Sir Billy Connolly mural to be covered up after student housing approved

Ambassador Group will build 272 flats on Glasgow's Osborne Street - the site of the famous mural.

Sir Billy Connolly mural to be covered up in Glasgow after student housing approved Getty Images

A giant mural of Sir Billy Connolly in the Trongate will be covered up after proposals to develop student accommodation were given the green light. 

During Tuesday’s planning meeting councillors approved an application for 288 flats at the corner of Osborne Street/Old Wynd despite the fact it will obscure the Big Yin’s mural which was unveiled in 2017 to mark his 75th birthday. 

Nova Osborne Ltd previously applied to Glasgow City Council to build the 11 storey block  on the derelict site which has been used as a temporary car park and pop up venue space over the years. 

Despite being largely impressed with the proposals, one councillor did raise concerns about whether or not further artwork could be commissioned in the area. 

Councillor Imran Alam said: “It is good to see this part of the city centre being developed but I don’t think the Big Yin will be happy with having his mural moved or covered up.

“Is there any potential talk of having a smaller mural of some kind somewhere else in the city?”

A council officer confirmed that it was outwith the local authority and applicant’s control.

They said: “If there was a volunteer building and a volunteer commissioning body then yes we could consider that elsewhere.

“There were three very high profile artists commissioned to do these murals. This one was John Byrne and at the time it was a very big and important commission.

“The applicant has offered to implement an art strategy and the extent of that in and around the building will be dependent on what they bring forward. 

“There is a large area around the entrance which they intend to use but there might be other areas of the building where it [a mural] might be possible.”

The majority of councillors on the committee were also happy with the plans and agreed to grant planning permission. Councillor Eva Bollandar recorded her descent. 

Chair of the meeting, Bailie Elaine Gallagher, said: “I am comfortable with the fact that this is another student accommodation, in terms of the design of the building, the development and the proposal for arts accommodation.

“I am actually pleased with the look of the place.”

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