Ex-director backs call for Mackintosh restoration trust

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image copyrightPolice Scotland
image captionThe Mackintosh building was devastated by a fire in June just months before it was due to reopen

The former director of Glasgow School of Art says a trust should be set up to restore the Mackintosh building.

Prof Tom Inns said such a move would leave the board of governors free to run the world renowned school.

In a submission statement to the culture committee, Prof Inns said the rebuild after the 2014 fire took up a large part of his working week.

The iconic building was devastated by fire in June, months before it was due to reopen after a £49m restoration.

This time round Prof Inns, who stood down earlier this month, said the latest rebuild could cost in excess of £100m and take up to seven years.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe building was undergoing restoration works after the previous fire in 2014

He backed the suggestion of former GSA director Prof Tony Jones that a separate body should oversee the rebuild.

Prof Inns wrote: "Establishing such a trust would allow the board of governors and management team of Glasgow School of Art to focus on the task of running one of the world's top art schools, leaving trustees of an independent trust and its executive team the challenge of what will be one of Scotland's biggest heritage projects over the next 5 - 7 years.

"A Mackintosh Building Trust could be for the benefit of Glasgow School of Art but also for the benefit of others.

"Some form of Mackintosh Building Trust could be a game-changer for the development of Glasgow and the Sauchiehall Street area, boldly opening up access to creativity and the Mackintosh legacy within Glasgow."

Prof Inns noted a similar approach had been taken in Dundee with the development of the £80m V&A museum.

It was developed in close collaboration between the Universities in Dundee, Dundee City Council, the Scottish Government and other partners.

image copyrightPA
image captionThe board acknowledged the task of rebuilding the Mack was more challenging than after previous fire

Prof Inns added: "The V&A in Dundee is a museum dedicated to design, the Mackintosh Building should not be a museum but could be a centre of creative education for Glasgow School of Art and the City of Glasgow dedicated to all forms of creative practice and the celebration of Mackintosh's genius."

On Monday the board of Glasgow School of Art hit back at claims it failed to look after the A-listed Mackintosh building.

A submission to a parliamentary inquiry strongly defended its record following two devastating fires in four years.

In documents released ahead of an evidence session in parliament on Thursday, bosses denied claims of "systemic management failure".

MSPs on the culture committee have heard from architects and other experts but this is the first time those in charge of the art school have had their say.

In their written submission, the board members responded to statements from previous sessions - that they failed to engage with experts, were not transparent enough and had "monetised" the building.

An evidence session on 20 September heard of systemic management failures on fire risk.

One Mackintosh expert described the Mack building as a "fire-trap waiting to happen" while another former employee said everyone knew the building was a risk.

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