Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Creeping development – ‘Excitement’?

We moved into a house which backed onto (abandoned) farmland.

Then, “A Home of Your Own by John Lawrence” (I think that was their motto in the day) snapped it up, and we ended up in the middle of a ‘new’ housing estate.

We had an estate made of postwar prefabs nearby – they were eventually razed, and replaced by a nice park.

Then most of the park was flattened, and we got another housing estate tacked onto the edge of the Lawrence original.

Another one filled in the space between our original (1900) buildings and the nearby main road.

Recently, a number of development plans have been placed before Glasgow City Council, some large, some small, and some on unspoilt land adjacent to the River Clyde – the outcome is yet to be known, but I see from the web site a number of strident objections from people who are really upset by this creeping land grab by developers trying to take over this part of the east end.

We used to have a DIY warehouse on some industrial land, first called Dodge City, then bought out by B&Q.

It was handy, being colloquially ‘at the end of the street’ – until B&Q ran into difficulty, and it was closed.

The warehouse was never taken over, eventually demolished, and spent a short time as a yard for a nearby company, then they abandoned the ground.

It was bought by a developer recently, and became a place of ‘Excitement’.

Aye, right.

I think this is the worst word play I’ve seen in years, maybe ever.



Isn’t this… EXCITING!!!

Hamilton Road Development

Hamilton Road Development

I did try taking some pics once, but it’s kind of hard to take pics of a former warehouse site that’s just been flattened and left empty, and make it meaningful.

For reference, this pic was taken from the footpath to the left of the lamppost in the above pic, with the entrance road being just to the right.

As you can see, they have trashed the long established trees that screened this former industrial site from the road, which is a shame.

I wonder if they had, or needed, permission to fell those trees, or just accepted a possible fine for destroying them?

Razed B&Q site

Razed B&Q site


October 3, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , | Leave a comment

Retail park proposed on land adjacent to Riverside Transport Museum

Not sure about this one, as planning permission has been sought for a £100 million retail park to include a casino, cinema, and a hotel next to Glasgow’s transport museum.

Do we really need another casino in Glasgow?

Those look like pretty tall buildings too.

At least it’s separated from Riverside by the River Kelvin.

The retail site is planned for Glasgow Harbour East at Castlebank Quay, Pointhouse Quay and Yorkhill Quay, just up the water from the Riverside Museum.

Submitted by Glasgow Harbour Limited, the plans are part of the Glasgow Harbour development that was approved by Glasgow City Council in September 2017.

A statement in the proposal says: “The element of the proposal represents a most important investment in the continuing regeneration of Glasgow Harbour and will act as a catalyst for the final phases in this regeneration project.”

New £100m retail park planned next to Transport Museum

Retail Park Proposal - Concept pic via STV News article

Retail Park Proposal – Concept pic via STV News article

Maybe something better, or less distracting could be found.

While I don’t object to the idea, it also just doesn’t seem quite right for the location.

No, I don’t have a better idea, just expressing a little feeling of disquiet – maybe a simpler retail or shopping centre is all that’s really needed to occupy the ground.



July 24, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Ulva estate wins award of up to £4.4 million for buyout

I’ve been following various island sales over the years, when I notice them at least, and see one that has been progressing for a while has now received a substantial award.

North West Mull Community Woodland Company (NWMCWC) hopes to buy the Ulva Estate, valued at £4.2m, which spans 2000 hectares and includes the Isle of Ulva as well as some land on nearby Mull.

It also wishes to buy Ardulum House on Ulva the cost would be around £4.5m.

The Scottish Land Fund (SLF) has announced an award of up to £4,415,200 to enable the community to open negotiations for the purchase.

The community has said its main priority is to attract new residents to the island, where only six people currently live.
NWMCWC, the first group to register interest in an island under the Scottish Government’s Community Right to Buy legislation, now has until June 9 to agree terms with the current owner and complete the sale.

Via Community awarded up to £4.4m for island buyout

Notably, the island has a population of six at the moment, but their plans are to raise that to 20, and then 50 with additional housing being built to grow the community.

Ulva House

Ulva House

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , | Leave a comment

So, Tanera Mòr was sold, now to be made ‘better’

The sales of islands we’ve spotted being put up for sale are not usually as well highlighted as the offers for sale, so we usually miss them.

But Tanera Mòr, bought by Ian and Saffron Wace in May 2017 for around £2 million, has broken surface and been noticed, probably because of the amount of redevelopment they’re going to try – if they don’t offend to many authorities.

It’s no secret that many shy away from such things are there are now so many rules and regulations restricting change, or causing work to be expensive if traditional methods are demanded.

These proposals look ambitious:

Three communities – at Ardnagoine, Tigh-an-Quay and Garadheancal – are to be created so different groups of guests can occupy Tanera at a time or one large party can take over the entire island.

Buildings will be made from “ruined structures” which are to be redeveloped “in keeping with their historical context and place within the wider landscape”.

Cafes, social spaces and a church will also be built alongside an already existing post office.

Staffing would include up to ten full-year residents, with an additional 20 part-time workers.

Developers hope the the (sic) island, accessible by a ferry service from near Ullapool, will be a place for people “to escape to” for celebrations or those who enjoy creative pursuits.

However, it has already hit a stumbling block as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency has objected unless modifications are made to the tracks so as not to disturb peat and wetlands.

The island is home to various protected species including the European otter, and it has flora which is unusual for the area as there are no sheep, rabbits or deer to feed on it.

Via Developers hope to turn tiny island into holiday retreat

Old Herring Factory Tanera Mòr

Old Herring Factory Tanera Mòr

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Legacy Hub at night

This is unusual. Evidence of life here.

I generally walk past this – The Legacy Hub – during daylight hours, but must do so on the wrong days as it always seems to be closed and deserted. Which is odd, given it houses the area’s Medical Centre.

While that appears to be open (the section to the right), I still don’t see anybody using the seated area to the left, signed as a café.

I’ve read that this smaller building/extension was part of a deal done to be allowed to parachute the big empty Emirate Arena that lies behind. I guess the name is a sop to the once often repeated ‘Lasting Legacy’ promised to residents in the wake of the silly 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Legacy Hub Night

Legacy Hub Night

Apart from taking this shot just to see if I could (remember, I don’t use a tripod, all shots are handheld), and test a lesson.

The night shot part is interesting in this case, as the sky, almost black when the pic was taken, is almost a match for the façade.

I did knock back the brightness in the café area, as it was so bright it almost blew out the internal detail.

The lesson?

Normally I insist on catching whole buildings, and avoiding cut-off roofs, corners, or ends.

That usually means having to correct the perspective later, as the camera has to be tilted.

This time, I tried to avoid my natural instinct and hold the camera level (almost – that missing upper vertex was killing me).

Well, what do you know? It works, and no perspective post-processing needed.

I left in a little converging perspective.

I see many pics that have had ALL the perspective edited out, and have perfectly vertical building edges.

I think these look horribly unnatural, as the human eye is used to seeing buildings with at least some perspective, and all natural views (what you see for real with your eyes) demonstrate converging perspective as verticals lead up to a natural vanishing point.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are we getting on the old Halford’s site?

I can’t remember the history of the occupancy of the site which was once home to Shettleston’s Halfords store.

Vague memories of some low-cost grocery shed, but I never paid attention, and it was an anonymous and featureless shell within on the few occasions I found myself inside. Halfords eventually filled the empty site with a purpose-built store, but that went too.

I did use Halfords for a while, but changing circumstances ended that. Then another change, and I want it back.

In the past year it would have been handy, as the nearest one is 5 miles away, and takes over an hour and a half to reach.

It’s a while since I passed the spot in daylight, but that meant I came across the start of a new development on the cleared ground.

No signs in evidence, so I wonder what we’re getting?

Former Shettleston Halfords Site

Former Shettleston Halfords Site

November 30, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | Leave a comment

(Probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub no longer at risk of demolition

There was a bit of panic raised back in February when plans for the development of new student accommodation on High Street looked likely to lead the loss of (probably) Glasgow’s oldest pub.

I only say (probably) to avoid arguments with those who may believe otherwise, not because I have a problem with the claim.

It’s always difficult to make a non-emotional decision about such things, since I know from past experience it’s easy to complain about such losses based on feelings from the heart, rather than the head. While it can be easy to call foul on such things, this can ignore the age and state of an old building, especially if can’t justify the spend of ridiculous amounts of money to save it.

One need look no further than the unfortunate event of the fire at the Glasgow School of Art a few years back – I doubt many will be considering not restoring the losses purely on consideration of cost.

That said, an old, unlisted building like a pub could be in trouble – IF it wasn’t popular.

However, it seems that it will have to be largely replace in order to survive:

“However we will take the interior out carefully and create a snug which will give the locals a perfect replica of the bar as a refreshed version that will allow it to continue with its long running license.

Our amended plans aim to retain as much of the character and charm of the existing pub but to put it on a footing that’s appropriate for today to safeguard its future, hopefully for the next century.”

One of Scotland’s oldest pubs saved from demolition

Old College Bar High Street

Old College Bar High Street

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Soaves return to Baillieston shops

I recently noted that after moving from the shops in Baillieston – to a vacated former TV shop, then café, on the outskirts – an ice cream parlour appear to have closed, and speculated that the move had not been a good idea as the footfall at the quieter spot was insufficient.

Although not received as a comment here, I was later told the shop had indeed closed, and gone back to shared premises in the middle of the main street, and I would guess a better return from lower operating costs and more passing trade.

Story confirmed when I spotted this recently.

Soaves Return

Soaves Return

Referring to the original post…

The little clothes shop is said to have a new taker, and will open again (no details).

And then what can only be described as fantasy…

That the former bank building is going to open under the auspices of one of the big businesses I refer to as ‘Coffee Cons’.

It now has another sign indicating it has restaurant planning permission – but a new restaurant already opened recently, just along the road, so I guess that is not really going to help moving a building this size with its attendant costs of ownership.

A bank might eat those costs for a while, but you will have to be coining it to make this building viable.

Baillieston Bank Building

Baillieston Bank Building

I won’t give them free publicity by naming them online, but they cost city worker a fortune, selling paper cups of brown slops – coffee with various silly and trendy names – for around £2.50 or more a time.

People fail to think, and buy this stuff, costing them well over £100 a year for little more than hot water.

It’s no wonder these cash black holes use paper cups, and avoid any refers to… MUGS.

If an ice cream parlour can’t cut it here, then I doubt there’s any way a franchisee would be able to cover their costs operating from this deserted area with few customers to pay for such a huge building and the franchise costs.

It’s only the founder that becomes a millionaire and enjoys the trapping of wealth from such plans.

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Flamingo Land land in Balloch?

I was intrigued to see the apparently hostile response to proposals for proposals (yes, I did MEAN to say that) for a theme park and development located near Balloch and operated by the existing Flamingo Land owners.

While I’m not a theme park fan in the sense of visiting them to take part, I have always enjoyed wandering around them and seeing people enjoying them and the rides. I used to enjoy a run down to Morecambe for the day, which included a wander around Frontier Land, but that was closed and razed some years ago, when the town also gave up its illuminations in deference to Blackpool. This unfortunately coincided with personal problems which meant I was unable to visit during the years this happened, and when I did eventually manage a return trip can only say that the town was a sad and dead place without those features.

While I don’t claim that’s equivalent to Balloch, I’m left wondering if the apparently massive negative reaction to the proposal is from the sort of people who just like to say ‘NO!’ to anything.

Flamingo Land chiefs have unveiled plans for a public consultation as they seek to progress their proposals for a £30 million leisure resort at Balloch.

The Yorkshire-based firm is in the process of creating a website showcasing the proposals in a bid to win over local residents.

Tens of thousands of individuals have already signed a petition opposing the plans, while a number of locals staged a demonstration against the proposals by gathering in Drumkinnon Woods – part of the land which could be affected by the development if it gets the green light.

Via: Flamingo Land at Balloch a step closer with public consultation

While some would also look at the handful of negative responses in the comments after the story, sadly, I’ve come to realise that most of the commenters on Scotsman stories are sad and miserable, or just out to make political capital.

Hopefully the media will follow this, as I’ll be more interested in the result of the public consultation, than the potentially biased response of a few noisy activists.

As the proposer says:

However, in September last year, Mr Gibb admitted that the plans would not go ahead if they weren’t supported by ‘most of the people in Scotland’.

He said: “Flamingo Land totally understands some of the local concerns about our proposed leisure resort in Balloch and we are committed to engaging with all parties involved to fully explain our ideas.

“Our bid was successful due to the sensitive way in which we have considered the site in question and we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the consultation group.

“To be frank, if our plans are not welcomed by most of the people in Scotland then we will not proceed further but I do not trust the results of the petition and we have not yet been given the chance to fully explain our plans.”

Amusement Park

Amusement Park

Just to be clear, I am merely mentioning this, although I expect to be misrepresented and said to be in favour of the development – merely because I have not suffered an immediate knee-jerk reaction stating I am against it.

For what it’s worth, I still think the theme park in Strathclyde Country Park looks out of place as a permanent installation. I originally thought it was just visiting when it first appeared.

I’m more interested in seeing how the National Park Authority plays its part, as I see it as a body that like to make rules to keep itself in a comfy well-paid job, has introduced rules that would probably have Tom Weir spinning in his grave given the restriction it has brought in for wanderers, yet seems happy to allow development and housed to be built within the park it is supposed to be preserving.

These links might help keep some folk’s blood pressure down:

Flamingo Land proposals are opposed by thousands

Our view on Flamingo Land’s Loch Lomond proposal

The LLTNPA’s involvement in the Flamingo Land proposals

The potential impact of Flamingo Land’s proposals on the National Park


July 17, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change – Progress – Development

As a car nut who has not lost touch with reality, I’m able to enjoy the changes that have taken place in their design over the years – unlike some I have rubbed shoulders with and describe any changes as a betrayal to their favourite marque.

I’ve never quite understood this, as the implication is that once the model they like was put into production, it seems they would have liked the manufacturer to stop development, halt progress, and set that design in stone.

In a sense, I can appreciate their view, but it’s also a dead-end and would lead to the death of the company they supposedly like so much.

Even Morgan, which some may consider to be set in their ways, has moved on, even if (some of) its cars appear largely unchanged.

In my own case I can look at my own little collection, and while one late 1950s model was amongst the fastest normal production cars of the day (excluding exotics), and was able to cruise the Autobahn at 75 mph all day, it’s 0-60 mph time was in the region of 22 seconds.

By way of contrast, my 1980s example would do the same cruise at 150 mph, and sprint to 60 mph in around 5.5 seconds.

In the currency of their day, the first was around £2 k, while the latter was 16 times that, and over £30 k (and had climbed to a whopping £80 k when production ended almost 20 years later).

The other difference would be their handling – something that has advanced out of all recognition today.

It’s no exaggeration to say that a bog-standard present family day car will out-perform a sports car from latter part of the 20th century (again, exclude the handful of exotics – but many of them would actually struggle too).

I spotted this pic, which probably sums this up – both are great, but if you think the manufacturer should have stopped developing and stayed with the one on the left, you need help, or the opportunity to bet your life savings, house, and family, on being able to catch the one on the right while driving it.

Porsche 1964 to 2016

Porsche 1964 to 2016

While I’ve never found anyone that let me drive the one on the left, I have managed to get my hands on examples of the one on the left.

Having driven other cars from 1964-ish, and being aware of that era’s 911 reputation, I can say that the later version is actually stunning, and despite trying to provoke the ‘handling faults’ of the rear engine layout found this impossible in anything like sane driving.

Special mention for that engine too – floor the throttle in any gear and it will take-off as if a ghost had just been seem.

At anything over 20 mph I found the effort of changing down to accelerate was almost a waste of time/effort.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , | 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

%d bloggers like this: