Travelling Person’s Site, Coalpots Road, Girvan

In December 2015, the Houdston Travelling Persons Site in Girvan was hit by Storm Frank. It caused irreparable damage to six of the eight caravans on the site and most families lost much of their personal belongings. To repair the site would have cost over £1M with no guarantee the flooding wouldn’t happen again. South Ayrshire Council sought to find a replacement site for the community to live safely and permanently in. Narrowed down from 111 potential sites and with much input from both the Travelling and wider community, Coalpots Road was finally chosen as the new site. 

At Coalpots Road, the children could continue to attend the same schools and there was an air of familiarity as it had been used by the Travelling Community before in 1998 while improvement works were carried out at the Houdston Site.

At Coalpots Road, South Ayrshire Council and McTaggart Construction – through SPA’s New Build Housing Construction (H1) Framework – built 7 homes.  One of which was a larger unit to accommodate a family whose child has additional needs.  The overall cost to build the site was £1.6M.

This project won the Excellence in Development for Affordable Housing Award at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s 2020 Housing Awards as well as Affordable Housing Development of the Year (small, social rent) at the Scottish Home Awards 2020.

Communication has been central to this project. The Travelling Community have specific needs.  South Ayrshire Council & McTaggart Construction wanted to be sensitive to this throughout the project. The community lived close to the site to facilitate this and discussions regarding timelines and processes were completely transparent. The Travelling Community had the ability to voice concerns and discuss their needs which helped inform the end result of the project. They communicated things like a need for the housing to reflect their culture and a desire to feel close to the local community.

The result implemented the needs of the community with seven chalet-like buildings that upheld their culture. A crucial feature in the homes was the separation of the living and sleeping area to the kitchen and bathroom by a through and through corridor which reflects the division between the Chalet and Shed in Traveller terms. Open space was created to the front of the units forming a large open communal space.

Through our New Build Housing Construction Framework (H1), South Ayrshire Council could direct award to McTaggart Construction thus allowing a quick and easy route to market whilst being able to evidence the achievement of best value through a compliant procurement route. 

Over and above this, utilising the framework enabled South Ayrshire Council and McTaggart Construction to work collaboratively allowing them to achieve a speedy site start.  The time saved utilising our framework reflected the urgency of the situation to give the Travelling community a new and stable home for generations to come.

"Through SPA’s framework we were able to get this project on site quickly and ensure that the homes built for the Travelling community were not only safe but reflected their culture and needs. With a direct award to McTaggart we got a quality contractor who went above and beyond for the proposed residents, involving them every step of the way." Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council

McTaggart Construction have an over 70-year heritage building new homes across Central Scotland. With an in-house supply chain of specialist service businesses, McTaggart strive to provide high quality products and excellent customer service.

Like all SPA Frameworks, H1 is fully compliant with all procurement regulations.

Pub Cs Travelling
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