This is a legacy issue dating back 40 years, which is how long the Upper Floors of the Egyptian Halls have been vacant and the fundamental non reconciled issues have seen FOUR approved Planning Applications founder these past 23 years. So all GCC, Scot Govt, co owners and heritage stakeholders need to collaborate so an extraordinary solution can be facilitated to save an extraordinary building.
1) And now given the Egyptian Halls has been shortlisted for the Europa Nostra award, which is fantastic news and all credit to Scott/Brigit/Sally/Mark at the ATS for their unstinting and steely pragmatism and long hours to achieve this And given it is being mooted there should be a lecture to speak about the project in partnership with Europa Nostra UK, ATS and SPAB? And for sure this will be encouraged to be scheduled ASAP and all stakeholders I’m sure will be invited to both attend and participate as well including ATS/AHSS/RIAS/GBPT/ SPAB/EUROPA NOSTRA/NGS as well as GCC-HES-SCOT GOVT.
2) Having also attended Friday past at the NGS the wonderful exhibition of entries for the Reimagining the Egyptian Halls competition which involved ATS/NGS/RIAS which attracted 80 entries from across the world (USA, Brazil, India, Philippines, Edinburgh, Polmont and of course Glasgow), with 20 on display including: 1) Museum of Slavery - A CITY PLAN - HLF PROJECT FOR SURE 2) new school of architecture 3) education-flexible work space!! 4) housing 5) conceptual thinking. Many interested heritage supporters asked me time after time what was to happen with the Egyptian Halls.
3) And now given GCC and HES have been issued the Will Rudd Davidson survey, which provides the most detailed and comprehensive review of the existing structure there has been underpinned by robust sampling, intrusive investigations, analysis and assessment. And an immediate comparison is with the Year 2000 scheme, which was to preserve the Egyptian Halls 100%, now cannot be achieved due to circa 85% requiring to be replaced/demolished I.e. Rear wall/roof/all floors, leaving only the magnificent façade which then cannot self support itself. So one would surmise the Egyptian Halls would surely be on the final shortlist given the now parlous, time sensitive structural unpredictability.
4) We’re also on record long and frequent stating GCC DRS Officers did not create this now toxic financial and cultural legacy and neither did the current elected Council but have somehow to find a solution that preserves the façade of this Grade A architectural masterpiece that should have been preserved by mid 2002 but for GCC and Historic Scotland errors of judgment circa 1998-2000.
5) There is a FIFTH Planning Application to be scoped/developed/funded/approved led by the combined WRD-TMP- ICA-SAVILLS team and this is already underway. And I’m 100% sure GCC DRS and HES would be much, much happier to be working towards the achievement of this as opposed to other non-Regeneration issues which have became the main focus of activity these past few years.
And today despite the challenges faced both in terms of accelerating structural decline and Commercial non-viability the position of the investors/standard security holders is still to realise the Preservation of and return to commercial sustainability of the Egyptian Halls at the least cost to the Public purse in conjunction with a fair and commensurate return for the “significant expenditure” has invested since mid 1998 and which GCC also acknowledged, nearly a decade ago in correspondence to Culture Minister Hyslop.
SO EARLY 2020 LET’S ALL SAVE THE FAÇADE FIRST AND THEN ASK WHY A SIMPLE AMENDMENT STATED TO CAUSE ONLY A FEW MONTHS DELAY HAS CAUSED A DELAY 100 TIMES “A FEW MONTHS.”