Law centre seeking court action over Mackintosh Building fire

Image courtesy of the Glasgow School of Art

Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and Kier Construction are facing legal action over the aftermath of the Mackintosh Building fire.

Govan Law Centre (GLC) said it is looking to identify public interest litigation on behalf of Garnethill residents and local Sauchiehall Street businesses over their “abysmal treatment” regarding the cordon currently in place around the property.

Works to stabilise the building is ongoing with shoring scaffolding on the east gable set for completion in the few days. Work on the scaffolding for the south east corner is also underway.

As a result residents and businesses have been unable to enter their homes and businesses for almost 10 weeks.

“Residents have asked if they can get even 10-minute visits with hard hats to pick up important items, or ask if builders can go in to flats to pick up important personal items for them. Requests have been refused,” GLC said.

The law centre said the council was responsible for risk assessment, the cordon and building control management.

Lawyers from Govan Law Centre held a meeting with representatives of Sauchiehall Street Inner Cordon Businesses and Pauline McNeil MSP on Monday.

Mike Dailly, solicitor advocate at Govan Law Centre, said: “Thirty-three households are displaced from their homes in Garnethill. Fifty-five Sauchiehall Street businesses – with 350 jobs – are under serious threat of going bust. All of these people are the lifeblood of the local community and they have been treated as an afterthought by Glasgow City Council.

“Glasgow City Council senior officers, Glasgow School of Art and privileged elites appear more interested in saving the Macintosh building than saving the community of Sauchiehall Street and Garnethill, which have been around a lot longer and are a special part of our city’s heritage.

“Ordinary residents and local businesses are suffering and have lost a lot of money. It’s unacceptable to be locked out of homes for so long. Residents and businesses no longer trust that the local authority is putting their needs first. Glasgow City Council cannot abrogate or evade their statutory building control duties, and allow the Glasgow School of Art to put its own interests before local people.

“Local residents have a legal right of respect for their home and family. Businesses are entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. The local authority exposes itself to judicial review and claims if it places the interests of the Glasgow School of Art before the community, and Govan Law Centre will explore every avenue of challenge available to the local community.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The council has acted under Section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 in order to protect life.

“Our priority remains getting residents and businesses back to their property safely.”

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