthshire retailers is £631m annually
PRIME RETAIL ACQUISITION Bournemouth-based Beales, the largest independent market town department store group in the UK, has acquired the former McEwens store in St John Street, Perth. Confirming the news, Tony Brown CEO of Beales said: “We recognise Perth to be one of the most innovative cities in Scotland, with a great heritage and a forward-thinking council. “We are confident that Beales will be able to meet the needs of our new customers in Perth and surrounding area, continuing Perth’s tradition of offering all that is best from a local, independent department store.” The Leader of Perth and Kinross Council, Councillor Ian Campbell, welcomed the news that Perth was to become the 21st Beales store, and the first in Scotland: “This is fantastic news: the building on St John Street is a flagship site in the city centre, and it will be great to see it coming back into use, particularly as home to an established independent business.”
INTERNATIONAL SALES SOAR AT HIGHLAND PERTHSHIRE’S GLD Blairgowrie-based GLD Group has been named earlier this year as the fastest-growing Scottish business for international sales. The clothing and footwear supplier, which saw its international sales rise by 112% over two years to £12.3m, was ranked 20th in the Sunday Times HSBC
International Track 200 league table. The group licenses or owns the rights to design and distribute fashion and sportswear brands, including Umbro. It also supplies Italian shoe line Superga and French rain jacket brand K-Way. It is among nine companies headquartered in Scotland to make it into
the UK’s top 200. Together, they have grown their international sales by an average of 42% a year over the last two years.
> I NFO gldgroup.com
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The architects to oversee the renovation of Perth City Hall will be Mecanoo, who have extensive experience transforming listed buildings into inviting public spaces whilst retaining their original character. Perth City Hall is a category B-listed building, which will now be transformed into a cultural facility with exhibition spaces, learning suite, café and retail space. Mecanoo envision the project as a means to create a new gateway to Perth; to its history and its pride. Their scheme seeks to re-activate Perth City Hall by a number of ‘light touch’ interventions that embrace the building’s beauty and character, whilst improving accessibility and reinforcing existing connections. The public ‘internal vennel’ allows the public to walk through the building, with
the possibility of entering the exhibition spaces and café. Inside the characteristic main hall, Perth and Kinross Council’s permanent and temporary collections will be exhibited. Increasing transparency on all elevations and providing levelled access, which will encourage people to come inside. The renewed public realm between the City Hall and St John’s Kirk will feature a comfortable seating area and a new lighting scheme threads the design for the building and public realm together. Francine Houben, founding architect and creative director of Mecanoo said: “We’re delighted to have been appointed for this prestigious project. We look forward to working together with the local community and Perth and Kinross Council to create an exciting new cultural destination for Perth.”
MECANOO ENVISAGE THAT THE RENOVATED PERTH CITY HALL WILL CREATE A NEW GATEWAY TO THE CITY.
CITY HALL ARCHITECTS APPOINTED
LUXURY SELF-CATERING RESORT EXPANDS ON LOCH TAY Taymouth Marina, a luxury self-catering resort on the banks of Loch Tay, has completed five self-catering properties designed by award-winning architects, McKenzie Strickland Associates. Serviced accommodation revenue in Perthshire saw a 6.8% increase year-on-year in 2016, to £247.67m, with visitor numbers up more than 4%. Angus Mackay, Taymouth Marinas’ general manager, said: “We are thrilled that stage 2 of our overall development has finished. Perthshire is such a beautiful location – the people visiting us here often tell us that they never want to leave, and these properties are ideal for people wanting their own holiday home. We fully manage these properties, so the option of buying one to rent, as an investment, is also one to consider.” Taymouth Marina already boasts Scotland’s first award-winning loch-side sauna, and the Scottish Crannog Centre. 6
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Future plans include adding an activities centre to the water sports already on offer. Taymouth Marina’s £15m development plan also includes a new 40-bedroom hotel.
> INFO taymouthmarina.com
WITH MORE THAN 200,000 ACRES OF WOODLAND, PERTHSHIRE IS RIGHTLY KNOWN AS BIG TREE COUNTRY. THE SCENERY IS A DRAW FOR VISITORS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, BUT ‘LEAF PEEPING’ IN THE AUTUMN IS BECOMING MORE POPULAR.
VISITOR ECONOMY TURNS OVER A NEW LEAF were attracted to Perthshire because of its scenery and landscape – compared to 50% nationally – and that 39% of visitors visited a woodland/forest area whilst in Perthshire. Morag Watson, of the Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, said: “A growing season with lots of moisture followed by a warm, dry autumn is ideal for creating the most vibrant leaf colours.
AREA GETS LARGEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN EVER In August, Perth and Kinross Council approved £500,000 to promote the region over the next three years; the largest single marketing campaign the area has seen. The additional investment will allow the region to launch a co-ordinated marketing plan, highlighting everything that Perth and Kinross has to offer to day visitors and holidaymakers. The marketing plan will be developed with partners such as Perth Traders’ Association, the Perthshire Tourism Partnership, and the Blairgowrie & East Perthshire Tourism Association (BEPTA) to ensure that it reflects the assets of the whole area.
Perth is a unique small city, surrounded by a strong mix of large towns and villages which each have their own programme of distinct annual events and activities. Together, they offer a huge choice for visitors from across Scotland, and beyond. What’s more, Perth and Kinross continues to benefit from an established track record for hosting major events. In 2016, overall visitor numbers to Perth and Kinross grew 9.4% year-on-year, topping two million people and bringing a visitor spend of £403m, up 7.7%. Across the year-to-date, footfall in Perth City Centre has bucked the national trend, growing by 7.5% against a decrease of 1.7% across the UK.
“We are very fortunate in that beautiful autumnal scenes can be viewed right across Perthshire – in places like Loch Tummel, Killiecrankie and The Hermitage – and the extra visitors this brings in are a fantastic boost to the local visitor economy.”
39% of visitors to Perthshire visit a woodland or forest area while here.
The autumn colours are a big part of the attraction for more than 214,000 people from across the UK who visit Perthshire from September to November. These visitors generate more than £46m for the local economy. VisitScotland’s Visitor Survey, carried out in the summers of 2015 and 2016, highlighted the fact that 74% of visitors
> INFO highlandperthshire.com
VIBRANT NATIVE WOODLAND PROJECT
In an ambitious project to transform the experience of the landscape in a large part of the central Highlands, several organisations have joined forces to restore a vast area of woodland, spreading across 50 square kilometres in the area between Loch Rannoch, Loch Tummel and Loch Tay. The Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership aims to create a “vibrant, native woodland landscape”, working with four landowners – Forest Enterprise; Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust (Dun Coillich); Dalchosnie & Kynachan Estate; and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The project will see the replacement of non-native conifers with broadleaf woodland and Scots pine, planted by The John Muir Trust. Seedling regeneration will be supported by sensitively sited fencing, allowing aspen, birch, rowan and willow to reach their potential. The Trust also plans to improve habitats for black grouse, willow warblers, wrens, whinchats and other species.
> INFO outdoorconservation.eu
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JOBS IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES ACROSS THE EU.
GETTING CREATIVE FOR TOMORROW’S ECONOMY
Perth College UHI will host this year’s audio Christmas Lecture by the Royal Society, which will be broadcast online by the BBC.
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recording sessions with top acts, and they go on to progress through the HNC and HND to finish with a degree and a career path.” Each course is industry accredited; by the Joint Audio Media Education Support (JAMES), representing the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS); the Music Producers Guild (MPG); UK Screen; or associated industry bodies. The close links with industry, and international profile of the academic staff, deliver great opportunities for students during their studies, as Nick Green, Sector Manager for audio engineering and theatre arts explains. “This summer Adam McDonald, one of our graduates, won the Gus Dudgeon Memorial Award, taking up an internship with a leading producer in Leeds; in 2016, two students from the Technical Theatre course were selected to work in technical roles at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio; and in 2014, 20 students helped at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The list goes on.” Local links are valued equally. “Many of the technical staff at Perth Theatre and Pitlochry Festival Theatre are graduates, and we are working closely with Horsecross Arts, which runs Perth Concert Hall and the
the strongest growth in jobs in the UK. “Our close industry links ensure we evolve the course to meet changing demands from industry, and students completing the degree have entrepreneurial modules that mean they will be equipped to build long-term careers,” says David. Technology is enabling many graduates to choose self-employment, and many continue to base themselves in Perthshire, enjoying the unrivalled quality of life and lower cost of living compared to London and other cities. “With meetings now easy to run online, the need to be based in cities is shifting. This is certainly true in audio engineering,” adds Nick.
Perth College UHI is the largest campus for Scotland’s newest university: The University of the Highlands & Islands
The impact of creatively-focused roles is growing, and Perth College UHI is equipping students with the flexible skills to become entrepreneurs in tomorrow’s creative economy. Across the EU, employment in the creative industries equates to 11.4 million jobs, accounting for 5% of the EU workforce. That number is growing rapidly, in areas spanning writing and publishing; digital industries such as gaming; through to visual arts, performing arts and audio-visual technology. “These are jobs where the primary source of income is from a creative role,” explains David Paterson, Mercury award-nominated Programme Leader for the audio engineering degree at Perth College UHI. “Of course, many more people are involved in creative industries in a part-time capacity. They are estimated to add a further 10% to that figure.” The audio engineering degree is a prime example of the changing roles that are in demand. Back in 1986, the first nationallyaccredited course in Sound Engineering for Scotland was written at Perth College UHI. “One of our strengths remains the close ties we have with industry,” says David. “We have an international profile, and we know what industry wants.” The profile of the academic team is impressive, through both recording and research. Lecturer Geoff Allan is a prime example, he spent the summer recording the debut album by ‘Pretty Vicious’, newly signed by Virgin/EMI and hotly tipped for greatness. “Geoff was drafted in at the behest of Owen Morris, best known for his work as producer on the first two Oasis albums,” adds David.
Audio-led immersion Immersive audio is becoming an increasingly important aspect of gaming, cinema and even visitor attractions. It is another area where Perth is spearheading. “In a visuallyled society, there is a growing appreciation that audio completes the picture,” says Nick, a leading researcher in archaeoacoustics. “We teach students the theory of sound environment and making a soundscape. For example, a world-famous venue like Rosslyn Chapel has unique acoustics. We can profile that audio signature and recreate it precisely in the studio.” Every night of the week, students and graduates are sustaining the vibrant cultural life across Perthshire; at live events, theatre productions or smaller gigs. This cultural scene is central to the ambitions to build the sector and ensure ‘Perth is the Place’ for all creative industries. An aspiration that is already building visitor numbers, and generating millions of pounds of income for the local economy.
IN 2016, THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES CONTRIBUTED £3.7BN TO SCOTLAND’S ECONOMY. (SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT)
Loved by students and employers “Our degree courses offer students great flexibility in their studies, encompassing audio engineering for recording, audio for broadcasting, musical and technical theatre, live events and video gaming.” That flexibility has delivered a 100% satisfaction score for audio engineering in the National Student Survey, and demand for places is high, with 250 students studying the course, from National Certificate to BSc level. “It’s particularly rewarding to see students come straight from school to do the National Certificate, and becoming enthusiastic about the opportunities,” says David. “They love to hear the stories from WWW.INVESTINPERTH.CO.UK
newly refurbished Perth Theatre, to expand opportunities for students to get involved in productions,” adds Nick. Another close link locally is Richard Brook, drummer for ABC and the driving force behind Rewind, the festival of 80s music staged annually at Scone. “He is running a masterclass for students.” Others visiting the students will include Stevie Wonder’s manager, Keith Harris. Delivering employable talent The opportunities for students have never been stronger, with a job board at the College regularly posting 30+ opportunities every week. “This sector is seeing some of AUTUMN / WINTER 2017_INVEST IN PERTH
This year’s It’s Braw – the Blairgowrie & Rattray Arts Week – ran for a full week in October.
PERTHSHIRE SAW A YEARON-YEAR INCREASE OF MORE THAN 15% IN DAY VISITORS IN 2016.
THE BEAUTIFUL SETTING OF BLAIRGOWRIE & RATTRAY HAS BEEN A DRAW TO VISITORS FOR GENERATIONS. BUT A COLLECTIVE EFFORT BY LOCAL BUSINESSES IS DEMONSTRATING THE BREADTH OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH IN RURAL COMMUNITIES.
ENHANCING LOCAL ENTREPRENEURIAL ECONOMIES
From left to right - BOOKMARK Chair Janey Lambie, author and former Home Secretary Alan Johnson, presenter Jean Squires, and BOOKMARK patron and interviewer Fiona Armstrong. Alan Johnson was a featured author at the BOOKMARK 2017 Book Festival, and stayed on to be Guest Speaker at the Inaugural Festival Dinner. 10
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BOOKMARK 2017 featured authors such as Martin Bell, ex independent MP and journalist; and ex-Home Secretary Alan Johnson, who both drew audiences of more than 200 people.
The collective approach to promoting the town made it easy to galvanise support behind the Snow Road, launched this March as a tourist trail through some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery. Taking in the highest road in Scotland, the route runs from Blairgowrie to Grantown-on-Spey and will use technology to enhance the experience for drivers. The collective activity also helped garner support for a planned Hamish Henderson festival in 2019. One of Perhshire’s greatest sons, the poet, songwriter, soldier and intellectual born in Blairgowrie in 1919 was featured in a recent documentary, which was premiered in the town, and sparked the idea for a music festival and a reimagining of his People’s Ceilidh, which he started in 1951. A key objective of Perth’s City Plan is to promote prosperous and sustainable rural communities, and to support an advanced, thriving economy. The Enterprising Perthshire programme supports anyone considering starting a small business, and GrowBiz is a community-based enterprise support service that has been very active locally. “As a community, we have looked at our own strengths to generate these ideas,” said Lesley. “It’s great to see the momentum building, and we’ve met with our local councillor, Caroline Shiers, and the leader of Perth and Kinross Council, Councillor Ian Campbell recently to discuss how we can take forward the Community Empowerment Bill. Things can only be better focused through a Development Trust, helping to enhance an increasingly entrepreneurial community.”
By 2035, Perthshire’s population is expected to grow to more than 160,000
a full week between 9 and 15 October. It was hot on the heels of the fifth BOOKMARK, the town’s annual Book Festival. This year it featured Martin Bell, journalist, independent MP and now ambassador for UNICEF; and Alan Johnson, who served as Home Secretary during the last Labour government. The strategy has seen the visitor economy improve. (Perthshire overall attracted more than two million visitors in 2016, and saw a 15.6% increase in day visitors specifically, over 2015). Blairgowrie & Rattray (the community on the facing bank of the river Ericht) offers the perfect location to explore central Scotland. In the heart of highland Perthshire, the area offers a host of outdoor activities to suit every taste, and more than 1000 people descended on the town this year for the Cateran Yomp, an epic adventure challenge that sees teams of 3-6 people take on routes up to 54 miles, crossing the rugged highland terrain in 24 hours. Perthshire Open Studios, an annual nineday event every September, involves artists and makers throughout the region, with Blairgowrie on the Orange Trail. The town also hosts Create at NEST, a not for profit enterprise that provides affordable space for work studios, classes and workshops. Lesley McDonald, a local restauranteur, uses local produce to provide a true taste of the region. “All the local restaurants are doing our own thing and offering a diverse choice for visitors and locals. As Discover Blairgowrie, we are keen to bring everyone together to promote Blairgowrie as a culinary destination. There is so much choice, and the area is famous for its produce, not least the amazing berries.”
In the last decade, Blairgowrie & Rattray has seen its population grow by 1.35%, the biggest increase in Perthshire, and nearly three times the population growth rate of Scotland in the same period. New housing to the west of the town, currently awaiting planning permission, will see new homes on a 29-hectare site at Westpark, while the Discover Blairgowrie website, promoting the activities of around 120 associated community groups, already attracts around 3,000 visits per week. The site was set up in 2015, initially to offer a destination for a TV advertising campaign. “Roadworks at the time were having an impact on local retailers, and we approached local businesses to pitch in £50 each, to fund an advert on television,” explains Steve Johnson, who maintains the site. The advert worked: aired more than 100 times between March and July 2015, it gave the town a boost and galvanised a voluntary business association that is still going from strength to strength. “The next step is to move forward on bigger projects through a Development Trust, which can work in partnership with other private, public and third sector organisations to generate income through the ownership of community assets.” There is a strong foundation already laid. The town is a base for several large companies; including the Graham Group, with a turnover of £490m and 1,640 employees across the UK; and Castle Water, the UK’s largest independent supplier of water to businesses. “But most people working locally are self-employed,” explains Morag Young, a member of the community council. The initial objective was to build on the TV campaign, and the town’s existing strengths, to extend day trips to the area. “Blairgowrie has a busy high street, many restaurants, and smaller retail and craft businesses that attract visitors,” explains Morag. This October, for the first time, It’s Braw – the Blairgowrie & Rattray Arts Week, which is an annual showcase of local art, craft, music and drama – ran for
> INFO discoverblairgowrie.co.uk
THE COLLECTIVE APPROACH TO PROMOTING THE TOWN MADE IT EASY TO GALVANISE SUPPORT BEHIND THE SNOW ROAD... A TOURIST TRAIL THROUGH SOME OF SCOTLAND’S MOST STUNNING SCENERY. AUTUMN / WINTER 2017_INVEST IN PERTH
CULTURAL ECONOMY TAKES
CENTRE STAGE Perth Theatre will officially reopen with family panto Aladdin on Saturday 9 December, following a £16.6m restoration and redevelopment. The public will be able to access the building from Monday 13 November when the box office, café and bars will be open. “The new theatre is a mix of newbuild, refurbishment, and restoration of the original building, now over a century old,” says Gwilym Gibbons, chief executive of Horsecross Arts, the charity that runs both the theatre and Perth Concert Hall. “We now have a 21st century asset throughout.” A Studio Theatre has been added, complementing the original auditorium that seats 500. The second stage adds capacity for 200 people seated or 400 standing, and will be used for a mixed programme including music, drama and community events. A further break out room can host 100 people. Creative industries are about innovation, and the theatre will be at the heart of the region’s creative life all day. “We have installed the latest technology, enabling us to stream productions for online broadcast,” adds Gwilym. That digital capacity will be an asset
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for the creative sector, as the Theatre will be open throughout the day, providing working space and meeting space, especially for selfemployed creatives. “They like the idea of working in a genuine creative space.” The auditoria will also be available for conferences – regular visitors to Perth Concert Hall, which faces the Theatre’s new main entrance. “We can now provide more breakout spaces for conferences, and stream presentations to the Theatre for larger events.” (Perth Concert Hall can seat 1,200, and the main stage at Perth Theatre can seat 500.) “We’re connecting the beautiful and extraordinary place that is Perthshire to anywhere in the world. That’s exciting.” Perthshire is at the heart of Scotland’s national cultural life. “Usually, each producing theatre needs a unique population catchment of at least 100,000 to be viable,” says John Durnin, artistic director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre (PFT). “But here in Perth and Kinross, we have Perth Theatre, the Perth Concert Hall and Pitlochry Festival Theatre, all running yearround programmes, despite there only being a resident population of just 150,000. This only works because the cultural offer in Perthshire attracts huge numbers of visitors.”
Ambition Pitlochry Festival Theatre has its own ambitious plans for expansion, the Vision 2021 project, which forms part of the Tay Cities Deal. “Pitlochry itself has a population of just 2,500 people, but our year-round programme, built around the unique summer repertoire season, has helped extend and expand the visitor economy. Most accommodation providers in Highland Perthshire now remain open all year, and the GVA created by PFT is upwards of £13m annually. We estimate we support 300 jobs directly,” explains John. “Most of our audience are visitors from outwith Perthshire, many come every year, the age profile of our audience is widening as we diversify the own-produced programme, and
PERTHSHIRE IS THE HEART OF SCOTLAND’S CULTURAL LIFE
“MOST OF OUR AUDIENCE ARE VISITORS. MANY COME EVERY YEAR, BUT THE AGE PROFILE OF OUR AUDIENCE IS WIDENING AS WE DIVERSIFY THE PROGRAMME, AND AUDIENCES ARE GROWING. THE PLANS TO EXPAND WILL ENHANCE THAT.”
High Society at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.
Left: Perth Theatre will reopen soon following a £16.6m restoration and redevelopment.
£13M GVA CREATED ANNUALLY BY PITLOCHRY FESTIVAL THEATRE
15% of the working population in Perth and Kinross are self-employed.
Annual events like Southern Fried, the festival of American Roots music, centred on Perth Concert Hall, help bring thousands of visitors to the area.
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audiences are growing. The plans to transform our infrastructure and buildings through Vision 2021 will further enhance that.” PFT plans to add a second auditorium with a capacity of 300 people, supplementing its existing 538-seat theatre, which will also enjoy a complete refurbishment and have a fullheight fly tower added above the stage. “We also want to expand the public areas and refit the Front of House. The second theatre will be used to further diversify the range of our own productions and to host touring performances. If the bid to the Tay Cities Deal proves successful we hope work will begin in 2018.” Events like Southern Fried, the festival of American roots music staged every summer in Perth Concert Hall and other city centre venues, already bring thousands of visitors to the region. “Every hotel in the city was booked up for this year’s event,” says Gwilym. 2016 saw the economic impact of visitors staying in serviced accommodation across Perthshire rise by 6.8%, to £247m. “Our own programme draws visitors from across Scotland, with up to 15% coming from England and overseas,” adds John. “This season has gone extraordinarily well, reflecting the impact of social media engagement and programme diversification to expand audiences. “Because the cultural offer is so central to visitors’ experience of this area, we respond quickly to all posts, and always review the media we use. Instagram is becoming more important to reach younger audiences, but TripAdvisor is still a significant platform for us, reflecting our appeal to visitors from Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.”
Pitlochry Festival Theatre helps support 300 jobs in the local economy and has ambitious plans for further growth.
EVENTSCOTLAND IS WORKING WITH THE THEATRES TO DEVELOP AUDIENCES THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
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Working together Both theatres collaborate, and work with other visitor attractions to cross promote. “It’s been great to see the new SSE visitor centre at Pitlochry have such a great season,” says John, “and the success of Enchanted Forest, winning national awards as an event. It all enriches the opportunities for visitors to extend their stay here and enjoy all that the area has on offer. The high quality cultural experience in theatre
LOWER: THE COMPARATIVE COST OF LIVING BETWEEN PERTHSHIRE AND GREATER LONDON
A cultural legacy The preview performance of Aladdin at Perth Theatre, on Thursday 7 December, will see an invited audience comprising children (of all ages) who have appeared in the theatre’s pantomimes over the decades. “There is something lovely about celebrating Perth Theatre’s next chapter in that way,” says Gwilym. “Perth’s ambition for the future has cultural life at its very heart. Perth is the place: to stay in or relocate to, because that ambition is already bringing direct benefits.”
The refurbished Pitlochry Dam Visitor Centre opened in February, and smashed its opening year target in just over six months, welcoming its 100,000th visitor. The centre is operated by SSE, the energy giant based in Perth, which operates the network of hydroelectric power schemes across Scotland. The £4 million centre at Pitlochry Dam hosts an exhibition over two floors, a gift shop and a cafe with spectacular views over the river Tummel and Loch Faskally. Next year will mark the 75th anniversary of the Act of Parliament that gave rise to the network of Scotland’s hydroelectric power schemes, which still provide clean electricity to customers.
and live performances is just one strength.” EventScotland is working with the theatres to develop audiences throughout the year. “Southern Fried is a template to grow other events, and emulate the success of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections. It drew an audience of more than 8,000 people over the weekend. “The new stages will help diversify the programmes we can offer year-round, and we have a comprehensive marketing strategy.” Both theatres have excellent links with Perth College UHI, and many of the graduates in theatre, lighting, audio and drama find permanent employment in the area, or base their freelance careers from here. Perthshire has excellent connections to Scotland’s cities, and by air, with direct flights to more than 130 destinations from Edinburgh and Glasgow airports: both ust an hour’s drive. “The cost of living here is about 20% less than London,” adds Gwilym, “and the area’s natural beauty is inspirational. This is a great hub for the creative industries’ supply chain.”
NEW VISITOR ATTRACTION SMASHES TARGET IN FIRST SEASON
Luxury hotels like Fonab Castle in Highland Perthshire are seeing growth in visitor numbers.
to provide 52 hotel suites and spa facilities at Taymouth Castle, near Kenmore. The building, which was used as a honeymoon base for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, has already undergone extensive refurbishment to transform the historic castle into a five-star luxury tourism destination. Perthshire has seen visitor numbers expand in recent years, drawn by the mix of culture, heritage and outdoor activities. An extended season, with events such as Enchanted Forest (winner of the Best Cultural Event at the UK Event Awards in 2016), and growing demand from businesses for meetings and conferences, helped to bring more than two million visitors to the area in 2016.
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Overseas investors have spent £51m in Scotland’s hotel market in 2017
Investment in Scotland’s hotel sector has soared in 2017, according to international real estate advisor Savills. So far this year, more than £51m has been spent in Scotland’s hotel market by overseas investors, a sixfold increase on 2016. US investors have been the most active in the region, spending over £35m in Edinburgh alone since January. Indian investors have also been active in Scotland, investing £8.3m this year. In July, London-based Henley Homes opened their 5-star boutique Dunalastair Hotel, at Kinloch Rannoch, following a £5m investment. Perth and Kinross Council also approved plans earlier this year
CLEAN SWEEP FOR OPPORTUNITIES AN EXPANDING HUB FOR THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY For businesses operating in the renewable and clean technology sectors, Perth offers an ideal location. Home to the global HQ of SSE, and boasting a mix of renewable energy resources, technologies, eco-innovation and expertise, the area is ideally placed to become a hub for the circular economy, which aims to replace the take-make-dispose linear model. The prospects for Clean Tech and Renewable are boundless: this summer, in Scotland, homes with solar PV (photovoltaic) panels generated over 100% of average household electricity needs in Aberdeen, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Lerwick. Dundee generated 114% of average household electricity demand, and there was enough sunshine in May to also generate more than 90% of hot water needs in an average household. On 26 May, across the UK as a whole, solar panels provided almost a quarter of total demand; with National Grid reporting an 8.5 GWh peak over a halfhour from midday, a record amount. “While people might not be too surprised to learn solar power output was up in May,” says Karen Robinson, of WeatherEnergy, “they might be surprised to discover that wind power output was also pretty impressive.” Hydro is another clean power source, one where SSE is market-leader. It submitted a revised proposal, in May, for a pumped storage scheme at Coire Glas, in Perthshire. If approved, the £800m project is capable of delivering 30GWh of electricity to the system,
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meaning that, at maximum capacity, the water in the upper reservoir would provide up to 450MW of power for nearly three days. Pumped storage is a proven technology that can respond quickly when the system needs top ups of power. To maximise the potential of the site, SSE has increased the planned capacity to 1500MW. Following receiving the scoping responses from statutory consultees SSE is now working on the engineering of the project and expects to submit the planning application for the revised scheme in mid-2018. The circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value, at all times. Perth City Plan’s 20year vision is to achieve an international reputation for enterprise, learning, culture and an exceptional quality of life. The private sector has a key role to play, in terms of leadership and investment, and the Plan itself is the result of extensive consultation with local businesses. One example of the opportunity in adopting a circular economy approach is the ability to reduce waste. In its recent report ‘Cities in the Circular Economy’, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation reports that 31% of food is currently wasted along the value chain. With Perthshire home to more than 900 companies involved in food and drink manufacture or processing, there is clear economic opportunity. The Binn Group, which employs more than 150
PERTH CITY PLAN’S 20-YEAR VISION IS TO ACHIEVE AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION FOR ENTERPRISE, LEARNING, CULTURE AND AN EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY OF LIFE. people in Perthshire, already operates four different processes for recycling mixed waste and recently spent £2m upgrading and expanding its fleet of 50 collection vehicles in the region. These now include four trade waste lorries with specialised waste stream pods, a top-loader dedicated food waste truck, three articulated lorries, two hooklift trucks and three skip carriers. That investment followed investment of £3m in Scotland’s first solid recovered fuel facility, in Perthshire.
Tayside is Scotlandâ€™s sunniest region
The Binn Group employs more than 150 people in Perthshire, and already operates four different processes for recycling mixed waste.
ESTIMATE OF THE AMOUNT OF FOOD LOST CURRENTLY IN THE VALUE CHAIN.
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A PERFECT FIT FOR START-UPS Since buying her first sewing machine, after her first son was born in 2011, Kirsty Lunn has fashioned a business that is not only delighting customers from her local neighbourhood, but also reaching those on the other side of the world! (Literally: Kirsty (below left) and business partner Ros Marshall were fulfilling orders from Australia within weeks of closing a successful crowdfunder campaign in June 2017.) Having raised £10,000 through the social media funding platform, Molke was launched as a limited company and now offers mums who are breastfeeding ‘clothing to make you stand out from the crowd’. “I started out by making a jersey bra for myself at home,” explains Kirsty. “The high street is really poor at offering nursing mums comfortable, correctly fitting and appealing bras, something that helps them feel positive about breastfeeding.” Kirsty’s colourful designs had an instant appeal, and the challenge now is to keep up with demand. Kirsty and Ros have already taken on two machinists at their unit at Perth Airport, and plan to increase the team further in the near future. All sales have come through online, and the Facebook page for Molke already has more than 4,000 followers. “We’re so lucky; our customer base is a real community, with 1,800 sharing their own experiences and tips through a closed group,” adds Kirsty. “We’ve found that as mums enjoy
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the comfort and proper support given by our bright jersey bras, they are recommending us to friends, and their own mums; the bras are also popular with teens. “We happily offer fitting advice, as so few women in the UK are wearing a correctly fitting bra, and the direct interaction with customers through the Facebook community has been really positive. We provide up to a 40M cup, and we’ve had presents from customers who are delighted that they have finally found a well-fitting bra that gives them real support and makes them feel comfortable.” The fan base for the business has meant that more than 10% of orders are already going overseas – with North America the biggest market, but orders have also come from Singapore and Malaysia in the Far East. “From the start, we’ve had great advice and support locally, through Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise and Growbiz,” adds Kirsty. (It promotes a range of peer learning and support, networking and training events as part of the Enterprising Rural Perthshire Project - funded by Rural Perth and Kinross LEADER.) “Perth was already our family home, but we’re determined that the business will remain here as we grow,” says Kirsty. “The quality of life with a young family is excellent, travel links are easy, and we’ve got no problems fulfilling orders worldwide, or sourcing our materials.” The next stage for the business is to expand the range into other clothing. “We’ve got plans initially for swimwear, based on the current design (which Kirsty, a fine art graduate, designed herself). “Interestingly, I’ve had many jobs in the past, but the most useful to me now was my first job, at 16, working for a high-street clothing retailer. Their focus on customer service is spot on, that’s vital.” Kirsty has another tip for
would-be entrepreneurs: “our business is built on strong ethics; we’re family-friendly employers, we source GOTS certified organic cotton, and we want to keep manufacturing in-house, so we have 100% control over quality. “Our advertising channel is our satisfied customers, and the early base ensured we’d achieved half of our crowdfunding goal within the first 48 hours. Crowdfunding is a great route to get your business started, but it’s a lot of hard work to keep the momentum. Don’t allow too long, as it is hard to keep that focus going.” It also helps to have great campaign content: “with the initial traffic behind our campaign, Crowdfunder’s MD, Phil Geraghty, tweeted about us. Under #rainbowpantsforphil, I sent him a pair of Molke briefs and next day Phil was pictured sporting the rainbow pants superhero style. That helped get attention!” The treasure under this Perthshire rainbow is a business with immense potential. Kirsty’s enthusiasm and belief in her product is infectious, and for this airport-based start-up, the sky’s the limit!
> INFO molke.co.uk
“WE’RE SO LUCKY; OUR CUSTOMER BASE IS A REAL COMMUNITY, WITH 1,800 SHARING THEIR OWN EXPERIENCES AND TIPS THROUGH A CLOSED GROUP.”
Edinburgh Airport links directly to 130 destinations worldwide.
MERLIN ERD UNDERLINES ITS WORLD-LEADING CREDENTIALS PERTH-HEADQUARTERED MERLIN ERD HAS BEEN HITTING THE HEADLINES IN RECENT WEEKS FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS.
technical improvements in their respective projects, helping to reduce project cost, time and risk. From its Perth HQ, Merlin ERD has delivered expert extended reach drilling (ERD) and ultra-long lateral (ULL) horizontal drilling engineering and training services on more than 200 projects across 40 countries. The awards are another feather in the cap for Merlin ERD, which has also won several other awards in the past 12 months, including a second Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade. Despite ongoing pressures on global oil and gas prices, three years of cost cutting across the industry has seen a steady return of confidence among operators, who are seeking to renew production portfolios and extend existing production plateaus.
> I NFO merlinerd.com
Merlin’s unrivalled expertise in delivering complex drilling solutions for some of the largest international oil companies in the world was underlined recently as the business scooped two prestigious Drilling Engineering Awards from The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). Neil Armstrong, Engineering Manager, (pictured) was singled out for recognition in the highly coveted North Sea regional award, while Senior ERD Engineer, Sanzhar Zharkeshov, was recognised for his achievements in the Russian and Caspian regional award. SPE is the industry’s foremost organisation in upstream Oil & Gas promoting technical innovation and learning. Both awards recognise outstanding technical and professional contributions to drilling and production. Both Neil and Sanzhar were instrumental in delivering transformational
FROM ITS PERTH HQ, MERLIN ERD SERVICES MORE THAN 200 PROJECTS IN 40 COUNTRIES
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ABP INVESTS £3M IN MEAT PROCESSING PLANT Earlier this year, Scotland’s meat processors and butchers secured funds totalling £3.7m, through Scotland’s Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) Grant Scheme. Among those to benefit are ABP Perth, which employs 280 staff and works with 1,600 farmers across Scotland, which benefited through £667,000 towards its investment of £3m in its Perth processing plant. The investment by the firm is the first phase of a major upgrade which will transform the site into a world-class facility, and will see the expansion of chilling and maturation facilities, state of the art production areas and improved staff amenities. Perthshire has Scotland’s largest concentration of food and drink businesses, including more than 130 involved in food processing. ABP Perth’s parent company, ABP Food Group, was the first food processor in the world to achieve triple certification to the Carbon Trust Standard for the third consecutive time. The Carbon Trust Standard is the world’s leading independent certification awarded to organisations that can demonstrate they are taking effective action to tackle their environmental impact, verifying reductions in carbon emissions, water use and waste output. 20
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THE BUTCHER WITH AMBITIOUS GROWTH PLANS After significant investment, Perthshire-based butcher Simon Howie is planning for expansion. The business hopes to increase turnover by more than 50%, up from £16m today, after expanding its factory at Findonny, in Perthshire, by 10,000ft2. The work was supported by the Scottish Government’s Food Processing, Marketing & Co-operation Scheme. The business already supplies several national lines in Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco, including bacon, haggis and black pudding. “Our ambition is to transform our turnover from its current 30% outwith Scotland, to 70%,” explains Simon Howie. “We now sell more than 6 million packs of product, per year, through our supermarket partners and they help us reach our consumers seven days a week all over the UK, from Shetland to Penzance.” The business now employs more than 130 people, including two directly-owned retail outlets in Auchterarder and Perth. “Our retail presence remains important to us. It gives us an opportunity to demonstrate to buyers what a good butcher’s shop looks like.”
EASIER ACCESS TO INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS Work has started on a three-story extension at Edinburgh Airport, just a 45-minute drive from Perth. The expansion is part of the airport’s £220m+ capital investment programme, to support growth and maintain operational standards over the next five years. Designed to support forecasted growth of up to 16.5 million passengers in 2021 and beyond, the work will provide: • Extended immigration, customs and international reclaim facilities • New retail opportunities, food and beverage options, toilets, lettable property and office space, VIP lounges, and retail storage
• S ix new gates, gate seating areas and connectivity via a series of fixed links, stair nodes and air bridges to the new stands “We are Scotland’s busiest airport and the fastest growing airport in the UK – and that demand is only going to grow with the record numbers of passengers we expect to see passing through the terminal,” said Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport. “As Scotland’s gateway to the world, it’s vital that we have first class infrastructure and we will continue to invest in that, creating more jobs, supporting the economy and opening up Scotland to the world.”
CITY EXPANDS WEST
Local food distribution business McLaughlan Transport (Perth) Ltd is the first tenant on-site at the Perth Food and Drink Park, having acquired land to enable it to expand from its existing adjacent site. The first five business units on site are expected to be completed shortly. The units – representing a £1.8m contract that went to local building company, Andrew Shepherd Construction – provide floor space ranging in size from 111m2 to 345m2 (including mezzanine), tailored for food and drink production uses. Perth Food and Drink Park offers serviced development plots ranging in size from 1 acre (0.4Ha) to 10 acres (4.0Ha) for developments in support of the food and drink sector. The park benefits from a new photo voltaic solar array, generating up to 75kw of renewable energy. Half of Scotland’s population is accessible within an hour’s drive of the site. Food and drink is one of Scotland’s key growth sectors with ambitions to grow from £13.1Bn today to £16.5Bn by 2017 and to £30Bn by 2030. Perth City Region is the natural location for any company in the sector to base itself: the area has the largest concentration of sector-specific businesses in Scotland and approximately 130 companies operate in the value added/processing sector alone. From Perth, businesses can also access local support in sector-specific research, innovation and skills; from the James Hutton Institute, Binn Eco Park, Perth College UHI and Food Innovation @ Abertay. Invest in Perth can provide support to those seeking to operate here.
Scotland’s food and drink sector is aiming to grow by more than £30bn GVA by 2030.
FIRST TENANT ON-SITE IN NATIONAL FOOD AND DRINK PARK
Springfield Properties has begun work on site for the 3,000 homes in the new village, Bertha Park, just off the Inveralmond Roundabout in Perth. The new village, complete with 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes, will bring 30 years of work for the housebuilders and approximately 450 jobs to Perth, sustaining hundreds more in the local area. Bertha Park will provide everything a community needs to thrive including the new Bertha Park High School, which is on track to open for the 2019 academic year. The 333 hectares will also offer business opportunities with commercial units available for shops, restaurants, medical services, leisure and community facilities.
HARBOUR OFFERS HUB Situated just 30 miles from the North Sea, Perth Harbour connects easily to the area’s excellent network of motorways, dual carriageways and national rail network, making it ideal for fast and easy transportation of goods to all areas of Scotland and Northern England. Perth Harbour provides a lower cost alternative to larger coastal ports and, by cutting haulage miles, generates both financial and environmental benefits. Open to shipping round the clock, Perth Harbour accepts coastal and dry bulk ships up to 90 metres in length, carrying up to 2,500 tonnes from Europe, the Baltic or Scandinavia. Cargoes passing through Perth Harbour range from traditional agricultural related cargoes such as animal feedstuffs and fertilisers to timber, chemicals and baryte ore.
WATER TAXI CASTS OFF This summer, more than 1,000 people got on board with a new maritime initiative that offered regular boat trips on the Tay, between July and October. Maritime training charity Taymara — Tay Maritime Action — teamed up with Perth and Kinross Council and the Tay and Earn Trust to carry passengers from new pontoons at Willowgate, near the Friarton Bridge, and Tay Street, by the Fergusson Gallery, and sail past Elcho Castle and Kinnoull Hill. The pontoons represent the first major project to be carried out as part of the Perth City Plan. It focuses on improvements that enhance and improve the things that define the city – like its riverside – and investments will be rolled out over the next 20 years. The water taxi was launched thanks to £700,000 of funding from the Big Lottery’s Coastal Communities Fund. WWW.INVESTINPERTH.CO.UK
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RETAIL PARK INVESTMENT Episo Boxes, site owners of St Catherine’s Retail Park North in Perth, have begun demolition at the retail park. The preparatory work is in preparation for a redevelopment that will create five new units, including a restaurant, improve the park’s overall appearance, and enhance pedestrian access to the nearby city centre. The demolition of unit 8 (37,000 sq ft) will supplement the redevelopment of 45,000 sq ft of previous retail warehousing. The work is due to finish in the spring of 2018, and is expected to lead to around 100 new jobs. Tenants introduced to the park since Episo acquired it, in 2009, include The Range, Home Bargains, Maplin, Bensons for Beds, Pagazzi Lighting, Costa, and
Greggs. Other tenants include Dunelm, Halfords and Carpetright. “The regeneration will reinforce Perth city centre as a retail destination, inject new life into the retail park, and encourage new tenants,” said a spokesperson for Episo. Agreement for leases have already been signed with Homesense (TJX UK) and Tapi Carpets and Floors Ltd, both for 10,000 sq ft units. Letting options are currently available between 5,000 and 15,000 sq ft for the remaining floor space.
> INFO Letting agents David Comb for Harvey Spack Field Tel: 020 7518 0454 Drew Waddell for and DWR Tel: 0141 221 5254
OFFICE LEASING ON RISE Office leasing activity in Scotland’s major cities reached 1.4 million square feet in the first half of 2017, some 20% above the rolling five-year half-year average. The report, from real estate firm Savills, says that a robust leasing market is one of the underlying factors. “One year on from the European Union referendum, the Scottish office markets remain in good shape and we are well on track to meet our full year take-up forecasts,” said Mike Barnes, research analyst for Scotland at Savills. Leasing activity in the first quarter show growth of 0.8%, delivering the strongest quarterly growth for two years, and outperforming the UK average of 0.2%. Opportunities in Perth include Acorn Business Centre, situated within the North
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Muirton Industrial Estate, and close to a major road improvement scheme to improve links with Inverness. The £3bn A9 scheme, already underway, involves the upgrade of 80 miles of single carriageway between Perth and Inverness. Nearby, 20 hectares of class 4, 5 and 6 employment land is being promoted adjoining the Broxden Business Park: ideally suited to a branded, limited service, mid-scale hotel, with up to 120 bedrooms. The remainder of the Broxden site, which sits adjacent to the main junction of the A9, M9 and M90 motorway network, will comprise mixed commercial and residential use.
> INFO https://www.investinperth.co.uk/ invest/development-opportunities
EXPRESSO PROPERTY CONCLUDES MISSIVES FOR THE MILL QUARTER Following the conclusion of missives, work on The Mill Quarter, a new landmark leisure scheme with residential apartments, is expected to begin in the first half of 2018. The development by York-based Expresso Property is a cornerstone of wider plans to establish a new cultural quarter in Perth city centre. It comprises a state of the art multiscreen cinema; a mix of bars, restaurants and speciality shops; a 205-space multi-storey car park; and 58 new apartments. The scheme will support 200 jobs during construction, (107 direct construction jobs and 93 indirect supplier jobs), and will have an end investment value of £30m, creating around 126 new jobs in Perth upon completion in 2019.
> INFO www.expressoproperty.co.uk 01904 235930
Glasgow and Edinburgh, both within an hour’s drive ofPerth, ranked 5th and 6th in the top 10 UK cities for financial services investment.
“Expresso Property has identified the city as a positive location for growth and investment,” said Councillor Ian Campbell, Leader of Perth and Kinross Council, “and this sends out an important signal to existing and potential investors that Perth is the place to be.” “The Mill Quarter development is a catalyst for change that will drive Perth’s economic growth,” added Stephen Hampshire of Expresso Property. “Nurturing the scheme from bid stage, we have actively engaged with Perth and Kinross Council to drive the development through from the initial design stage to give the City’s residents a brand new leisure destination to be proud of. “In line with the Council’s Strategic Priorities for Culture for the City, Perth’s Mill Quarter will generate economic growth and prosperity, create jobs for local people, generate revenue for the Council and has the potential to stimulate further investment in regeneration in the local area.” York-based Expresso Property, is funded to purchase schemes ranging from £1m to £50m, and has various UK schemes underway.
Scotland ranked the third most attractive part of the UK for investment into financial services last year, according to research from professional services firm EY. It found Scotland’s financial services sector won eight foreign direct investments in 2016, up one on 2015. Perth itself is home to Aviva’s UK centre of excellence in household claims, one of seven centres the firm operates in general insurance. The company recently announced 150 new jobs at its Perth centre of excellence for general insurance. With approximately 1,100 employees in the city – about 10% of Aviva’s UK workforce – Aviva is at the heart of a sector that employs more than 37,000 people across Perth City Region, working in approximately 650 companies. Overall, 2016 saw the UK’s financial services sector attract its highest total of direct investments in a decade, with 2016 up five per cent on the previous year.
NEW PERFORMANCE VENUE Work is underway to transform St Paul’s Church on Perth’s High Street into a ‘City Square’ that will be used for events such as the annual Southern Fried Festival, Perth Winter Festival and other public gatherings. It will add to Perth’s portfolio of performance venues, which can attract visitors. The church has not been used since 1984, and the building was recently acquired by the Council to undertake work to consolidate and stabilise the structure. This innovative development will create a unique outdoor space for day-to-day use, as well as a potential venue for music, drama and arts events. By removing the main roof and the window glass, and creating four archways to enter and exit the building, it will be transformed into a city centre courtyard, maintaining the spire as a prominent focal point on the city skyline. Wayne Hemingway, designer and technical advisor to the Perth City Development Board, says: “St Paul’s is a beautiful, evocative historic building surrounded by quirky, small, affordable shops and a hidden courtyard space. What an opportunity to uncover this underused part of the city and turn it into a real asset.”
A9 DUALLING Transport Scotland’s is investing £3 billion to upgrade 80 miles of road from single to dual carriageway on the A9, the principal road north between Perth and Inverness. The work is split into 11 sections and is scheduled to be completed by 2025. The investment by the Scottish Government will deliver economic growth through reliable and quicker journey times, improved road safety and better links to pedestrian, cycling and public transport facilities. At the Perth end of the A9, the Broxden roundabout is the only road junction in Scotland with direct routes signposted to all seven of Scotland’s cities.
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THE NUMBERS SELF-EMPLOYMENT
OF CITY RESIDENTS HAVE A DEGREE (2014)
YOUTH EMPLOYMENT IS HIGH ONLY 1.8% OF 16-24S UNEMPLOYED (2016) (SCOTLAND 3.0%)
IN 2016 AND GROWING
BUSINESSES IN PERTH AND KINROSS (2015)
TOP 5 SECTORS BY BUSINESS NUMBERS
970 800 745 515 460 AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY & FISHING
PROFESSIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL
ACCOMMODATION & FOOD SERVICES
FOOD & DRINK
12% 19, 00 OF TOTAL REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT
PREDICTED NUMBER OF NEW RECRUITS REQUIRED IN FOOD & DRINK SECTOR IN SCOTLAND BY 2024
3.7% RISE IN REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT LINKED TO TOURISM (2016 V 2015)
The regions 6th investment promotion magazine showcasing what Perth and Perthshire has to offer.