VERDICT In Old Sawmill Building Listing Appeal

17 October, 2023 | Listed / Historic Buildings

THE owner of a Victorian industrial building that’s under threat of demolition has lost his appeal against a decision to give it listed status.

Weiss Development Co. Ltd submitted a planning application for 124 Craighall Road, near Speirs Wharf, just north of Glasgow city centre last year proposing to knock the premises down in favour of 60 rental apartments in a five/six storey block. A decision from city officials is still awaited.

Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney MSP applied to Historic Environment Scotland to have the building listed and, after assessment, they agreed, giving it a C-listing.

Jonathan Weiss applied for that decision ton be overturned, arguing that “there is no historic, design or age significance to be found in 124 Craighall Road to warrant the building to have listing status”.

Government appeals reporter Lorna McCallum said in her report: “I find that the exterior of the building retains much of its
original design and character. While the interior has been altered, overall, it retains features of architectural and historic interest.

“The building contributes to the understanding of the social, economic and cultural history of the nearby Forth and Clyde Canal and the surrounding area.

“I am satisfied that it meets one or more of the criteria of special architectural or historic interest. Consequently, I conclude that the listing should be maintained.”

Mr Sweeney previously stated: “The City Sawmills at Port Dundas are an outstanding example Glasgow’s industrial past, of which we should be incredibly proud. As a city and as a population, we should celebrate our history and our heritage, including our industrial past.

“There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for demolishing it.”

Category C buildings are of special architectural or historic interest which are representative examples of a period, style or type. Historic Environment Scotland had said the building met the criteria for various reasons:

• It is a good surviving example of a late 19th century industrial office building.

• There is special design interest in the use of industrial brick with a high degree of detailing. The interior retains quality decorative timber finishes to walls, floors and fireplaces.

• The exceptional quality of the timber finishes reflect the building’s association with the historic timber trade, one of the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom in the late 19th century.

• It is the only surviving building of a once vast timber yard in north Glasgow.

• It is an important reminder of the city’s industrial past and in particular its historic association with the timber trade in Glasgow.

C-listed status gives the building extra protection but does not rule out a decision in favour of demolition.

A design document included with Weiss Development Co’s proposal stated: “The site was previously under light industrial use and at present the site is occupied by a two‐storey brick building (circa 1896) and a more recent brick extension (circa 1991) along with garages and workshops.

“The original brick building is showing evidence of settlement where cracking and sagging is evident.”

It was not “feasible or practical” to keep the building because of the level of remedial works required, the document stated.

The proposed flats

It continued: “Material choices have been predominantly informed by the listed buildings at Speirs Wharf through the use of brick, cladding to reflect the industrial and more recent business park while render is used to soften the and delineate the massing of the development.”

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