COUNCIL planners were already assessing whether High Street buildings – close to yesterday’s fire – could be demolished. 

Structured House Group wants to build 239 flats in an 11-storey block on the site, which would be known as Merchant Point. 

Back in February, the development company requested permission to knock down unlisted buildings, which are in a conservation area. 

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These are 219 to 221 High Street, which includes the Old College Bar, and 223 to 227 High Street.  Glasgow City Council is currently considering that application. An older application, from 2016, to demolish the properties and build student accommodation has also yet to be decided. 

The plans state: “The proposed development requires the demolition of two unlisted buildings on the site to enable its redevelopment with a single L-shaped mixed residential scheme, with retail, leisure and commercial units.” 
Engineering consultants Will Rudd Davidson carried out a survey at 219 High Street and found “the building is considered to be in poor condition structurally”. 

“The building is in a dilapidated state, suffering from a combination of defects, including inefficient weather proofing, deterioration of the building fabric, cracking of masonry and local structural failures within the north western stair core.” 

It added: “The unoccupied areas of the building have fallen into disrepair and will only continue to worsen over time, in which the risk of structural failure will increase.” 

Five objections to the application have been sent to the council, including from Bailie Christy Mearns. 

Her objection stated the buildings “evoke Glasgow’s earliest history when it was much more densely built up than it is now”. 

Glasgow Times: The aftermath of yesterday's blaze The aftermath of yesterday's blaze

“Despite the building not being in good condition, it is not beyond repair according to the condition report and it should be protected to meet these aims,” it added. 

“Demolishing this building will serve to further fragment the B-listed British Linen Bank which will be left completely isolated.” 

The at-risk B-listed British Linen Company Bank at 215 High Street is “in separate ownership and therefore does not form part of the application site”, the plans reveal. 

Peter Hayman objected to the application on behalf of Merchant City & Trongate Community Council. 

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Although there are several issues needing attention, there “is no suggestion that it is dangerous or beyond repair”, he said. 

“The potential of the buildings refurbished could offer the very sort of mixed accommodation with small scale businesses and local services that the community would like to see. The butchers shop continues to provide one of the much appreciated but all too scarce services there.” 

A heritage statement, submitted by the developers, stated the existing buildings have “been so fundamentally altered that they are deemed not to contribute to the character and appearance of the conservation area”.