Former West End homeless hostel set to be sold at reduced price

A former homeless hostel in Glasgow’s West End is set to be sold to a housing association at a reduced price to allow “much needed” flats for the elderly to be built.

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Queens Cross Housing Association [QCHA] has planning permission to knock down Burnbank House and is negotiating with the council over a deal for the site.

The Burnbank Gardens property has been valued at £2.12 million but could be sold for £740,000 so social housing can be delivered.

Glasgow’s council would receive £430,000 after abnormal development costs, provisionally agreed at £310,000, have been deducted.

It is hoped the planned development would address the “high demand” for homes for the elderly, with 184 over 60s currently on the housing association’s waiting list. Councillors will be asked to approve the sale at “an affordable land valuation” tomorrow at the City Administration Committee meeting. [Wednesday].

Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.
Glasgow City Chambers - home of Glasgow City Council.

A council report stated: “It is considered there are exceptional circumstances that warrant a sale as less than best consideration and for the site to be valued at an affordable housing land value.

“These exceptional circumstances include the development of much needed elderly amenity social housing in an area of high demand which would not otherwise be provided by the market.”

Burnbank House, a former care home which was most recently used as a homeless hostel, adjoins two sheltered accommodation blocks owned by QCHA.

A 2021 survey by the housing association found around 40 per cent of households in the surrounding area will be over 50 by 2031, however under 12 per cent of the association’s housing stock is suitable for elderly people.

After talks with the district valuer, a gross market value of £2.12 million was agreed for the site “on the assumption the price would be adjusted to reflect abnormal development costs”. These costs were agreed at £310,000.

“The value of the site reflects its location being close to the amenities of Great Western Road which over recent years has become ever more popular with residential developers,” the council report added.

It said: “Queens Cross Housing Association advised that at the market value, they did not have a viable scheme for the site and sought to agree a price based on an affordable housing land valuation.”

The land was valued for social housing at £740,000, with a capital receipt of £430,000 for the council once abnormal costs have been removed — £1.38 million below the estimated open market value.

Councils must sell land for “the best consideration that can reasonably be obtained” which “in most circumstances is taken to mean market value”, the council report stated. An exception can be made if the sale of the land will contribute to economic development or regeneration, health, social well being or environmental well being.

Officials carried out an appraisal to assess the positives and negatives of the sale, which added: “Given the scarcity of suitable sites in the area, Burnbank House next to the housing association’s existing services was identified as the ideal setting for an elderly development.”

Once terms and conditions have been agreed, the deal will go before councillors on the city’s contracts and property committee for final approval.