Plans to turn former Glasgow jobcentre into flats approved

The former Bridgeton Jobcentre can be converted into flats after a council decision to reject the proposal was overturned.
The former jobcentre can be turned into flats.The former jobcentre can be turned into flats.
The former jobcentre can be turned into flats.

What’s happened: Glasgow City Council had refused plans to turn the Muslin Street building into homes in January this year, but Spectrum Properties Ltd called for the decision to be reviewed.

Reasons for the refusal included privacy issues, the lack of open space, limited parking and a failure to “offer good quality accommodation”.

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The developer argued the proposal has been revised, and many of the issues could have been resolved if they had been raised by council staff prior to the original decision.

Glasgow’s planning local review committee, made up of three councillors, has now ruled the development can go-ahead.

What did they say: Cllr Martin McElroy said: “While I agree there are things that are maybe not ideal, I think there are a lot of positives as well, particularly around keeping what, I think, is quite an attractive building and giving it a new lease of life.

“It is the type of development the council supports in principle, it is just whether or not we are happy with the details.

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“For me, there’s a number of things that I do really like, it’s in such a highly accessible area, which means that I don’t have any concerns about having to deviate from our car parking policy.”

“Knowing the area pretty well, I think having had an over-reliance on social landlords over the years to do developments, actually having a private sector development is something that we should welcome.”

Responding to concerns over the size of the flats, he said he was “confident our building standards guys will be able to ensure that these properties are going to be suitable”.

Cllr Ken Andrew wanted the plans to be rejected, but committee chairman, Baile Glenn Elder, also backed the application.

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“This could have been a considerably better development,” Cllr Andrew argued. “What they are looking to do here I assume is maximise their income, with a minimum of outlay, hence minimal intervention.

“I think the access to the building is certainly imperfect, and I think there would be problems with refuse disposal.

“I’d be surprised if they would be walking through the front exit to walk round the back to get to the bin stores.”

Bailie Elder said that Cllr McElroy’s comments had given him “pause for thought”.

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“I think there are certain aspects of this application which could have been discussed further between the applicant and officers. In the end, I think on balance that we should grant this application.”

Flats plans: Six job centres across the city were closed by the Department for Work and Pensions in 2018, including Bridgeton, despite campaigns to keep them open.

There were four objections to Spectrum Properties’ application, and planning officers decided there was “limited internal access to the front and lack of access to the rear of the property”, which would “not result in good quality accommodation”.

They also ruled there was a “lack of provision of privacy screening for ground floor properties” and vehicular access from Acorn Street was “too narrow”.

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Officers said the proposal failed to “provide access to good quality recreational open space”.

However, the company, which bought the building in April 2020, claimed the plans had been revised, reducing the number of flats from 49 to 44.

They argued, under the revised plans, all of the ground floor properties have access “to the front of the street and also access to private garden ground at the rear”.

Spectrum also believes 38 car parking spaces is justified “in an area of high accessibility” and “narrow” access for vehicles from Acorn Street can be adjusted.

They will be required to pay £59,000 in developer contributions due to the lack of open space.

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