ZM Architecture and New City Vision hope to create 750 homes in a series of buildings ranging from four to 15 storeys in height at Govan Graving Docks, a huge site built to service ships that has lain empty since 1988.
Campaigners believe the Grade A-listed complex should be preserved as a maritime heritage park, but developers have promised to retain public access to the site if their plans win approval.
Comprising three dry docks and associated piers, it was built in stages from 1869 by the Clyde Navigation Trust to satisfy the 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,”.
New City Vision plans to restore the individual docks and connect the site to the nearby Glasgow Science Centre with a new public footbridge.
In a statement, the developers said: “There will be public access anywhere without buildings – that’s over 80% of the site, including the water in the docks.
“The areas around the three docks, the basin and the river will all have public access. There’s a huge opportunity to use them for different things; going for a walk, community gardens, natural river edges, café kiosks, play areas, tai chi, restoring old boats – or just sitting and enjoying the view.”
A planning in principle application for the waterfront site is expected to be filed in April.
But there remains a vocal campaign group against housing being built on the site.
The Clyde Docks Preservation Trust believe the Govan site should be preserved as a reminder of when Glasgow was Scotland’s leading port.
“It’s Glasgow’s last remaining historic dock complex, so to cover it with bland waterfront flats you see elsewhere would be unfortunate,” said trust founder Iain McGillivray.