Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Burrell Collection building refurbishment gains planning permission

While it would have been a rather odd result, it is nice to see that plans for the £66 million refurbishment of the Burrell Collection building and display areas have gained official planning permission.

Planning permission has been granted for a major refurbishment of the Burrell collection museum in Glasgow.

The £66m project to upgrade the building and provide more display space also received listed building consent.

Glasgow City Council recently approved funding of up to £27.3m towards the cost of the refurbishment.

The Burrell collection has more than 8,000 artefacts, but fewer than a fifth of them have been on show at any one time.

In April 2015, the council provided £5.7m to kick-start the building’s revamp, which houses treasures donated to the city by collector Sir William Burrell in 1944.

Via Planners approve Burrell collection revamp

Burrell building

Burrell Collection, Pollok Park, Glasgow © Iain Thompson via Geograph

While the building will receive a much-needed upgrade to its structure and services, the greatest benefit for the visitor has to be the release and creation of a vast amount of exhibition space – so much of the large collection was formerly locked away in storage, but will be able to brought out and placed on display – the old space only allowed 20% of the collection to be on show at any one time:

When it re-opens to visitors in 2020, the basement of the Category A listed building will become part of the exhibition space, so that 90% of the objects can be viewed by the public.

A dedicated space will also be created for special exhibitions and offices will be converted into galleries.

Now, there only seem to be two problems for me… one, to make it to 2020, and the second, to work out a reasonable means of getting to the Burrell from my hovel in the east end of Glasgow. Banished to public transport, I can’t see a direct route and the various bus and train combination I can find seem to need the patience of a saint to follow, and take forever.

Maybe I should buy a new bike, and make up a flask and sandwiches.

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

The intriguing plans for Glasgow’s neglected lanes

It’s a shame that so many people are ready to cast scorn on any initiatives proposed by Glasgow City Council out of hand, without the slightest consideration of their merit. Granted, the council has suffered (and in some cases still does) from the possible existence of ‘Ego Projects’ at the behest of some councillors, but such dismissal is probably as bad as those wayward proposals.

I know, I used to be a member of a forum that enjoyed attacking the council regardless – but then I realised this was just mindless hate on the members’ part, and left.

I’m sure they’ll be having a little ‘hate orgy’ this week, and dancing around burning copies of the Glasgow City Council’s draft strategy and public consultation documents for the improvement of some 90 lanes within the city centre.

That would be a mistake.

While I was initially sceptical after seeing stories about the strategy in the media, actually looking at the detail for myself revealed a sensibly researched review and proposal within this strategy, and one which I hope will eventually come to be financed and adopted.

In fact, the strategy runs to some 90+ pages in a well presented document:

Draft Lane Strategy for Public Commnet (pdf document)

Council approves next stage of strategy for Glasgow’s city centre lanes

I’m familiar with many of Glasgow’s lanes (and seldom venture into them, and certainly not in the dark), and those that come to mind at first are not appropriate for the plan, being the back of many business, or access to their services. They also suffer from one of our good/bad ideas – giant wheelie bins for their waste. Admittedly better than the piles of black bags and waste, they still take up space, and can ‘go walkies’ since few lanes are level – I used to work near West Regent Lane for example. As can be seen, it’s needed for access, and the lane surface is old, failing, and on an incline.

West Regent Lane

West Regent Lane

Similar, but not on an incline, is Renfield Lane, but it has a fine crop of business related wheelie bins:

Renfield Lane

Renfield Lane

These are NOT the lanes of the plan, although it suggests that improving their condition would still make for a better, cleaner environment, provide improved access, and help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

In fact, taking the time to look at the proposals without an ant-council bias shows the selection of a small number of lanes in areas where they could be developed as attractions, and turned into public spaces with shops, restaurants and bars.

This has happened in other areas of the city, and those lanes have become favourites with both locals and visitors.

With this in mind, it’s now worth reading the media coverage:

Glasgow’s back lanes in line for Melbourne style revamp

World-inspired revamp for Glasgow’s 90 city centre lanes

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Glasgow City Council saves Glasgow School of Art again

I used to be part of a forum that spent much of its time kicking Glasgow City Council, but after I while I came to realise that this was not being done with any sort of rationale or logic, but was merely being driven by a few noisy people whose aim was to run what amounted to anti-council campaign, possibly based on little more than hate or politics, and which simply took almost every decision made by the council… and ranted against it, regardless of whether or not a reasonable person would have approved.

That’s not to say Glasgow City Council is perfect, but after looking at reports of other councils in the media – we don’t actually do that badly, and maybe better than some.

I see the council has just made the news by rejecting a planning application for a block of flats to be built adjacent to the Glasgow School of Art.

While I suspect it would be fairly safe to say there are few (not counting the developer concerned) who would disagree with the refusal, I did note that the report showed the rejection was not carried unanimously, but by a vote 12 to 6 against.

See Planners reject flats beside Glasgow School of Art

It’s kind of hard to see how anyone (from Glasgow at least) without something to gain would be for FOR this proposal.

I’d rather like to see the 6 who voted against being interviewed on TV, and asked to explain the reasons for their desire to see those flats built next to the GSA.

Glasgow School of Art post fire

Glasgow School of Art post fire

April 6, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , , | Leave a comment

The sorry story of Tollcross Winter Gardens just goes from bad to worse

While poking around for anything online about Tollcross House yesterday, I happened across some more background regarding the disgraceful treatment of Tollcross Winter Gardens.

I always forget to mention that things were going reasonably well for the glasshouse until it was damaged during storms that hit in December 2010 and January 2011, and it was closed for reasons of safety. Of itself, nothing wrong with that – nobody wants to be standing beneath a pane of glass when it decides it’s time to part company with roof it was once an integral part of, and the closure for such repairs is a fairly regular occurrence that the People’s Palace Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green.

But 7 years have now passed in Tollcross, and all we have is a decaying glasshouse and derelict visitor centre attached.

I can’t be bothered shooting video, so the clip below was a handy find yesterday.

Reading into the notes indicates that someone complained about it, and tried to have it taken down.

Glasgow City Council comes in for a fair amount of stick at times, not always justified either as politics plays a large part.

But, it’s hard to see how any other source (or to be fair, a rogue employee just trying to win Brownie Points with their boss or supervisor) would have reason to try to suppress this video.

The comments after the video also note “A group did petition the Scottish Parliament however it was stated that they have no powers to force the council into making repairs.”

There was also criticism of the Visitor Centre appended to the glasshouse as seen today.

Sad to say, I have no idea what the site looked like, or the state of the remains of the glasshouse, although it seem it lay derelict for some 14 years prior to the restoration work carried out before it was reopened in November 2000.

However, I did just come across some old postcards showing Tollcross Park many years ago, and the they show the glasshouse was much larger, with another hall extending to the rear, on the ground occupied by the Visitor Centre today.

It’s hard to recall what was said about it back in the days when the structure was being recovered from that phase of its dereliction, and the Visitor Centre may have been constructed to replace that part of the structure which had, by then, been lost to the preceding years of neglect.

Tollcross glasshouse when complete

Tollcross glasshouse when complete

The Tollcross conservatories were originally erected in 1870 at Redholm in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire. Baillie A.G. MacDonald, of Redholm gifted, them to the Glasgow Corporation in 1898 as a gesture to commemorate his links with the area.

Try searching for ‘Mark Fiddy’ online for information regarding plans to raise more than £800 k to rescue the winter gardens and make it a self-sustaining resource.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Update

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.

Still…

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?

Enjoy.

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.

Now:

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

Repaired

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

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