A squalid hotel which has been branded a “modern day poorhouse” is to be closed down after a deal has been struck to buy it.

The Bellgrove Hotel has, for years, caused concern for the welfare of the dozens of men who live there at any one time, with the local MSP calling it Dickensian.

The hotel in the East End is privately owned and not subject to the same regulations that council run hostels have had to abide by.

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Around 50 men are currently living in the building owned by Ron Barr and Kenneth Gray, who reportedly bought he hotel for £65,000 in 1988.

The owners are estimated to have earned around £1.5m a year in housing benefit while leaving men to live in appalling conditions.

Previous reports found more than £800 a month is being paid to the owners for each of the men to live there but they shared shower facilities and most have drink and drug problems but have not been provided with support.

They will now be helped into other accommodation and the hotel taken over and redeveloped into a housing site.

The deal has been struck by Wheatley Group the parent company of the city’s biggest social landlord GHA.

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The site will be used to build mid-market rented homes by Lowther Homes, part of Wheatley Group.

The men will be offered homes by GHA and provided with support for issues they are dealing with like alcohol addiction and mental health problems.

The site of the hotel will be developed as part of the ongoing work of the Gallowgate Transformational Regeneration which includes new homes already built in the area.

A deal to buy the hotel has been agreed and completed today after it was put up for sale last October.

It has been funded by Glasgow City Council, with money form a Scottish Government development fund to deliver regeneration at eight sites across the city.

Staff from Wheatley Care - a Wheatley Group subsidiary - will work with Glasgow‘s Health and Social Care Partnership to help the residents move on from the hostel into modern homes with tailored care and support in place for those who need it. Alternative accommodation with care will be offered to those who need it.

The hotel site will be part of the next phase of regeneration of the Gallowgate, with Lowther developing plans for mid-market rent homes as part of that.

Bernadette Hewitt, GHA Chair, said: “All of the residents at Bellgrove will be offered the chance of a GHA home or alternative accommodation to meet their needs with support in place to help them settle.  At GHA and across Wheatley, we share the vision that everyone should be able, with support, to lead independent lives in their own home and this is very much part of that. 

Patrick Flynn, Director of City Development at Glasgow City Council, said: “The acquisition of the Bellgrove Hotel by the council and our Transforming Communities: Glasgow partners will both allow the regeneration of the Gallowgate and pave the way for the hostel’s residents to move to their own homes and receive the support they need.  This is a major step forward in the transformation of an East End neighbourhood, and we can look forward to the local community continuing to play a key role of the development of the area in which they live.”

Pat Togher,  Assistant Chief Officer, Glasgow City Health & Social Care Partnership, said: “We do not use the Bellgrove Hotel as a means of accommodating people who are homeless, however we welcome the opportunity to work closely with residents of the hotel and the Wheatley Group in seeking more permanent accommodation and providing the necessary support for those experiencing complex needs.  Glasgow HSCP is familiar with decommissioning arrangements such as the one proposed and will deploy our skilled and experienced workforce ensuring that existing residents transition to more suitable, settled and where necessary supported accommodation ahead of the closure.  This is an excellent opportunity to improve the lives of those residing in the Bellgrove and we look forward to working with everyone involved.”