Pressure mounts for public inquiry into Glasgow School of Art fire

19 March 2019

Photograph: Jacob Nicol

Local residents increasingly frustrated with lack of clarity from the Art School

Glasgow School of Art is facing increasing calls for a public inquiry into the fire that engulfed the building last year.

MSPs condemned the Glasgow School of Art earlier this month in a culture committee report criticising the school’s safeguarding of the historic building.

The report raised concerns over the length of time taken for a modern mist suppression system to be installed, among other things.

Muriel Gray, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Glasgow School of Art, said: “There are always lessons that can be learned, and we are happy to take forward the most appropriate and helpful as we bring this much-loved building back to life.”

She added: “The report, however, includes a worrying number of factual inaccuracies in areas that we have already addressed in the parliamentary process.”

Local residents have voiced their frustrations with the Art School’s handling of the fire. Protests by residents and business owners were held last year over the lack of access to their properties following the fire.

Chris Collins, former Secretary of Blythswood and Broomielaw Community Council, campaigned with Adrian Nairn, representative of the Garnethill Displaced Residents Group, for more information from the Art School about the fire.

Collins stated: “Adrian and I campaigned and supported the calls for a public inquiry into the circumstances behind the fires – and we heard many debatably untrue statements being made at the Parliamentary Committee’s hearings.”

He further alleged that the Council “takes favours from the Art School”, such as being provided with a free room for its meetings.

Infographic: Jacob Nicol

Collins recently resigned as Secretary of the Community Council, claiming that the chairperson “tried to erase a motion supporting the call for a public inquiry using a procedural technicality. Yet the Art School continues to say they are reaching out to the community.”

The Glasgow School of Art responded: “The GSA is happy to offer the Blythswood & Broomielaw Community Council free use of rooms on the campus for its meetings. It is up to the Community Council whether they wish to take up the offer.”

With regard to Collins’ claims, they added: “This is entirely a matter for the Blythswood & Broomielaw Community Council.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service report, which is investigating the cause of the fire, is not expected to be published until July of this year.

Collins said: “Adrian and I campaigned consistently to get the Fire Investigation report, which we were told would be in January. We still don’t have it.”

Share this article:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Close Menu