Early Warning System: Buildings under threat...

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Postby Fossil » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:50 pm

I worry about the Blind Aslyum On High St/Townhead -
We have a couple of threads about this On HG.

Is it still owed by NHS for Scotland? [make em an offer]

Alex can you get an update?

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Postby gap74 » Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:54 pm

Good call, Foss, and a boot in the arse for whoever allowed that awful car park to almost adjoin the building - what happened to the rule about new structures having to respect any listed buildings which they adjoin??
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Postby Fossil » Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:11 pm

its on the VM site also from 1901

http://tinyurl.com/s6kl2

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Postby glasgowken » Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:02 pm

Sorry to post this yet again, but the Subway Power House seems sure to get the chop, or fall down within the next few years.
I doubt anyone in officialdom will think it worth preserving. It'd be nice to get inside and get some photos.

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How can this charming wee hoose not find a place in your heart ? :)
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Bit ropey inside, ceiling falling in :?
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Postby Ally Doll » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:05 pm

I just noticed this article on the BBC website about the shortage of stonemasons in Glasgow - maybe we should all go on stonemasonry courses and lend a hand?!
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Postby Alex Glass » Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:09 pm

Ken can you give me the location of the old power house please.
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Postby glasgowken » Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:57 pm

Just a few doors east of Scotland Street School, Alex, on the same side of the street, you can't miss it :-)
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Postby Alex Glass » Wed Aug 09, 2006 5:05 pm

Thanks Ken
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Postby gap74 » Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:02 pm

Passed the former Kingsway Cinema in Cathcart (see first post on first page of this thread) today and the demolition squad have punched a hole in the sidewall of the auditorium, with heavy plant inside tearing the balcony out.

Could you possibly check this out Alex? I know planning permission and listed building consent was granted in June for total demolition, but it was on the condition that the contract for the flats replacing it was signed and sealed (application 03/02625/DC).

A new application (06/02195/DC) was advertised in the Evening Times two Fridays ago, requesting that this condition be deleted. There was a three week period for comments, still current, and I was in the process of finishing off an objection this week, but this now seems pointless as they are going ahead with the demolition anyway. Is this permitted?

Thanks,
Gary
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Postby Alex Glass » Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:13 pm

Hi Gary

I will enquire about this and get back to you when I have more information.
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Postby nodrog » Sat Aug 12, 2006 3:02 pm

Kingsway pics from today, demolition well under way...   

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Interesting comparison with this interior shot from last year; looks like someone's stripping out the nice doors & decorative bits above it...

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Re: Early Warning System: Buildings under threat...

Postby nodrog » Mon Aug 14, 2006 3:47 pm

The office of local MP Tom Harris, who had been previously been involved in this case, spoke directly to the head of planning this morning and succeeded in having the demolition stopped, at least temporarily, as they agreed that 'demolition was started prematurely'.

It is also currently unclear if the Royal Commission have yet had an opportunity to fulfil their statutory obligation to record the listed building prior to demolition.

Which is all quite amusing as Building Control told me today they issued a warrant for demolition on 2nd August and don't see a problem... :roll:
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Postby Fossil » Wed Aug 16, 2006 5:43 pm

Past it this morning and tonight Nuffin moving plant wise, but the back end and side wall are gone.

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Postby Socceroo » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:07 pm

Sorry nodrog, i don't get it. What was successful about getting demolition stopped temporarily, albeit if the demolition commenced prematurely.

All we have now is a partially demolished building which will be now classed as a dangerous building and given a demo order.

Minor victory or bigger bill for the Tax payer irrespective of the rights or wrongs of how the demo came about?

If the building was financially viable for another use, then someone would have developed it as they have done with many other old buildings in Glasgow during these recent times.

Sure there is a lot of injustices with regards to some lost treasures in Glasgow, but right now i am leaning towards a wee bit of natural law.

The conservation lobby in Glasgow has many facets but lacks leadership or direction, i would for one follow it if it was structured in the mean time by default natural law has produced a not too bad city with a lot going for it.
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Postby gap74 » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:15 am

The case of the Kingsway has been something of a long and bitter fight. It's not entirely about the cinema building itself, though, which almost by accident became the central focus of the fight. In a strange way, the architectural merit of the building became almost an inconsequential matter.

The original application to totally demolish was submitted in 2003, and was only decided upon by the council in June this year - they permitted it, with certain conditions.

It's a particularly complicated story. Over 100 objections were received, with only a quarter or so of those objecting specifically to the loss of the cinema.

The rest were disgruntled at the fact that this development was tied in with the loss of the large area of green space behind the cinema, used partially for allotments and as a general bit of open ground for dog walking etc. These objections came from national bodies such as Sport Scotland, Friends of the Earth, The National Playing Fields Association, the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, the Scottish Civic Trust and many others. There were also concerns about how this green space was altered in the local plan to become residential. Some folk were also annoyed at the fact that part of the land was being sold for the development by the council, and that they were therefore unlikely to reject any application to build on it.

On those grounds alone, this was a very contentious application.

In the case of the cinema itself, Nodrog and I are keen to point out that we are not always going to blindly and automatically defend any cinema structure from any kind of development or demolition. Had it been in decent condition, then yes, we would have actively sought and encouraged uses which did not involve demolition. But as it was, the auditorium was too far gone, thanks to water penetration from large holes in the roof. In this case, therefore, we opted to urge the council to insist upon the retention of the facade, as did Historic Scotland, at least initially.

What we most object to, though, is that a B-listed building can be allowed to fall into such disrepair. This is a structure that was listed only in 1993, and reportedly was still in good order with electricity in 1998, but which had been destroyed by mysteriously large and regular holes in the roof by 2004. Why were repairs notices never served on the owners?

For this reason alone, to us it seemed a case worth fighting. So you're a developer who owns a listed building that stands in the way of posh flats? Let it fall into ruin in only a few short years by not maintaining it, you'll soon get permission to completely demolish it on the grounds that it's already crumbling beyond repair, and is a public safety hazard. A dangerous unofficial precedent would be set...

So we tried to have the facade saved. And initially, Historic Scotland agreed. In the three years that it took to come to a decision, the developers twice tried to have building control condemn the building to emergency demolition, but to their credit, they insisted that only remedial works to remove loose render were necessary.

When the council finally decided to allow total demolition, and Historic Scotland decided to abandon their stance on facade retention, it was on the grounds that any new development that was forced to keep the frontage would be an "unacceptable architectural hybrid". Our interpretation of this decision is that:

1) It shows a lack of understanding of cinemas as an architectural type, as many of them are hybrids anyways - in this case, the facade has both neo-classical and Spanish-American elements. To not be able to make something architecturally acceptable from it is just the lazy, unimaginative and economically more lucrative choice.

2) Nowhere in Historic Scotland's guidance notes regarding demolition of listed buildings does it state that aesthetics or design difficulties should be a factor - rather, it is condition, importance and re-usability that should be considered. A case could be made for retainging the facade (although not the auditorium) under all three of those headings.

Unfortunately, we lost, a decision we accepted, albeit with despair. One small consolation was that it was a condition of the listed building consent that demoltion only be allowed once the contracts for the replacement building were in place. On July 21st this year, the weekly list of planning applications in the Evening Times had one seeking to remove this condition, with 3 weeks given for objections and comments. A little over two weeks later, demolition started, before the consultation period for the application was up, never mind decided upon. We sniffed around, and yes, they had jumped the gun, and work should not have been taking place until the application to remove that condition (which we had objected to for several reasons) was passed.

Hopefully, what this long-winded explanation (I did say it was complicated!) shows is that we were not just objecting for the sake of it, nor did we seek to have the demolition stopped just to be a spanner in the works. In both the original application, and the halting of the demolition, what we think are the main issues that we tried to highglight were:

1) Maintenance of a listed building, or rather a lack of it. We felt we couldn't let a developer argue that the listed building they own should be demolished on grounds of condition when that condition is their own doing, or that of previous owners.
2) Why are the council so reluctant to serve repairs notices on listed buildings in disrepair? The holes in the roof were clear to see for years.
3) Why did the decision, when it was finally made, go against the opinion of so many national bodies and individuals, including Historic Scotland? Why are Historic Scotland only able to persuade, rather than insist?
4) Why was the developer able to proceed with demolition when the outcome of a planning application upon which it depended had not yet been decided? Is there something wrong with the communications system between Development & Regeneration, and Building Control, the latter of which apparently issued a demolition permit on August 2nd? Is such premature action a standard thing amongst developers who are cocky about getting permission? Is there any integrity in a planning process that allows this before the deadline for objections has even passed?

These, we felt, were all bigger issues, and if stopping this demolition for even just a week (and we realistically expect no more!) helps to highlight any of the above, and to bring them to attention for ANY listed building under threat in the future, then we think we will have been justified.

Hopefully at least some of you agree, and now know that we aren't just rabble-rousing for the sake of it, nor are we fighting tooth and nail over an already half-crumbling, half-demolished cinema.

Gary
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