A LOCAL developer is coming under mounting pressure to provide clarity to homeowners as part of a newly-built complex could be turned into a “hotel”. 

Residents at 102 Minerva Street in Finnieston are demanding answers from Drum Property after learning 41 flats at the development could be used as apartment-hotels. 

The enraged locals - who paid around £320,000 for their properties - claim that Drum knew that Sonder, a short-term let firm, had plans for the site prior to completion of the building. 

But, Drum says that the responsibility of the apartments in question are no longer within their control. 

Glasgow Times:

In a letter seen by the Glasgow Times, local representative Angus Millar called on the developer to provide urgent clarification over the proposed use of the apartments prior to the point of purchase. 

The letter reads: “A number of residents in the G3 Square development have expressed surprise that they were not notified or informed about the planned use of a number of blocks in the development as short-term lets until after they had already moved in. 

“Are you able to advise whether Drum considered whether this proposed use should be divulged as part of the marketing of properties within the development?” 

Last month, we reported on homeowners’ concerns after a letter posted through their door by Sonder revealed they had plans to change the use of flats they had bought - just six months after residents moved in.

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

Glasgow Times: Cllr Angus MillarCllr Angus Millar

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.

The letter adds: “As constituents have put it to me, they had purchased their new properties on the basis of moving into a residential development, and had certainly not expected to find themselves essentially living in amongst a hotel. 

“In light of this situation, I would be grateful for any clarity that Drum Property Group might be able to provide in relation to how this situation arose.”

While any planning application is yet to be submitted to the council, teams enforced a temporary stop notice at the complex in August after properties were being used for short-term lets without authorisation. 

Glasgow Times:

SNP Cllr Millar said: “Local residents in this development and the wider Finnieston and Kelvingrove community deserve clarity on how this situation came about. It is worrying that homeowners were only told after moving in this year that an international aparthotel chain was looking to turn much of their new complex into short-term lets.

“This development was approved as homes for new residents, not a hotel, and it is deeply concerning that it took the council stepping in to issue a stop notice for Sonder to cease marketing these homes as short-term lets and finally accept that proper planning process has to be followed. 

“But while that process will allow local residents the chance to object to these proposals, this situation should never have come about in the first place.

“It is not acceptable for residential flats to be diverted into tourist accommodation.”
Drum said it will continue to discuss concerns raised by the homeowners with local representatives.

A spokesperson for the developer said: "We are continuing to liaise directly with Cllr Millar on this matter. Our position, however,  remains that 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 Sonder added: "Sonder is a global hospitality company, committed to operating responsibly.

"At our Minerva Way location, we currently operate units for periods of 90 days or more, in compliance with local regulations and intend to submit a planning application to operate a number of serviced apartments for short-term stays.

"We have engaged extensively with the local residents on our proposed and current operations, including a drop-in event held on the site to gather feedback and adapt our onsite operations to address any concerns."