Residents demand access to properties in protest at Glasgow School of Art cordon

Residents and business owners have staged a protest demanding access to their properties within the cordon around Glasgow School of Art.

Businesses and 33 homes within the cordon zone remain evacuated following the blaze which tore through the Mackintosh Building on the night of June 15.

Glasgow City Council said that parts of the building are at risk of “sudden, unannounced, collapse” and it is being dismantled on safety grounds.

Locals have been left frustrated that they cannot access their property to retrieve possessions.

Work continues to dismantle the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building (David Cheskin/PA)

Garnethill Displaced Residents Group and Sauchiehall Street Inner Cordon Business circulated A Notice of Entry form demanding entry to their properties on Sunday, however Glasgow City Council warned that anyone who tries to breach the cordon faces arrest.

Around 30 people took part in a protest at the cordon on Sunday.

They included  Iram Shafiq, 21, who has not been able to get into the property she shares with her mother and three siblings for the past five weeks.

She said: “I have a sister with autism and epilepsy and a brother with autism and they don’t understand what’s happened.

“We have lived there for over 12 years. We just want to get into our home for 10 to 20 minutes just to get the essential stuff we need, put it in a bag and get out as soon as possible.”

“It’s frustrating, it really is.”

Police at the cordon at the Glasgow School of Art (PA)

Chris Colins, community councillor for Blythswood and Broomielaw, said people were feeling angry about the situation.

He said: “People have not been allowed any access to their properties or businesses. There are people with car keys who cannot get to work, people cannot get their bank cards, passports, ID to show banks.

“There’s a man who tunes musical instruments and he can’t get in to get his tools.  Businesses are going to go under and 350 people could be out of a job.”

The fire took hold during a major restoration project following another large blaze at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed art school in 2014.

Nearby properties including music venue the O2 ABC were also affected by the latest fire.

The fire could be seen from across the city (@banpo_monkey/PA)

Annemarie O’Donnell, chief executive of Glasgow City Council wrote to the two groups on Friday warning people they should not breach the cordon until Glasgow City Council’s building control officers have declared that the art school and ABC buildings are no longer dangerous.

She added: “This is because the building may be subject to a sudden, unannounced, collapse.

“The building has suffered significant trauma, as a result the walls have moved in ways which will certainly lead to parts of the building collapsing.

“That collapse could happen without warning. Anyone in any adjacent buildings in the path of falling masonry would be at risk of death.”

She said that police may arrest anyone who tries to breach the cordon.

Glasgow School of Art after the fire (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The local authority is making a hardship fund available in co-operation with the Scottish Government, with each affected household able to apply for £3,000.

The council said it has also been writing to insurers to confirm that residents and businesses cannot access their property as it is within a public safety cordon.

Police said that officers remain at the cordon for public safety purposes and confirmed that anyone breaching it may be arrested.

- Press Association

 

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