Local contractor appointed for Western Isles business centre

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Alex Murray Construction Ltd. has been appointed by Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, through competitive tendering, for the development of a new low carbon multifunctional business centre. The value of the contract is in the region of £400,000.

The development will include an office for the Trust’s staff team as well as a home for the crofting archives, offices for rent, meeting rooms and a specific area for crofters’ markets; giving producers the opportunity to showcase what they have to offer.

The business centre will not only provide opportunities for the Trust, but will provide a much needed service for visitors and the community.

Agnes Rennie, Chair of the Urras Board of Directors commented: “The appointment of a contractor brings the delivery of this new facility a step closer. We are delighted a local firm have won the contract and in the current economic climate it is good to be able to support the local supply chain and hopefully help to safeguard jobs.”

The business centre has been possible with support from various bodies including BIG Lottery Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

As part of the planning process a buildings options appraisal was undertaken, a range of options were explored, selecting a low carbon new build which will prove more economical in the long term. The building will also boast its own wind turbine, electric vehicle and electric charging point.

The building will be located in South Galson not far from the new housing at Tom na Ba. The site was chosen because of its central location on the estate.

Alex Murray Construction Ltd is a Stornoway based firm. Alex Murray the company’s Managing Director said: “This contract is welcomed and we are delighted to have been selected as part of the tendering process to build an exciting new development such as this.”

The economic downturn has hit the local construction industry hard with many companies struggling to cope during the period of uncertainty. The industry has already seen a number of redundancies and companies are thought to be reviewing workforce requirements on a weekly basis.

Work on the new building will commence in February and is expected to be complete by the autumn.