A DEVELOPER that was refused permission to demolish a building in Glasgow’s West End and replace it with flats is trying to get the decisions overturned.
City planners rejected the proposal for a site at Fergus Drive and Wilton Street, near Queen Margaret Drive, earlier this year. Hundreds of people had objected to the plan which involved knocking down an empty office building and putting up a six-storey block containing 19 flats, six with two bedrooms and 13 with three bedrooms.
Officials gave numerous reasons for refusal including that, because of its “footprint, height, scale, massing and density”, the building would be “overdevelopment” of the site and so would “not respect its historic context but would detract from the special character of the Glasgow West Conservation Area”.
They said it had not been demonstrated that the building is “incapable of viable repair and reuse”. There would be loss of broadleaf trees which “contribute positively to the landscape character and visual amenity of the Conservation Area”.
Other reasons included lack of amenity space for residents; loss of privacy for a neighbouring house; and cycle storage not being well-designed.
New computer-generated images of how the development would look have been included with appeal documents
Now applicant Rossweir Ltd has launched two separate appeal bids — one to Scottish Government planning experts urging them to allow demolition of the building — and a second — which will be heard by councillors on the City Council’s review body — arguing that the flats should be given the go-ahead.
A document giving the grounds of appeal, states: “It is considered that the proposed demolition and replacement of the existing unlisted building would enhance the character and appearance of the Glasgow West Conservation Area by providing residential accommodation of a high quality design and with landscaping proposals to enhance the area, replacing the poor quality building which currently occupies the site.”
It continues: “The site is currently occupied by a two-storey building which is unsightly and in a poor state of repair. It is a flat-roofed roughcast box surrounded on all sides with Tarmacadam.
“Historic Environment Scotland did not object to the proposed demolition. The existing building is not considered to be of any value to the appearance and character of the Conservation Area.”
The report continues: “A comparison with the existing tenements on Fergus Drive demonstrates that the proposed development is less dense, and fits well with location, context, setting, scale and massing of adjacent buildings. The tenements at Fergus Drive and Queen Margaret Drive are built at a density of approximately 200 flats per hectare, compared with 144 flats per hectare for the proposed development.
“The proposed development would increase the amount of soft landscaping at the site by 257 square metres compared with the existing situation.
“This site is considered to be a highly sustainable location and one which can support a higher density of accommodation.
“The planning officer’s report of handling in relation to the application for planning permission acknowledges that ‘the proposed building
represents good design and materials’. Reference is also made in the report of handling to ‘generous accommodation’ and ‘satisfactory levels of daylight’.”
The document states that most of the quality trees — including all category A trees — would be kept. Seven category C trees (overgrown shrubs and windfall saplings) and one category B tree would be removed but replacement planting is proposed.
Nearly 300 letters of objection were lodged over the proposed development plus a 272-signature petition, also in opposition.
No date has been given for when the review body will consider the flats appeal. The Scottish Government’s planning appeals division aims to have a decision on the demolition in October.