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Help save the Govanhill Picture House!

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:21 am
by gap74
The planning application ad in Friday's Evening Times contained an application to demolish the former Govanhill Picture House at 47-49 Bankhall St, Govanhill.

Opened in 1926, the building was the work of architect Eric A Sutherland, who produced many commercial buildings in the west of Scotland between around 1910-1940. His work included churches, warehouses and a number of banks, but perhaps his best known work is was the British Ropes office block at Farme Cross, near Rutherglen, sadly lost to neglect and vandalism a few years ago.

He also designed a number of cinemas, his better known examples being the long-demolished Mayfair in Sinclair Drive on the southside, and the Govanhill under threat here.

The Govanhill Picture House was taken over by ABC cinemas a few years after opening, and closed as a cinema in 1961, becoming a bingo hall until 1974. More recently, it had been used for warehousing, and has lain derelict for the past couple of years.

Although we believe the interior to have been largely lost, the building has a highly unusual Egyptian style tiled entrance, with columns flanking the doorway and two domed turrets to either side. A moulded scarab crowns the original name sign, still just visible under modern signage.

The rarity of this exterior led to the building being B-listed in 1989, and it has since gained the dubious honour of being included on the Buildings at Risk Register. The application proposes total demolition, to be replaced by 48 flats of quite hideous uniformity and blandness.

I looked over the application this afternoon, bearing in mind that demolition of a listed building can only be considered against tests of importance, condition and alternative uses. No evidence whatsoever was present in the folder with regards to any of the above. Although deteriorating, the main facade looks to be in reasonable condition, and there are no signs that the building is for sale or being considered for alternative uses.

So, what we would like is for this application to be rejected, and here's where we hope we can get a few people here to assist us!

If anyone can spare the time, it would be much appreciated if you could drop an email or letter of objection to the council, making it known that you object to the demolition of this listed building. The application number to quote is 05/02663/DC, and the closing date is 16th Sept. Emails can be sent to, or you can post to:

Development and Regeneration Services
Development Control
229 George Street
G1 1QU

I'll post a few pics here, more details are, of course, available on our website at: ... nhill.html




PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:39 pm
by Apollo
Well, they'll get at least one objection :wink:

Was friendly with a guy that ran a wee specialist service for cars nearby many years ago, so often found myself there with an hour or two to kill if he wanted peace. I remember wandering around the area looking for anything interesting and being stunned to walk around the corner one bright sunny morning to find this brilliant white temple before me.

It's really sad that while some fight to retain features such as this, built years ago, looking at most of the stuff going up today, its hard to find something similarly interesting that our descendants will be equally motivated to put up the same sort of fight for.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 1:10 pm
by Fat Cat
Who are they building all these flats for?

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:33 pm
by smartie
Surley they could keep the facade as a beautiful entrance......

PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:41 pm
by Bruce
Considering the dubious precedents set by the redevelopment of the Ascot and the Tolledo - it see bizarre that they are going for total demolition. On face value it looks as if it would be relatively easy to incorporate the entrance archway & flanking turrets.

I shall make sure that the AHSS are aware of this & encourage them to make an objection.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:39 pm
by ladylabobo
I live not too far away from there and I didnt even know that existed. Shall draft up a letter tonight!

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 11:24 am
by nodrog
Thanks to everyone that's taking the time to object. Got mine in the post today...

Dear Sir/Madam,

Objection to Planning Application Reference 05/02663/DC
(former Govanhill Picture House, Bankhall Street, Glasgow)

I am writing to lodge an official objection in the strongest possible terms to the above noted planning applications.

The plans involve the complete demolition of the cinema building to be replaced by flats.

The building was listed Grade B by Historic Scotland in 1989, primarily for its unusual Egyptian-styled facade.

The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 states, in part:
"…a planning authority […] shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses."

"… "preserving", in relation to a building, means preserving it either in its existing state or subject only to such alterations or extensions as can be carried out without serious detriment to its character, and "development" includes redevelopment."

I would therefore strongly suggest that the current application would NOT preserve the features of architectural interest, and would cause VERY serious detriment to the character of the listed building, given it involves its total demolition.

The National Planning Policy Guidelines state, in part:

“With respect to the demolition (meaning total or substantial destruction) of listed buildings, it is Government policy that no such building should be lost to our environment unless it is demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that every effort has been exerted by all concerned to find practical ways of keeping them.”

Given that this planning application involves the total demolition of the building, the onus is on the developers to prove that every effort has been exerted to find a practical way to keep the building intact.

Inspection of the publicly available documents included with the application in August 2005 show no supporting evidence from the developers that any effort has been made to market the building or attempt to find an alternative use for it in its present form.

The Historic Scotland Memorandum of Guidance on listed buildings and conservation areas (1998) states in part that:

“[…]authorities are urged, in considering applications for consent to demolish, to
presume in favour of the preservation of listed buildings except where a strong case can be made out for demolition after full consideration of the following factors: …
[…]a building’s importance both in itself and in its contribution to the local scene,
[…]a building’s condition, the cost of repairing and maintaining it in relation to its importance
[…]it will be necessary to show beyond doubt that it is not possible to adapt the existing building to accommodate any new use, or mix of uses, which would safeguard its future”

No documentation has been provided at the time of publicising this planning application to suggest that any of the three tests (importance, condition and alternative uses) have been applied to this building.

No suggestion has been made that the building is not of importance architecturally.

No survey has been provided showing the fabric of the building is in any way dangerous or beyond repair.

No information has been provided showing that no alternative use for the building in its current state can be found.

Therefore in every possible way this application fails to provide any reasonable justification for demolition, and should be clearly and strongly refused. Any other outcome would simply make a complete mockery of our planning and listed building system.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 9:14 pm
by johnnyanglia
Nice one Nodrog, My objection to the proposal will be in the post tomorrow :D

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 12:55 am
by DickyHart
Posted one off today. I hope that helps.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:14 am
by Fossil


PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:25 am
by JayKay
Thanks Nodrog, will get this writ and posted

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:01 am
by JayKay
Been activating some of my meeja contacts regarding this story. Could be some developments in terms of publicising the story.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:03 am
by nodrog
Good stuff JayKay - we tried prodding the Evening Times about it, but with no result so far.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:05 pm
by nodrog
Update on the Govanhill - everyone's objection letters last year clearly made a difference, as the council requested they incorporate the facade in the rebuild. There are now updated plans available (05/02663/DC and 05/01050/DC) to view at GCC.

We are still objecting to the new plans on the grounds that the new build will dwarf the small retained portion of the facade, and also ...

Policy HER 2 of the Glasgow City Plan states, in part, for listed buildings:
Arguments [for demolition] based on economic obsolescence and/or structural decay must be accompanied by written evidence which proves the case to the satisfaction of the Council and the relevant Scottish Ministers. This will usually entail the submission of studies by property and/or engineering consultants.

There is *still* no written supporting evidence of any kind to show that this has been done.

For this reason we're suggesting that the application should in fact be considered invalid until such written evidence is forthcoming and available for consultation.

In addition, it was interesting reading through the other objections in the case file in that that at least one organisation had attempted to enter discussions with a view to buying the building, and utilising it in its current form. It would therefore seem that alternative uses are indeed still a potentially viable option...

If anyone wanted to make comments on the revised plans, the next week or so would be an excellent time to do so...


Here's whats being proposed currently (apologies for the crappy quality of the shots!):



PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:05 am
by johnnyanglia
I will be sending in an objection too.