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Glasgow residents battle Keppie plans to demolish garage

Keppie Design is facing a battle against local campaigners, and potentially Historic Scotland, over its plans to demolish and replace an historic Grade-B listed garage building in Glasgow's West End.

Built in 1911, the Botanic Garden Garage, by architect David Valentine Wyllie, could make way for 35 flats, four mews cottages, shops and a restaurant if a planning application by the current landowner Arnold Clark is approved.

Clark, the head of Scotland's biggest car company, has claimed in the local press that the building will cost too much to maintain and is already staring to deteriorate.

However, the move has incensed lovers of the garage and showroom which Pevsner praises for its 'boldy arched, green and white tiled front' and its 'unusual trussed roof with extensively glazed rear wall'.

In a statement released to the AJ from Historic Scotland, the body's principal inspector Ranald MacInnes said: 'It is Scottish Ministers' policy that no worthwhile building is unnecessarily lost and while many people may consider the garage to be a modern addition to this historic community, it is entirely in keeping with the tradition of Hillhead, where a network of buildings provided new services to the area's residents.

He added: 'The garage is especially interesting in this context as it was architecturally dressed to suggest the very up-to-date use of a parking garage.

'It fits in well with other modern buildings of the day, including the Western Baths, the Salon Cinema, and even the former Kelvinside Church which was successfully converted to Oran Mor.'

A spokesman for Keppie said: 'The project to redevelop the Botanic Gardens Garage is a live planning application. Architects and town planners from Keppie Design are involved in ongoing liaison with Glasgow City Council Planning and Historic Scotland.

'We are sensitive to the issues raised in relation to this listed building and have discussed a range of proposals. The final decision will be made by Glasgow City Council.'

Campaigners are holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed demolition at Hillhead Library on Thursday 9 August at 7.30pm.

by Richard Waite

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