Save The Botanic Gardens Garage

Public Meeting
Exterior Photos
Interior Ground Floor
Interior Upper Floor
Interior Basement
The Botanic Gardens Garage is the oldest motor garage surviving in Glasgow, and quite possibly anywhere in the UK. Built in Vinicombe Street from 1906 - 1912, it was designed by David V. Wyllie, and has a distinctive façade of green and white glazed terracotta tiles.

Click here for a letter celebrating the Garage's 25th Anniversary - in 1929!

November 2016 Update
Arnold Clark Ltd. have provided the following information relating to work starting on the building:

"Preliminary foundation ground works have started on the Botanic Gardens Garage on Vinicombe Street, prior to the main contract works taking place at the beginning of 2017. The site is scheduled to be developed into a multi-million pound complex, comprising of local and national premium restaurants and a gym. During this complex project, full structural and refurbishment works will be carried out along with significant investment on retaining the buildings façade.

After a recent investigation of the ground, it was established that there were very shallow mine workings below the ex-Arnold Clark garage site. Historical reports had indicated that this was a problem within this particular area of Glasgow.
The workings were recorded as ‘broken ground and voids’, which if left untreated could cause future damage in the overlying bedrock and soils. Any such damage would affect ground stability and could undermine the structure of the existing building.

The necessary stabilization works involve the drilling of closely-spaced holes, followed by the injection of a cementitious grout. The grouting works will consolidate the old mine workings so that ground instability will no longer be an issue to the building and its neighbouring properties.

Grouting works are expected to be complete by early December 2016, with the main building programme commencing early 2017.
Further updates will follow in the middle of December when the main contractor has been appointed."

July 2016 Update

Arnold Clark Ltd. have provided the following press release relating to work starting on the building:
Vinicombe Street development

We’re pleased to announce that our historical Vinicombe Street site will be redeveloped for the benefit and enjoyment of the local community. This decision has been reached after much careful consideration and close consultation with many interested parties in Glasgow’s West End, including Historic Scotland and Glasgow City Council.

We have taken many years to arrive at a decision that we feel benefits the area in terms of adding more high-end amenities to the West End. We are investing a large sum of money in the conservation of its façade* and of the other significant architectural features of the building.

This multi-million pound investment will secure the legacy of this historic building for future generations. We feel this mixed development adds to the fabric of the West End and complements the pedestrianisation of Vinicombe Street by adding new amenities and services to the area.

This investment will involve a mix of premium restaurants run by both national and local operators, as well as car parking, a gym and community space. We are also retaining the historic element of the ramp.

Given the low level of objection to the development we feel this outcome demonstrates how conservation and community development can work hand in hand.

Building works are expected to begin towards the end of this year. We are committed to minimising disruption to local residents and businesses, which is why our appointed contractor is a member of the Considerate Constructors Programme. We are also working with Keppie Design Ltd, a company renowned for its sympathetic restoration and building work around Glasgow.

In addition, we are developing an online platform that residents can access easily to obtain regular updates on the project. We are also keen to ensure residents have a point of contact so that any queries or concerns can be addressed quickly and that anyone with a vested interest is kept up to date.

Press contact:
Lee Ann Edison
Head of Communications, Arnold Clark
0141 648 1181

December 2015 Update
The 2013 planning application was passed by Glasgow City Council, but no work was done on the building. A revised version of the earlier scheme has now been submitted for consideration. It is in large part similar to the earlier scheme, but with the ground floor subdivided to create an additional restaurant unit.
Full details can be found on the Planning Portal here. [Application Reference 15/02818/DC]

Public comments on the plans will be considered regarding the application if received before December 26th 2015.

July 2013 Update

A new planning application has been lodged with Glasgow City Council. Copies of the plans are currently on display in the Garage windows. The full detailed planning application can be seen online here, with the list of relevant documents here.

"Use of vacant garage as shop (Class 1), gymnasium (Class 11) operating 24 hours per day, seven days per week and community office space (Class 2) and associated external alterations | 24 Vinicombe Street Glasgow G12 8BG"

Public comments on the plans will be considered regarding the application if received before August 27th 2013.

Older News: January 2011
Statement from Local resident and representative of the group Save the Botanic Gardens Garage, Sam Maddra:

"We are delighted with the Scottish Ministers decision, and having read the full independent report, it clearly vindicates all of the arguments we have put forward since Arnold Clark Automobiles first announced their original plans to entirely demolish this highly significant historic building. 

We hope that the company will now do as we have urged all along: place the property on the open market at a price reflecting its current condition, in accordance with national policy.  This would allow prospective restoring purchasers the opportunity to undertake a more sympathetic approach. The building continuing to lie empty is in no-one's interest, but it is clearly not necessary to demolish many of the most interesting and historic parts to breathe life back into this fantastic structure.

In the meantime, it is important to ensure that the fabric of the building is not allowed to deteriorate any further, and we will continue to monitor the building closely, while pressing Arnold Clark and the council to find a positive way forward."

Press Coverage:
The Herald: Bid to redevelop listed west end garage defeated

January 14th 2011 Update

The Scottish Ministers have issued their decision on the planning application, based on the independant scrutiny of the planning reporter, as detailed below.

The Ministers have accepted the Reporter's recomendation that the application for Listed Building Consent be refused, and "Accordingly, Scottish Ministers hereby refuse listed building consent for the partial demolition and internal and external alteration to the Botanic Gardens Garage".

The decision letter can be read here: Page 1 -- Page 2

More details, and the full report explaining the decision, is available on the DPEA website here.
Historic Scotland will likely update their page on the application, featuring their written submission to the reporter in the near future as well. It can be found here.

Developers Arnold Clark now have 6 weeks to decide if they wish to appeal the decision in the Court of Session.

July 2010 Update

Application to demolish the Botanic Gardens Garage called in for independent scrutiny by Scottish Ministers

"Scottish Ministers have come to the view that the case for substantial demolition of the listed building had not been adequately made in support of the application and have therefore called in the application for their own decision.
The case will now be considered by a Reporter [...] who will carefully consider the case and provide a recommendation for Ministers."

Full Press Release
Information on Historic Scotland Website

Press Coverage:
BBC News: Ministers to decide on historic Glasgow garage proposal
The Herald: Ministers to rule on art deco demolition
Feburary 2010 Update
At a meeting of the Planning Committee on Tuesday 9th February 2010, local councillors voted by 8 votes to 7 to pass the controversial plans involving demolishing large portions of the A-listed garage. The plans now pass to Historic Scotland for final oversight.

Prior to the meeting, the Friends of Glasgow West circulated a letter highlighting the severe flaws in the application. Sadly 8 councillors saw fit to ignore these severe flaws, and vote for the application to be granted despite it failing to meet any of the four tests needed to justify demolition of a listed building.

Press coverage:
Fate of Listed Garage in Balance (The Herald)
D-Day for garage development bid (Evening Times)
Planners agree to controversial demolition of art deco garage (The Herald)
Controversial plan is approved (Glaswegian)


October 28th 2009 Update
Interim Engineering Appraisal on the Botanic Gardens Garage, recently commissioned from John Addison of Addison Conservation and Design, by the Friends of Glasgow West.
Full details here [PDF]

October 7th 2009 Update
Friends of Glasgow West have written to Arnold Clark to request access for the building so that a proper independant valuation and structural assessment can be made. This is an essential first step in establishing if re-using the building in its current form is economically viable.
Full letter here.

August 17th 2009 Update:
After a long period of apparent inactivity, Arnold Clark have submitted revised plans for the garage. Press coverage of the revised plans can be seen on the BBC News website here.

According to the architects involved:
We wish to advise you of minor revisions to the proposal since the submissions made in July [2008]. The revisions have been made in response to feedback from Officers of both the Development & Regeneration Services Department and the Heritage & Design Department of Glasgow City Council at a number of key meetings with them.
The revisions to the scheme include a reduction in the number of flats proposed as part of the development (reduced from 23 to 20), as well as amendments to the configuration of the flats proposed. The amenity space to be provided as part of the proposal has also increased from 110.9 sq.m to 424.6 sq.m.

The current reponse of the Save the Botanic Gardens Garage group is as follows:
“While we welcome the retention of further historic fabric, and especially the restoration of the frontage section, as a step in the right direction, we can't comment in detail as we've not been consulted on the revised plans, and haven't yet been able to view them in any detail. 
As per national policy, we will also still be expecting to see evidence that the building has been marketed to restoring purchasers before any demolition should be considered of this unique and historic building.”

The application reference numbers to quote in any correspondence with the council planning department are:
08/02142 & 08/02143
We would encourage anyone that's interested to view the plans and submit their comments within the next few weeks.

October 25th 2008 Update:
Detailed information on How To Object - Click here.
October 2008 Update:
The Save the Botanic Gardens Garage group would like to invite you to a meeting on Tuesday October 21st, at 7.30 pm, in Hillhead Library to discuss Arnold Clark Automobiles' new proposals for the partial demolition of the Garage and the redevelopment of the site.

Please see this flyer for further information on the meeting, the garage campaign to date, and how to register your objections to the proposal. 

For further information please email us:

August 2008 Update:
Arnold Clark have now submitted their new planning application for the garage. This is described as:
Retention & refurbishment of category "A" listed building including partial demolition of rear element, erection of 4 storey residential blocks forming 23 flats & within retained elements. 575.6sq m retail space, 423.4 sq m class 2 office space & 219.7 sq m class 3 restaurant with associated parking & Amenity space. 
The application reference numbers to quote in any correspondence with the council planning department are:
08/02142 & 08/02143
We would encourage anyone that's interested to view the plans and submit their comments within the next few weeks.
For further information please email us:
June 2008 Update:
Arnold Clark representatives will be holding a public consultation of their revised plans for the redevelopment of the A-listed Botanic Gardens Garage on Wednesday 18th June in their office on Vinicombe Street, adjacent to the historic West End landmark. This will be open from 5 pm onwards.

We would encourage anyone that's interested in the future of the building to attend and give their comments. We would also welcome anyone interested in the building to come along to one of our Save the Botanic Gardens Garage meetings, and give us their views on Arnold Clark's revised plans. For further information please email us:

May 2008 Update:
Following on from the meeting at Hillhead Library last summer the campaign to Save the Botanic Gardens Garage has achieved a number of small victories. 

In October, Arnold Clark announced that they were withdrawing their application to demolish the garage, and the demonstrated public opposition played a large part in this decision.  However, in their subsequent press release Arnold Clark acknowledged that they would shortly be resubmitting their application with some small amendments.  That is to say, their intention remains to demolish the majority of the existing buildings and replace them with a four-storey complex that would include flats, cottages, and a retail unit. 

In light of this, and research that confirmed that the Botanic Gardens Garage is the oldest surviving multi-storey car park in the UK, the campaign successfully lobbied Historic Scotland to get the garage’s listed status upgraded from a Category B to a Category A. This means that Historic Scotland acknowledge the building’s national and international significance, in terms of its engineering and architectural design, and its historic context.  However, this does not guarantee the building’s future and the garage remains on the Scottish Civic Trust’s Building at Risk Register.  Furthermore, Arnold Clark could resubmit their planning application at any time.

The aims of the campaign to Save the Botanic Gardens Garage are presently threefold:
to promote an imaginative viable reuse of the Botanic Gardens Garage;
to safeguard and protect the building rather than allow it to be demolished;
and to ensure its maintenance and ultimate renovation.

As a group we meet monthly to co-ordinate the campaign to preserve this highly significant building, and interested parties are more than welcome to attend. 
For further information on the relevant times, dates, and the location of the meetings, please email us.

Older News (26/12/07):
Historic Scotland upgrades garage listing to Category A:
The Botanic Gardens Garage has been upgraded to a Category A listing by Historic Scotland,  recognising the building’s national and international rarity and architectural significance. 
Updated Historic Scotland Listing Description here.
Save the Botanic Gardens Garage Press Release 26/12/07 - Word - PDF - Text.

Press Coverage:
BBC News Website (28/12/07): New listing for historic garage
The Herald (27/12/07): Historic garage threatened with demolition is given lifeline with upgrade to A-list status
Evening Times (27/12/07): Historic garage may be saved by A-list status
STV News Website (28/12/07): Glasgow garage designated site of national importance

The Garage is now on the official Buildings At Risk Register, maintained by the Scottish Civic Trust. The entry for the Garage is here.

The transcript of an interview with Mr Nigel Kennedy, whose grandparents built the garage, can now be read here.

Arnold Clark have withdrawn their application to demolish the  Garage. This is excellent and very welcome news. The building is now safe in the short term, but we still need to persaude owners Arnold Clark that the way forward is in restoration and re-use, not simply a revised version of their original plans, to ensure its long-term survival.
The Herald (5/10/07): Sir Arnold Clark puts brake on garage flat plans

The recent public meeting in Hillhead Library had a turnout of over 100 local residents. A report summarising the meeting is available [PDF format, 1.5Mb; text format 32K]. Photos can be seen here.
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Building History:
The building is comprised of three different sections, all designed by David Valentine Wyllie for Mrs Annie K Kennedy (nee Wilson) between 1896 and 1911. David Valentine Wyllie was a prolific architect who designed both industrial and domestic buildings all over Glasgow. The first part of what was to become the Botanic Garage building complex, was built c.1896.     [Read More.....]

Recent Press Coverage:
Evening Times 07 August 2007 [Link]
Scotsman 03 August 2007 [Link]
BBC News Online 02 August 2007 [Link]
Evening Times 10 July 2007 [Link]
Local News for Westenders, September & November 2007

Contact Us
Send us an email at

© 2007 - 2011, Save the Botanic Gardens Garage