Graving Docks Planning Application

As announced in the Evening Times and Glasgow Live this weekend, New City Vision have now submitted their planning application to build up to 750 homes, offices and an hotel on Govan’s A-listed historic graving docks.

We thought we would take a look at New City Vision’s track record of delivering residential developments in Glasgow:

First up we found some interesting information about their development at Drumchapel in Glasgow. This is from a Glasgow City Council Sustainable Spatial Strategy Report. The report is not dated but the latest retrospective date mentioned in it is spring 2013:

LDF Area Profiles
In 2005 the Council commenced the New Neighbourhood initiative in Drumchapel. This involved a land deal with New City Vision in order to build 1500 private homes throughout the vacant land in the area. However, to date [2013?] less than 100 units have been delivered on only part of the first of 8 sites.

As recently as June last year Drumchapel Community Council were clearly still unsatisfied with the progress of the development:
Cllr. Carey went on to advise that New City Vision had been requesting to
meet with him however he felt it was more appropriate that they met with
the residents of the homes they had built. (This affects housing in the
Inchfad Area). A member suggested that the company had done some work
however it was by no means completed and it was her understanding that
they planned to start work elsewhere. It was felt that the work should be
completed prior to moving elsewhere to start building. It was also
suggested that there was a number of railings left at the edge of the road.
This information was taken by Cllr. Carey who agreed to arrange for it to be
uplifted. (May 2015)

Discussion took place around the unused buildings in the area and the unkempt land,
where previous building had been demolished. This raised a lot of concern and upset
form members who felt they had no control over the situation. Cllr. Carey advised that
not all the land is owned by the council therefore they cannot go on the land, to maintain
it. He also advised that he would seek to have empty buildings demolished if not being
used. This led to greater discussion around the reduced service now in place through
Land and Environmental Services.
City Vision [sic] was identified as a company who had a number of sites within Drumchapel
and who were at times difficult to engage. It would appear that some members had
personal experience of being ignored by the company, in relation to their issues.
It was proposed that despite these experiences, the community council write to City
Vision and ask them to tackle the issues identified on their land. (June 2016)

Next up we will post about the development of the former Gartloch Hospital site.

A Sail Cargo Hub for Govan?


There are several projects around the world that offer inspiration for what’s possible at Govan Graving Docks as a sail cargo hub.

Modern sail cargo is not just about nostalgia for the past. Most importantly it is a proven means of tackling climate change by reducing CO2 emissions from shipping. It is tried and tested the world over so why not on the Clyde – the river that once built a fifth of the world’s ships?

Sail cargo is about the FUTURE!

Sail cargo presents a business and economic case for dry dock restoration.

It’s about creating sustainable, long-term skilled jobs for the people of Govan and Glasgow for decades to come. Some examples:

  • Traditional skills preservation, shipbuilding techniques, carpentry, etc – with modern adaptations
  • Modern sailing ship construction – e.g. using composite materials – as well as building wooden ships
  • Shipbuilding, repair/restoration and other technical skills
  • Sail…

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Planning History of Govan Graving Docks

In 1989 the former Glasgow District Council served a repairs notice on Windex Ltd – the project lead for a proposed residential and commercial redevelopment of Govan Graving Docks that was refused planning consent in 1990.,455450&hl=en

This sets a clear precedent that raises questions of why, despite continued deterioration of the site, Glasgow City Council will not serve a repairs notice on the developers who presently own the site.

Clear grounds for the serving of a repair notice are laid out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act

One of the reasons given by the council for not doing so is the risk that the council would be left with the liability for the site. However this was not a concern in 1989 so why is it a concern now?

Why is convenience a material factor in deciding which regulations are to be enforced?

This and many other issues are addressed in a damning 20-page report released by the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative this week.


Report on the Planning History of Govan Graving Docks


A 20 page detailed report into the planning history of Govan Graving Docks that demonstrates redevelopment of the site for housing is not viable on a number of grounds.

The report also questions the historic role of public sector agencies and aims to identify lessons that can be learned from past experiences.

Executive Summary

The report will look in some detail, at the history of planning and development proposals for Govan Graving Docks, since the closure of the site as a working dock facility.

The core of our thesis is that an extensive redevelopment of Govan Graving Docks for residential and commercial use is not feasible on grounds of desirability/popularity, financial viability, technical viability, industrial/maritime heritage concerns and the A-listed status of the site. The information we have researched and collated in this report will serve unequivocally to prove that.

On the basis of research conducted in preparing this report…

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Govan Needs You, It’s Time to Mobilise! #SaveGovanDocks

Govan Needs You, It's Time to Mobilise! #SaveGovanDocks

Govan Needs You, It’s Time to Mobilise! #SaveGovanDocks

An application has been lodged with Glasgow City Council for an EIA Screening Opinion on Govan Graving Docks.

“Erection of Mixed Use development at former Govan Graving Docks – Request for a screening opinion under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations”

What the Screening Opinion application means is that the developers want the Council to agree that there is no requirement to conduct a full Environmental Impact Assessment – so that only a more straightforward (‘lite version’) environmental survey will be needed.

The application indicates planning consent will be sought for 600 homes, 195 hotel rooms and 7,520 square metres of office space to be developed on the docks. Also a cynical token gesture of a small museum and café – as if that’s going to appease anyone and could potentially be dropped from the plans at a later stage.

The application looks like a run of the mill developers box-ticking exercise to appease planners.

This is not an application for planning consent to develop the site but it is nevertheless the clearest indication yet that such an application is in the pipeline. We are preparing for planning consent to be sought this autumn and need to muster all opposition possible.

What we need right away is for everyone who has signed the heritage park petition to get one friend (two would be better) who has not yet signed to do so, as well as the new petitions:

Calling for a public inquiry –

Calling for the Scottish Government to call in any planning applications –

We need a surge in momentum NOW if we are to succeed in preventing this development and save the last of Glasgow’s historic docks!

Owners New City Vision were quoted in Glasgow Live ( stating they would have to reconsider their plans if there is massive resistance. So let’s take a square shot at this open goal!

A Nature Park Next to Govan Graving Docks? #SaveGovanDocks


The wet basin to the West of Govan Graving Docks was at one time the fitting out basin for the Harland and Wolff shipyard – most of which once stood at what is now Govan Riverside and a housing estate. Only the basin and the adjacent engine shed now remain.

Wet Basin at Govan graving Docks - the former harland and Wolff fitting out basin

It was only later on that this was incorporated into the Govan Dry Dock complex, which was operated by Clydedock Engineering Ltd until it closed down in 1988.

Since the docks closed down the wooden quay around the basin has rotted and crumbled away while the land around it gradually became overgrown with trees and other vegetation until it was cleared in 2014. It has become home to nesting birds and cormorants, swans and a seal are regular visitors to the basin.

What could we do to bring the basin and the adjoining land back into use?

Perhaps it could…

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It’s Not Just About Maritime Heritage


The priority in preserving and restoring Govan Graving Docks is to protect the listed structures as a monument to those who built and repaired hundreds of ships in them. That means restricting the addition of any permanent buildings to the edge along Govan Road and to use maritime and shipbuilding inspired concepts in the architecture.

This will leave quay space available to use temporary free-standing buildings which will still give plenty of scope for innovation and also allow for adaptive use of the site. The dry dock basins can be used to accommodate floating units, restored ships and a working dry dock for historic ship repair, replica construction and skills preservation projects.

The aim is to provide quay space for a wide range of uses as well as small commercial units along Govan Road. The uses for these are limited only by the imagination of the small businesses, local social…

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