Scottish Government steps in to rule on Merchant City apartment plans

Scottish Government steps in to rule on Merchant City apartment plans

An aerial view from the eastern side of the proposed development

The Scottish Government has stepped in to decide if Artisan Real Estate’s plans for a major development in the Merchant City area of Glasgow can be approved.

Glasgow City Council ruled in favour of the proposal concerning 65-97 Ingram Street on a casting vote last month.

However, ministers have now ‘called in’ the proposal because of concerns about noise from events at the neighbouring City Halls and Old Fruitmarket venues on Candleriggs, reGlasgow reports.

Property developer Artisan Real Estate wants to deliver 109 new homes with ground floor commercial space on land which is currently a temporary car park. Planners had previously recommended approval but there have been around 140 letters of objection were received from members of the public and organisations.

Featuring four distinct buildings varying in height from four to six storeys, the properties have been designed by architects AMA studio to include a range of one, two and three-bedroom apartments and will benefit from communal landscaped roof gardens and terraces.

Artisan said the exterior façade for each building reflects the scale and architecture of neighbouring properties which vary in heritage and height. The proposed stepped designs, featuring modern sustainable materials, will enable communal roof terraces accessible on different levels.

At the heart of the development will be a publicly accessed landscaped garden courtyard. Artisan has appointed specialist landscape designers to ensure final proposals enhance the local biodiversity through raised planting beds featuring native pollinating species, trees, lawns, plots to grow vegetables, bird boxes and beekeeping on extensive private and communal roof terraces, alongside a combination of paths and seating areas.

The ‘garden oasis’ within the public courtyard space will also create a rich, natural experience for both residents and visitors with native wildflowers and planting, alongside relaxing seating areas, specialist lighting and public artwork sympathetic to the site’s historic setting and conservation status, as well as aligning with the existing Merchant City Art Trail.
A document issued by the Scottish Government reads: “This direction is given as Ministers consider that the proposed development potentially raises issues of national significance regarding the application of the Agent of Change principle.”

The Agent of Change principle applies to proposals near art venues and places the responsibility for dealing with any detrimental impact from noise on those carrying out the new development.

A Government-appointed planning reporter will now consider the case before giving a recommendation to Ministers, whose decision would be final.

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