Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Interesting – Was the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce based on my thoughts?

Just for fun, I thought I’d ask that question in the post title after seeing a news article about the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce.

In this recent post: Derelict Meadowpark Street up for development I suggested:

This is the sort of site that developers should be tackling, which had buildings in place, but for whatever reason have been razed, then left derelict.

I really don’t understand why (although I obviously don’t know the details of individual locations such as this, or the costs associated with them) developers seem to find the need to go after sites with existing buildings on them, which can attract local hostility with news of demolition in advance of new build.

If I was in the fortunate position of being able to commission builds, I’d run around and snatch all the gap sites such as this if they were available.

So, it was intriguing to see this:

Derelict land in urban areas could be used to create the next generation of allotments or city farms to increase local provision of fresh food, a report by a new taskforce has recommended.

Gap sites are described as a “persistent challenge” in Scotland but experts believe that bringing them back into use could help tackle social inequalities.

Derelict land in Scotland could be used for new generation of allotments

The article’s worth a little read, as it goes some way to explaining the puzzle I posed in my original post, as to why these sites are not picked up.

It seems it’s really just down to their having become ‘invisible’.

Having lain unused for so long, developers just can’t ‘see’ them, and go looking for something new, in the (probably mistaken) belief that a new site will be better than an old site.

It seems to me that is an ideal opportunity for one of those sessions I recommend when it becomes obvious those involved in making decision have lost all contact with Common Sense, and they need someone to take hold of them and bang their head together (literary, or figuratively, whichever works) to wake them up, and get their brains started.

Somebody really should – it might stop things like this being created.

A lovely flat piece of ground that has been like that since the locals were made ‘most annoyed’ as their Community Hub was razed to make way for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It hasn’t been used for anything, and their hub was forcibly installed in an annexe to the Emirates Arena.

After all that, it was almost closed down as Flagship 2014 Commonwealth Games ‘Legacy’ sinks

Dalmarnock Community Hub Site

Former Dalmarnock Community Hub Site

We’ll see if the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce comes up with anything in the months and years to come, or if it just fades away.

While I detect a will for change, I also see many projects which suggest, to me at least, that those behind them are still too keen to see something ‘New’, rather than something ‘Reused’.

They’re far too keen to be ‘First’ on a virgin site, and it’s almost as if they see not being first as some sort of ‘Second Class’ or downmarket stigma.

21/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

So, this old bank building WAS saved after all

Remember the old building I mention in Remember this Argyle Street building?

Seems it finally managed to go from an irreparable ruin that couldn’t be saved to Glasgow latest conversion to flats.

While the good old naysayers generally make their usual chant of ‘No No No’ regardless, I suspect only the most stubborn wouldn’t break the habit for this.

PLANNERS have agreed that a B-listed Glasgow City Centre building — once assessed by structural engineers as “incapable of repair” — can be converted into flats.

Four years ago plans were lodged to knock down the former commercial premises on Argyle Street at Miller Street and build student accommodation; it was only after the building was used as a giant advertising space that it was realised it could be saved.

A document submitted to Glasgow City Council by ZM Architecture explaining the new development stated: “In 2015, the previous owners proposed to demolish the building and the justification for this was based on detailed findings and a structural /economic assessment of the repair works needed to deal with a corroded structural frame.

“The scaffold that has been erected around the building for advertising…has allowed our conservation team with engineers David Narro Associates, to make a detailed independent assessment of the issues highlighted and the conclusion we are reaching is more favourable and that the building can be saved.

“Scaffold access has allowed tests to be carried out, a full stone fabric condition survey and structural frame opening up. This work is ongoing and a detailed stone enabling contract is to be organised so that full refurbishment of the façade can be undertaken with known risks and methods for stone replacement and treatment for frame conversion.”

FLATS Conversion Approved For Historic Glasgow Building That Was Under Threat Of Demolition

Retail space will continue in the ground floor and basement, while three flats will be created on each of the remaining levels.


If you ever follow my advice and “Look Up!” while walking around the city centre, you might have noticed a trend where many existing buildings have gained an extra floor, added to their roofs.

This is often grey, set back from the edge, and sometimes has sloping sides, all factors apparently intended to make the addition relatively invisible from the ground (unless you’re looking for it).

This conversion is no exception to this apparent ‘rule’, and explains why this is a common feature…

Remodelling of the roof profile is proposed under the new scheme. This involves a raised single storey element being added at the eighth floor for equipment space, and an extended upper level to create a ‘penthouse residential unit’. The front section of roof would become a private terrace “framed by a new formal elevation giving the building a new terminating storey.”

So, now we know – we’re not imagining it.

They’ll even be fixing the back of the place, which is currently visibly deteriorating.

A new element in a contemporary style would replace the existing brick rear section which is in poor structural condition.

The old place…

50 Argyle Street And Miller Street

50 Argyle Street And Miller Street

Now that the plans have been given the go-ahead, we’ll be spared the sight of disgusting sights like this…

eBay Glasgow Weegie Advert Howler

eBay Glasgow Weegie Advert Howler

Find some BETTER views than that thing in this old post about the building…

50 Argyle Street – Derelict Bank of Scotland plus more murals

50 Argyle Street Panel 1

50 Argyle Street Panel 1

21/08/2019 Posted by | council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

LNT – Little design touches can make a big difference

It takes a lot to make me favour any particular brand, but over the years (decades to be more accurate) I’ve found Dell laptops to worth a bit of loyalty.

I’ve gone through Toshibas and HPs (nothing really wrong with them, but little niggles always cropped up), and a few generic ‘no name’ options too (which went surprisingly well), but the Dell’s always cost less, did more, and had more features.

I recently acquired a laptop workstation (second-hand of course) which listed new at well over four figures (and the first was a ‘2’).

Big and heavy, even with a magnesium chassis, it’s the first laptop I’ve had that would take TWO hard drives INSIDE. In fact, it will take a third miniature SSD type as well.

The second drive fits into a carrier that slides into a space under the chassis.

There’s yet another ‘two’ – it has two graphic processors as well, selectable, or just leave them to take on 2D or 3D tasks as they see fit.

Although I don’t really need it (yet?), just for fun I thought I’d fit a spare drive I had, intended for another laptop which I expect will soon have worn out its original hard drive.

While I have a drawer full of spare hard drive mounting screws, I did notice that neither the new drive (it was brand new and still boxed) came with any screws or mounting aids, and while the drive carrier obviously had screws to hold it in place, there were no screws in the holes where the drive fitted into the carrier – they’d just have fallen out of the holes!

But wait – I’d noticed four screws in that magnesium chassis, and wondered what they held in place.

Now I understood – they didn’t hold anything!

Dell had drilled and tapped the chassis, and fitted four screws to mount that second drive in the carrier, if and when needed.

Neat. That’s what I call good design.

Here’s a very quick pic I stopped to take as I installed the second drive, showing two of the screws already removed and used in the carrier, and two screws still in their ‘parking spots’ in the chassis.

Dell Second Drive

Dell Second Drive Slot

No point in an ‘after’ pic – the carrier (with drive inside) disappears down that hold, and is secured by screws in the other two threaded holes which can be seen above and below the ‘parking spots’. There’s nothing to see but more black painted metal.

FYI – the new drive worked just fine, even if I don’t really have a use for it.

Seriously – not even backup, which I do via USB so the backup drive can be kept elsewhere, and not spinning pointlessly all day.

So, having fitted this drive – the next job is to take it out (and maybe track down a mini SSD type, just for fun too).

Interestingly, unlike my lesser laptops which had around 30 screws needing removal just for the bottom cover, this workstation has a grand total of… TWO!

And, nearly all the options lie flat under that cover, in slots, so there’s no need to get to the motherboard to change or alter them.

21/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment


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