A public body set up to safeguard Scotland’s historic environment has called for the historic O2 ABC building to be saved.

Historic Environment Scotland has hit out at potential plans to bulldoze the O2 ABC after they were consulted by Glasgow City Council on plans to flatten the C-listed building on Sauchiehall Street after last June’s Glasgow School of Art fire.

READ MORE: Plans to demolish O2 ABC after Glasgow School of Art fire

The group have said that the argument for demolishing the building – and wiping out the historic front facade – is ‘not adequately justified’ against national policy.

They also accused the property owners of not making enough effort to retain and preserve any part of the building and suggest that comments regarding the potential for below-ground water might be unfounded.


A report by the Edinburgh-based body told the Evening Times: “The special architectural interest of the building lies largely in the street-facing elevation and entrance foyer.

“We would not object to a scheme that retained these parts of the building, either with proposals for immediate redevelopment or propped and secured in a way that facilitated redevelopment.”

It adds: “We would, of course, encourage a more complete scheme of repair and refurbishment that retained the auditorium and the shop units and other spaces behind the facade.

READ MORE: 'I hope O2 ABC is not overlooked': Fans and artists remember iconic music venue in wake of devastating fire 

“In addition to its architectural value, this building has considerable historic and cultural importance because of its long history as an entertainment venue that has drawn several generations of patrons not only from Glasgow but from all over Scotland.”

Scottish Historic Environment Policy Statement 2016 states that no listed building should be demolished unless it can be clearly demonstrated that every effort has been made to retain it.

Plans to demolish the adjacent Jumpin’ Jak’s and ABC2 building are not being opposed as they are not covered by the listing and ‘do not contribute to the character of the conservation area’.

A number of other organisations have also objected to the plans, including Glasgow School of Art, The Theatres Trust, Music Venue Trust, Cinema Theatre Association, Architectural Heritage and the Pavilion Theatre.

The Cinema Theatre Association has described the application as of “poor quality, lacking in much of the required detail, failing to show an understanding of importance and significance of the listed building, and with little evidence provided as to many of the claims made about the irreparability of the current building”.

Adding: "Their apparent disinterest in the site and seeming lack of pro-active engagement with the local authority...create the impression that what they are most interested in is a cleared empty site to tell on at a higher value.”

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland also voiced concerns about the possible demolition.

It stated: “The building contributes much to the character of Sauchiehall Street both in its classical modern cinema design – an extremely rare survival.”

Plans to raze the building are still being considered by the City Council.