THE body responsible for the protection of Scotland’s historic buildings and their heritage is considering whether to list a controversial tower block development earmarked for demolition.

Historic Environment Scotland is due to make a decision on listed status and if it rules in favour, it could give campaigners fighting the demolition renewed hope.

The post war modern design of the Wyndford estate in Glasgow’s Maryhill is considered to be historic architecturally.

Read more: Glasgow flats demolition: Campaigners rally for last minute objections

And it wouldn’t be the first time HES have considered such a move. Two years ago listed status was given by HES to ‘brutalist’ high rises in Aberdeen.

In Maryhill, Wyndford Residents Union is opposing the demolition of four blocks, 120, 151, 171 and 191, in Wyndford Road, as owners Wheatley Homes Glasgow revealed they are planning to pull down the 600 high rise properties to create a mixed-used development of around 300 homes.

The Herald: Wyndford Estate, MaryhillWyndford Estate, Maryhill (Image: Newsquest)

A spokeswoman for Historic Environment Scotland said: “We are currently assessing the four high-rise blocks at Wyndford Road, Maryhill for listing following a request from a member of the public. We are aiming to publish our report on this case later this month.”

The flats are on the site of the former Maryhill barracks and were designed by Ernest Buteux who was thought to be influenced by the designs of Le Corbusier – the father of modern architecture. Leading architects, including Professor Alan Dunlop, have argued the Maryhill blocks are of historic importance.

Buteux was the Scottish Special Housing Association (SSHA)’s chief technical officer and was responsible for two nearby schools and low-rise buildings on the estate.

As campaigners pin their hopes on good news from HES, they were left bemused by a decision by planners at Glasgow City Council.

Read more: Maryhill tower blocks: retrofitting 'greener option' says report

More than a dozen letters of objection were lodged in response to a prior notification to demolition order submitted to Glasgow City Council.

The Herald: Maryhill Barracks were built in 1877Maryhill Barracks were built in 1877 (Image: Newsquest)

As the deadline approached earlier this week, there was hope that given the number of objection letters that the matter would then go before a future council planning meeting. However, those who objected were informed that they were not applicable at this stage.

In a letter from city planners, it said: “The prior notification process does not allow the planning authority to consider the principle of demolition or to refuse permission to demolish buildings. The planning authority must consider the submitted information and determine whether or not the ‘prior approval’ of the authority will be required as to the method of the proposed demolition and any proposed restoration of the site.”

It added while Prior Notification is required it is covered by the council’s scheme of delegation, and can be determined by appointed officers without referral to the planning applications committee.

Among those objecting was Professor Dunlop. Reacting to the development, he said: "It does not make things more positive as far as we are concerned, but one interpretation could be that the planning officers have read and taken heed of the objections and require Wheatley now to make a formal application to demolish with more detailed information regarding their plans.

“So I do think the letters of objection have served a purpose at this stage. However, as the position of a demolition manager has been advertised and the Wyndford resident magazine sent out confirming the plan to demolish I do still think this is part of an agreed process which will make sure all bases are covered by the council but will eventually lead to approval to demolish."

The Herald: Gordon Goudie taking in the view from his tower block flatGordon Goudie taking in the view from his tower block flat (Image: Newsquest)

Nick Durie, of the Wynford Residents Union, said: “This just does not make sense. You have 600 homes which are at risk of being demolished and more than a dozen objections which will now not be considered.

“If you tried to pull down one house in a street in Glasgow you would need approval from the council. This decision does seem quite irregular, but we are being told that as it is privately owned permission isn’t required for four tower blocks.”

Wheatley Homes Glasgow told The Herald previously that tenants in Wyndford overwhelmingly support the plans to demolish these flats and for over £73 million to be invested in their community.

A spokesman said: “Our plans will see £60m invested in building around 300 new homes, the vast majority for social housing, with the balance being affordable housing which will be below full market rent, there will be no land sold to developers or private housing for sale within the project. These new homes will be highly energy efficient, which will reduce heating bills, and include a mix of family homes which the community are telling us they want to see.

“We will also invest a further £13m in the community on issues tenants have told us they want to see improved, including CCTV, lighting and parking.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "The application for prior notification for demolition is not a planning application.  We are obliged to make a decision on prior notification applications within 28 days of their submission.  The decision is restricted to deciding whether ‘prior approval’ is required as to the method of the proposed demolition and any proposed restoration of the site.  The application does not allow the planning authority to assess the acceptability of the principle of demolition, and the planning authority has no remit to ‘refuse’ such an application.  For this prior notification application, the (planning team of the) council considered the submitted information, and concluded that prior approval is required."