The ‘Managers House’ at the Victoria Infirmary – a handsome sandstone villa in use just a few months ago – was demolished on 24th November 2016 by the new owner of the site, Sanctuary Housing. This was in the face of pleas by the Victoria Forum to first consult the community.
Here are 10 things you may not know about the re-development of the Vicky.
- Sanctuary already has a demolition plan that includes almost every building except the ‘Nightingale wards’ (the famous wards with bay windows on Battlefield Road), the gatehouse and the only listed building which is the administration building near the Battlefield Monument.
- Sanctuary appears to be neglecting the master planning requirement specified in the Glasgow City Plan which says that an approved master plan for the site should be in place prior to submission of planning applications. A master plan would ensure the re-development integrated well into the surrounding area, balancing local needs with economic viability. Such needs would be identified in community consultation and would include topics such as housing mix, amenities, access and green spaces. The NHSGGC suggested to the Victoria Forum that such considerations may include, for example, improving the road layout around the Battlefield Rest.
The site redevelopment has been expected for around 10 years and the new Victoria opened in 2009. The local Community Councils pushed throughout that time for consultation, and that’s one reason there is a master plan requirement. You may want to ask the ward councillors to ensure that the master plan requirement is enforced.
- NHSGGC resisted consultation prior to the sale but committed itself to working with local people to support their engagement in the community consultation (‘NHSGGC Community Update’ newsletter, February 2016).
- Sanctuary’s bid included a commitment to community consultation going well beyond the statutory minimum. The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) considered bids for the site on the basis of quality and deliverability, as well as price, so we believe this commitment must be followed through. The timeline that Sanctuary included in its bid showed two periods of public consultation, one associated with the evolution of the masterplan and, later, another longer one with the preparation of the planning application and only after that starting demolition.
- Sanctuary Group has made no commitment to including social housing in the development. Press reports have noted that Sanctuary is a registered social landlord, leading some to presume that social housing would be in the planned mix of housing at the Victoria. The bid indicated 66% units for sale, 34% at ‘mid market rent.’
- The economics make master planning, consultation and community considerations affordable. The publicly available land register shows the sale price for the entire Victoria Infirmary site (9.5 acres) to have been £6.5 million. The bid included 347 housing units with 66% for sale which would give a sale value of £30 million (assuming average unit price of £130,000) besides the considerable ongoing rental income.
- The Victoria Forum advocates a transparent and timely community consultation, sometimes called a ‘charrette’. Such a process would include all the potential stakeholders. The Victoria Forum has no preconceived position concerning the potential use which the site might be put to, preferring that the use mix and the development strategy should be the product of skilled professionals informed by meaningful public consultation.
VF has always taken a constructive approach with NHSGGC and Sanctuary. Unfortunately as Sanctuary have shifted ground, reducing the consultation opportunities and beginning demolition before completing consultation, we have has lost patience and must make public the information provided to us.
- A large proportion of local people want to be consulted about the future of the site. 971 local people responded to the Victoria Forum’s survey about the future of the site in January 2016. 75% were concerned about the re-development and 68% thought it important that they should be consulted about it. 63% thought that the sale and associated planning applications should be put on hold to allow fuller pre-sale consultation to take place and 322 individuals want to be ‘actively involved in representing their community, to help shape the detailed proposals’.
- The Victoria Forum would like Sanctuary to do the following as soon as possible :– Make public the detailed demolition plans
– Announce the consultation timescale.
– Stop any further demolition until the consultation is complete.
- Here are some ways you can get involved…
Attend your Community Council meeting and make your opinions known.
- Mount Florida CC meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month at 7pm at Clincarthill church hall, on the corner of Battlefield and Cathcart Roads.
- Battlefield, Langside and Camphill CC meets the first Monday, at 7.30 at 81 Carmichael Place.
- Shawlands and Strathbungo CC meets the first Thursday at 7pm at Shawlands Academy.
Write to your ward Councillors and ask them to enforce the master plan requirement, as described in the City Plan.
– Councillor Archie Graham – Archie.Graham@glasgow.gov.uk
– Councillor Susan Aitken – Susan.Aitken@glasgow.gov.uk
– Councillor Anna Richardson – Anna.Richardson@glasgow.gov.uk
Write to Sanctuary.