Strathclyde Group Takes a Stand for Mackintosh Building

Strathclyde Group Takes a Stand for Mackintosh Building

AHSS delighted at outcome of potential planning blight in Glasgow

The following letter was sent to The Herald on Monday April 3rd in regards to plans for a student accommodation in front of Glasgow’s Mackintosh building. The group is delighted to say that plans for the seven storey building were refused by 12 out of 19 councillors.

You can see the letter on The Herald website HERE or read it below.

“Dear Sir,

Your recent article regarding the current state of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s organ casing (“Sturgeon to demand answers over fate of Mackintosh organ found lying in pieces”) underlines the need for constant vigilance in preserving our heritage.

On Tuesday 4th April Glasgow City Council will demonstrate whether it really does have the vision to safeguard our built heritage, when the Planning Committee meets to decide an application to build a large unwieldy block of student flats on the corner of Dalhousie Street, adjoining Mackintosh’s world-renowned Glasgow School of Art. The proposed box-like development in its close proximity and dominating height will substantially obscure the present south elevation of the Mackintosh building from view and block out daylight to School studios. The design concept is wholly unsympathetic to its setting against such an iconic building of world renown.

It is ironic that just when every effort is going into restoring the Mackintosh building after the fire, the Council seems intent on approving an immediately adjacent 180-bed student housing development, which GSA director Professor Tom Inns has strongly criticised. The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS), the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, the New Glasgow Society and other Glasgow heritage groups, have also lodged objections.

The AHSS is fully supportive of developments which are sensitive to their surroundings;  this proposal is detrimental to an iconic part of Glasgow’s heritage, and should be turned down.

It would also seem as if one section of the Council is working to undermine another. Whilst Planning is proposing to adversely affect part of our Mackintosh heritage, the excellent efforts of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau to attract international events to our city has chalked up another significant success. In June, some 600 delegates will be attending The Society of Architectural Historians’ Conference in Glasgow – only the second time this Conference has been held in Britain; the City Marketing Bureau specifically cite the Glasgow School of Art as one of the buildings that have helped to attract the Conference to the city.  It is unlikely that this group are travelling from the around the world to see yet another undistinguished student block.

The Planning Committee should therefore, on Tuesday, refuse the proposals for student accommodation at 294 Sauchiehall Street.

Yours faithfully,
Iain Wotherspoon

Chairman, AHSS Strathclyde Group
Tobacco Merchants House
42 Miller Street
Glasgow G1 1DT”