Ministers to decide on historic Glasgow garage proposal

image captionThe garage in Glasgow's west end was built between 1906 and 1912

Controversial plans to demolish part of a historic garage in Glasgow's west end will be decided by Scottish ministers.

Arnold Clark Automobiles wants to turn the A-listed Botanic Gardens Garage in Vinicombe Street into residential, restaurant, retail and office space.

The proposal has been strongly opposed by some local people who want the 100-year-old structure left intact.

Ministers will make a decision after an independent reporter considers written evidence from interested parties.

Botanic Gardens Garage is believed to be the oldest motor garage surviving in Glasgow.

Designed by David V Wyllie and built between 1906 and 1912, it has a distinctive facade of green and white glazed terracotta tiles.

Arnold Clark has revised its plans for the site several times in the face of fierce opposition from local campaign groups.

The latest proposals would see restoration, refurbishment and structural strengthening of the main garage building on Vinicombe Street and Vinicombe Lane, as well as a large section to the rear of the building.

It is also proposed that a central section to the rear is demolished and rebuilt as it is structurally unsound.

The front element of the building, including the decorative tile facade and other important architectural features, would be retained, strengthened and restored.

The plans were narrowly approved by Glasgow City Council's planning committee in February subject to final approval from Historic Scotland.

The agency has now referred the application to Scottish ministers for final approval.

A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: "Scottish ministers have taken the decision to call in the application for listed building consent for works to the A-listed Botanic Gardens Garage.

"This application will now be passed to an independent reporter to consider with written evidence from all relevant parties. Scottish ministers will then take a decision on the application."

'Viable solution'

Arnold Clark said it was still committed to its plans for transforming the garage.

The firm's John Clark said: "We have worked with Glasgow City Council's Planning department, Historic Scotland and Glasgow City Council's heritage department for a number of years in order to create a viable solution for this building, and have followed all due process and have complied with the every request from Glasgow City Council and Historic Scotland.

"Our plans, commitment and financial investment is to create a long-term viable option for the building, retaining many of the exceptional architectural features, in particular the front section. We will continue to work together to achieve this."

Local campaign group Save the Botanic Gardens Garage believes, however, that the structure should be sold to another party that is willing to develop it without any demolition.

Spokesman Sam Maddra said: "This decision has vindicated what we have been arguing all along, that no good case for demolition has been made by the owners.

"We once again call on Arnold Clark to put the building on the market, at a fair price, to give others a chance to re-use the building in its current form."

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