The trust formally objected to the proposals in July, principally because we believe that the application failed to satisfy the Scottish Historic Environment Policy criteria for demolition of a listed building.
This national policy requires applicants to provide evidence showing that a building is not of special interest; is incapable of repair; that demolition is essential to delivering significant benefits to economic growth; or that restoration is not economically viable and it has been marketed at a price reflecting its location and condition to potential restoring purchasers for a reasonable period.
The trust would suggest that there is a lack of robust evidence to demonstrate beyond doubt that there are no other uses for the building which could provide similar or greater benefits while retaining the building. The recent design proposals by distinguished conservation architects, Simpson & Brown, and other interested parties suggest that there may be commercially-viable options for the building which have not yet been fully explored.
The trust also had concerns about the quality of the proposed “civic square”.
The buildings surrounding the City Halls are currently viewed as part of the street scene, but if this proposal goes forward they will be exposed prominently across a large, public, open space.
Many of these existing buildings are unprepossessing in their façades and their scale, and the concern is that the space will be out of scale with the development surrounding it.
The Scottish Civic Trust