Green light for new flats at historic Glasgow school site

GLASGOW city planners have given the green light to demolish all but the façade and a number of architectural features on the B-listed Golfhill School ahead of the delivery of 130 new flats in Dennistoun’s Circus Drive.

The building is described as ‘mostly beyond repair’ and, once demolished, will be the focal point of a new development by local property developer Barony Homes.

The planning application had set out the company’s desire to ‘preserve and enhance the setting of the listed building and structures’, but ‘years of groundwater action had resulted in severe structural movement and partial collapse, which ultimately led to the abandonment of the building for the purposes for which it was constructed.’

It continued: ‘Whilst demolition would have been an obvious answer, the opportunity for cross-subsidy funding from the new-build development on the adjoining site enabled a strategy for a facade retention of the principal southern elevation and the key architectural features of the east and west flanks to the octagonal towers.’

The school building, designed by architect Alexander Nesbit Paterson on behalf of the Glasgow School Board, was opened in 1902 and has been on the ‘buildings at risk’ register since 2010.

The new development will see 134 flats built in three phases on the school grounds complete with car parking, green spaces, and paths across the site which will connect adjacent roads.

William Roddie, director of Spectrum Properties, parent company of Barony Homes Limited, said, “We are delighted that we are now breaking ground on this important new development for the Dennistoun area which will offer the best of modern living with bright, open plan living space and quality homes in one of the city’s most vibrant and diverse areas. Our plans will create areas which are desirable to both new and existing residents to pass through and linger in, an improvement on the overgrown and unsafe areas which currently exist on site.”

The Circus Drive development, sales of which will be carried out by Savills, is the latest scheme by Spectrum Properties, which has specialised in saving and re-purposing ‘architecturally pleasing’ properties.

The company has converted sites including Shakespeare Street School in North Kelvin, Hillhead High School in Cecil Street in Glasgow, the former Hydepark Public School in Springburn and Shettleston Public Baths as well, most recently, as the mansion house in Tollcross Park. It also converted art collector Sir William Burrell’s Great Western Road mansion.

Although Spectrum has moved into residential development in the last decade, its primary focus remains commercial property. It owns around 700 commercial properties across the city.

Mr Roddie added, “The Golfhill School site had been closed because of subsidence and had lain unused for some 12 years before we bought it nearly four years ago. It is a substantial task to retain what can be salvaged of the building, including expensive and technically challenging façade retention but, as a local company, we feel an obligation to the people of Dennistoun to maintain a link to a history which means so much to so many people.”