Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Tollcross Winter Gardens – Shame of the 2014 Commonwealth Games ‘Lasting Legacy’

I used to enjoy cutting through Tollcross Park, and the opportunity to drop into the Tollcross Winter Gardens.

But, thanks to the ‘Lasting Legacy’ of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, this has been denied me since at least February 2013 (I cannot be exact as I stopped walking around the area before this date, as the preparation for the ‘Shames’ was trashing the area, making it anything but a pleasure to walk through), and was the first time I saw how the Winter Gardens had themselves been trashed, while the existing sports centre nearby was having countless thousands poured into it for no good reason, and big red shed was being built along the road, at Parkhead. Seriously, all that money poured down the drain for a few spoilt runners and jumpers, while a real gem like the Winter Gardens was trashed, and no money spent on it as part of the so-called ‘Legacy’.

Things were no better in 2015: Tollcross Winter Gardens – a ‘Lasting Legacy’ to betrayal

Another 2 years, its 2017, and I’m basically just repeating the same sorry story.

I got there too late for this, or even to give it a little publicity, and since I will not tough the toxic f a c e b o o k, I can’t tell if there is any progress (can’t find any more online), but this sign was up at various places around the park and derelict glasshouse:

Friend of Tollcross Park first meet sign

Friend of Tollcross Park first meeting sign

It will be interesting to see if any interest can be raised after what is clearly a blatant betrayal of those who once cared and put in the effort – I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if even those who care choose not to be made fools of again.

Over 17 years ago, this happened:

The Winter Garden in Tollcross Park were last refurbished in the period 1999/2000, having lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to rot at best.

However, funding to the value of £1.7 million rescued the glasshouse then, and it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

I have my doubts if it will be repeated, unless grants and Lottery funding can be found, and maybe more importantly, some way of taking it out of the hands of those who allowed the damage to be done.

It’s really hard to believe I was able to walk into these gardens prior to 2013, give thanks to the good folk who had been able to have them restored AND add a visitor centre (there are also play area which have been lost within the grounds), only to see it all ruined, derelict, and abandoned.


According to the Building at Risk Register for Scotland:

The glasshouses are understood to have been damaged during storms in Dec 2010/ Jan 2011 and have been closed since.

Tollcross Conservatory, Tollcross Park, Tollcross

I had no idea the closure went that far back. Smells like a make-believe excuse to me, after all, why close the Visitor Centre too? It was the part that sold stuff and made money, and was usually full of parents and screaming kids. I guess it operated at a loss, so when the glasshouse closed, its days were numbered.


Can’t see why money was not made available and throw at for the 2014 Shames, as a tourist attraction, or was considered to be an attraction only for the ‘wrong sort’ of tourist, and not those who were wanted for the Shames?

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens January 2017


Tollcross Winter Gardens Side January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens Side January 2017


Tollcross Winter Gardens Visitor Centre January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens Visitor Centre January 2017


February 11, 2017 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, photography | , , , , | 2 Comments

George Square has become a little greener

It’s nice to think of the insane schemes that were proposed for George Square in recent years, and have become nothing more than memories. A reminder that a delusional city council can be held to account when it oversteps its authority and the people stamp their feet.

I’m not even going to dig up the articles, suffice to say we still don’t have any unwanted ‘water features’, or venues only suitable for warm and dry resorts, as opposed to Scotland’s ‘glorious’ climate!

We’re even seeing the back of the ‘Red Tarmac’ (or whatever it was) and the return of grass to the square.

Surprisingly sensibly restored flush to the ground, so (I’m guessing) it can be boarded over to allow events to be held there.

Last time I was there, I think it was still a building site and the work was in progress with the now grassy areas blocked off by fencing, but now all the works seem to be clear, and the grass is ‘open for business’.

I caught this quiet evening view while passing through recently.

While you can’t tell in this small crop, the original has one spooky feature spotted when I was processing the image – the fellow to the left of the bench is staring STRAIGHT into my camera, with a very piercing grumpy or disapproving look. He’s holding a camera too – I wonder if I somehow unwittingly ruined his shot?


George Square grassed

George Square regrassed

February 7, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | 1 Comment

Buildings around George Square due for revamp

George Square 2015

George Square 2015

I misread the title of an article related to George Square recently, and thought that some magic had been invoked to get £70 million allocated for revamp – after all, it’s only been about 3 years since some people had a fit over a mere £15 million being spent on a facelift. Well, to be more accurate, the problem was really caused by some fool who thought it would be a good idea to completely redesign the landmark. Fortunately, the resultant outcry of public opinion (the crazy plan had been made without any proper public consultation) meant the council had to drop it, and settle for tidying up the existing layout.

While the square has seen some radical changes to its layout, that plan was “a step too far” as it would have completely repurposed the area.

New George Square design unveiled ahead of vote by Glasgow City Council

George Square facelift approved

But this was not the Square, and instead referred to some of the building around it.

And that’s no bad thing. While it’s a while since I looked at them, and most are looking good, one or two are a little tired, and I barely notice them as they are not even in use. Anything that can be done to save them from dereliction or abandonment has to be a good idea.

The business is gone now, but I do remember getting a surprise when despatched to look at a faulty printing machine some years ago, and found myself descending into the bowels of one of those buildings. When it closed a few years ago, I think it featured in the news, as it was quite an operation to remove all the machinery.


Planning proposals have been submitted for a £70m refurbishment of historic buildings at Glasgow’s George Square which have lain empty for decades.

The buildings sit at the north east corner of the square, between George Street and Martha Street.

Developer Chris Stewart Group wants to create apartments, a hotel and student accommodation, offices, and a pedestrian lane with cafes and bars.

It is now seeking planning permission from Glasgow City Council.

Mr Stewart’s firm wants to create a “George Street Complex” which would see two listed buildings renovated for five-star serviced apartments and commercial offices as well as the construction of a new hotel and student accommodation.

The plan includes a pedestrian lane with restaurants, bars and cafes and a central plaza.

It is thought that the development could eventually support about 320 jobs in the city centre.

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick is backing the scheme.

“These development plans offer an opportunity to regenerate a prominent city centre site, part of which has been left derelict for more than 80 years,” he said.

“From a series of run-down buildings and an empty patch of land, the plans will create an area that thrives with people and businesses.

Via BBC News:

George Square site in Glasgow earmarked for £70m revamp

October 10, 2016 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | 1 Comment

Find wartime bombing sites in Aberdeenshire

Two Google maps showing areas where raids were carried out during World War II have been created using records from the time.

One map shows areas where bombing raids caused damage and can be found here, and shows all the known attacks from 26 June 1940, until the last raid on 21 April 1943.

Some of the areas affected are quite small, so it’s best to zoom in on any area of interest as the marker may not be visible when he map is zoomed out to cover a wide area.

The other shows areas where enemy aircraft carried out attacks, and can be found here, and shows those recorded in the Aberdeen County Register of Air Raids and Alarms from 1940 – 1944.

Via: Map charts WW2 bombing of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

March 3, 2016 Posted by | council, military, World War II | , , , | 2 Comments

Missed me – again

I still find it intriguing that my varied walking routes, which I change every few weeks to stop becoming bored, mean I see changes I would not see happening gradually.

They also mean I see some significant changes, not least of which is the way road barriers are trashed when I go back to a route, indicating vehicles went onto the footpath at speed.

I noted one in Baillieston a while back.

They didn’t replace the barrier, but it looks as if they later added a more substantial bollard to the corner.

Guess what?

Yup… when I went back to this route, the bollard had been flattened too.

Clearly needs MORE foundation!

Baillieston Bollard Down

December 3, 2015 Posted by | council, Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Tollcross Winter Gardens – a ‘Lasting Legacy’ to betrayal

I took some pics of Tollcross Winter Gardens recently, and they reminded me I had not got round to publishing a set I took back in early 2014.

They follow an earlier post from 2013, where I noted:

The Winter Garden in Tollcross Park were last refurbished in the period 1999/2000, having lain derelict for at least a decade, and at risk of being lost at worst, or left to rot at best.

However, funding to the value of £1.7 million rescued the glasshouse then, and it also gained an adjacent Visitor Centre, café, and play area.

What I mistakenly thought was refurbishment (and I am sure I read somewhere that this was why the gardens had closed) turns out to be nothing more than cost-cutting to pay for the curse that was imposed on Glasgow in 2014, and is to be known forever as the Lasting Legacy of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The pics I just took in November 2015 might just as well be those from 2013 and 2014.

The glasshouse and ‘new’ Visitor Centre lie abandoned and decaying.

The building is slowly rotting, and the vandals enjoy adding to the broken glass.

The interior is slowly filling with giant weeds, growing through and from the floor.

Would it really have been so hard, with all the money floating around for a ‘Lasting Legacy’ to have kept Tollcross Winter Gardens and the Visitor Centre open, even if only seasonally?

Instead, it will rot again, after lasting only a dozen or so years since being ‘saved’, then wrecked by the council to raise money for the Games.

Legacy, or legacy to betrayal?

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

Tollcross Winter Gardens ruined

November 7, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council | | Leave a comment

Even concrete doesn’t deter bad drivers

This is really just a bit of fun, purely because I can.

I pass this spot occasionally, and it’s interesting to see how often the concrete posts installed to deter parking on the pavement in front of the shops are damaged. They eventually get repaired/replaced, but given the narrowness of the road, it’s hard to see why someone doesn’t have the road widened, as there is more than enough pavement to do so, and not even reduce the space needed for a wide footpath. As it is, there is no way for lorries delivering to the shops to do so without causing problems. The road in front of the shops (where you can see a parked car) really only has practical space for one car to pass along at a time. Cars turning into it from the junction have to back out if there is one coming towards them. Residents’ cars line the road to the left, just out of sight.

Broken Post Before

Broken post

But, I guess it is cheaper to raise a lot of small repair budgets, and that a road widening project would never be approved in the anti-car environment we enjoy living in today, even if the total cost might be less in the long run.

These posts used to be all of the short variety seen in the central part, but I guess someone had a moment of inspiration and realised that these are invisible from the driver’s seat, and cause collisions, hence the taller ones that appeared recently.

But, as can be seen, one of those did not last long before it was modified, and presumably the vehicle concerned suffered too.

Broken Post After


So, another repair, and I spotted the fix a couple of months later, so have no idea how long it took to happen, or how long it has lasted.

It’s always been the same here.

Yet it would make life so much better for everyone (and not encroach on pedestrian space) if they lost that big broad corner, and widened the road, only by a couple of feet, but it would be enough to let cars pass in either direction, instead of having to perform a silly (and let’s face it, dangerous) dance, reversing at the corner if they happen to be meeting face-to-face.

Although not seen in these pics, the shop at the front sets out tables and chairs for its customers, such is the space available – and would still be there after the suggested widening.

I don’t usually manage to have one of these before and after (repair) pic sets, so since I had this one, I had to use it.

November 3, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Rothesay’s West Church set to be a partial survivor

It’s not been that long since I finally decided to give the unfortunate West Church in Rothesay a mention.

After many years of doubt, and not a little controversy with conflicting views, the church is now set to take on an altered appearance to render it safe:

Councillor Robert Macintyre, chair of Bute and Cowal Area Committee, told The Buteman: “The building standards section of the council have been in continual discussions with the structural engineer to establish the absolute minimum of work and most cost-effective way to make the building permanently safe.

“It has been decided that the roof of the main church building must be removed as soon as possible and the remaining walls lowered to a safe height.”

Via Partial demolition for former Rothesay church – The Buteman

I hope the cats that once called it ‘home’ have somewhere to go (of course they do).

It used to be fun watching them, and even thought they were too wary to let strangers near them (although the ladies that looked after them were, of course, tolerated), they would jump up on the car and stare at the occupants…

Maybe they thought we were in some sort of ‘Travelling Zoo’, and were placed there for them to look at!

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | 1 Comment

Demolition imminent for McColl’s Hotel in Dunoon

The issue of a warrant for the demolition of Dunoon’s McColl Hotel would seem to signal the end of a landmark.

While I wasn’t likely to stay there, the large white hotel building (visible on the left in the pic below) was something of a regular and welcome feature on a drive along the road past Dunoon, as it loomed ahead as you drove around Castle Hill, and below Highland Mary.

It’s nothing special, just one of those things that sticks in my mind.

There appear to be no current plans in place to replace the building:

The demolition of the hotel was described as ‘imminent’ in a response to a query by Cllr Mike Breslin to Brian Close, Planning Officer with the council for Bute and Cowal. The application does not include the Rosegarth Hotel site, adjacent.

Mr Close also told Cllr Breslin: “This will be closely monitored by Planning, Public Protection and SEPA in terms of waste material and burning on site.”

Mr Close continued in his response to Mike Breslin: “It is unfortunate that the applicants do not currently have a scheme on the table to develop both the McColl’s site and Rosegarth site.

“We have urged them to enter into pre-application enquiry discussions regarding suitable redevelopment of this very prominent and sensitive site.

“We would probably expect at this stage, blocks of high quality residential flats rather thann replacement hotel buildings, but future development options lie with the owners.”


August 24, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost | , , | Leave a comment

Any love for the former West Church lying derelict on the Isle of Bute?

Any love for the former West Church in Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute?

It’s one of a number of similar derelicts you can find on the island if you go for a wander, but is the only one I see being picked on in the media.

I’ve known this one for years, as it lies on the edge of once hidden car park. Access was via a narrow gap between two building on the main street, but was made easier when a second access was created using the space left at he front of the church, when it fell out of use.

It was a handy place to park off-street many moons ago when we stayed in a nearby attic flat. In later years it served as a handy place to stop for lunch, being close to the shops for some food (if we had no sandwiches), and a kiosk on the esplanade that sold giant mugs of tea (albeit in a plastic cup) to help wash it down.

Going back to the church, it was taken over by the local stray cats, and they were adopted by the ladies that look after and feed such lost souls, and make sure they see the vet. It used be fun spotting them, but they were generally wary of strangers, so little or no fun playing with them.

But the building has been derelict and abandoned for years now, and concerns are growing over its condition. Some are calling for it to be demolished, while others are trying to find a use for it, or maybe just part of it.

As always, not being there, or being involved, makes it hard to get at the truth.

Are those calling for demolition after the ground for themselves for some reason?

Are those who want it retained just sentimental, and have no idea how safe it is after years of neglect?

And now those who live nearby are claiming nobody is listening to them.

But I doubt that (since we are obviously hearing their story), and suspect more likely a desperate reporter who wants some clickbait for an attention-grabbing headline. Rather than reporting concerns, I suspect leading questions were asked, and that legitimises the application of some ‘artistic licence’ after the writer raises the issue… after prompting those being interviewed.

That said, I do have to be fair and say that there is a tenement block to the immediate right of the church, on the hidden side in the pic below. But I’d still take the view that claiming they are not being listened to is wrong on the neighbour’s part – what they really mean is that they think their voice is the one that should be heard, and those seeking to retain or re-use the church should be ignored. I don’t have a pic to hand, but you can see the building if you look in Street View.

What we are seeing is merely due process being followed, and they don’t seem to like that since they are not being given blanket priority without debate.

Here are the most recent news articles that appeared this month:

Former Rothesay church beyond help, says councillor – The Buteman

Can former Rothesay church really be saved? – The Buteman

‘No-one listening to us’ say West Church neighbours – The Buteman

Decision soon on fate of former Rothesay church – The Buteman

August 23, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | 3 Comments

Luss parking – seems it’s a problem

I guess I’m lucky not to be making regular visits to Luss any more – it’s ten years or more since I was able to take a run there, and it looks as if it’s not much fun these days.

I/we must have been lucky then, as it seems that 750,000 visitors are making life tough for only 120 residents, and causing parking problems in the village.

Our trips must have been at quite times, as we generally parked down at the pier, and were never crowded out by tourists, or in the way of the residents. I can even recall the arrival of the big car park, complete with charges, which we avoided like the plague, or just ‘passed through’ on a short stop.

Maybe not getting back there these days is a blessing in disguise, as we went there to enjoy the peace and quiet, and just walk around, almost alone.

This introduction to proposals regarding parking there make it seem grim, and seems to be another case of Argyll and Bute Council being at odds with locals:

PROPOSED parking measures in Luss have come under fire from the chief executive of Luss Estates who claims they do little to tackle traffic congestion.
Simon Miller hit out at recommendations by Argyll and Bute councillors to introduce parking permits in the village for residents and business owners.
However, Luss Community Council says the proposed new measures have been popular with villagers, whilst Argyll and Bute Council has stood by the consultation process.

Mr Miller said: “The proposed parking scheme does not address the fundamental issue, which is traffic congestion, not parking.

“This solution may allow Argyll and Bute Council to make money out of existing traffic, but it will do nothing whatsoever to get the traffic out of the village which is what is required.

“Luss is a small, historic village with narrow roads and no pavements, home to a tiny rural population which gets a massive influx of visitors every year.

“We welcome visitors to Luss, but it is the presence of too many cars in the heart of the village itself which is the problem.”

Luss Estates Chief Executive hits out at proposed parking measures | Helensburgh & Lomond | News | Helensburgh Advertiser

The pic below, handily from 2003 and probably around about when I had to give up the odd visit, shows a near deserted Luss on a rainy September day, and to be honest is just about as busy as I usually saw the place, so you can imagine why I was happy to park there (usually just behind that planter) and didn’t interfere with anyone.

Since I’ve never seen the congestion referred to, or anything even approaching it, I can’t even comment on either sides views, but hope they can resolve the matter without ruining the village, or penalising drivers. After all, it’s not somewhere you can just take a walk to, and while tourists might have a coach trio to get them there, as a local (ie someone from Glasgow’s east end) the hassle of using public transport to get there (and back) would just ruin a nice day.

July 11, 2015 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

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