Decision delayed on plans for 500 student flats in Glasgow city centre

A decision on plans to build over 500 student flats in Glasgow city centre has been delayed after councillors called for a hearing to be held.

The plans for the student flats in the city centre.

Council planners recommended developer iQ’s proposal to knock down an office building and erect 527 flats on Bath Street could go ahead.

But local councillors and some residents believe the scheme should be knocked back as it would be “harmful” to the community.

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Glasgow’s planning committee met today to consider the project but opted for a hearing, where the public and developer will be able to be heard.

Bailie Josephine Docherty said: “This is a massive development in the city, and it affects lots of people, not only the student world but it also affects the centre of the city.

“I think it is so huge that it really has to go to a special hearing. I am very uncomfortable about the fact local residents seem to not have had much say in this.”

Local councillors, Bailie Christy Mearns and Cllr Angus Millar, have objected to the plan, and believe there is already too much student housing in the area.

Cllr Millar said he was pleased the committee had agreed to his request for a planning hearing “to allow the local community to be heard”. “I believe this development is in breach of city planning policy and student accommodation guidance,” he added.

Blythswood and Broomielaw Community Council were also among the nine objectors to the scheme.

However, planners believe the development would make a “positive contribution” to the community. iQ already runs a student development nearby on Bath Street but the council officers reported it is “not considered that 1255 beds within the locale would be harmful”.

They say new residents within the city “offer economic benefits to local businesses as potential employees at under and postgraduate level”.

“While office uses operate 9-5 hours, a quasi-residential use of this nature is a 24-hour use bringing vibrancy and community, which has security benefits in terms of surveillance and self-policing.”

Bailie Mearns said she is “extremely concerned” that the development would “contribute to over-concentration, which would be harmful to the balance of this community”.

She said the two developments from the same provider would “clearly result in an unacceptable concentration in a very small radius”.

iQ wants to demolish the 1970s office block currently on the site and build a car-free development, with a gym, games area and TV lounge.

The application stated: “It is not in an area of over-concentration and is well located to service a variety of college and university buildings.

“It is an area of transition and change and student housing is recognised as consistent with wider policy objectives of re-populating the city centre.”

A date has yet to be set for the hearing, where a decision on the application will be made.