Serve a Repairs Notice for Govan Graving Docks
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We the undersigned are calling upon Glasgow City Council planning department to serve a repairs notice on the owners of the A-listed Govan Graving Docks, for restoration of the docks and the pump house to their original condition, to pave the way for a compulsory purchase.
We believe there are strong grounds for a repairs notice to be served under Section 43 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.
The owner of a listed property must comply with a repairs notice within two months from the date of it being served. Failure to do so can lead to the property being subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order. The council should take this action promptly and subsequently seek to dispose of the site to the Govan Docks Maritime Park SCIO (Scottish registered charity no. SC046875)
The council should also investigate and seek to establish whether or not there are grounds for a Direction for Minimum Compensation to be applied under Section 45 of the act.
We also cite a precedent case in which a repairs notice was served for Govan Graving Docks by the former Glasgow District Council in 1989 – ref: Glasgow Herald, 2nd November 1989: “Dry Docks Museum Bid Sparks Row Over Repairs”
Since the 1989 repairs notice the site appears to have changed hands through connected companies with no action ever having been taken to comply with the original order, or indeed to undertake any maintenance of the site other than removal of flora.
We have also identified title deed conditions obliging owners of Govan Graving Docks to maintain the condition of the quay walls at their own expense. Has this been upheld?
We recognise that local authorities in Scotland are reluctant to use powers to serve repairs notices so as to avoid being burdened with the cost of carrying out necessary repairs at public expense and taking on liability for properties in need of repair. However cost and convenience should not be arbitrary factors in deciding which regulations should be enforced and which can be ignored. Particularly when a third-party is prepared to take possession of it.
The purpose of listed building status and the above-mentioned act is specifically to protect historic buildings and sites and ensure they are properly maintained. The act is meaningless where relevant authorities are unwilling to enforce it.
The graving docks are owned by the same group that has allowed A-listed Victorian buildings at the former Gartloch Asylum Hospital to go to rack and ruin – in some cases necessitating demolition – while apparently having still not even completed the intended redevelopment of that site (http://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/details/911139 | http://www.buildingsatrisk.org.uk/details/905104
A prominent site that sticks out like a sore thumb on the city’s waterfront, Govan graving docks represents the perfect opportunity for Glasgow City Council to send out a clear message that it is committed to protecting the city’s heritage and demonstrate that it is prepared to make an example of owners and developers who do not comply with regulations on care of listed buildings. Potentially this will lead to far wider commitment to stewardship of the city’s historic fabric.
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