RESIDENTS in Glasgow city centre have gathered at a car park today to promote a campaign to save the open space from a housing development. 

Locals in Merchant City are opposing plans for "sustainable flats" to be built in the area currently occupied by a car park on Ingram Street, made famous by the iconic murals by artist Smug.

The group has been campaigning for a multi-functional green space to be created on the site under the name "Merchant City Park".

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However, a developer has recently submitted plans to build four blocks of flats on the area at 65-97 Ingram Street. 

On Saturday, June 4, residents were joined at the car park by Scottish Greens councillor Christy Mearns, who took to Twitter to share an image of the rally.

She wrote: "Fabulous day promoting the Merchant City Park campaign to save the trees & valuable open space on Ingram St from being built on.

"So much more value in retaining this open space to create a multi-functional green space for local people & nature to benefit from."

Residents of Merchant City started the campaign in 2020, to garner support for the open space.

The site at 69-97 Ingram Street is bordered by Candleriggs, Ingram Street and Albion Street and the gable wall of City Halls.

It was previously owned by Glasgow City Council, and leased to National Car Parks on a month to month basis.

The site was sold on to GCC's ALEO City Property (Glasgow) LLP, so is no longer subject to the enabling legislation.

Known for its internationally recognised mural by artist Smug, commissioned in 2013 for the Commonwealth Games, the piece was created during the Merchant City festival and depicts the four seasons, including a nod to the infamous photobombing squirrel.

Ahead of the plans being submitted, Peter Hayman, director of Merchant City Park Ltd., had told The Glasgow Times: “We need this space now more than ever.

“Creating a park on the site, we want to develop a green space.

“It will bring huge health benefits for the Community whilst preserving the existing trees and saving the Mural. 

“We also believe it will become mutually beneficial for the entertainment and tourism economy in the area."

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The application for a multi-million pound, “carbon friendly” mixed-use development was submitted by Artisan Real Estate last month. 

The proposed development will feature four blocks, from four to six storeys, accommodating 109 “sustainable apartments” and ground floor commercial space.

The project includes garden terraces and a courtyard with raised planting beds that the developer says will enhance biodiversity. 

Following the application, a spokesperson for Artisan Real Estate had said: “We are really pleased with the public response to our plans.

"Incorporating the garden terraces and courtyard was something we were really keen to introduce to the city to showcase what can be achieved in a strong urban setting and offer potential residents something truly unique.

“Glasgow, and many UK cities are actively encouraging people to embrace city centre living and we need to create inspirational spaces for that to be successful.”

Objections to the plans can be made on the Glasgow City Council website until June 17.