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Dark day for North Kelvinside play park as student flats are approved

June 14 2024

Dark day for North Kelvinside play park as student flats are approved

An attractive brownfield site in the heart of Glasgow’s West End, the scene of multiple planning applications, looks set to end up as student accommodation.

First subject to a successful application for residential apartments in 2020 the site was later speculatively earmarked for a smaller infill build on a subdivision of the plot. Now, Kelvin Properties has had the final say after winning planning consent with Haus Architects for a tweaked version of the original application, now repurposed as student accommodation.

Overcoming 47 objections, including representations from North Kelvin Community Council, approval has now been given for 134 studio rooms at the junction of Melbourne Street and Queen Margaret Drive in a single red brick block rising to seven storeys.

Concern over the impact of the proposed scheme on a neighbouring play area, known locally as the Happy Children’s Park, were dismissed by planners, who found that the revised scheme replicated the consented scheme in all the essentials, with the primary change being the infill of recessed balconies and removal of a ground floor car park entrance for a residents lounge.

It was noted that a portion of the children’s play space would receive less than two hours of sunshine at the spring equinox as a result of the building, negatively impacting public amenities. However, this was dismissed as developer financial contributions for improvements were felt to offset this.

In comments explaining the decision-making process, the council wrote: “The application site is a vacant brownfield site which has been vacant since the demolition of the former church hall approximately 10 years ago. The proposal would result in a sustainable reuse of the vacant brownfield site.

“The proposal is considered to deliver the six place-making principles, having been designed to address both the opportunities and constraints of the site to deliver an active use on the site and a high-quality building in terms of architecture, materiality and energy efficiency.”

Flexibility has been built into the design to permit a return to mainstream residential apartments should the market demand it.

The revised scheme retains the massing and materials of the prior residential approval
The revised scheme retains the massing and materials of the prior residential approval


#1 Posted by CMac on 14 Jun 2024 at 09:28 AM
At least the weans can replace their missing Vitamin D at the similarly NIMBY-esque Children's Wood round the corner?
Ghetto King
#2 Posted by Ghetto King on 14 Jun 2024 at 09:33 AM
"However, this was dismissed as developer financial contributions for improvements were felt to offset this."

Surely this is not a case of brown envelopes for brown buildings!
#3 Posted by Lovely on 14 Jun 2024 at 10:10 AM
It is a brownfield site unlike The Children's Wood and North Kelvin Meadow community projects round the corner, which were always public recreational land so of course it is logical to build on this site.

But just very sad that it is so achingly boring, un-contextual and over-bearing in the end result.

Pure lowest common denominator dystopia in an area that has been mercifully mostly spared it due to a very vibrant and active community there.
#4 Posted by Peter on 14 Jun 2024 at 10:41 AM
End the council tax discount for students and we're good. Happy with 30 more of these around then.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#5 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 14 Jun 2024 at 11:31 AM
Incredible to behold -- the amount of time and effort distressed gentlefolk will put in to stop any sort of local development.

Conservatives with a small c -- to their core and beyond. No wonder we are in the state we are in -- change must be stopped at all costs / using every heartstring that is available.

Complaining is the only growth industry we have left

Spring equinox -- that will be March 21st for the plebs -- and the ability of children to play outdoors ...

Child cruelty more like -- given the rain / the wind / the snow / the Siberian airflows / the Nordic weather patterns / the Beast from the East ...

D to the R
#6 Posted by D to the R on 14 Jun 2024 at 12:49 PM
I blame Haus ... why not?
#7 Posted by Lovely on 14 Jun 2024 at 13:33 PM
It's not 'local development' at all, it's just totally over-egged.

Perhaps a by-product of the never ending march of the so called 'progress' totally cooking our construction industry into a rubberised microwave omlette of nonsense with massive inflation and total lack of nous and joie de vivre.

#8 Posted by Ben on 14 Jun 2024 at 14:28 PM
What exactly is wrong with the proposal? Decent density, high quality materiality palette, large windows, a more active ground floor usage compared to the previous iteration of a car parking garage entrance, and it is presenting a hard urban edge in its occupation of a derelict brownfield site. If only student housing in other parts of Scotland looked like this.....
The increase in population will also boost the independent businesses along Queen Margaret Drive and give the area an increased vibrancy.
Totally agree with the previous comment of complaining being the only growth industry in Scotland, which is especially prevalent in the west end. If these people don't like density, development and urbanism, then perhaps don't choose to live in Scotland's largest city and go off to the countryside somewhere.
#9 Posted by Lovely on 15 Jun 2024 at 22:13 PM
Okay then a quick lesson in density:

134 little single aspect rabbit hutches on a site that would have perhaps 24 or 36 one and two bed tenements at most under the current density pattern. Also 7 storeys on a 4 storey street.

The reason it’s a desirable area with an already vibrant community is because the community fights off low quality developments like this. Sadly this one slipped the net.

Anyone who likes ultra dense rabbit hutches could perhaps do their thing in Hong Kong and leave this quiet outer part of the west end of Glasgow alone.
#10 Posted by RJB on 15 Jun 2024 at 23:48 PM
Density of the scheme looks nice. The elevations could do with a rework. There seems limited expression of base, middle or top in these.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#11 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 16 Jun 2024 at 13:58 PM
Stir up the distressed gentlefolk of the "outer" West End and you can be sure of one thing amongst many -- cheap casual racism will soon be out on the open.

Along with a complete disregard of the real world they inhabit -- their blinkers allow them to miss the modern 6 storey block across the road with its enhanced retail plinth.

Sets the tone for the area.

As for the new block itself -- has its merits but is much reduced in presence and confidence by its hobbit sanctuary spec ground floor.

It seems to be sinking / being sucked towards the centre of the earth ...

... or garden flats as the Victorians would have called them.

Consequently much needed but could do better.
#12 Posted by Roddy_ on 17 Jun 2024 at 10:05 AM
Qute a few folk in the comments section here clearly do not really understand the planning system. They might be surprised that it actually allows you object to applications. And your objections don't have to be material objections. Go figure.
The fact of the matter is that the developers have played a good game in the end and have won.
What is a shame is that a relatively open section of play area will now become even more gloomy on the few days that we actually have sunshine and properly gloomy in the shortest days of winter. The city often talks about making its external spaces more usable, more accessible and more in tune with a wet and dark climate. Does this make things better or worse? Perhaps in light of this (pun intended), we need better protection for our open spaces and their aspect.
#13 Posted by Dave on 17 Jun 2024 at 15:55 PM
Usual developer tactics - go in with a bells and whistles scheme, knowing full well it isn't economically viable, then submit a dubious CoU application and replace it with a grim, cash cow student flat or social housing which lacks any merits of the original.

Case and point would be this scheme, or the Triple Kirks in Aberdeen
Fat Bloke on Tour
#14 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 17 Jun 2024 at 16:01 PM
Tough gig this -- explaining reality to the gum bumpers of Placemaking Glesga PLC ...

The playground already has issues with the surrounding trees and the shade they deliver. What is needed is more shelter and hopefully the developer contribution is well spent.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#15 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 17 Jun 2024 at 16:06 PM
That is not a playpark -- it is a squirrel sanctuary full of illegal immigrants.

Come 2029 and the trees will be coming down.

Can you deport a grey squirrel?
Asking for a friend called Nigel.
#16 Posted by Lovely on 18 Jun 2024 at 12:37 PM
Maybe if we just keep saying it is low density, appropriate and good design it will somehow come true?

Clearly people who live in a nice-ish area are always just bad people and suggestions that architects and developers might do work in appropriate settings for the type are just racist extremist fantasies.

The building across the road is an over-bearing beast as well so not a good precedent but it does at least have a top, a middle and a bottom....

#17 Posted by David on 18 Jun 2024 at 12:53 PM
The site, and the playpark are literally 20 seconds walk away from 'The Children's Wood and North Kelvin Meadow'. If all these NIMBYs had their way there would be ZERO investment in new residential in Glasgow.
#18 Posted by Lovely on 18 Jun 2024 at 13:34 PM
Yes let's keep over densifying the good areas with bad design and leaving the other areas full of humungous gap sites to rot as that has worked really well as an urban strategy in Glasgow these last 50 years.

I mean why wasn't a sensible, decent scheme built on this site many many years ago?

It's brown field so no big discussion needed unless you waste loads of time totally over egging to get to a really bad compromise like this.

End of....
Fat Bloke on Tour
#19 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 18 Jun 2024 at 14:05 PM
What the estate agents didn't tell them was that they were 20 seconds away from Maryhill.

20 seconds away -- by a hard driven shed spec Corsa with the windows down and the musak blaring.

They have never really recovered.
You know a Tesco instead of a Waitrose or at the very least a Sainsburys or an M&S.

Their pain must be unbearable in the circumstances.

#20 Posted by RJB on 19 Jun 2024 at 06:33 AM
The density of the scheme looks nice. The elevations could do with a rework. There seems limited expression of base, middle or top in these.
#21 Posted by Lovely on 19 Jun 2024 at 15:16 PM
Just to be clear for the sake of the corpulent travelling suburbanite that this is very much inside G20 and is therefor anyway a Maryhill address so all his frenetic and rather graspy shadenfreude is rather purposeless...
#22 Posted by Pants on 19 Jun 2024 at 16:06 PM
For the original application the developers did not own the whole site and GCC sold their section on the open market, for it not to be sold to the developer. E&C then put in their scheme for the small slither of land. It is strange how this got planning consent when the E&C scheme did not despite it being the same scale.
The City Plan is not fit for purpose. The writing is so vague that it suits the planners and councillors depending on which way the wind blows. As a result the city is being blighted by overdevelopment and random towers.
It's all just pants!
#23 Posted by RJB on 20 Jun 2024 at 13:53 PM
A land swap between the developers and who ever owns the childrens park, so that the development entirely fronted queen Margaret drive would be should a better devolpment. Probably well beyond all parties to possibly make happen though!

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