Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

This is REAL façade retention

I’ve came across varying degrees of ‘façade retention’ around the city, ranging from something as crude as a chunk of the original building being shored up after the surrounding structure was demolished (leaving it standing on its own, unconnected to anything else, and new buildings constructed on the land being), to the complete loss of the original structure, with a reconstruction of the original in modern materials, apparently intended to replace the original with something that looked similar (to the original).

But I recently chanced across something which really did retain the original façade, while replacing the background structure with an entirely new structure.

I was standing on the corner of St Vincent Street and Hope when I glanced through a ground floor window and, instead of seeing an office or shop within, saw ANOTHER building, INSIDE the one I was standing beside.

So, this is where I was…

St Vincent and Hope Street facade 3

St Vincent and Hope Street facade

And this was what I saw…

St Vincent and Hope Street facade 1

St Vincent and Hope Street facade interior

Not exactly what was expected, a steel framework in a gravel base.

St Vincent and Hope Street facade 2

St Vincent and Hope Street facade interior

The original façade can be seen to be fixed to the new interior structure.

I made the mistake of grabbing a pic of the front door at 123 St Vincent Street to identify the original building, but there was no name there (just smoker’s corner).

123 St Vincent Street

123 St Vincent Street

The real, or original, identity of the building had to be traced around the corner, in Hope Street.

Hope Street Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Buildings

Hope Street Liverpool and London and Globe Insurance Buildings

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12/09/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Vacant and derelict land IS being reclaimed, and historic buildings ARE being saved

What a difference a decade or two can make. Seriously.

It doesn’t seem that long ago I was swept up with the crowd of baying hounds that were the (very) negative critics of what I (as an apolitical type) will refer to merely as NOT the current Glasgow City Council. The attitude of what I’ll refer to simply as ‘My Forum Buddies’ was so derogatory that I had to leave, for fear of being associated with some of the more outrageous claims they made.

I won’t repeat any of the slurs levelled at named councillors back then, suffice to say it was alarming as a concerned outsider to see how many claims of ‘dubious’ business connections and interests appeared to be backed up by records dug up by moles.

There was also endless criticism of what then appeared to be near zero efforts to do anything about derelict land or buildings, or the alarming incidence with which building blocking up developments seems to suffer from the mysterious effect of spontaneous combustion.

Consigning that to history, archives, and documents that may be accessible via FoI inquiries nowadays, while I suspect the people who think there is some sort of ‘Magic Pot’ out there, full of money to pour over such land and buildings and stop the rot, will NEVER be satisfied, there now exist various department who are actively pursuing efforts to restore such land and buildings to service, and, unlike the zero budget situation faced some 15 years ago, there are now funding routes available to them.

Back then, organisation tasked with looking at such things had budgets that allowed them to investigate, record, classify, and recommend (or even issue enforcements), there was no access or organisation of any sort of funds which would allow work or purchases to be made.

Things really do look better today, 10-15 on from the days when there was a lot of looking, but no touching.

Two stories which just appeared together give a better idea of what is happening now, after years of apparent inaction, changes are being made.

Firstly, land:

SIXTY-four hectares of vacant and derelict land was returned to productive use in Glasgow last year — the equivalent of 90 full-sized football pitches.

This amounted to a 6.4 per cent reduction, from 1,069 to 1,005 hectares. These figures compared with reductions between 2016 and 2017 of 3.9 per cent and 42 hectares. It was the eighth year in a row that progress has been made.

There was also a cut in the number of vacant and derelict sites, from 761 to 721. Most of the city’s vacant and derelict land is in the north and east of the city.

Two-thirds of the land brought back into use was developed for residential purposes, with other uses including transport, recreation and leisure.

Nearly half — 349 — of the remaining sites are owned by the council. The council has drawn up a Vacant and Derelict Land Assets Plan as it prepares to make use of the land in the coming years.

Glasgow City Council will spend a £3.5million Scottish Government funding allocation on potential treatment and/or investigation of over 37 hectares in this financial year.

INCREASE In Amount Of Derelict Glasgow Land Brought Back Into Use

It goes on to list a number of proposals together with amounts – the amounts are not huge, but note my observation that the figure used to be ZERO.

Secondly, buildings.

I’ve already mentioned development at Buchanan Wharf, where two historic building (the only two left when development began, I think) remained standing, although decaying and largely unoccupied. It would have been easy for the developer to press for permission to demolish the derelicts, but that didn’t happen, and the developer has taken control of them, and will be remedying their condition, and reusing them.

RUNDOWN Grade A-listed premises in Glasgow City Centre could be set for a new lease of life.

The Campbell building at 71-75 Robertson Street, is mainly disused and appears on Scotland’s Buildings At Risk Register. The five-storey structure, which dates from 1901, was designed by architect J A Campbell.

It is beside the site of a proposed 14-storey office development in Argyle Street, the plans for which have been adjusted to allow sightlines of the Campbell building.

During discussion of the Argyle Street proposal at Glasgow’s planning applications committee senior planning officer Blair Greenock stated: “There is interest in the Campbell building.

“There is a gap side behind it which is likely to take a companion piece so, whilst confidential, we are discussing the reuse of that building.

“One would hope this investment [the Argyle Street office] would be a catalyst for that.”

To address concern that it might be deteriorating beyond repair, he said: “We are in dialogue with the owners. There was a previous listed building repairs notice served on one of the owners.

FUTURE Looking Brighter For Historic Glasgow Building Of National Importance

The eternal Naysayers would have us (you) believe that there is no concern for Glasgow’s older buildings, especially if derelict.

It’s true many are, or have been razed over the years.

But it’s also true (now that we see more detail reported) that many of those were in poor condition, possibly for years, and maybe even since the day they were built (shoddily).

You can’t keep EVERY old building, not can you please EVERY Naysayer, but you can, and should, investigate each case and decide on merit.

See, for example, the Buildings at Risk Register (not available years ago) now online for all to see, and trying to gain attention for those which could be available.

This Really IS NOT the Glasgow of two decades ago, where some claimed there was no problem getting access to a tasty site blocked by a derelcit, provided you had a box of matches.

These are the buildings on the Buchanan Wharf site, and also The Monteith.

Clyde Place Buildings Kingston House

Clyde Place Buildings Kingston House – Beco Building behind

 

The Monteith

The Monteith – converted from hostel to flats

Both sit in the midst of land which has lain derelict and vacant for years, but which was taken over for redevelopment for a mix of business and housing recently, and would have been easy to clear and raze completely, rather than have the existing building retained, repaired (or had conversions made over the past decades reversed), and then redeveloped as part of the redevelopment of the area.

Another very recent example is 50 Argyle Street, said to be beyond saving due to deterioration after being surveyed years ago, and recommend for demolition as the only option, recent re-inspection (and I suspect revised methods and techniques which are now available as options), have led to this building being part of new development which will retain the structure.

Apparently that scaffolding, added to allow horrible adverts to be hung from the structure, allowed inspectors access they couldn’t get during earlier surveyors, and let them carry out a more detailed inspection of areas they couldn’t get to otherwise.

50 Argyle Street B

50 Argyle Street B

30/08/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Interesting – Was the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce based on my thoughts?

Just for fun, I thought I’d ask that question in the post title after seeing a news article about the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce.

In this recent post: Derelict Meadowpark Street up for development I suggested:

This is the sort of site that developers should be tackling, which had buildings in place, but for whatever reason have been razed, then left derelict.

I really don’t understand why (although I obviously don’t know the details of individual locations such as this, or the costs associated with them) developers seem to find the need to go after sites with existing buildings on them, which can attract local hostility with news of demolition in advance of new build.

If I was in the fortunate position of being able to commission builds, I’d run around and snatch all the gap sites such as this if they were available.

So, it was intriguing to see this:

Derelict land in urban areas could be used to create the next generation of allotments or city farms to increase local provision of fresh food, a report by a new taskforce has recommended.

Gap sites are described as a “persistent challenge” in Scotland but experts believe that bringing them back into use could help tackle social inequalities.

Derelict land in Scotland could be used for new generation of allotments

The article’s worth a little read, as it goes some way to explaining the puzzle I posed in my original post, as to why these sites are not picked up.

It seems it’s really just down to their having become ‘invisible’.

Having lain unused for so long, developers just can’t ‘see’ them, and go looking for something new, in the (probably mistaken) belief that a new site will be better than an old site.

It seems to me that is an ideal opportunity for one of those sessions I recommend when it becomes obvious those involved in making decision have lost all contact with Common Sense, and they need someone to take hold of them and bang their head together (literary, or figuratively, whichever works) to wake them up, and get their brains started.

Somebody really should – it might stop things like this being created.

A lovely flat piece of ground that has been like that since the locals were made ‘most annoyed’ as their Community Hub was razed to make way for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It hasn’t been used for anything, and their hub was forcibly installed in an annexe to the Emirates Arena.

After all that, it was almost closed down as Flagship 2014 Commonwealth Games ‘Legacy’ sinks

Dalmarnock Community Hub Site

Former Dalmarnock Community Hub Site

We’ll see if the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce comes up with anything in the months and years to come, or if it just fades away.

While I detect a will for change, I also see many projects which suggest, to me at least, that those behind them are still too keen to see something ‘New’, rather than something ‘Reused’.

They’re far too keen to be ‘First’ on a virgin site, and it’s almost as if they see not being first as some sort of ‘Second Class’ or downmarket stigma.

21/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

So, this old bank building WAS saved after all

Remember the old building I mention in Remember this Argyle Street building?

Seems it finally managed to go from an irreparable ruin that couldn’t be saved to Glasgow latest conversion to flats.

While the good old naysayers generally make their usual chant of ‘No No No’ regardless, I suspect only the most stubborn wouldn’t break the habit for this.

PLANNERS have agreed that a B-listed Glasgow City Centre building — once assessed by structural engineers as “incapable of repair” — can be converted into flats.

Four years ago plans were lodged to knock down the former commercial premises on Argyle Street at Miller Street and build student accommodation; it was only after the building was used as a giant advertising space that it was realised it could be saved.

A document submitted to Glasgow City Council by ZM Architecture explaining the new development stated: “In 2015, the previous owners proposed to demolish the building and the justification for this was based on detailed findings and a structural /economic assessment of the repair works needed to deal with a corroded structural frame.

“The scaffold that has been erected around the building for advertising…has allowed our conservation team with engineers David Narro Associates, to make a detailed independent assessment of the issues highlighted and the conclusion we are reaching is more favourable and that the building can be saved.

“Scaffold access has allowed tests to be carried out, a full stone fabric condition survey and structural frame opening up. This work is ongoing and a detailed stone enabling contract is to be organised so that full refurbishment of the façade can be undertaken with known risks and methods for stone replacement and treatment for frame conversion.”

FLATS Conversion Approved For Historic Glasgow Building That Was Under Threat Of Demolition

Retail space will continue in the ground floor and basement, while three flats will be created on each of the remaining levels.

Also…

If you ever follow my advice and “Look Up!” while walking around the city centre, you might have noticed a trend where many existing buildings have gained an extra floor, added to their roofs.

This is often grey, set back from the edge, and sometimes has sloping sides, all factors apparently intended to make the addition relatively invisible from the ground (unless you’re looking for it).

This conversion is no exception to this apparent ‘rule’, and explains why this is a common feature…

Remodelling of the roof profile is proposed under the new scheme. This involves a raised single storey element being added at the eighth floor for equipment space, and an extended upper level to create a ‘penthouse residential unit’. The front section of roof would become a private terrace “framed by a new formal elevation giving the building a new terminating storey.”

So, now we know – we’re not imagining it.

They’ll even be fixing the back of the place, which is currently visibly deteriorating.

A new element in a contemporary style would replace the existing brick rear section which is in poor structural condition.

The old place…

50 Argyle Street And Miller Street

50 Argyle Street And Miller Street

Now that the plans have been given the go-ahead, we’ll be spared the sight of disgusting sights like this…

eBay Glasgow Weegie Advert Howler

eBay Glasgow Weegie Advert Howler

Find some BETTER views than that thing in this old post about the building…

50 Argyle Street – Derelict Bank of Scotland plus more murals

50 Argyle Street Panel 1

50 Argyle Street Panel 1

21/08/2019 Posted by | council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

St Enoch joins High Street in the ‘Revamp Game’

I’ve been following the plans and changes intended to ‘waken-up’ the High Street area of the city, and see that the St Enoch area is joining in with similar aims of revamping the area.

Described as an area which starts at the junction between Saltmarket and Clyde Street, near Glasgow Green, and includes the cross-roads between Argyle Street and Buchanan street in the city centre, that means it extends the area being covered by the High Street (Saltmarket) plans already underway.

This was a busier area in years gone by, but as the various shops which once looked onto the River Clyde disappeared, and were replaced by hotels and offices (not forgetting the bars and similar that once lived there too, but disappeared completely over the years), the street along the river became deserted and very quiet.

Even St Enoch Square, which I can recall was fairly busy as the St Enoch Centre spilled its visitors into the space, has become something of a desert in more recent times, as the shop there became less interesting to most people. There are still some there, but without naming any in particular, I’d describe them more as special interest than general interest, so not attracting a lot of people there. I don’t think there’s one there I would ever enter.

Overall, it’s very bland and featureless, and only become busy when there’s something happening, such as the Christmas Market, or the occasional fairgrounds that set up occasionally.

We’re now halfway through a £900,000 public consultation on the future of the St Enoch district.

And that means there is still plenty of time to have your say on the ambitious plans to transform the banks of Glasgow’s River Clyde , in a bid to connect key parts of the city.

The area spans that which starts at the junction between Saltmarket and Clyde Street, near Glasgow Green, and includes the cross-roads between Argyle Street and Buchanan street in the city centre.

Glasgow City Council presented proposals for the massive revamp in June, before launching the 12-week discussion.

Council leader Susan Aitken said: “The St Enoch District is one of the most historic in our city centre, but its true potential just hasn’t been realised.

“However, these new proposals – which reconnect the community with the River Clyde – have the potential to absolutely transform how people see St Enoch as a place to live, work and socialise.

Those wishing to take part in the consultation have until October 27 and can do so by visiting Glasgow City Council’s Consultation Hub here .

After this period, the plan will be brought back to the council’s City Administration Committee for formal approval.

The draft St Enoch District Regeneration Framework can be found here .

Massive revamp planned for St Enoch area – and there’s still time to have your say on ambitious plans

This view from Saltmarket on the right, almost reaching St Enoch Square on the left, is part of the area mentioned.

As a ‘tiny’, I liked the occasional trip which included this as part of the wander. It was also where the RNVR Carrick was moored (when it wasn’t on the bottom of the Clyde 😉 ).

Now a hotel (the building in the centre), it used to be tenements with ground floor shops, and my favourite shop there was a car accessory shop.

By the time I’d changed from pressing my nose against the window, to a potential customer with a car and money in his pocket – it had gone.

As had all the other shops, along with all the people that used to go there.

While it’s true that many people can be found there today, it’s also true that they are only passing through, and have no real reason to be there, unless it’s a half decent day, and they’re relaxing on the grassy river bank.

However, for the moment at least, that’s really the only reason for being there.

Clyde Street From Sheriff Court

Clyde Street From Sheriff Court

04/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

East end set to get second Aldi store – this time in Forge Retail Park

News this week of a second Aldi store to join the one that finally opened in the area a few months ago.

While it’s been nice to have the Shettleston store, I have to say its very ‘domestic’, by which I mean it has plenty of food, but (to me at least) appears to favour stuff for babies and families when it comes to the non-food items, and I find I still end up travelling into Glasgow (city), Rutherglen, or Cambuslang, if I want to get my hands on any of the more technical items they have on offer.

The stuff does appear, eventually, by which time I’ve usually got anything I want from those other stores.

I may be wrong, or imagining this, but it will be interesting to see if the Forge store is similar, or not.

Be easier to get to.

The article suggest Aldi are to take ove TWO units for their new outlet.

I wonder if this means they’ll be taking over the former Maplin and Poundworld units?

NEW Glasgow East End Aldi Supermarket Can Go Ahead

Maplin and Poundworld side by side

Maplin and Poundworld side by side

Might explain why I saw one of them open a while ago.

Being surveyed?

Forge Retail Maplin Open Door

Forge Retail Maplin Open Door

That said…

I should probably also note that there’s a larger unit to the left of Maplin.

It’s been sitting empty for even longer – so long, there’s been time to remove all the signage which identified the previous tenant.

I have no idea who that was, other than a recollection that it wasn’t the sort of place I’d even look in the window of, let alone walk through the door.

Ah! According to records, it was a Next Clearance outlet.

30/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Vinicombe Street garage survives

I actually did have reason to visit this building when it was one of Arnold Clark’s parts departments (after a deer tried to wreck my car one night).

Then got a surprised when the place closed very soon after, and it looked as if the building, a former garage for lucky residents when it was built, was going to be lost.

It got lucky after a while, and found a buyer, even it seems some locals weren’t too happy.

While I can understand not wanting a chain (I have no time for them), I’m also a realist, and the amount of money needed to repurpose a building like this is not going to trivial. The typical ‘Greasy Spoon’ owner isn’t likely to have the cash to splash on launching a new venture AND redeveloping and restoring the building.

Let the chain spend its money on that – then force it out of business and let a worthy local take over!

I just happened to walk past a few days ago, in the sun, and grabbed a quick pic – the place isn’t quite open.

Vinicombe Street Garage Redeveloped

Vinicombe Street Garage Redeveloped

Read more on the background, local thoughts, and find an interior gallery here:

Hillhead – First look inside new Nando’s in historic west end garage

For some reason, as I write, ALL the Scottish historic building lists are offline (or I’m being denied access?), but this independent list is working fine, so it has more details of this building’s history:

24 Vinicombe Street, Former Botanic Gardens Garage – A Category A Listed Building in Hillhead, Glasgow

29/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bailliston surprises

Sometimes, even I don’t realise how long it may have been since a route change meant I don’t see some places for a while.

I had no idea I hadn’t haunted Baillieston’s Main Street for so long that there had been time to open a new shop, and do some building work.

First up was the former ice cream parlour (a short term move that didn’t stick when the venue went back to the smaller shop it lived in, in the midst of the busy section of the main street) which occupied what had been an electrical retailer for years.

Now, the place has ‘gone to the dogs’ 🙂

Baillieston Dog Grooming

Baillieston Dog Grooming

I couldn’t resist a closer look at the weird hand symbol over the door – I’m trying NOT to imagine what it means they do to the poor dogs.

Baiilieston Main Street Dog Grooming Hand

Dog Grooming Hand

While I knew the shop had been taken over ages ago and was just waiting to see what arrived, I had no idea about the following, which was completely unexpected.

I don’t think I ever saw these buildings in use, or if I did, it was so long ago I have no recollection whatsoever.

Unlike the old police station which used to lie adjacent, they have survived decades of dereliction, while the old police station only stood for few years once ‘The Force’ moved out.

The little one in the foreground just decayed quietly, but the taller one behind did feature occasional ‘For Sale’ signs, and even enjoyed the odd ‘For Sale by Auction’ sign over the years, but the only interest it ever seemed to get was from the pigeons which took it over, and lived there once the windows had been smashed.

I’ve always been amazed they survived from year to year, and look set to be there for years to come once the refurb is complete.

Baillieston Main Street Redevelopment

Baillieston Main Street Redevelopment

 

10/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Lauriston House may finally have found a future

Lauriston House is a building I’ve been watching for years, and last mentioned in February of 2018.

That’s roughly the date of the pic below, which could have been taken yesterday. I saw it recently, when taking pics of the ever taller buildings growing across the river.

When I mentioned it back then, there were rumblings about its future, but it’s taken this long for more detailed information to appear.

It’s also one if the reasons I’m usually disparaging of those who complain about building not being occupied or reused, or whine endlessly about the council not taking them over and magically filling them with… something (they never say what, or who will pick up the tab and pay the bills).

If a building like this can’t find a willing owner, what chance those that are not as desirable, or in as good condition?

Described as being possibly the most ornate Georgian townhouse in the UK.

And it is in good condition, having been acquired by the Strathclyde Building Preservation Trust who made it wind and watertight, and carried out substantial repairs with grant aiding from a number of sources. But, couldn’t find a use or owner (about twenty years ago).

See it’s entry in the Buildings at Risk Register for the full history.

Laurieston House Carlton Place

Laurieston House Carlton Place

Now, it could become 11 managed apartments with  a mixture of one, two, and three-bedroom units:

A DEVELOPER has applied to turn a “nationally significant” building in central Glasgow — that has been vacant for around 20 years — into “elegant” serviced apartments.

Laurieston House in Carlton Place is described as “arguably the most ornate Georgian townhouse in the UK.” A proposal for “adaptive restoration” of the property has been submitted to Glasgow City Council.

A statement included with the application explains: “The building is owned by MMLL Apartments Ltd whose proposals are to carefully transform these unique townhouses into elegant apartments — part of the city’s rich mix and offer for a growing business and tourist market.

“Laurieston House has been designated with a Category A listing status and is of national significance, forming part of Carlton Place, a twin-set of very long and dignified neoclassical terraces begun in 1802 (completed 1818). It is a rare and primarily intact and unique example of a Georgian townhouse.”

The statement continues: “The proposals for Laurieston House are well-timed and chime with the city’s future vision to re-establish the north/south link combining the old and new Laurieston as a singular and connected place with its own rich mix of uses and ‘South Bank’ riverside identity.

“The proposals will not diminish but will seek to add to the building’s significance, where the varied series of original and new spaces can absorb and be enriched by a variety of contemporary interventions providing comfortable residential accommodation.

“These proposals have the potential not only to adapt this much-loved building for contemporary use but to provide for its sustainability as one of the nation’s finest interior residential volumes.”

SERVICED Apartments Proposed For A-Listed Glasgow Townhouse Empty For Two Decades

Be interesting to see how this goes once the planning department has analysed the application.

A listing means originality remains paramount to any work carried out, and I hope that phrases such as “adaptive restoration” aren’t signals that the developers is seeking to circumvent the rules.

This usually fails if they try to be too clever, and the application can be thrown out quickly if it involves too many changes to the original.

Fingers crossed though, as this place is still decent despite the time it has not been in use, and that means redevelopment should be easier now, than after another twenty years.

Update

Not really so much an update, more of an amusing aside.

This article really just goes over the same material, but interestingly relocates the building from Glasgow city centre to… Clydeside!

While it could be argued that the building lies by the side of the River Clyde, I think most people associate Clydeside (with a capital ‘C’) to be associated with that area of the River Clyde where the shipyards were concentrated, and is closer to Clydebank than the city centre.

The Clydeside property has been left vacant for years, but could soon be turned into residential accommodation.

A historic Glasgow building on the banks of the River Clyde could soon be brought back to life.

Historic Clydeside building Laurieston House set for redevelopment

Far be it from me to refer this as yet another ‘gaff’ by a supposedly local and knowledgeable media source, but it has to be said it is one of an increasing number of articles seen recently, either containing uncorrected and glaring typos which should have been caught in proofreading, or make statements that may be questioned as regards their accuracy.

The bad news (for me at least) is that those ‘nice’ people at WordPress have made yet another negative change to the blogging system, and recently removed the grammar and spellchecker, which was pretty good – and free as part of the system.

WordPress really is going downhill these days, and I’d be off in a moment had I not used it for so long.

08/07/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

Looks like St Peter’s has reached the end of the innovative thinking road

It’s remarkable how many things seem to happen whenever I have to ‘drop out’ for a few days, on this occasion, probably the most significant news about the future of St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross.

Built in the 1966 (commissioned 1958), as an innovative design based on the then church’s teaching philosophy, it was rendered obsolete only a few years later as the church changed its thinking and closed during the 1970s as the numbers attending fell, and was deconsecrated in 1980. The remains were A listed in 1992.

Unfortunately, the structure’s relatively isolated location meant it suffered numerous attacks from vandals, whose cumulative attention over the years led to the almost complete and total destruction of the interior, with even the stone altar being attacked and broken.

Not forgetting the weather, which maintained a relentless 24/7 assault on the structure. It may be referred to as a concrete building, but anyone involved in architecture or building understands that’s a gross oversimplification, and there were plenty of materials that would quickly rot or decay once the rain reached them, and accelerate the rot once occupation and maintenance of the building ended.

While there are many who cared, and even others who were able to initiate plans to re-use, or even preserve the structure over the past decades, the stark reality is, or was, that the place is huge, and was commissioned by a body which had significant financial resources to play with.

While I’ve watched those plans appear and disappear over the years, and would have been happy to see any of them succeed, even if only partially, again, reality was always in my mind, and I never really expected any of them to succeed.

Now, after almost thirty years of such efforts, it seems as if the end of the road to any sort of recovery for the structure has been reached, and  failure of the most recent effort to use the remains for some sort of purpose (arts organisation NVA planned to turn the site into an arts venue and cultural centre, spent  about £3 million trying to make the building safe and remove hazardous materials, but closed down last year when a  funding bid was unsuccessful) has signalled an announcement that the remains will simply be rendered safe, so they won’t present a danger to the public.

The numbers reflect the reality I referred to…

But hopes of that happening have been halted after Historic Environment Scotland estimated that addressing it would cost in excess of £13m over 20 years to just maintain the building and make it safe for public access.

The Scottish government has now declined the request to take the building into state care, blaming increasing pressure on public resources.

However it offered to “facilitate discussions with key partners about St Peter’s future”.

Artist Angus Farquhar – who tried to restore the building – said Scotland had “turned its back on the 20th Century”.

Like many idealistic views, unfortunately they don’t come with bottomless wallets, and expect others to pay for their ideas.

As I have said about the many buildings others whine about being left unused after becoming abandoned and derelict, if they were so good, people would be flocking to take them over if they were so desirable, and not simply ‘money pits’.

Even charitable groups and trusts need to have some sort of reason and justification for existing, even if relying on non-profit funding.

Read the full statement in this article:

A-listed Cardross seminary will be left to ‘decay’

It’s sad reading in a way, but until there’s a great big pot of magic money that can be used to fund ALL such projects, the reality is that there will be winners and losers as they all fight for a share of what is available.

See also:

The future of a disused A-listed seminary in Cardross is at risk after the Scottish Government declined a request from the Catholic Church for the building to be taken into state care.

A report from Historic Environment Scotland into St Peter’s Seminary – commissioned by government ministers – estimated that the challenges of maintaining the building and making it safe for public access could cost more than £13 million over 20 years.

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture Fiona Hyslop has written to the Archdiocese of Glasgow, offering to arrange a roundtable with any interested parties to discuss the report and any alternative solutions available.

Ms Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government has no choice but to accept the recommendations from Historic Environment Scotland not to take St Peters Seminary into state care, due to the risk and cost to the public purse it would entail to the detriment of other properties in care.

“We accept the report’s analysis that the only reasonable way forward for this site would be ‘curated decay’ and I plan to convene a meeting with all key partners to see if there is a way forward collectively to deliver what looks to be the only viable option for St Peters.”

Future of St Peter’s Seminary at risk as building not to be taken into state care

The title of that article would be funny if it were not so sad (suggesting that the future of St  Peter’s seminary has somehow suddenly become ‘At Risk’).

Specter of St Peter's

Specter of St Peter’s

The above pic introduced an article on the seminary:

St Peter’s Seminary as seen by ‘Sometimes Interesting’

Who knows?

This could be the best thing that has happened.

It might even have been better had this route been taken years ago, when the remains were in better condition, more complete, and the vandalism had not been so advanced.

Had the site been tidied sooner, made more accessible, and been more inviting to normal people, perhaps their increased presence  would have kept the human dross that made the place their home for so long might have gone elsewhere.

04/07/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, Lost | , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering Glasgow city fathers’ original wisdom on building height – apparently now long forgotten

Sadly, I can’t remember what I was reading when I saw this note, but I was doing some research on Glasgow’s tenements when I came across a line which stated that the appearance of Glasgow’s well-proportioned streets was no accident, or chance happening.

It stated that as Glasgow moved on from its collection of cottages and ramshackle buildings, and developed its sandstone buildings, civic buildings, and wealthy merchant’s homes, the city fathers of the day had decreed that new building would be in the order of 4 or 5 storeys in height.

That probably still gave some leeway for interpretation, since I didn’t come across anything which defined the height of one story.

While I don’t claim any originality for the thought, I found myself in agreement with a report I tripped over a while ago (not about Glasgow), where the point was being made that a series of riverside developments which had been allowed to take place over the years had led to the riverfront being effectively closed off to anyone who was not a resident of the high rise accommodation which had been constructed there, or an employee in one of the accompanying high rise office blocks.

A further point was made that views of the river were consequently being increasingly denied to those visiting the area, as was access to any parts of the riverside, or riverbank owners of property or offices claimed was ‘Private’ and had blocked public access by installing fencing.

While development along the River Clyde tends to be on the side of the road across from the riverbank, it is already possible to find areas that have been fenced off, and some accommodation development has provided access, there are also areas where paths have been blocked, and access closed.

I’ve been watching the various demolitions and redevelopments taking place along Clyde Street, where it’s notable that each subsequent build on land cleared there is pushing the floor count and height up by a little bit every time.

Almost as if there was a plot (or conspiracy theory) to sneak the increases in by stealth, through the back door, in the knowledge that if anyone tried to get the current maximum approved, it would be noticed right away, objection filed, and permission refused.

I kid you not.

I took a series of pics last night (trees make it harder to pick one clear view), from the south bank of the river, where many older building still stand (albeit also empty and abandoned, with ‘For Sale’ or ‘To Let’ signs attached), to show what I have in mind.

You can see the steady progression in heights over time.

A new, and still taller, building has just been approved on the site where you can see a white building still standing (until it is razed) on the corner to the left of the suspension bridge.

As these are wide views, you can click to make them larger and see more detail

Ever increasing Clyde Street building height

Ever increasing Clyde Street building height

These media articles referring to the related planning permissions submitted over the above area include renders of the completed buildings, so you can can compare them to my pics to see how the increase  in height is growing over time.

Glasgow riverfront set for new ‘lifestyle brand’ seventeen storey hotel

This next one will raise the bar to 20 ‘levels’.

Does calling them levels rather than storeys make them smaller?

Glasgow hotel with rooftop restaurant set to transform city centre skyline

TWENTY-Storey Aparthotel With Glass-Sided Rooftop Restaurant Proposed For City Centre Site Beside Clyde

Unlike objectors, I’ve really got no issues with the buildings (usually going on vacant land anyway, or replacing building which have lain empty for years, with no takers), or their use. Businesses and economies change over time. That’s just reality.

I really am just concerned at the steady growth in heights, and how this seems to be sneaking in a few storeys at a time, every time a new building is proposed.

Dare I add that Glasgow is becoming a collection of sad, empty gap sites.

Maybe fill them first, with appropriate buildings, then look at building up, if there’s actually a need, rather than just satisfying some developer’s vanity or ego trip.

21/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

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