Glasgow commission to 'find solutions' to challenges facing neglected buildings

A commission to help ‘find solutions’ to the “complex” challenges facing heritage buildings in Glasgow is set to be established.

Plans for a Built Heritage Commission would bring together experts, councillors, officials, funders and charities to provide advice on the city’s “historic environment”.

Glasgow City Heritage Trust and Glasgow Building Preservation Trust are expected to be key partners in the commission.

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The forum will “focus on finding solutions to the evolving and complex challenges facing the historic environment in Glasgow” and “champion the heritage agenda”, council officials reported.

It will look at issues around vacant and neglected properties, and discuss how best to use a £1.7 million fund to bring buildings back into productive use.

Cllr Ruairi Kelly, SNP, convener for neighbourhood services and assets, said: “We are rightly proud of Glasgow’s built heritage, and the creation of a Built Heritage Commission for the city underlines our commitment to protecting, maintaining and finding new and sustainable uses for it.

“Working with our partners in the heritage sector, the Commission will provide guidance for the action that will deliver the economic, environmental and social benefits that a successful built heritage strategy brings.”

The commission will be co-chaired by an SNP administration councillor alongside an independent co-chair. Each political group on the council will have a representative.

Council officials, stakeholders, funders, heritage charities, statutory bodies such as Historic Environment Scotland and community group representatives will also be invited.

Meetings will be held three times per year and there will also be panel discussions, site visits, workshops, talks and seminars.

Officials have said the commission should “create a positive, ongoing and collaborative vehicle for the identification of sustainable future management of the built heritage of the city”.

Its remit will include providing advice on issues such as the council’s heritage assets, listed buildings at risk, sustainable future uses and sustainability and climate change considerations.

However, the council has warned the commission will have limitations and cannot be expected to save every historic building in Glasgow, or intervene in planning decisions.

A report on the commission will go before a council committee next week. Labour’s deputy leader, Cllr Soryia Siddique, has recently called for action to preserve historic areas of the city, particularly around Bridge Street where the roof of the India Buildings collapsed.

The first meeting of the commission is expected to be held before July.

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