Finnieston serviced apartments decision appealed

Apartments in Minerva Way

An appeal has been lodged against Glasgow City Council’s rejection of a bid to turn more than 40 residential flats in Finnieston into short-term holiday rentals.

Sonder Hospitality’s application was for 41 apartments at 3-7 Minerva Way, which are among 108 units built so far as part of a development on Minerva Street/Minerva Way.

Members of Glasgow City Council‘s planning committee unanimously agreed to reject the application earlier this year on advice and information given to them by council officers.

More than 120 objections had been received and the planners had recommended rejection.

The demand was described as “appalling” with advisers saying the proposal was not suitable for the area.

Residents claimed they were not told before buying their property that a contract between the developer and Sonder had already been signed. They said that despite there being no legal requirement to disclose this information, many residents would not have completed their purchase had they been told of the plans.

Concerns have also been raised that short-term rentals will turn into “party apartments” for tourists.

Sonder Hospitality has now proposed that the Scottish Government’s Environmental Planning and Appeals Division overturn the council’s decision.

The company’s Reasons for Appeal document states: “The proposal is supported by national policy and is consistent with [city’s] Development plan subject to appropriately worded conditions. No internal or external consulted person opposed it.

“The reasons for the denial appear to be based on concerns raised by local residents. In the absence of evidence of real problems, these concerns appear to be based on perceptions, which may misunderstand the nature of use; and incorrectly assume that serviced apartments have an intrinsic impact on amenities more than residential use.

A report from planning officials said: ‘There is a distinction between changing the use of an entire building from apartments with their own dedicated access, backyard and support facilities to short-term serviced apartments, but what is proposed here is to change part of a building (designed and approved as a single residential development with communal bin stores, bicycle parking facilities and vehicle parking in a shared residential rear yard) to non-residential use while continuing to rely entirely on the common facilities of that same development to facilitate the new use.

“The proposed short-term apartments would utilize residential vehicular access, residential trash stores, residential bicycle parking and residential parking, while encouraging pedestrian and vehicular access through the residential rear yard.

“Coupled with the view and privacy issues that would result for the private residential amenity space, there is no conclusion to be drawn other than the fact that the proposal will negatively impact the residential amenity of adjacent residents.

“As the applicant was already operating the proposed use without consent, until action was taken by the planning authority, we also have clear evidence that the proposal will disrupt residential amenities.”

The report added: “Leaving aside the broader concerns of the surrounding community, it was new residents of G3 Square who complained about unauthorized use and who, having previously experienced short-term tenants in their private residential spaces, objected in significant numbers to this application.

“Of the 64 apartments containing new residents in this development, 33 opposed this proposal. None of the development’s new residents submitted letters of support.

“Even if we were to set aside issues of residential amenity and substantial body of community objection, the failures in the method and detail of this submission mean that the only competent decision is to deny this application.

“Given the unacceptability of the proposal in terms of the local development plan, the lack of supporting facilities within the boundaries of the bid site, the adverse impact on adjacent residents and the lack of material considerations that outweigh these issues, we respectfully request that the committee deny this request.

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