DISUSED toilets in Cathedral Square, Glasgow can be turned into self-catering tourist accommodation, planners have decided.
City officials approved a change-of-use application for the building.
Their report stated: “The re-use of this building will help protect and enhance the integrity and character of the wider Central Conservation Area.”
They add: “The site is a standalone building and its conversion to a short-term serviced apartment will not have an adverse impact on surrounding residential properties.”
The two-bedroom property, which will be accessed via existing paths, will have inner secure railings to match the existing outer railings. Landscaping will be enhanced to provide some screening from the road. There will be signage to inform the public of the building’s use.
The prominent mansard roof will be re-clad in high quality rolled copper finishes and there will be a high level of natural light provided through roof glazing closely following the existing pattern of pitched rooflights.
A statement submitted to the City Council by the applicant — who has leased the building from Glasgow City Council on a 25-year deal — explained: “The Cathedral Square former public convenience is in a unique location, adjacent to both the cathedral and Necropolis, as well as within close walking distance of the city centre and all major transport hubs.
“It is an unusual and interesting building that would become a very distinctive tourist accommodation offer. It is proposed that it could be converted into a highly-individual short-term holiday let.”
The design statement continued: “The guiding concept behind this conversion is to be able to develop what is, in essence a ‘dispersed hotel’ where central management can oversee a city-wide network of well-located but unusual/idiosyncratic lettable spaces that convert disused building types from old retail units, public conveniences, disused electrical substations, redundant transport infrastructure etc and creates a network of short-term tourism letting that does not impinge on the city’s valuable housing stock and allows visitors to engage with the city in a much more immersive way than staying in a large hotel or guesthouse.
“We feel that re-energising existing built heritage, unsuitable for permanent housing, that has been overlooked, presents multiple benefits; from regenerating disused buildings, offering low-priced buildings to convert/reuse and creating unusual and characterful places to stay — something emerging tourism markets are demanding.
“The applicant already owns a Glasgow-based property management company as well as a developing series of unusual tourism developments across the west of Scotland. Therefore, they have the back-of-house infrastructure already in place to be scaled up as and when more properties are added to the network.
“In relation to the Cathedral Square site, we are envisaging that the converted building will appeal to a wide range of travellers. From business travellers attending conferences and events related to the adjacent hospital and universities to tourist visitors seeking larger self-catering accommodation very close to the city centre and all of its attractions as well as tourists using this as a base to visit a wider area around Glasgow.
“We would envisage a minimum of two nights booking and a maximum of ten days.”