Campaigners blast luxury flats predicted to 'hike up rents' in community

Living Rent says the approval of planning permission for the development goes against the needs of the community in Shawlands.

Campaigners blast luxury flats predicted to ‘hike up rents’ in community STV News

A trade union representing Glasgow tenants has hit out at the city council’s approval for 329 luxury new flats on the Shawlands Arcade site.

Living Rent says the approval of planning permission for the development goes against the needs of the community who require at least 25% social housing – with more than 60,000 people on the city council’s social housing waiting lists. 

On Tuesday members of the planning committee approved  phase one of the plans which includes three apartment blocks measuring from five to 14 storeys with a central plaza at the Kilmarnock Road site. 

The build-to-rent properties include 14 studios, 166 one-bedroom homes, 145 two-bedroom flats and four apartments with three bedrooms.

If the second phase is approved it would see a total of 600 flats developed. 

The tenants and community union says that the redevelopment does not meet or respect what the community actually needs and has also raised concerns that it does not meet the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework. 

Shawlands Arcade regeneration projectEmail

Bianca Lopez, chairwoman of Living Rent Glasgow City, said:  “The decision to approve a large-scale development, one that will hike up rents and change the shape and future of the Shawlands community for generations to come, does not have the approval of the community. 

“As the developers themselves have admitted, these plans will contribute to rising rents in the area and force working class people out of their communities. The National Planning Framework 4 requires an affordable housing provision of 25% in new developments. The Council should be applying this rule and denying the development. It is unbelievable that they are choosing to listen to developers whose only care is lining their pockets. 

“Living Rent, our community council, our local councillors, and residents in our community, have spoken: Shawlands does not need luxury flats. It needs affordable housing.”

Last year, 185 objections were submitted to the planning committee and 365 people signed a petition from the tenants’ union calling for the current plans to be rejected. 

A total of 68 letters of support were submitted to Glasgow City Council.

Living Rent is calling for any redevelopment of the arcade to include at least 25% social housing and have space which will benefit the community. They are also calling on the council to legislate to demand that any new development has a requirement to include at least 25% social housing.

Glasgow City Council says it looks at social/affordable home ‘percentages’ already in an area rather than for a specific development.

Grace Stevens, Chair of the Shawlands branch of Living Rent says: “For the Planning Committee to ignore NPF4, simply because the city council have not yet established a baseline of how to apply the social housing requirement, is an undemocratic and unaccountable decision, one that completely ignores the spirit of NPF4, with nothing short of disastrous consequences for Shawlands and surrounding communities. 

“In response to our concerns, the developer stated their only concern was to make profit, and that we should take it up with Glasgow City Council.

“Councillors should not be ignoring NPF4. They need  to listen to the very people to be impacted by this. We are people who need affordable homes.” 

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