Fully 36 years since Glasgow City Council noted formally there were issues relating to the preservation of the Egyptian Halls there is still an opportunity to kick-start the long overdue Regeneration of Union Street; the two primary options identified as available for this Grade A “architectural masterpiece” are Restore and Regenerate OR Demolish and Regenerate.
The future of a truly world-renowned building is dependent on the following:
1. MEETINGS TO DISCUSS BUSINESS PLAN/DEVELOPMENT OPTIONS NOT YET SCHEDULED!
USP, USI and the Egyptian Halls Building Preservation Trust have briefed Regeneration and funding experts as recently as October 2015 to open “without liability" discussions with GCC on how to fund the Restore scheme at the least cost to the public purse or indeed consider the Demolition and Rebuild option. However NO meetings are currently scheduled despite GCC’s Economic Convenor Bailie Cameron being on record as stating that "GCC has a “5 Year Strategy to Boost City Centre Regeneration”- specifically a consideration of whether areas like Union Street, should in fact be completely reconfigured" there will be numerous opportunities for Glasgow to capitalise in coming years. “We need to find the right sources of funding, and there are various routes.”
Therefore the Curse that is the lack of joined up government continues to haunt the Egyptian Halls
2. JOINT STRUCTURAL REVIEW UPDATE
Despite agreement by GCC and HES to collaborate with The Morrison Partnership/ Addison Conservation post the long and complex meeting held18th February. This did not develop and by 15th March GCC stated it was close to implementing a list of Urgent Repairs without any discussion or proof that these are a) required b) follow HES sound Preservation Principles of minimum intervention and maximum reversibility c) at the least cost. USP and USI’s lawyers have issued what the legal position is and that USP and USI will not pay for any Urgent Repairs that are not defined as such, are not recommended based on Conservation experts advice, would cause irreparable damage to the Egyptian Halls Structure.
Further GCC has stated in both correspondence and in the Evening Times that the requirement to remove the Scaffolding will NOT increase Public Safety issues which is wholly misformed, that this is not related to the need to carry out Public Realm improvement works on Union Street, which is a complete falsehood as separate correspondence from two GCC Depts states differently. See also Façade fracturing evidence, which again GCC is ignoring!
3. AN IMMINENT REVIEW OF THE 1996-2010 CPO IS REQUIRED!
The co-owners have submitted unequivocal further proof and evidence that the scheme delays since 1998 were caused by the flawed use of CPO legislation. And again call for an objective CPO Review. Perhaps the soon to be elected Scottish Government could make an immediate impact and call this project in for assessment?
The aforementioned factors are irrevocably interlinked and each influences the other. And to repeat the overwhelming and mutual objective is to achieve the restoration of and return to commercial sustainability of the Egyptian Hall at the least cost possible to the public purse. And can I reinforce that the co-owners are very willing to collaborate and negotiate without attributing blame or liability.
Scotland on Sunday 1st November 2015 “It is a very worrying situation as it is Thomson’s finest commercial building but there seems to be this impasse between the building’s owners and the local authorities.” Mark Baines, Alexander Thomson Society chairman.
"Some of the bits that fall off, if they hit you, you would be dead” The architect involved in the Egyptian Halls project has warned calls for the facade to be removed could see pedestrians injured or killed by plunging masonry.