Jun 19 2008 By Frank Hurley
MOTOR millionaire Sir Arnold Clark's late st plans for the Botanic Gardens Garage include savingt he original facade, The Glass we gian can reveal.
The revised proposal also includes hiring a specialist tiling firm who will use "specially comm issioned tiles"to rebuild the landmark's green and white tile frontage.
The plans also include restoring and retaining any other Category Grade A listed sections of the building inside the iconic structure in Vinicombe Street in Glasgow's west end.
The internal ramps may also be retained - those which were used in the original building as internal driveways to take cars onto the building's first floor.
But it's believed the rear of the building is to bed emolished and replaced by flats, mews cottages and possibly a retail unit.
Sir Arnold's company, in October 2007, initially wanted to demolish the entire building and create flats, mews cottages and a retail unit on the site.
But a massive campaign of objection by westend residents forced the company to withdraw its planning application to bulldoze the structure - proved to be the first multi-storey car park in the UK.
Today it's considered the oldest remaining building of its type in the world.
It remains on the Scottish Civic Trust buildings at risk register.
News of a second proposal for the 1906 built structure may alarm many local residents.
That's one reason why Clark representatives will be holding a public consultation of their revised plans for the redevelopment of the Alisted garage.
Hundreds of locals attended the consultation yesterday (Wed) in Clark's office on Vinicombe Street, from 5 pm onwards.
The company outlined its ideas, but there were no elaborate drawings or detailed plans for the public to see.
Clark's spokeswoman said details and visuals would be available once an official planning application had been lodged with Glasgow City Council.
But the big stumbling block on the new plan is likely to be how to use the restored building as a viable business proposition. Precisely what Arnold Clark's want to use it as so far remains under wraps.
John Clark from Arnold Clark Automobiles Ltd, said: "We have taken on board the guidance from Historic Scotl and, Glasgow City Council as well as the views of local residents and revised our plans for refurbishing the Botanics Garage.
"We hope that our amended plans will be welcomed by local residents, as we have managed to source specialist companies to restore the majority of the building's architectural features, including a company who will use specially commissioned tiles to rebuild the frontage.
"We look forward to presenting these amended plans to the local residents at the public consultation and hope that they suit all parties involved.
"Once we have received feedback from the local residents we will submit our newly revised refurbishment plans to Glasgow City Council."
A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: "Following the previous application to demolish the building we have had preliminary discussions with Glasgow City Council and the applicant about the garage. Since the garage is A-listed, the application would be referred to HS if the council were minded to approve it."
The Save the Botanic Gardens Garage campaign successfully lobbied Historic Scotland to get the garage's listed status upgraded from a Category B to a Category A.
That means the building is officially recognised as being of national and/or international significance, in terms of its engineering and architectural design, and its historic context.
This places it on a similar level of importance in Scotland's architectural and social history as Edinburgh Castle, or Kelvingrove Museum.
Many worried residents believe Clark's intention remains to demolish the majority of the existing buildings and replace them with a four-storey complex that would include flats, cottages, and a retail unit.
Despite the recent upgrade to a Category A listing, the building's future is therefore far from secure, and it remains on the Scottish Civic Trust's Buildings at Risk Register.
Dr Sam Maddra, campaign chairwoman, said: "We welcome Arnold Clark's public consultation, and encourage anyone interested to go along, view the plans, and give their comments to Arnold Clark.
"We will however continue to press Arnold Clark to allow the building to be either rented out or put up for sale for restoration in its current form before any plans involving partial demolition are considered."
Tonight (Thurs) starting at 7pm the campaign group will meet to work out new strategy. Anyone interested in the garage is welcome to attend and give their views on Clark's revised plans.