A DECISION by councillors to refuse permission for apartments at a Glasgow Southside bowling club has been upheld by the Scottish Government planning appeals division.
City councillors rejected the proposal in November because of its design and loss of open space. There had been 600 public objections to it. Planning officials had recommended approval.
The planning applications committee had previously approved a proposal by local campaigners who want to turn the site into a community sports and leisure facility. The bowling club voted in 2019 to sell the land to Noah Developments
Government-appointed planning reporter Sue Bell stated: “Whilst I acknowledge the appellant’s desire to produce a design with its own unique qualities…I find that the design, scale, massing and choice of materials would result in a proposal that would appear out of character with its surroundings.”
Her report continued: “Whilst the proposals would result in the creation of an alternative community facility…they would also result in a loss of approximately half the area of the existing community facility.
“The question is whether the value that would be gained from public access to half of the appeal site is sufficient to outweigh the permanent potential community use of the whole site.”
To make that judgement required there to have been meaningful engagement with the community in terms of how it values the current and proposed facilities, but the reporter did not consider that had taken place.
The reporter stated: “I find that the absence of evidence of any attempts to attract other community uses for which the premises are suitable,
or evidence of engagement or assessment that the facilities were not needed for other community or recreational use results in the proposal failing to fully satisfy the criteria [in city planning policies].”
She added: “I am aware that there are alternative proposals for the site. Other than to acknowledge that these are evidence of the value placed on the site by members of the local community, these proposals have not formed any part of my considerations.
“The purpose of this appeal is to consider the acceptability of the proposals that are before me and not to mediate between different proposals for the site.”