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Residents threaten legal action over handling of Mac fire

Work has begun in earnest on the west gable (14 aug 2018)
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Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow School of Art and Keir Construction are facing legal action over the ‘unacceptable’ treatment of residents and businesses since the Mackintosh fire

Lawyers have said while work continues to stabilise and preserve what is left of the city’s landmark building, Garnethill residents and local Sauchiehall Street businesses have been locked out for almost 10 weeks by a safety cordon imposed on the site.

Govan Law Centre (GLC) confirmed it was working to identify ’public interest litigation’ against the local authority, the art school and Kier Construction, which was delivering the restoration of the Mac after it was damaged in a previous blaze.

The GLC said 35 families had been treated ’abysmally’ since the fire on June 15 and that requests to collect passports, car keys, medicines, children toys or clothes had been refused. 

Mike Dailly, GLC solicitor advocate, accused officers at Glasgow City Council, the Glasgow School of Art and privileged ‘elites’ of being ’more interested in saving the Macintosh building’ than in helping the community of Sauchiehall Street and Garnethill.

He said: ’Thirty-three households are displaced from their homes in Garnethill. Fifty-five Sauchiehall Street businesses – with 350 jobs – are under serious threat of going bust. All of these people are the lifeblood of the local community and they have been treated as an afterthought by Glasgow City Council.’

’The local authority exposes itself to judicial review and claims if it places the interests of the Glasgow School of Art before the community, and Govan Law Centre will explore every avenue of challenge available to the local community’.

Glasgow City Council said its priority was getting residents and businesses back to their properties safely.

A spokesman said: ’The council has acted under Section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 in order to protect life. 

’We hope to reduce the cordon by enough to allow a substantial number of residents and businesses to return on Saturday.’

Prof Tom Inns, GSA director, said: ’We agree that enabling the community to return to their homes and businesses as soon as possible is the priority, which is why we are working seven days a week to make the Mackintosh Building safe and stable.’

He added: ’We have been in contact with groups representing the displaced residents and businesses keeping them updated on the progress of the stabilisation work, and we have also put individuals and businesses who have asked in direct contact with our insurer’s loss adjusters.

’The Glasgow School of Art is very much part of Glasgow and the Garnethill community.’

A spokesperson for Keir Construction said the investigation into the fire ’remains ongoing’ and issues relating to the cordon were a matter for the council.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It was reported that Keir Construction left the job soon after the fire, so who exactly is managing the stabilisation work?
    Does 'deconstruction in a controlled and forensic way' (as stated by a local MP) lead to this degree of human and economic disruption?
    Why have the ruins still not been made safe ten weeks after the fire?

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