New bid for homes on old BBC HQ

A NEW bid has been lodged to transform the former BBC Scotland headquarters site in Glasgow's West End into a major residential development.

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The plans, now formally lodged with Glasgow City Council, involve 19 town houses and 79 apartments for the location next to Botanic Gardens.

The property arm of RBS, West Register, is behind the £17.5 million scheme, which it claims will return economic potential and life back to the area following the departure of the BBC and its workforce, with "98 new homes adding tax and services revenue and new jobs".

If approved, it would also be one of the biggest residential developments in the West End in recent years.

Previous attempts to develop the site have been mired in controversy, with a 2008 bid generating more than 70 objections, many of which focused on the fact the modern design of the apartments was not in keeping with a heritage area.

But, with leisure entrepreneur Stefan King snapping up the core former BBC buildings for his company headquarters and to set up a family home, many local concerns that a hotel and nightclub were going to be built on the site have evaporated.

The new proposals are also more modest in terms of scale than previous applications passed by the council.

In 2007, 180 apartments and three townhouses were granted consent and 155 apartments and four townhouses were approved in 2008.

West Register is optimistic the latest plans will be passed, despite heritage concerns in the area.

The application document states: "As two previous consents were approved for residential use within the previous BBC site, both being a mix of townhouses and apartments, at a higher density than is currently proposed, there should be no reason why this proposed application will not be acceptable."

The BBC moved out of its former Scottish headquarters in 2008 to a new building at Pacific Quay.

Developer Applecross, Esk and Blackrock bought the site and planned to build 185 flats and three townhouses. It also applied to turn the A-listed former North Park House into a five-star, 85-bedroom boutique hotel.

However, Applecross went bust in 2009 and RBS then bought the site to protect an investment.

gerry.braiden@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

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