Planners suggest green light for Sauchiehall Street student flats
Proposals to build a student housing development adjoining the world-renowned Glasgow School of Art (GSA) campus have been recommended for approval by planning officials after the project was reduced by one floor.
Plans by developers Urban Pulse include the demolition of the former Jumpin’ Jaks nightclub on Sauchiehall Street and the inclusion of roof gardens, study rooms, common areas and a cinema room.
At street level it is also proposed to reinstate the retail and leisure units currently located on the popular thoroughfare into the city, as well as providing improvements to the public realm along Dalhousie Street.
Revised plans submitted by Haus Architects show the development will be seven-storeys high, one storey shorter than the original design which was unveiled in August last year.
The number of flats have been reduced from 185 to 181 while the alterations will also increase visibility of the Mack’s southern gable, increasing the amount of light able to reach the school in the process.
Haus said the move was made to placate the Glasgow School of Art which had voiced objections on the grounds of overdevelopment and “harmful impact” on Mackintosh’s masterpiece.
The architects said: “To increase the light and visibility we have removed the top floor of the proposal, which is now seven storeys of student residential above the ground floor retail. To strengthen the horizontal datum along Sauchiehall Street we have removed the step on the western side and levelled out the fourth floor to be consistent.”
A report to the councillors states the proposal “is acceptable in land use planning terms” and that the council “has given due care to the potential for the proposal to impact upon the character and appearance of the surrounding conservation area and setting of adjacent listed buildings”.
It adds: “The planning authority is satisfied that the design enhances the character and appearance of the Central Conservation Area and preserves the special interest of adjacent listed buildings. On the basis of the foregoing, it is recommended that planning permission be granted subject to conditions.”
The GSA said it is still “hugely concerned” by the proposals which as currently configured will still lead to light being blocked in half the south façade of the building.
GSA director, Professor Tom Inns, told Scottish Construction Now: “We are significantly concerned about the approval recommendation for a design which Historic Environment Scotland believe has not fully addressed the impact on the Mackintosh Building.
“We are two years into a meticulous restoration project which aims to bring this masterpiece back to its full significance for our students and for the people of Glasgow. It would be a tragedy if a decision were taken to support a development that will block light into over half the south elevation of the building, including studios and exhibition corridors, impacting directly on the students and visitors.
“The GSA is committed to growing Glasgow’s economy but this must not be done at the expense of one of the very assets that make the city distinctive. We hope that recognizing this councillors will call in the proposals for further work to ensure that the buildings can co-exist without detriment to the jewel in Glasgow’s Mackintosh crown.”