A BILLY Connolly mural in Glasgow city centre is set to be covered up after plans were approved for purpose-built student accommodation. 

The painting titled 75 BC, based on 'Billy Connolly' by artist John Byrne, on the corner of Osborne Street and Old Wynd will no longer be visible after Glasgow City Council granted planning permission for a £40million development. 

The apartments, from Glasgow-based Ambassador Group, will create 273 bed spaces with state-of-the-art resident amenities including a student lounge, gym and a south-facing terrace with views towards the River Clyde. 

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Glasgow Times:

Ahsan Afzal, head of development for Nova Living at Ambassador Group, said: "We are delighted with the decision which allows us to progress our development plans for this key site. 

"Glasgow’s shortage of accommodation has been well documented and with student numbers set to increase, our plans help to address this shortfall with an exciting new scheme in a brilliant location."

A spokesperson from Streets UK previously confirmed to the Glasgow Times that during the design phase, developers looked at ways to retain 75 BC but found it was "not possible". 

Glasgow Times:

They said they will make a "significant commitment to public art as part of the proposals".

The spokesperson added: "During our consultation, concerns were raised about Old Wynd with local residents and workers feeling it is currently unsafe and unpleasant. 

"Therefore, we have extended our plans to prepare designs for improving Old Wynd including art installations to animate and enhance both the Wynd and the development site."

READ NEXT: Proposal unveiled for student housing on Osborne Street in Glasgow

Glasgow Times:

75 BC is one of three 50-foot murals that were unveiled across the city centre for Connolly's 75th birthday celebrations in 2017, with the comedian saying he was "overjoyed" with them at the time. 

The other two are ‘Dr Connolly, I Presume?’ by Jack Vettriano located on Dixon Street and ‘Big Yin’ by Rachel Maclean which is found on Gallowgate.

The decision to approve the development on Osborne Street comes after we previously reported concerns had been raised about the future of the murals due to developments in the city centre. 

Glasgow Times:

Speaking to the Glasgow Times in September, a spokesperson for Merchant City and Trongate Community Council said: "Many of Glasgow’s murals, including those paying tribute to Billy Connolly, are major tourist attractions, admired not only by city residents but visitors from all around the world.

"We have long campaigned for the finest of these artistic murals to be protected, including against being wholly or partially obscured by developers who fail to fully appreciate their significance.

"We appeal again to Glasgow City Council to join us on this task.

"One of our objections to the proposal to build purpose-built student accommodation on Osborne Street was that it would completely cover up the ’75 BC’ mural celebrating Billy’s 75th birthday.

"We would also very much regret if the marquee on the Hootenanny pub site were raised to cover much more of the mural there, especially as the beer garden is named in his honour."

Work on the development on the corner of Osborne Street and Old Wynd is due to begin in summer 2024, with the first occupants expected from summer 2026.