HOMEOWNERS at a newly-built complex in Glasgow have been left "gobsmacked" after learning part of the development could be turned into a "hotel".

Furious residents at Drum-built 102 Minerva Street in Finnieston have hit out at the developers and estate agents, Savills, but both have said that it was not their responsibility.

The locals - who paid around £320,000 for the properties - were furious when a letter posted through their door by apartment-hotel firm, Sonder, revealed they had plans to change the use of 41 flats - just six months after residents moved in.

Glasgow Times:

Homeowner Kirsty Colquhoun said: “I, like my neighbours, expected it to be a residential development as that was what was being sold to us. My initial reaction was to be upset and surprised that this was able to happen but now I’m just gobsmacked.

“It’s not what you expect to be around the corner when you move into a new complex.”

The letter - penned to all homeowners - invites residents to a “drop-in event” to discuss Sonder’s plans to transform the flats into apartment-hotels.

It reads: “We will shortly be looking to submit a planning application to Glasgow City Council to operate the serviced apartments for short-term stays.

“In advance of submission of such an application, we will be holding a drop-in event in the car park of the site on Thursday, September 23 from 5pm until 8pm.

“We will outline our proposals and provide the opportunity to ask questions and raise any issues you may have.”

Glasgow Times:

The homes are only a stone throw away from one of Glasgow's most popular entertainment venues, The SSE Hydro, which is hosting COP26 in November.

As previously revealed by the Glasgow Times, nearby hotels, hostels and apartments plan on cashing in on the climate summit, with some even charging up to £2000 per night.

Sonder's potential bid has sparked outrage among the residents.

David Calder, another homeowner at the complex, said: “Initially, all of these apartments were advertised as residential. At no point was there any mention of short-term stays during the sales process between Drum property and Savills.

“In fact, on the website, it had these blocks showing as ‘sold’. As it turns out, they were going to be used for short-term rental purposes that neither myself or my neighbours were to know about until five months after we had moved in and settled our contracts."

Mr Calder claimed that nobody was told that short-term letting at the complex could be a possibility.

Ms Colquhoun added: “Truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have bought my flat here if I knew that there would be short-term letting visitors. We are tied up with mortgages now, so it would cost us to get out of them.”

Glasgow Times:

Residents and local representative, Angus Millar, have called on planning chiefs to carefully consider any applications over the use of properties at the complex as they warn the potential bid sets a bad predicament for those who are looking to buy a new build in Glasgow.

SNP Councillor Millar said: “It is totally unacceptable that this international chain is trying to turn new-build flats in the heart of Finnieston into short term lets – this development was approved as homes for new residents and it is shocking that people have moved in only to find plans to essentially turn their new home into a hotel.

“We need homes for people to live in and to build community in areas like Finnieston and the city centre, and while there is absolutely an important role for tourism and hotels, it can’t be right for the city’s new housing supply to be retrospectively diverted into short term lets soon after being built.

“That would set a very worrying precedent for Glasgow and I am fully behind local residents in opposing these plans.”

Glasgow Times:

Ms Colquhoun added: “I don’t want to point the finger and blame anyone for any wrongdoing, I just think it is important that we highlight that this is happening. It sets quite a bad predicament for new complexes in the city and for those who are thinking about buying a new build property.”

While any application is yet to be submitted to the local authority, Sonder believe that their plans to change the use of the flats is well within Scottish Government regulations.

A spokeswoman said: “In Glasgow, we believe that our use of the property as managed serviced apartments is in line with the new Short Term Lets Regulations, which define a serviced apartment as a flat or residential unit in respect of which services are provided to guests and there is a management regime in place.

 “Ahead of the opening, we also submitted a certificate of lawfulness application to the council to confirm that our use of the property was compliant.

“Since then, we have complied quickly with all requests from the Council and have met with local residents and local community groups.

“We intend to submit a planning application to clarify the short-term stay use of the property, in addition to stays longer than 90 nights, which are in accordance with Glasgow City Council guidance.”

Savills Estate Agent Glasgow has since revealed that the 41 properties referred to were sold directly by Drum Property. But, the developer said that the apartments were “not in their control”.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The apartments in question are not in the control of Drum Property Group and are all currently unoccupied.   Any organisation or individual is, however, within their rights to apply to the local authority for a change in use of planning permission and interested parties will be able to comment on any such application if, and when, it comes forward.”

A spokesperson from Savills said: “Savills and Corum were jointly appointed by Drum Property Group to sell 67 of the 108 apartments in the first phase of G3 Square on Minerva Street.  The further 41 properties referred to were sold directly by Drum Property Group. As such we are unable to comment on the terms of their sale.”