Student flats plan next to Mackintosh Building rejected by Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has rejected an appeal for plans to build a student housing development adjoining Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s world-renowned Glasgow School of Art (GSA) building.

Plans by developers Urban Pulse would have seen the former Jumpin’ Jaks nightclub on Sauchiehall Street demolished to make way for a seven-storey block consisting of 181 flats complete with roof gardens, study rooms, common areas and a cinema room.

Opponents said that the block would have restricted daylight to the A-listed GSA building and obscured much of its striking south facade. Fears were also expressed that the proposed building would damage the city’s reputation as a tourist destination and could harm any future UNESCO World Heritage bid, despite Historic Environment Scotland not lodging a formal objection.

The proposals were recommended for approval by planning officials back in March after revised plans submitted by Haus Architects reduced the development by one storey and four flats.

Glasgow City Council’s planning application committee then voted to allow for a hearing to give a chance for those for and against the plans to make their case, before deciding against the development in April.

Urban Pulse then appealed to the government to reverse the decision.

However, delivering his judgement on the appeal this week, reporter Robert Seaton, said: “As a consequence of the proposed development’s adverse effect upon the setting and special character of the Mackintosh building of the Glasgow School of Art and its adverse effect upon the conservation area and setting of other neighbouring listed buildings, I find that the proposed development does not respect, preserve or enhance the historic environment.”

He concluded: “I find that the proposed development does not accord overall with the development plan.

“I have found no material considerations that would still justify granting planning permission. I have considered all the other matters raised, but there are none that would lead me to alter my conclusions.”

The developers had previously said their proposals were in line with aspirations to rejuvenate Sauchiehall Street “and re-establish this important city district”.

A spokesperson for the developers said: “We are of course very disappointed with the decision made by the reporter.

“We had very high hopes of delivering a state of the art building on this tired and dilapidated site that would have replaced the eyesore that presently exists and have helped stem the ongoing decline in this part of Sauchiehall Street.

“What is particularly disheartening is that the decision by the Reporter followed an extensive and indeed unprecedented consultation period, which included extensive discussions with the Glasgow School of Art, and concluded in an enthusiastic recommendation for approval by the professional planning team at Glasgow City Council.

“We now believe that as a direct result of the Reporter’s decision yet another key tenant is now vacating Sauchiehall Street in the New Year leading to the further degradation of this property and adding to the on-going decline of this great street in the centre of Glasgow.

“We have sought to engage with the City Planners early in the New Year to explore a possible way forward for the future of this site if indeed this is at all feasible.”

Mr Seaton’s judgement concludes: “The proposed development would undoubtedly have some economic benefits, and as student accommodation proposed on a city-centre site close to a number of campuses would make efficient use of existing infrastructure.

“However, I am not persuaded these positive aspects would outweigh its detrimental effects on the historic environment.

“As a consequence of these effects it does not show all the qualities of a successful place.”

The reporter’s decision is deemed to be final.

However, individuals unhappy with the decision made by the reporter may have the right to appeal to the Court of Session, but this can only be made on a point of law.

A spokeswoman for the GSA said: “The Glasgow School of Art welcomes the Reporter’s decision to refuse the Appeal for the proposed development at 294 Sauchiehall Street and specifically the recognition that while economic benefits of development are important these should not outweigh the detrimental effects of proposals on the historic environment.”

McAleer & Rushe unveils plans for new four-star hotel in Glasgow

McAleer & Rushe has signed an Agreement for Lease with Ireland’s largest hotel chain to deliver a new four-star hotel in Glasgow city centre.

The proposed c. 250 bed Maldron Hotel will come with bar, restaurant and business conferencing facilities and will centrally located on Renfrew Street adjacent to the Theatre Royal.

The £30 million project, which is subject to planning approval from Glasgow City Council, is projected to be delivered by mid-2020, representing Dalata Hotel Group’s first Maldron hotel in Scotland. Once construction is completed, Dalata will operate the hotel under a 35-year lease, subject to five-year rent reviews linked to the Retail Price Index.

This latest McAleer & Rushe project represents a long-standing partnership with the Dalata Hotel Group in delivering hotels across the UK and Ireland and follows the recent announcement of its sale of the planned Maldron Hotel in Newcastle to a major institutional fund, the UK Commercial Property Trust Limited (UKCPT).

Stephen Surphlis, property director at McAleer & Rushe, said the hotel’s strategic positioning on Renfrew Street will support Glasgow’s growing economy, positively contributing towards the surrounding urban environment and create construction as well as indirect employment.

He added: “The announcement of our latest lease deal with Dalata represents the growing confidence in key regional UK cities for hotel operators, particularly in Scotland. This major new four-star Maldron Hotel will be an exciting addition to this dynamic consumer and business hub.”

Glasgow’s Garment Factory undergoes £6m revamp

The Garment Factory office development in Glasgow city centre has achieved practical completion following an extensive refurbishment project undertaken by Castleforge Partners.

A category ‘B’ listed building located at the corner of Ingram Street and Montrose Street in the Merchant City Central Conservation Area, the Garment Factory is one of Glasgow’s most notable buildings. It provides 47,382 sq ft of high quality retail and design-focused office space over seven floors.

The £6 million refurbishment project, undertaken by a team which includes lead contractor ISG, project manager PMP and architect Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd, involved combining the restoration of the original features, including exposed ceilings, steel and brickwork, wooden flooring and ornate staircases, with the introduction of contemporary finishes throughout to provide a 21st century workplace.

An impressive over-sized entrance lobby/reception with two new high-speed lifts, on-site café and breakout space has been created on Montrose Street to serve the office floors above. Two new retail/restaurant units on Montrose Street and Ingram Street have been formed and offer quirky features including covered outdoor dining areas and a triple level spiral staircase, which is attracting interest from leisure operators and boutique breweries. The basement area has shower and changing facilities as well as lockers and a cycle storage area, event space, games room and communal kitchen with LED lighting throughout.

Works on the open plan office space over the upper six floors included a full overhaul of the suites with the introduction of new finishes in keeping with the building’s listed status.

The existing stairwells have been retained and refurbished and the building’s mechanical and electrical services have been replaced and upgraded. The exterior of the red sandstone building has also been conserved and the roof has been extensively overhauled.

Rachael Pittaway from Castleforge Partners said:  “It’s great news that we can announce we’ve achieved practical completion at the Garment Factory; it really is a beautiful building in a great location and we’re very proud of the finished result. We wanted to restore the building’s original industrial aesthetic and emphasise the warehouse/factory origins by making features of the cast iron columns and leaving services exposed to allow the original fabric of the building to shine.

“Our aim was to create a flagship office and leisure development in Merchant City and to provide a fantastic working environment for creatives and corporates alike.  We have invested significantly in the upgrade project and are confident the large, efficient floor-plates, which are rare to find in a building with such character and quality specification in Glasgow, will appeal to a wide variety of occupiers.”

Architectural practice Threesixty Architecture and digital services provider Incremental Group were confirmed as the first occupiers for The Garment Factory earlier this year.  Threesixty Architecture has taken the entire top floor, comprising 8,374 sq ft of space, and Incremental Group will occupy the whole of the fifth floor, extending to 8,353 sq ft.  Both firms are currently undertaking fit-out works ahead of taking occupation early next year.

Guy Morgan from Morgan McDonnell Architecture Ltd added:  “It has been a privilege to work on the revitalisation of this Victorian mercantile gem. We have been able to liberate the original layout and character of the building which had been hidden under years of unsympathetic alterations and subdivisions. We are very proud of the 21st century office and retail environment we have managed to create within.”

The Garment Factory is being marketed for let by Ryden.

Citizens Theatre revamp awarded £4.8m of lottery support

Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre has received a grant of £4.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to go towards its transformational redevelopment project.

The project will result in the conservation, repair and expansion of one of Scotland’s oldest, and much loved, working theatres. It will protect the physical asset for future generations whilst preserving and revealing the most significant parts of its heritage: the Victorian auditorium at the heart of the site; its rare collection of original 19th century stage machinery and a unique example of a working paint frame.

The redevelopment will also explore and celebrate the fascinating social and cultural heritage of the building and the company, increase public engagement and ensure ‘The Citz’, as it is affectionately known, continues to make and deliver world class theatre for the benefit of local, national and international audiences.

The redevelopment, designed by architectural practice Bennetts Associates, is a radical reworking of the existing building to provide new learning spaces, rehearsal rooms and a 152 seat studio theatre. It will also improve working conditions for staff and transform front of house spaces for greater use by audiences, participants and the local community. The project will be underpinned by 12 creative heritage focused activities including creating a heritage hub on the theatre company’s website; helping people to share their stories about the Citizens; providing volunteer opportunities; and bringing the work of the theatre to life through specially linked heritage productions, to wider audiences and visitors.

Commenting on the award, Judith Kilvington, executive director of the Citizens Theatre, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this significant support thanks to National Lottery players. This critical funding will allow us not only to preserve our Victorian theatre but also to tell stories which help to uncover and communicate the physical, architectural, social and cultural heritage of the Citizens Theatre to many future generations of theatre goers, participants, and visitors.

“With our increased heritage engagement plans, we will be able to attract new audiences and participants to the theatre for the first time and encourage a deeper level of engagement amongst our existing audiences by offering a variety of ways to explore the Citizens Theatre’s rich and multi-faceted heritage.

“Our redevelopment project is at the heart of the regeneration of the Gorbals and Laurieston and will create a vital cultural landmark and community hub for all the people who use the building.”

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “We are delighted to bring some Christmas cheer to one of Scotland’s oldest and best-loved theatres. Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the Citizens Theatre will undergo a transformation which shines a light on its incredible Victorian heritage while providing the modern facilities expected today. After 139 years of entertaining audiences, her future as one of the country’s outstanding production theatres is rosy.”

In June 2018, Citizens Theatre Company will move out of the Category B listed building, which it leases from Glasgow City Council, for over two years. Thanks to a partnership with Glasgow Life the company will continue to produce its ground-breaking work at Tramway and provide its Citizens Learning activities at Scotland Street School Museum. The Company will move back into its iconic Gorbals home in autumn 2020.

And finally… Action film showcases Redpath’s Glasgow projects

Construction firm Redpath has released a video which captures the locations of six live projects it is currently undertaking in Glasgow city centre.

The action video, filmed on a drive through the city centre, highlights the concentrated geography of the sites.

The projects include:

  • Buchanan Street – external refurb
  • Bath Street – conversion of St. Stephen’s House from office to serviced apartments
  • George Square – conversion of commercial unit at George House to create a new retail shell
  • Vincent Street – external refurb
  • Renfield Street – Culzean House office fit-out.

Having established the business in Glasgow in 2008, Redpath opened its Edinburgh office 2016.

The majority of its work comes from building consultants such as PMP, Doig & Smith, Trident, Knight Frank, Cushman & Wakefield, Gleeds, Colliers, Galbraith, Workman, etc.

Glasgow student housing plan given towering revision

Merchant Point revisedA student housing project planned for Glasgow’s High Street is set to be even taller than originally proposed.

Revised plans submitted by ADF Architects and Structured House Group show the Merchant Point project to be extended beyond the 12-storey plan lodged to Glasgow City Council earlier this year.

A view of the original plans (left) alongside the revised proposals

Following discussions with the council, the prominent corner elevation has been rounded off to provide a softer view on the George Street junction.

A retail element will still be included on the ground floor levels while a decked roof garden is now included.

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AS Homes launches new private homes arm as permission granted for £20m development

Paul Kelly, MD Briar Homes

Paul Kelly, MD Briar Homes

Family-run Glasgow social housing developer AS Homes (Scotland) Ltd has announced the launch of a new private homes arm as planning permission is granted for its very first development.

The new subsidiary company – known as Briar Homes Ltd – has just been given the green light by Glasgow City Council to build 73 new homes for sale at Boghall Road, Broomhouse, near Baillieston.

The first phase of the circa £20 million development, to be named Calderpark Gardens, will consist of 55 three and four bedroom detached homes which will be marketed by Savills.

An artist's impression of one of the homes

An artist’s impression of one of the homes

Paul Kelly, managing director of Briar Homes Ltd, said: “Before the recession, AS Homes built a mix of private and social housing, but during the tougher economic times we took the decision to focus on social housing. We believe that with the housing market in steady recovery, and more buyers looking for spacious family homes close to Glasgow, the time is absolutely right for us to branch out into private housing again. We have a very successful 20-year history of providing high quality, energy efficient homes and we have drawn on those many years of expertise when developing our plans for Calderpark Gardens.

“We are working with the Housing Growth Partnership, who are partnering with small housebuilders to support the sustainable growth of their businesses, therefore increasing the number of homes they can build with the ultimate aim of addressing housing affordability by increasing supply.

“To have got planning permission for our very first Briar Homes development is a very exciting moment for us, and we expect there to be a healthy demand for these homes when we launch the first phase for sale early in the New Year.”

Briar Homes Ltd also has land in place for a further programme of homes for sale across west central Scotland.

BAM wins £18m deal to deliver new Glasgow schools

Blairdardie Primary School

Blairdardie Primary School

BAM Construction has been appointed by hub West Scotland to build two new primary schools on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

Located on Liberton Street in the East of the city and on Kearn Avenue in the West End, Carntyne and Blairdardie Primary Schools will provide modern state of the art teaching facilities for local children, which, in the case of Carntyne, will include a multi-use games area that will be available for community use.

Designed by Holmes Miller, both projects commenced on site last month with completion of Carntyne scheduled for Autumn 2018 and Blairdardie following in Spring 2019.

The combined contract value is £18 million and funding has been made available through Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) which delivers public infrastructure investment on behalf of the Scottish Government through the hub network and Glasgow City Council.

Carntyne Primary School

Carntyne Primary School

Bruce Dickson, regional director at BAM Construction, said: “We are delighted to have been selected for this contract. The partnership between our local authorities, hub West and SFT is transforming Scotland’s school estate and creating buildings of importance for the wider community.”

Iain Marley, CEO of hub West Scotland, added: “We are proud to be delivering these schools on behalf of our Partner, Glasgow City Council and we are very pleased to continue our successful partnership with BAM. The projects will create high quality inspiring learning environments and bring significant benefits to local communities starting immediately during the construction period and continuing well beyond.”

BAM Construction has completed a number of primary and secondary schools in both East and West Scotland including the £27m Barrhead Secondary School for East Renfrewshire Council which was recently handed-over and Our Lady and St Patricks for West Dunbartonshire Council valued at £25m which opened to pupils in August this year.

Both of these projects were delivered in partnership with hub West Scotland.

Works commence on Glasgow active travel project

Albert AvenUE and Victoria Road 2Transport minister Humza Yousaf has launched initial works on a Glasgow City Council project which will deliver the first of its kind travel infrastructure in Scotland.

The South City Way (SCW) was the council’s winning design to the 2016 Community Links PLUS (CLPLUS) competition run by Sustrans Scotland.

Having impressed the judging panel with its bold and high quality design, the SCW will deliver a 3km segregated cycle and pedestrian route from Queen’s Park in Glasgow’s Southside to Stockwell Street in the heart of the Merchant City.

Local business owner, Shoaib Shafaatulla, deputy director of Sustrans Scotland, Daisy Narayanan, and Glasgow City Council’s convenor for sustainability and carbon reduction, Anna Richardson, joined Mr Yousaf to celebrate ground breaking activity.

In addition to the creation of world class active travel infrastructure in a densely populated area of Glasgow, the SCW will deliver a host of community, health and business benefits through its place-making approach.

Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted to join partners and local businesses in launching the SCW. Glasgow City Council has demonstrated real vision through its commitment to develop this major active travel route from the south side to the city centre.

“The expert panel who evaluated the 2016 bid was incredibly impressed with the high level of design and innovation shown by the SCW project. Whether you live, travel or work in Glasgow, this infrastructure will allow generations of people to better and easier enjoy the benefits of greener and healthier modes of transport.

“The Scottish Government’s Active Nation initiative is designed to encourage more of us to make everyday and leisure journeys sustainably – on foot and by bike. To achieve this vision, we are doubling our investment in active travel, from £40 to £80 million next year, demonstrating our commitment to make our towns and cities more walking and cycling friendly.”

Albert Avenue and Victoria Road 1Funded by the Scottish Government and run by Sustrans Scotland, the design competition delivers pioneering and game-changing projects which inspire public bodies in Scotland to design better places and spaces for people to live, walk and cycle in for everyday journeys.

Granted £3.25m of funding from the Scottish Government with Glasgow City Council match funding the investment, the SCW is expected to be complete in late 2018. On completion, journey times between Queen’s Park and the city centre are estimated to take 30 minutes on foot and 12 minutes by bike.

The first phase of works on Albert Avenue and Albert Road in the city’s Southside will see the sections of these streets that adjoin to Victoria Road transformed into attractive and pedestrianised public areas with cycle racks and green space.

Sustrans Scotland, deputy director, Daisy Narayan said: “Glasgow City Council’s SCW shows real ambition and vision towards improving conditions for people who choose to walk or cycle along a major commuter route, while also connecting a densely populated area with the city centre.

“Once completed, the South City Way will improve travel choices and accessibility for residents and visitors. It will also reduce congestion, improve air quality, enable easier use of public transport, and create places where people want to socialise, shop and spend time in.

“Our hope is for the SCW to become a leading example of how places that integrate people moving by foot, bike or public transport lead to stronger local economies and healthier people than places designed around vehicles.”

In addition to creating a segregated route between Queen’s Park and the city centre, central to the SCW’s vision is the redevelopment of Victoria Road as a place for sustainable walking, cycling, bus and rail travel.

Delivering such sustainable infrastructure will support smaller retailers in the area, create healthier communities and deliver safer, more attractive streets. Works on Victoria Road will commence in early 2018.

Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “Today marks the start of a fantastic and very exciting project that’s going to bring huge improvements to the area and the people who live here. There’s been extensive engagement with local communities, groups and businesses from day one and this will continue throughout the project.

“We want to see more people cycling and walking, and the right infrastructure is key in ensuring these options are safe, enjoyable and sustainable. Increasing the number of everyday journeys by bike brings benefits both to individuals and our city.”

Ground breaking activity comes after the recent announcement of the 2017 CLPLUS competition results that revealed all five finalist projects will be granted up to 50% of the project cost to deliver its proposed active travel design.

Glasgow City Council again was a deserved winner with its Woodside Mini Holland bid, alongside entries from Stirling Council, Highland Council and two projects from City of Edinburgh Council. These four councils will share over £22.5m in match funding.

Planning submitted for next phase of Pollokshaws regeneration

Urban Union - Pollokshaws daytimeGlasgow’s Pollokshaws area is a step closer to its next phase of regeneration after developers Urban Union submitted a planning application to Glasgow City Council.

Developed with the assistance of architects and town planners Barton Willmore, the application includes plans for 137 residential properties, landscaping and associated drainage and infrastructure at the site.

The proposal aims to create an urban village on the site located between Shawbridge and Pollokshaws Road and will provide the area with much needed sustainable family homes.

If successful, the property mix will include 77 new homes including two, three, four and five bedroom terraced properties, as well as 60 one and two bedroom apartments.

Neil McKay, managing director, Urban Union, said: “Since purchasing the site at Pollokshaws earlier this year we’ve been working closely with architects and town planners, Barton Willmore, to create a robust planning application which meets the needs of the local area.

“Drawing on our experience at Laurieston in Glasgow and our sites in Perth and Edinburgh, we are confident our proposals will deliver high quality homes which combine superior architecture and urban design. We eagerly anticipate starting work on the site in 2018.”

The site, which formerly occupied high and low rise blocks, is one of eight Transformational Regeneration Areas (TRA) in the city earmarked for regeneration as part of the Transforming Communities: Glasgow (TC: G) programme, a partnership between Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government.

TC: G’s programme aims to provide new sustainable mixed tenure communities through the provision of new housing, community facilities, green space and, where appropriate, commercial units.

Urban Union has already acquired the land and work is scheduled to start on the 5.74 acre site in summer 2018 for a period of around 36 months. The homes created will be a mix of terraces and apartments, with award-winning architects Barton Willmore leading the design on the project.

Head of Barton Willmore’s Architecture team in Scotland, Stuart Bishop, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Urban Union on the Pollokshaws development, further strengthening our design portfolio in Glasgow.

“Our team of architects, town planners and landscape architects have produced an extremely high quality design for a new urban village, which will provide a diverse range of private housing.

“It will offer a contemporary way of living, alongside vibrant public parks, with the added bonus of being a stone’s throw away from the superb Pollok Country Park.”

Various jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase of the project, with Urban Union committed to providing employment opportunities for local people.