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Controversial plans for student housing behind Mac thrown out

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Councillors in Glasgow have rejected controversial plans by HAUS for a student accommodation block next to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Grade A-listed Glasgow School of Art

At a meeting yesterday (4 April), Glasgow City Council’s planning committee voted 12 to 6 against the proposals, citing concerns about the scale and massing and the effect on the neighbouring 1909 Mac.

The council had received more than 50 letters of objection to the plans from local residents, politicians and heritage groups, as well as from Janette Ferguson, MP for Glasgow Central.

Objectors claimed that the 185-bed building on Sauchiehall Street, funded by developer Urban Pulse, could harm a future bid for World Heritage Site status for the GSA.

Although the planning officers had recommended approval for the project - which had already been revised to reflect comments from Historic Environment Scotland and other statutory consultees - the committee was unconvinced.

According to The Herald newspaper, SNP councillor Angus Millar, told the meeting: ’The proposed development would have an unacceptable impact on local residents and would be deeply detrimental to the heritage of the area, particularly of the world-renowned Mackintosh building.’ 

Responding to the decision, local architect Alan Dunlop said: ’I am disappointed for the architects, for much work will have gone into consultation with planners and making the application.

’However, the developer has to now realise that building in front of and abutting Mackintosh’s masterwork demands special attention and consideration. It requires much greater sensitivity. More than filling the site with as much student accommodation as possible.’

A spokesperson for the GSA added: ’We are pleased that Glasgow City Council has today re-enforced the importance of the Mackintosh Building to the city as the jewel in the crown of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s legacy and as a world-leading art school, both of which are fundamental to Glasgow’s international renown.’

Original plans from August (left); updated plans from December (right)

Original plans from August (left); updated plans from December (right)

Original plans from August (left); updated plans from December (right) 

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