“This application to demolish Kelvin House was wrong on so many grounds that I can hardly believe a council officer thought this move was appropriate,” said Councillor Kenny MacLaren (SNP – Paisley Northwest).
At Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Climate Change Policy Board councillors voted against a proposal by the council to demolish Kelvin House and instead voted to continue the application. This means that officers would have to bring forward an alternative planning application for the site if the demolition was to go ahead. Even if such a plan comes forward it would have to get the approval of the board.
A number of residents had contacted councillors regarding their concerns that this property was due to be demolished and the site cleared for potential future application by a developer.
Councillor Kenny MacLaren added:
“When I initially read the paperwork on the proposed demolition I had to check twice that it came from the council as it seemed to be a speculative application from a developer with more interest in potential development opportunity than an organisation that is meant to protect and preserve Paisley and Renfrewshire’s heritage.
“Kelvin House is a fine example of the work of the architect James Steel Maitland with the council previously stating that it was one of the three most famous building he designed, that it was of regional importance and one of the 28 key building out of the 107 listed buildings in the town centre.
“Too many times members of the planning board have condemned private developers for letting historic buildings fall into ruin and claim that demolition is the only option – yet now we have officers trying the same approach! It would be sheer hypocrisy of this board and its members and utterly shameful if we were to let this demolition go ahead.
“It is also a disgrace that there was no parallel application for a replacement development, members were given two mock ups – one showing a gap site and the other a photoshopped monstrosity of a lego block building – yet we’re to demolish an important listed building in the off chance that something better might come off it!
“Previously there have been comments that councillors in this board should have better training to ensure they can put forward stronger arguments against applications however I believe this application only highlights that maybe officers should receive training on the importance of preserving Paisley and Renfrewshire’s architectural heritage and hopefully that would stop such dubious applications like this coming to the board in the future.”