The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative - Protecting and promoting the evolving maritime heritage of the tidal River Clyde

Protecting and Promoting the Evolving Maritime Heritage of the Tidal River Clyde

The Campaign to Save Govan's Historic Graving Docks
Derelict A listed pumphouse at Govan Graving dry docks Glasgow Scotland

The Campaign

The Campaign to restore Govan Graving Docks as a heritage asset was launched in 2014 with an online petitition, that has now attracted almost 9,000 signatures, calling on Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to support the vision and block proposals for a major housing development by New City Vision.

In tandem with the petition a starting concept for a heritage park was formed and presented in a 36 page white paper published in August 2014. Since then the vision of restoring the Govan docks has evolved further through networking and feedback from a diverse range of people and groups interested in the docks, as well as wider research into maritime heritage.

The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative was set up in June 2015 primarily to take the aims of the campaign forward in a more structured and professional way.

The campaign has attracted media attention from sources including BBC Radio Scotland, STV Glasgow News, Glasgow Live, The Sunday Herald, The Evening Times, The Scotsman, Vice, The Big Issue and the Maritime Journal.

high rise waterfront flats at Finnieston Glasgow

Why Oppose Housing Plans - Surely We Need New Housing?

A small number of people have questioned the reasons behind the campaign and why we are challenging plans for housing development. Surely we need new and especially affordable housing?

Yes we agree that new housing is always needed but there are other disused sites not far from Govan Graving Docks that would be far less complex and more cost effective to build housing on. Housing demand can be met without destroying or defacing historic sites and buildings. No one would suggest building homes on the remains of the Antonine Wall, an Iron Age hill fort or Stonehenge - but who is to say any of these are historically more important than Govan's hand-carved granite dry docks?

People need more than just homes to live in. Rewarding and sustainable jobs, learning and recreational facilities are needed as well. It is also of great cultural importance to maintain connections with our past. In terms of present and future opportunity of creating a major maritime tribute on the Clyde - Govan Graving Docks is the only remaining site where this could be done on a a major scale. This is an opportunity that would be lost forever if a major residential or commercial redevelopment project were allowed to go ahead on the docks. More than that - granting planning consent for a major housing development would be an unspoken declaration by Glasgow City Council that Glasgow has completely abandoned its industrial and maritime heritage - with no intention to ever revive it.

Govan has already lost the iconic shipyard cranes from its skyline. Dry docks like these will never be built again. CDPI and the Govan Docks Regeneration Trust aim to ensure that the last dry docks in Glasgow are not lost as well (in terms of their future potential to be put to practical use as dry docks again) - by giving them back to Govan.

The Campaign

Challenging Plans for Housing Development

As well as gathering support for a maritime park concept, a major part of the campaign is challenging the plans of the current owners, to redevelop Govan Graving Docks for up to 700+ private flats.

In our consultation and outreach work we have found the general public and the local community in Govan are overwhelmingly opposed to a private housing development on Govan Graving Docks and for the most part don't even want to see the site become social housing. Meanwhile experts have expressed scepticism of whether the site is even at all viable for housing.

The developers are expected to submit an application for outline planning consent for their housing masterplan sometime in 2017. We will be issuing guidance on submitting objections to the planning application once it has been received by Glasgow City Council.

Call for Compulsory Purchase

In addition to opposing the plans for housing development we have also been lobbying Glasgow City Council to consider putting the A-listed Govan Graving Docks under a compulsory purchase order (CPO) with the aim that the site will eventually pass into the ownership of a dedicated charity.

We have identified grounds in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas)(Scotland) Act for a repairs notice to be served on the owners for restoration of the docks. If not carried out within two months a repairs notice would lead to a CPO being actioned.

More than 1,000 people have now signed a petition calling for compulsory purchase of Govan Graving Docks. The new administration at Glasgow City Council is under considerable pressure to act.

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