Build to rent developers appeal Speirs Wharf decision

Developers have lodged a bid to overturn the rejection of a major build to rent development on the banks of the canal near Speirs Wharf in Glasgow.

Build to rent developers appeal Speirs Wharf decision

Glasgow City Council’s planning committee voted in February 11:4 against an application by Hoxton Securities for 182 flats on a gap site between Sawmillfield Street and Farnell Street.

Planning officials had recommended approval for the Stallan-Brand-designed development but councillors’ refusal related to over-massing, having a residential development in an industrial-use area, and lack of green/play space.

Hoxton Securities now hopes the Scottish Government’s planning and environmental appeals division will overturn the decision.

Build to rent developers appeal Speirs Wharf decision

Its appeal statement argued: “It is submitted that the application in terms of its approach to design, scale and open space is appropriate for the site, the development type and surrounding area.

“In coming to that conclusion, weight has been given to the wider townscape with its varying building heights, the rising topography towards Dundashill, the flexibility encouraged for build-to-rent developments by Scottish Government guidance and the accessibility of the site to the city centre, canal embankment and sustainable modes of transport.

“In terms of the other material considerations, the proposed development will reuse a longstanding vacant brownfield site, catalyse wider regeneration, deliver jobs and enhance pedestrian access to the canal towpath (including for wheelchair users).

Build to rent developers appeal Speirs Wharf decision

“The north tower will also act as a landmark in a rejuvenated part of North Glasgow and the connections to the canal and surrounding spaces will transform the character of the streetscape. These material considerations are compelling and, it is submitted, outweigh the committee’s concerns.

“This is further supported by the weak, and in cases invalid, reasons for refusal contrary to the officer’s recommendation. The officer recommendation was arrived at based on extensive and positive co-operation and genuine engagement.”

It continued: “Should this development not proceed, at least £50 million (and potentially significantly more) of direct and indirect investment in the area and the resultant regeneration benefits will be lost; in such event the site is likely to remain vacant for the foreseeable future.”

Build to rent developers appeal Speirs Wharf decision

Described as the first step towards regeneration of the Garscube industrial area, Hoxton Securities had said the project will deliver a “national best practice example of canalside regeneration”. Two buildings were proposed — one with 20 floors, the other with 12 — either side of a landscaped central access ramp giving level access to the canal towpath.

Both buildings were to have roof gardens and would have contained a mixture of studio, one, two and three-bedroom flats.

A commercial unit, gym and a rehearsal space, as well as public realm improvements, were also to be included.

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