Plans to save “deteriorating” Pollok Stables have been submitted

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Plans to save the “deteriorating” Pollok Stables in Glasgow’s largest park ahead of a multi-million pound revamp have been submitted.

Work to stabilise the buildings, in Pollok Park, has already begun as council officials feared there was only a narrow “window of opportunity” to dismantle some of the stonework before winter.

They have now requested permission for listed building consent to carry out a raft of measures to protect the A-listed stables and sawmill, which are then set to undergo a “major reconstruction” after the council secured £13m from the UK Government’s levelling up fund.

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The restoration project will include the return of Clydesdale horses to the stables as part of plans for a net-zero carbon ‘living’ heritage centre and visitor attraction, providing a ‘hands-on experience’ for families.

There will also be a hydro-electric turbine at the sawmill, a water-source heat pump, solar panel and a battery energy storage system. Around £1.5m is expected to be invested into the scheme by the council.

Council officials said stabilisation work, which began in June, had started in advance of the planning application due to fears “part of the courtyard complex, which had been closed to the public due to structural instability in 2018, would not survive a further winter”.

“Plans to carry out stabilisation works in 2020 were placed on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to further deterioration,” they added. “The window of opportunity to safely dismantle areas of stonework and place these in storage in advance of winter 2022 was beginning to close.”

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A statement submitted with the planning application added that Pollok Stables have been “in a progressively deteriorating state” for over 35 years. Since 2016, the council has been working on improving the complex’s condition and appeal to visitors.

When lockdown began in March 2020, there were “no firm ideas” over how to re-purpose the stables but consultation was held last year to shape the project which has received UK Government funding.

“The application for funding was successful, allowing immediate emergency stabilisation works to begin with a reasonable expectation that dismantling and corrective structural works could be swiftly followed by re-construction,” the statement added.

“So severe was the deterioration in the fabric of the south-west corner of the stables, however, that work had to be swiftly undertaken on an emergency basis since there was real concern that the building would not survive a further winter without significant loss of the historic fabric.”

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A second phase of works will “reconstruct the main structure to a wind and watertight condition and undertake initial works in preparation for fit-out”. The final phase is expected to deliver “major fabric improvements and re-purposed spaces”.

The statement added the levelling up funding at last provides the “opportunity for careful refurbishment of the heritage asset and resolution of defects and impediments that have dogged the stables complex for years”.

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