GLASGOW planners have refused permission for a massive mixed used development proposed for the historic Govan Graving Docks and neighbouring basin.
Developer New City Vision, which owns the site, had applied for planning permission in principle for more than 700 flats, in blocks as high as 15 floors, plus a museum/heritage centre, restaurant, shopping and office space, and a 195-bedroom hotel.
City council officials have rejected the proposals for various reasons including failure to to preserve the site’s “special architectural and historic interest” and flooding concerns.
Their report states: “Whilst the standard of submission is surprisingly poor given the scale of development proposed and significance of the Govan Graving Docks, the submitted information provides enough evidence to determine that the proposal is not acceptable.
“As submitted, the scale of buildings proposed, their locations and consequential impacts upon the category A-listed Graving Docks and the significant potential to increase flood risk are such that the proposal could not be supported.
“The lack of quality analysis of the environmental impacts…would normally have resulted in the planning authority seeking to have the environmental statement amended however the response from the applicant with regards to the flooding and historic environment issues which we did raise with them was not productive. This, coupled with the wider unsuitability of the development principle in terms of national and local legislation and guidance, has led us to move directly to the refusal of the application.”
The report also states: “The difficulty with this application site is that the eastern part of it is comprised almost entirely of a category A-listed structure on which more than 500 flats are proposed across nine tall buildings up to 15 storeys in height.”
The flats were to be in three 15-storey blocks, five 12-storey blocks, a single 10-storey block and several lower blocks. Parking provision was “drastically insufficient for the scale of development proposed” officials said.
Glasgow City Council had consulted the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) three times over the application rather than just once as required by legislation.
The planners explained: “We have done this at the applicant’s request to investigate what scope there is for the development of the site given the flood risk issues identified in SEPA’s first response. SEPA have consistently maintained their objection in principle to the proposal.”
The dock site is considered to be “an outstanding graving dock complex without parallel in Scotland”. It was built for the Clyde Navigation Trust over a 30-year period from 1869 to 1898. The docks have been vacant since 1988. The only remain building is the former pump house, now deteriorating badly with its roof removed.
Harry O’Donnell, chairman of New City Vision Group, had stated in the application documents: “We believe that the transformational design will protect, celebrate and enhance the history, architecture and archaeology of Govan Graving Docks and the River Clyde for future generations.” The developer can appeal against the decision.
Last year, Ferguson Marine Engineering of Port Glasgow, owned by billionaire businessman Jim McColl, submitted a pre-application notice proposing to develop the graving docks and basin for ship repair and maintenance plus future phases including retail, restaurant, business, industrial, residential and leisure. No planning application has been lodged so far.