Developers claim Govan Graving Docks plan is ‘worth £150m’ to city economy

Govan graving docks was built in stages from 1869-1894 by the Clyde Navigation Trust to cater for the huge demand for ship repair services. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
Govan graving docks was built in stages from 1869-1894 by the Clyde Navigation Trust to cater for the huge demand for ship repair services. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
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The developers behind a controversial plan to build flats on a Grade-A listed dry dock have claimed the scheme could be worth £150m to Glasgow’s economy.

New City Vision want to build 720 new homes, a hotel, and office space on Govan Dry Docks, a huge complex built to service ships when Glasgow was one of the world’s major ports.

The graving docks were abandoned in 1988 and are now among the last remnants of Glasgow's martime industry. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

The graving docks were abandoned in 1988 and are now among the last remnants of Glasgow's martime industry. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

The privately-owned yard was closed in 1988 and has since lain derelict, with competing plans over how best to breathe new life into it.

A report commissioned by the developer claims that 1,000 jobs would be created by transforming the site, which lies close to the BBC Scotland headquarters on the southbank of the Clyde, and opening new businesses.

But the plan is fiercely opposed by both heritage bodies and some local residents.

Billionaire industrialist Jim McColl has also spoken of his desire to restore the Graving Docks to a working ship repair yard.

READ MORE: Campaign to preserve Glasgow’s maritime history heats up

Harry O’Donnell, chairman of New City Vision, said: “This site has been derelict for 30 years. It is an eyesore.

“Our plans will remove this blot on the landscape and reinvigorate the area by creating long-term jobs and much-needed affordable housing.”

The report, carried out by consultants EKOS, claimed the plans would generate around 800 one-off construction jobs. It added the development would create a “vibrant community”.

The proposed residential plan is opposed by the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative, which believes the historic site should be protected as a reminder of Glasgow’s maritime past. Much of the city’s original docks have long since been lost to modern developments.

Govan Graving Docks, comprising three dry docks and associated piers, is lined with massive whinstone setts, topped by handcarved granite blocks.

It was ordered by the Clyde Navigation Trust to satisfy the then huge demand for ship repair services.

The term graving refers to the now obsolete process of coating the bottom of boats with pitch. At its peak, more than 500 men were employed to prepare ships for another gruelling season of crossing the oceans.

The Buildings at Risk Register describes it as an “outstanding complex, unique in Scotland,”.