Glasgow City Council have bought the notorious Bellgrove Hotel, a private hostel in the east end of the city.
In October of last year, we reported on the hotel having been put up for sale as a ‘development opportunity’.
The homeless hostel on the Gallowgate was previously likened to a ‘Soviet gulag’, prompting intervention from local politicians after shocking scenes of deprivation were uncovered.
A 2014 Daily Record investigation found occupants were being housed in tiny rooms looking out onto a rat-infested courtyard.
In 2016, MSP John Mason raised a motion signed by 21 members from across the political divide calling for better regulation of the hostel “as a matter of urgency”.
And the council have today announced they have bought the hotel for the site to be developed as part of the ongoing work of the Gallowgate Transformational Regeneration Area (TRA).
Over 50 vulnerable men are to be offered new Glasgow Housing Association homes in a partnership enabled Lowther Homes, a subsidiary of Wheatley Group
New homes have already been built at the eastern end of the area, as part of the Gallowgate Transformational Regeneration Area (TRA) project.
The B-listed Bellgrove Hotel was originally built in the 1930s to provide accommodation for working men. In more recent years it became a hostel.
Announcing the move, the council say: “The acquisition was funded by Glasgow City Council (partly with funding from TMDF – Transfer of the Management of Development Funding – which the council manages on behalf of the Scottish Government, and Transforming Communities: Glasgow (TC:G). Transforming Communities: Glasgow – a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Housing Association (a part of Wheatley Group) and the Scottish Government – is delivering community and housing-led regeneration at eight locations across the city.
“Staff from Wheatley Care – a Wheatley Group subsidiary – will work with Glasgow‘s Health and Social Care Partnership to help the residents move on from the hostel into modern homes with tailored care and support in place for those who need it. Alternative accommodation with care will be offered to those who need it.
“The site will then form part of the next phase of regeneration of the Gallowgate, driven by TC:G and by local people through a delivery group, with Lowther developing plans for mid-market rent homes as part of that.”
Patrick Flynn, Director of City Development at Glasgow City Council, commented: “The acquisition of the Bellgrove Hotel by the council and our Transforming Communities: Glasgow partners will both allow the regeneration of the Gallowgate and pave the way for the hostel’s residents to move to their own homes and receive the support they need. This is a major step forward in the transformation of an East End neighbourhood, and we can look forward to the local community continuing to play a key role of the development of the area in which they live.”
Bernadette Hewitt, GHA Chair and TC:G Board Member, said: “All of the residents at Bellgrove will be offered the chance of a GHA home or alternative accommodation to meet their needs with support in place to help them settle. At GHA and across Wheatley, we share the vision that everyone should be able, with support, to lead independent lives in their own home and this is very much part of that.
“Wheatley Care will now provide care and support to the residents while helping them move into a new home that fully meets their needs. We’ll work closely with the residents, Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership, and other partners.
“GHA has already built over 200 fantastic new homes in Gallowgate and demolished the old Whitevale and Bluevale multi-storey blocks. The Bellgrove unlocks the potential for us not only to improve the lives of the people currently living in the hostel but also to continue the transformation of the community with a further phase of new affordable housing for local people.”
Pat Togher, Assistant Chief Officer, Glasgow City Health & Social Care Partnership, added: “We do not use the Bellgrove Hotel as a means of accommodating people who are homeless, however we welcome the opportunity to work closely with residents of the hotel and the Wheatley Group in seeking more permanent accommodation and providing the necessary support for those experiencing complex needs. Glasgow HSCP is familiar with decommissioning arrangements such as the one proposed and will deploy our skilled and experienced workforce ensuring that existing residents transition to more suitable, settled and where necessary supported accommodation ahead of the closure. This is an excellent opportunity to improve the lives of those residing in the Bellgrove and we look forward to working with everyone involved.”
Wheatley Group is working with the Scottish Government, local authority partners and other agencies in a bid to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. The Group has already provided 200 homes to Housing First, the multi-agency partnership set up with the aim of giving homeless people a tenancy and support to rebuild their lives.