A large no-go zone has been in force in the area since a fire ripped through the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building on 15 June 2018. The cordon displaced local residents and business owners who have been prevented from returning to their homes and properties since the blaze.
Govan Law Centre, a local not-for-profit legal practice, planned to sue the art school and Kier, Glasgow City Council, on behalf of local residents and Sauchiehall Street Inner Cordon Businesses. According to the centre, local residents have been barred from re-entering their homes even to collect clothing, medicines, passports and car keys.
Lawyers at the centre also estimated that 55 local businesses, which account for 350 jobs were at risk of collapsing as a result of the lock-out. “Glasgow School of Art and privileged elites appear more interested in saving the Mackintosh building than saving the community of Sauchiehall Street and Garnethill, which have been around a lot longer and are a special part of our city’s heritage”, they added in a statement.
In response, the art school’s director, Tom Inns, agreed that allowing members of the community to return to their homes and businesses as soon as possible remained the priority. On Wednesday (22 August 2018), a Glasgow City Council spokesman announced that a substantial part of the building would soon be deemed safe following dismantling and stabilisation works.
Govan Law Centre is now exploring the possibility of launching legal action over the “abysmal” treatment of members of the local community during the stabilisation works.