Historic building owner ordered to make urgent repairs
The Egyptian Halls in Glasgow has fallen into disrepair after lying empty for years.
A property developer accused of neglecting one of Glasgow's most famous buildings has been told to carry out urgent repairs or face enforcement action.
The Egyptian Halls, a 150-year-old A-listed building on Union Street, was designed by Alexander "Greek" Thomson and is regarded as one of his finest creations.
However, the four-storey structure has fallen into disrepair after lying empty for years.
Architects have previously warned of falling masonry from the building, which has been covered in scaffolding for around a decade, while some areas have been penetrated by water.
Developer Derek Souter now has until Wednesday to respond to concerns raised by Glasgow City Council about the state of the building.
Council bosses say if he doesn't reply they will use any legislation available to make sure much-needed work is completed.
Mr Souter claims the local authority was meant to carry out repairs between 1996 and 2010 but failed to do so.
The developer is said to be contemplating legal action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
He told The Sunday Times newspaper: "My preference, however, would be to engage with the council, openly and transparently.
"I believe if that happens, then the objective, which is to preserve the building, can be achieved."
A council spokesman said: "We set out a list of concerns about the deterioration of the building in August 2016.
"Since then there has been no meaningful maintenance of the building. In the intervening period we have been monitoring the building and we commissioned an independent structural survey to give us a clear picture of the condition of the building as a whole.
"We wrote again to Mr Souter in June giving him 28 days to propose how he will undertake essential maintenance.
"If he fails to produce any such proposals by July 10, we will consider how best to use available legislation to compel the work to be carried out."
In 2015, Mr Souter warned he didn't know how long the dilapidated building could last after a £5m lottery bid, which he had hoped would kickstart renovation work, was rejected.
Planning permission for a 114-bed hotel had been granted in 2012 but the project never got started.
Mr Souter previously blamed the council for the scheme's failure to get off the ground, with the authority refuting his claims.
The Egyptian Halls
- The Egyptian Halls is a category A-listed building in Glasgow's Union Street.
- It was built - using cast iron and stone - between 1870-72 and designed by Alexander "Greek" Thomson, an eminent Scottish architect who was a pioneer in sustainable building.
- The building broke many of the rules of the time; thick stone columns normally found at ground level were on the top floor.
- In common with many other buildings of this era, such as Thomson's Caledonian Road Church and the St Vincent Street Church, it fell into disrepair in the second half of the 20th century.