First phase of Shawlands Arcade plans recommended for approval

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Shawlands Arcade is set to be transformed with over 300 new homes with there being mixed reaction to the plans

Major plans for over 300 homes on the Shawlands Arcade site have been recommended for approval despite almost 200 objections.

The first phase of the Kilmarnock Road arcade’s redevelopment would see a ‘Build to Rent’ scheme, with 329 flats, and almost 2,000 square metres of ground floor retail space. It is set to go before the city’s planning committee this week, and planning officials have decided the project can be given the go ahead.

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Objectors believe there is a lack of social housing in the proposal, which, it has been claimed, is too high and would exacerbate parking issues in Shawlands. The developer, Clydebuilt LP — a partnership between Strathclyde Pension Fund and Ediston Real Estate — has already secured planning permission in principle for the site, which it intends to revamp in two phases.

Overall, there could be more than 600 homes. Phase one includes 14 studios, 166 one-bed, 145 two-bed and four three-bed flats. The ‘Build to Rent’ development, which would range from five to 14 storeys, would have a “central plaza” and a children’s play area.

In total, 186 objections have been sent to the council, including from Pollokshields councillors Zen Ghani, Jon Molyneux and Norman MacLeod as well as Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council and tenants’ union Living Rent. A 365 signature petition opposing the plan was also submitted. There have been 68 letters of support from members of the public.

Supporters of the scheme believe it will be a “positive economic development” and increase housing supply. The developers have said the proposal would “realise the redevelopment and regeneration of a major site within Shawlands that will provide significant urban renewal, economic benefit and employment”.

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They said the current site has been “under-performing for over 20 years” and is “currently contributing very little to the vitality” of Shawlands. The ‘Build to Rent’ aspect allows “the phased redevelopment of the arcade in a manner that allows a significant proportion of the centre to remain trading”, the applicants added.

Cllr Molyneux, Greens, said he is supportive of the principle of redevelopment but the current plan “does not meet the needs of the local community”. He said it looks to “maximise a financial return, not to respond to local housing need” and a minimum affordable housing requirement should be delivered.

Bailie MacLeod, SNP, said the “lack of adequate car parking proposed for new residents and the loss of present customer parking at the arcade is another matter of acute concern”. Cllr Ghani, SNP, said constituents in “nearby properties are extremely worried that the height of the building will also impact the levels of sunlight their properties get”.

Living Rent’s objection stated the proposal would be “detrimental to the maintenance of a balanced community in the area” and would “put pressure on already stretched local services and infrastructure”. It added: “In the midst of a rent and cost of living crisis, a development that only proposes luxury flats with zero provision of social rents does not improve access to housing across all tenures.”

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The union believes rents will increase “pushing many low income renters out of Shawlands, all hallmarks of the process of gentrification”. Responding to the objections, planning officials stated the site is in “an area of high accessibility” so “a reduction in the residents car parking requirement of one space per dwelling can be justified”.

An agreement with the developers would ensure “the landlord shall not provide or offer to let any dwelling with a parking permit” and two ‘car club’ vehicles should be available to residents. They stated the plan meets the council’s “tall building’s policy” and offers “substantially more” amenity space than “would be provided for in a more traditional tenemental development”.

Officials also said “it would not be appropriate to apply an affordable housing policy” but this “does not rule out any emerging policy informing the future assessment of detailed proposals”. The level of rent is “not a material planning issue” but 300 new flats “would likely not have an inflationary impact on rent levels in the local area”, their report added.

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