Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The High Street area recovery seems to have started

I’ve referred to proposals, which I think are maybe long overdue, to return the High Street and its surrounding land to more active use.

I’ve passed through this area for years, thinking it was a pity that leaving Glasgow by crossing High Street was like dropping off the edge of the world.

One notable ‘Zone of Desolation’ was the area behind High Street station, which you always see as you pull into that station since that part of the track is still above ground.

From Duke Street, things don’t look too bad, thanks to student accommodation that landed along that road a few years ago, but the train arrives behind that, so you get to see the whole of the barren area hidden from the road by those recent buildings.

Now an ambitious development will fill the area…

A historical site in Glasgow’s city centre is set to be transformed into a £200million housing development.

Glasgow City Council has approved plans which will see the derelict site behind High Street railway station transformed in to a new residential neighbourhood of over 700 homes.

The scheme will feature a new public square, 99 student studios and approximately 3,365 sq m of space for retail, leisure, food and drink and commercial business.

For the first time, new tree-lined access routes on the site will connect the Merchant City through to the east end via High Street. Work on the first phase of the development is expected to start in 2019, subject to building warrant.

Throughout its rich history, the area has been home to the original Glasgow University and the Hunterian Museum. Most recently the City of Glasgow Union Railway Company used it as a goods yard.

Green light for £200m proposal to revitalise historical site in central Glasgow

While I knew the original Hunterian Museum had been somewhere in Glasgow, and have seen old pics of the building (which is long gone), I hadn’t really thought of where it had been located.

So, it has had a quite a past.

And the future looks mostly good…

But I hope someone objects the height of some those new buildings.

Image Copyright Chris Mellor

Image Copyright Chris Mellor

See more images of the proposal here…

APPROVAL For New Neighbourhood Of 700 Build-To-Rent Homes


Dec 11, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment

Mindless hysteria – not always the correct response to a demolition notice

I used to work in West Regent AND was part of forum/group that enjoyed abusing Glasgow City Council.

Both of those assertions have been false for many years. Not only don’t I work there any more, the company is long gone (as is the one that replaced it), and I’m no longer associated with that group. The latter is quite sad as we parted acrimoniously after a misunderstanding when the ‘leader’ decided to misinterpret an offer I made to volunteer some free help as some sort of takeover attempt. However, shortly after that they got really nasty toward the council, and councillors, so I’d have gone anyway. A real shame as they were (and still are) very knowledgeable on local history. I follow that side of their activity, but not the rest, and won’t identify them.

I spotted a news item about an old (1830) B listed building in West Regent Street being granted permission for demolition, having decayed internally and externally through neglect. I was slightly surprised at first, as I thought this one had gone many years ago. But, it seems this one is number 141, while the one I was thinking of was at 107.

From memory (I couldn’t find anything online) 107 West Regent Street was probably the ‘Last Straw’ that compounded the problems I was having with the group, and made me ‘walk.

This was a derelict building, similar to 141, which was vandalised and burnt down at some point and, following an inspection, had the remains declared unsafe, with demolition following.

My recollection was that ‘The Group’ launched into one of its council/councillor hate orgies, attacking some by name, on the basis that they were behind the fire, to release the site for development, and that they were to profit as they were somehow connected to builders/developers, and should be fired immediately for their part in destroying a historically significant building, which was said to have been one of (Charles Rennie) Mackintosh’s commissions.

I can’t find easy confirmation of that online, as the old historic record for 107 has been purged, so don’t know if it was true.

But that was when I gave up on the group, realising that they seemed to claim EVERY building fire was attributable to the council, or a councillor or councillors wanting a site cleared of a historic building that could not otherwise be demolished to suit their plans.

I was fed this story about 141.

CITY planners have agreed that a run-down B-listed building in central Glasgow can be demolished and replaced with a development of serviced apartments.

Officials have approved an application made by Suite Street Hotels for premises at 141 West Regent Street, on the corner with West Campbell Street.

APARTHOTEL Can Replace City Centre Listed Building

It’s interesting to look at the listing for this building.


Circa 1830. 2-storeys and basement, 5 x 5 main bays, with 2

3-bay extensions to S; 1st 2 bays from N on West Campbell

Street blind; 2nd bay from W on West Regent Street blind at

1st floor. End terrace classical block converted to offices.

Painted ashlar. Basement band. Pilastered central doorpiece

with flat block pediment to entry at head of steps

oversailing basement. Sash and case windows in architraves;

corniced at ground floor. Eaves cornice; blocking course

raised in centre. Details continue on West Campbell Street

elevation; 1 small arched window in pedimented gable,

(pediment truncated).


There doesn’t appear to be anything of particular significance there, or even a famous name attached to it.

Also, it was converted to offices, so most, of not all, of the interior was lost or damaged years ago.

I mention this because if you go online and look for more on this demolition, you will find a story which begins (from early 2018).

Historic and important building facing demolition in flats plans

I’m not linking to it, as I used to use the media source as a linked reference for many of my posts, then discovered they kept altering their links, so that all the reference link I had carefully included – all lead to dead or non-existent web pages! So sod them.

However, I read and reread that story they ran, and apart from the planning application requesting demolition, NOWHERE did the article concerned give ANY reason or detail to back up the headline claim where it had proclaimed ‘Historic and important building’.

I’ve said it before, I’ll no doubt say it again – we can’t keep EVERY old building. And, despite many people wearing rose-tinted glasses when looking at them, many were also badly built, and won’t last. Cowboy builders are NOT a modern invention.

But we DO have to be CAREFUL, and make sure we keep the good ones which we can.

Now that I’m ‘older and wiser’, rather than listen to, and accept without question, the statements of the critics, I find it much more interesting and informative to actually look at some planning application decisions, and the logic behind them (which can now be found freely online as part of public records). It seems that our council is NOT the villain some often seem to try to portray it as.

141 West Regent Street

141 West Regent Street

Dec 8, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , | Leave a comment

Interesting to see poorly presented huge hotel plan thrown out

In keeping with my suggestion that people should perhaps STOP automatically kicking Glasgow City Council purely on the basis of it BEING Glasgow City Council, I note yet another large development has been rejected following a review of its planning application.

The moaners really should start engaging their brains before launching into their usual attacks, either of the council in general, or of some councillors in particular.

This isn’t to say the council is always perfect, or that councillors are angels, but the issues they are responsible for are not single issue decisions, or evidence of corruption. Few seem to credit the council when it does something correctly, or that many decisions are bound by law, or other constraints, and while they may appear odd or wrong, are legally correct. They have to be, or they can be overturned.

In this case, it seems an apparently poorly prepared planning application was presented in respect of a huge hotel development to slotted onto some ‘spare ground’ (currently a small car park, with some nice murals), near Candleriggs.

But the application doesn’t even seem to have included a proper illustration showing the size or impact of the new building.

Maybe not a careless mistake or omission, but a carefully crafted and deliberate ploy to hide the impact of the thing?


A PLAN for a massive hotel on a Merchant City gap site has been withdrawn. The proposal had attracted numerous objections from residents and a local MSP.

Merchant Hotel Glasgow Ltd had applied for an eight-floor 396-bed development on land bounded by Candleriggs, Ingram Street and Albion Street. It was to feature gathering spaces, bars/restaurants and co-working spaces.

In 2008, planning permission was given for a 200-bed, six and four-storey hotel at the site although it did not proceed. The land has been vacant for 50 years and is currently used as a car park.

No explanation for the applicant withdrawing the proposal is given in planning documents. It is not clear if a revised plan will be submitted.

Many residents from nearby flats had lodged objections raising concerns over the size of the buildings and loss of privacy, daylight and open space.

Merchant City and Trongate Community Council was also opposed, citing the “excessive size and height” of the building compared with neighbouring listed buildings.

An official objection from Sandra White MSP stated: “Considering the historical significance of Candleriggs and this part of Glasgow, I am surprised that a property development of this scale and ambition has failed to provide an artist impression of its inclusion in the local setting.”

She said this meant the wider public was unable to form a full view of the project and it left the impression the applicant was “trying to hide its impact.”

She feared the structure would dominate the skyline of Merchant City. The MSP added the site should instead be considered for a public square or green space.

HUGE Merchant City Hotel Plan Abandoned

Mushroom Mural

Mushroom Mural

Dec 4, 2018 Posted by | council, photography | , , , | Leave a comment

Another new bridge over the Clyde

It’s amazing to see the virtual explosion of bridges over the Clyde in recent years, or even the refurbishment of existing ones which could have been lost due to old age and decay.

There are paintings/sketches of Glasgow from hundreds of years ago, when the River Clyde was just a trickle, and only a few rickety structures for people to get across it without getting their feet wet. How things have changed since the rivers was dredged and managed, and the city exploded around it.

Even I can remember how the arrival of Bell’s Bridge for the Glasgow Garden Festival, back in 1988, was seen as novel and unique.

Now that has been joined by a number of both traffic and pedestrian crossing with sight of that original, and they were easy to add as they don’t have to open to allow the passage of various large floaty things.

Now they are to be joined by yet another new bridge, downstream, and it WILL have to open to let ships pass.

Scottish Government ministers have just approved the first opening road bridge across the Clyde, between Renfrew and Yoker.

The project also includes new roads, walkways and cycle routes into a 150-acre site next to Glasgow Airport being developed into a manufacturing district, which has already attracted two national innovation centres, the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and a major centre revolutionising medicines manufacturing.

The bridge has been designed by leading engineering consultancy Sweco working with Kettle Collective, the award-winning architects behind the Falkirk Wheel.

There has been strong support for the project during extensive engagement over a two-year period, with surveys signalling 90 percent backing for the plans.

NEW Bridge Between Yoker And Renfrew Gets Government Go-Ahead

I wonder how long it will be until the NEXT one comes along?

The most recent bridges are often interesting to look at, employing shapes and designs that would not have been possible (or extremely risky) to develop before computers could be used to solve the engineering calculations.

While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the traditional, generally straight span, design, it’s nice to see what can be done with a little imagination.

On the other hand, the strange shapes, non-linear stresses and strains, plus odd harmonic and aerodynamic effects CAN sometimes come back and bite the hand of the designer, and a number of these new bridge shapes have developed unforeseen issues once in service.

Fingers crossed.

This one looks nice.

Artist's Impression Sweco

Artist’s Impression Sweco

Nov 19, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Aldi almost made me panic tonight

I’ve been trying to find out when our big new Shettleston Aldi actually opens its doors.

A local media source seems to like mentioning such things, but Shettleston may be too down-market and not on its radar, as nothing mentioned so far.

I’ve tried watching Aldi’s own web page for this shop. Currently it does not show up if you ask it to find the store in their search tool, but you can find this page by other means.

Aldi Shettleston

So far, it has store details, and refers to the opening in November, but does not give a date (yet?).

I haven’t been here for ages, but had to pass it tonight, and from a distance thought they had sneaked the Grand Opening past me!

The place was fully lit, shining brightly, the perimeter security fencing was all gone, the car park was laid, and the shop signs were lit.

There seemed to people moving around too – but when I got closer I was relieved to see they were just shopfitters, still working on the interior. I also noticed all the entrances were coned off.

Just as well, since I’d given up and had been in the High Street shop a few hours earlier – to buy ‘essential supplies’ since I couldn’t wait for this place any longer.

Still… there are no signs around to suggest when it will open for business.

Could be the end of the month, as the interior is not done, the terminals and systems have to go in and be commissioned, and of course, the place has to be stocked, the shelves filled for the first time, and an inventory established.

While an experienced team could have this done in days, it’s still a fair bit of work, especially if there are the inevitable snags, so this is more than ‘a few days’.

Incidentally, if you noticed I’ve referred to how close this Aldi store is to Tesco (a Tesco ‘extra’ store, open 24 hours) in the past, and wondered how close ‘close’ was, just have a look at the right hand side of this pic, and you’ll know.

Click these for a bit bigger.

Aldi Fitting

Aldi Fitting

I wasn’t sure if the ‘Tesco extra’ would be big enough to see in the first grab, then I couldn’t decide which pic I like – so you get both.

The first one (above) has been properly processed – the one below had just had some highlights and shadows improved.

Aldi Fitters Escaping

Aldi Fitters Escaping


November 20 – web page says:

Opening date

The grand opening of this new ALDI supermarket will take place in November 2018. For potential changes to the opening date, continue checking back here.

Nov 17, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography | , , | 1 Comment

They can’t demolish a Blue Lagoon, can they?

I remember the Blue Lagoon chip shop from many many years ago.

When I worked in Glasgow, I used to pass the place, noting it had the cheapest fish suppers for miles around.

I did always wonder if they were any good, but never tried one (I got all my fish suppers at the seaside then).

There was even one paper, or maybe just reporter, at around the same time, which ran articles on just how BAD the Blue Lagoon’s fish suppers were, and seemed to take pleasure in putting it at the bottom of any lists of chips shops and reviews.

The articles were SO bad I expected the place to be shutting any day – but it’s still there years later, so maybe those reviews (or the reviewer) WERE biased.

But. the Blue Lagoon’s days may be numbered, as a developer want to tear down the whole corner where it lives.

Can they do that?

A 14-STOREY hotel is being proposed for a high-profile Glasgow City Centre site currently occupied by businesses including the Blue Lagoon chippy, O Sole Mio restaurant and the Iron Horse Bar.

City planners are being asked to approve complete demolition of the current building at 109 to 113 West Nile Street and 28 to 36 Bath Street.

DEVELOPER Wants To Demolish Restaurant, Chippy And Pub Building To Make Way For Hotel

Need to watch the news for a follow-up to this, or maybe mass demonstrations as people take to the streets to demand the Blue Lagoon be saved from evil developers!

Blue Lagoon West Nile Street

Blue Lagoon West Nile Street

Good old West Nile Street.

This reminds of the day (a Saturday) when I parked at almost this exact spot some years ago.

I came back to find a parking ticket on my car (and all the other in this part of West Nile Street too).

There was only one small problem with this  – on Saturdays, the parking restrictions only applied up to 13:00… and I had arrived and parked just before 17:00!

I complained, and the ticket was cancelled.

More interestingly though, when I went back the same spot a few months later, I noticed that not only was the SIGN that held the parking times gone – so was the POLE!

It had been somewhere near where the cone is sitting in the pic, but had been sawn off, leaving only a short stub on the pavement to show it had ever been there.

I wasn’t taking pics back then, or I would have one to show today.

Nov 16, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Cunningar Loop needs ‘improving’ already

I don’t really think of Cunningar Loop as having been open very long at all.

In fact, my first proper visit was only back in April 2017, when I only discovered by chance that they had finally opened the place! Prior to that I had been visiting regularly since 2014, but eventually let it slide, since all I was getting were repeats of the same depressing pics of the fence and works gate. I could probably retire if I could sell the contractor all those pics. I’ve heard it said one of the first signs of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result – so I thought I’d better play safe, and give up for a while.

Cunningar Loop works

Cunningar Loop works

I’ve been back a few times, and was surprised to see how popular it had already become, and added it to my list of places NOT to go if the schools are on holiday, and parents are dragging their tiny offspring out because “It’s a nice day”.

So I was mildly surprised to see that significant plans have already been lodge for improvements and additions.

Specifically, attractions being proposed include a community bothy and garden, and an elevated walkway with viewing tower.

A statement from JM Architects, acting on their [Clyde Gateway]behalf explains: “With the success of the park in its first year, criticism from visitors and local residents has identified a lack of suitable facilities.

I have to say I’m disappointed, and a look at the park shows it has quite a few facilities, and I hope this isn’t the start of a rolling program of similar ‘improvements’.

One of the things I like about the place was the relatively uncluttered environment, with most of the existing visitor facilities relatively well screened (especially in summer, when there’s some greenery around) from view until you actually come across them.

I couldn’t even find this last time I was there! (Might not have been me, since some scrap metal dealer might have nicked it already).

Cunningar Loop Nae Eye Deer

Cunningar Loop Nae Eye Deer

Please don’t misinterpret my thoughts (ie this is not an objection).

I also see areas/facilities that appear to be unused/ignored, so change itself is no bad thing.

I’m just a little alarmed at the speed of this proposal, and suggest a little caution, lest the momentum continue, and (if the planning department allows) the place gets spoilt in a few years, driving people away instead of attracting them.

If the viewing tower lives up to its description in the proposal, I’ll certainly be seen there more than once.

PLANS For Viewing Tower, Tree-Top Walkway And Community Base At River Clyde Urban Park

Viewing Tower Image J M Architects

Viewing Tower Image J M Architects

Oct 24, 2018 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography | , | Leave a comment

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

Oct 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.



Jul 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

Mar 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

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

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