Report on the Planning History of Govan Graving Docks

A 20 page detailed report into the planning history of Govan Graving Docks that demonstrates redevelopment of the site for housing is not viable on a number of grounds.

The report also questions the historic role of public sector agencies and aims to identify lessons that can be learned from past experiences.


Executive Summary

The report will look in some detail, at the history of planning and development proposals for Govan Graving Docks, since the closure of the site as a working dock facility.

The core of our thesis is that an extensive redevelopment of Govan Graving Docks for residential and commercial use is not feasible on grounds of desirability/popularity, financial viability, technical viability, industrial/maritime heritage concerns and the A-listed status of the site. The information we have researched and collated in this report will serve unequivocally to prove that.

On the basis of research conducted in preparing this report; we have concluded that in order for a housing development at Govan Graving Docks to be financially viable, meet the exceptionally high infrastructure / site preparation costs and provide any return on investment for shareholders and investors – it would need to be an exclusive luxury development with property prices well above the average for the local area. Given the site is bounded by primarily social housing it is questionable whether this could be achieved.

The site has continued to lie derelict for 28 years despite several proposals for housing redevelopment having been put forward and later shelved for various reasons. We have concluded that housing/commercial proposals for such a prominent site as Govan Graving Docks would have gone ahead already had they any real viability and prospect of success.

The report also aims to raise questions of whether a private sector property developer is the most appropriate type of organisation to be entrusted with the stewardship of one of the most unique and significant maritime heritage assets in Europe.

We aim to demonstrate that Local Government strategy in dealing with Govan Graving Docks has in the past lacked objectivity, coherence and consistency in the time that the site has been derelict. Further that this has not aligned with stated policy objectives aimed at encouraging regeneration of the River Clyde corridor. Additionally the approach of the Scottish Government (formerly the Scottish Executive) and previously the Scottish Office prior to devolution has largely been passive. This report is not intended to level criticism at public bodies or officials but simply to identify lessons that can be learned from past experiences.

Clear opportunity to create a major maritime heritage centre at Govan Graving Docks was twice presented during the 1990s however there is no evidence that these proposals received the requisite municipal or political support beyond the granting of planning consent. This is an oversight that was particularly surprising given that Glasgow (once referred to as the “Second City of the Empire”) was once synonymous with maritime and shipbuilding industry. Yet the city does very little to preserve and promote its heritage.

The work of artists such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh is widely celebrated as part of Glasgow’s cultural heritage and rightly so. But what too of the legacy of the shipbuilding pioneers and the graft of thousands of shipyard and dock workers?

Proposals to create a major maritime centre (along with a social enterprise hub) at Govan Graving Docks, that would draw visitors/tourists and contribute immensely to the local economy in the long-term, have emerged once again alongside a campaign that has drawn wide support. This has been coupled with a strategy to create social enterprise and micro business franchise opportunities for young and unemployed people from the Glasgow area, alongside proposed nature reserve areas, studio/workshop space, stalls and a facility for historic ship repair, replica build projects and skills preservation. The proposals are about much more than just maritime heritage and would transform Govan Graving Docks into a cultural hub and centre of community.

The greatest potential threat to the emerging opportunity to create a maritime park is the time needed for detailed proposals to be carefully formed and thus the potential for attempts to streamline the planning process and fast track the plans of housing developers – a scenario that could see Govan Graving Docks lost as an historic site permanently.

The full report and summary of key points are available at http://cdpi.org.uk/case_studies.htm

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Our Appeal to the Information Commissioner

Earlier this year CDPI submitted a freedom of information request request to Glasgow City Council for information relating to Govan Graving Docks.

The Council responded stating that the information we requested was covered by the Environmental Information regulations and not freedom of information. Additionally that there would be a fee of £370.98 to access the information.

Subsequently we submitted an appeal to the Information Commissioner – download the IC’s decision (which includes a summary of the information requested) – decision-208-2016

 

Press Release: Govan Docks Maritime Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Glasgow, Scotland 30 September 2016

Govan Docks Maritime Park

The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative (CDPI) are pleased to announce the successful registration of Govan Docks Maritime Park (Scottish registered charity no. SC046875) as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) with the charity regulator OSCR.

This represents a significant step forward in our bid to secure the future of Govan Graving Docks as a maritime heritage asset for future generations and for the benefit of the community in Govan and Glasgow.

The aim is for Govan Docks Maritime Park as an independent, dedicated charity, to eventually secure ownership of the A-listed historic site and raise funds for its restoration.

This will guarantee the long-term protection and stewardship of the only remaining significant dockland site in Glasgow that has not been lost to redevelopment and the only opportunity to create a major maritime heritage centre that befits the significance of our great city’s shipbuilding past. It will also ensure that benefit to the local community, the City of Glasgow, the Clyde region and the West of Scotland’s visitor, tourism and maritime potential is put before commercial gain and speculative property development.

The exact formation of the maritime park will be influenced by ongoing consultation. It is likely it will include a diverse range of attractions, activities, social enterprises, educational facilities, nature reserve, etc that will operate different aspects rather than the entire park being run as a single corporate entity.

The intention is to create independent/cooperative social enterprise franchise opportunities with a particular focus on young and unemployed people from the local areas and to engage a range of relevant third-party support agencies to assist them in the process of setting them up. We expect that major chains – e.g. fast-food outlets, etc will be excluded entirely.

It will be an evolutionary process that will enable the franchise tenants and the community to shape the development of the maritime park through the types of micro-businesses they choose to set up.

We have previously estimated that capacity for up to 250 or more permanent jobs and micro-business / social enterprise opportunities could potentially be created.

However before any of that can happen major restorative work will be required. This will take several years to complete and require millions of pounds in funding (on top of acquisition costs) which the charity aims to raise via heritage/conservation grants and other sources.

Restricting the addition of permanent buildings to the edge along Govan Road will ensure the rest of the quay space (including the cobbled surfaces) is kept intact. Use of the space will be able to change and adapt over time by use of only free-standing structures on the quays and floating installations in the dock basins. We would also like to see restored ships berthed in the docks and aim to provide a facility for at least part of the Cutty Sark 2 replica build.

CDPI aims to continue to provide project management and administrative services to the Govan Docks Maritime Park SCIO and we have just appointed a management consultant with a background in civil engineering to our board of directors.

We wish to thank OSCR for their guidance and efficient processing of the application and of course everyone else who has assisted with the process so far.

www.oscr.org.uk/charities/search-scottish-charity-register/charity-details?number=SC046875

Get Your Name on CDPI Sponsors List

We are giving our individual supporters the opportunity to sponsor our essential costs and get their name displayed on our website sponsors list.

We aim to step up our efforts in the coming months with launching the planned student design competition that we’d previously announced and recruiting wider expert volunteer support to put more comprehensive business plans and proposals in place. With the housing developers expected to seek planning consent in the near future we are entering the most pivotal phase of the campaign.

We’ve already had a fantastic response to our recent volunteer registration survey and for those who registered we will be following up with you in the coming weeks.

More info at: http://cdpi.org.uk/items_pledge.htm

Govan Graving Docks EIA Screening Application

As we reported earlier this month (Govan Needs You, It’s Time To Mobilise!) environmental consultants presumably working for the developers had lodged an application for an EIA Screening Opinion under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations.

The application had essentially requested that the council rule there is no requirement to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment and include an Environmental Statement of it with any pending or future application for planning consent to develop the site.

Glasgow City Council have now decided that an Environmental Statement will be required as part of the planning process. Not the answer the developers wanted.

This is a welcome decision – a clear indication that the council are acting with the highest integrity, have the best interests of the historic A-listed docks (and their impact on the surrounding environment) at heart and are not going to give the developers an easy ride.

https://publicaccess.glasgow.gov.uk/…/applicationDetails.do…

This demonstrates very clearly that the publicity and pressure being applied by the campaign (which all 8,081 petition supporters and counting have contributed to the strength of) is having effect and this is clearly a positive step forward for us in what was always going to be a war of attrition.

This means a precedent has now been set that any future proposed development of the site is going to need an Environmental Impact Assessment. Of course that will apply to a maritime heritage park as well but an EIA is something we have from the outset felt should be carried out whether mandatory or voluntary. The health and safety of all site users and neighbours (now and in the future) must be top priority.

If you’ve not yet signed the petition you can do so at http://chn.ge/1L3F1T1

Media Articles About Govan Graving Docks

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of media articles about or relating to Govan Graving Docks. Please let us know if we’ve missed any out!

Scotland on Sunday: Campaign to preserve Glasgow’s maritime history heats up (14 Aug 2016)

Glasgow Live: Women lead the way with TURN, an exciting new project at Govan Graving Docks (5 Aug 2016)

Glasgow Live: The fight for Govan’s docks: A-listed Glasgow heritage site at risk of being lost forever (20 Jul 2016)

Glasgow Live: The bold plan to breathe new life into Govan Graving Docks and save the River Clyde’s history (10 Jun 2016)

Evening Times: Are you from Govan? This artists needs your help – and your birthday (10 Jun 2016)

The Scotsman: Glasgow building up to turning around derelict wasteland (3 Feb 2016)

Evening Times: Nearly 7000 sign petition to turn Govan docks into a heritage site (8 Nov 2015)

Sunday Herald: Campaigners in bid to preserve docks’ heritage and secure Unesco world status (1 Nov 2015)

The Big Issue: Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative: Let Glasgow have a shipbuilding heritage park (1 Oct 2015)

Herald Scotland: Time to give Govan docks a new lease of life (27 Jul 2015)

Maritime Journal: Govan Graving Docks (24 Jun 2015)

Daily Record: Govan Graving Dock hit twice by fire in as many days alarming heritage campaigners (23 April 2015)

Herald Scotland: What is on the horizon for Govan’s forgotten dry docks? (18 Nov 2014)

Daily Record: Campaign launched to create a lasting tribute of shipbuilding history at Govan Graving Dry Docks (1 May 2014)

The Herald: Britannia for the Clyde? (24 April 1997)

The Herald: Developers back rival’s bid for Britannia (21 April 1997)

The Glasgow Herald: Dry dock museum bid sparks row over repairs (2 Nov 1989)

Govan Needs You, It’s Time to Mobilise! #SaveGovanDocks

Glasgow Shipbuilding Heritage Park Campaign

Govan Needs You, It's Time to Mobilise! #SaveGovanDocks Govan Needs You, It’s Time to Mobilise! #SaveGovanDocks

An application has been lodged with Glasgow City Council for an EIA Screening Opinion on Govan Graving Docks.

“Erection of Mixed Use development at former Govan Graving Docks – Request for a screening opinion under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations”

https://publicaccess.glasgow.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OAV3SREX0NB00

What the Screening Opinion application means is that the developers want the Council to agree that there is no requirement to conduct a full Environmental Impact Assessment – so that only a more straightforward (‘lite version’) environmental survey will be needed.

The application indicates planning consent will be sought for 600 homes, 195 hotel rooms and 7,520 square metres of office space to be developed on the docks. Also a cynical token gesture of a small museum and café – as if that’s going to appease anyone and could potentially be dropped from the plans at…

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