In the news this week, w/e October 13

VIEWS are to be soon sought on plans to revitalise Glasgow city centre.

Says the local authority, here: “With an increased focus on the future of town and city centres, the consultation on the City Centre Strategy will give Glaswegians the opportunity to shape Scotland’s most important economic area, including creating more jobs, providing better transport options and increasing the residential population.

“The plan pulls together a series of actions to shape the regeneration of the city centre, including the redevelopment of George Square, supporting the night-time economy and creating a new cultural quarter.”

Also under consideration are plans for the city’s key retail thoroughfares – Argyle Street, Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street – aka the ‘Golden Z‘.

The announcement adds: “Following from the first strategy which covered the period between 2014 and 2019 and the work in recent years to aid the city’s Covid-19 recovery, the latest proposals will take the city up to 2030 and come at a time of significant change for urban centres.”

Details of how to take part in the consultation are expected to be revealed from the 20th of this month.

New towns

NEW towns and an ambitious housebuilding programme were front and centre of a speech given by Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, earlier this week.

He told, here, the party’s annual conference: “So it’s time to get Britain building again. It’s time to build one and half million new homes across the country [the UK].

“Opportunities for first-time buyers in every community. New development corporations with the power to remove the blockages. New infrastructure to support families and communities to grow. Roads, tunnels, power stations – built quicker and cheaper.  

“And a new effort to re-wire Britain. The National Grid moving faster – a lot faster. Laying the cables our future prosperity needs.  

“It’s a future with more beautiful cities. More prosperous towns. New parks, new green spaces, new public services – all aligned with our plan. 

“And, conference, sometimes the old Labour ideas are right for new times. So where there are good jobs. Where there is good infrastructure. Where there is good land for affordable homes. Then we will get shovels in the ground. Cranes in the sky. 

“And build the next generation of Labour new towns.”

Scotland has five ‘new towns’: East Kilbride (1947), Glenrothes (1948), Cumbernauld (1956), Livingston (1962) and Irvine (1966). 

Scots among ‘planning excellence’ nominations

SEVERAL Scots entries have been named among the finalists in UK-wide awards celebrating ‘excellence in planning’.

The awards – being run by the Royal Town Planning Institute – reach their conclusion with a winners’ ceremony on the 21st of next month.

And the Scots finalists – to be found here – are as follows (with RTPI wording):

Excellence in plan-making practice

Net Zero Aberdeen Routemap submitted by Net Zero Aberdeen – “Developed collaboratively, the Net Zero Aberdeen Routemap and six enabling strategies are shaping a just net zero city transition, spanning the built and natural environment.”

Excellence in planning for a successful economy

The University of Glasgow western campus development, submitted by The University of Glasgow – “The University of Glasgow’s £1.3 billion campus development programme aims to create a new sustainable and socially-integrated world-class urban quarter with significant economic impact.”

Excellence in planning for health and wellbeing

Zetland Park project submitted by Falkirk Council – “A community-driven, placemaking-focussed park regeneration project that reaffirms the difference heritage projects can make to people’s lives, wellbeing and quality of place.”

Excellence in planning for heritage and culture

GrowBanff@The Vinery submitted by Aberdeenshire Council – “A restoration project bringing a derelict 19th century greenhouse back into use to provide a community hub focused on well-being and gardening.”

Excellence in planning for communities (large schemes of 50 or more)

Primrose Place, Alloa (pictured), submitted by Clackmannanshire Council – “A planner-led partnership approach to giving a town a new heart where people can live well locally.”

Planning authority of the year

Strategic Place Planning Service, Aberdeen City Council – “The focus of Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Place Planning service is to enable, facilitate and deliver effective placemaking across the city.”

Young planner of the year

Sarah Purves, Fife Council – “Sarah is a dedicated development management planner working in Fife Council’s Priority Team who epitomises the RTPI’s core values in all aspects of her work.”

Bridge restoration on the cards

EFFORTS to restore a bridge in Edinburgh – that has been adopted by locals, by being painted in rainbow colours – have taken a step closer, with the awarding of over £200,000 in funding.

The £232,700 funding – from the walking and cycling charity, Sustrans, and its Places for Everyone programme – is for a bridge on Lindsay Road, in Leith.

Says, here, The City of Edinburgh Council, which will be overseeing the restoration: “The 1930’s bridge, originally built for vehicular traffic, was closed off to motor vehicles in 2008 and has since served as a key walking, wheeling, and cycling route over Hawthornvale Path.

“In 2021, community members painted the bridge in rainbow colours, leading to it being named locally as the ‘Rainbow’ or ‘Pride’ Bridge.”

The announcement continues: “A designer will now be appointed to progress the design, to be developed in consultation with stakeholders and the community.”

Heritage funding for Glasgow

GLASGOW has been named among 20 locations in the UK, to share £200m to be spent on ‘heritage’ projects.

The money is from a programme called Heritage Places, with nine locations identified in a first tranche (the others being Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, County Durham, Leicester, Medway, Neath Port Talbot, North-East Lincolnshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Torbay).

The Heritage Fund identified the nine areas through extensive data analysis and local insights from its six country and regional teams and it will now work with a range of local organisations and projects in each of the  areas.

The Glasgow announcement is specifically for its key thoroughfare, Sauchiehall Street.

Formerly known as the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Lottery Heritage Fund distributes a share of National Lottery funding. It is a non-departmental public body accountable to the UK Parliament via the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Its decisions about individual applications and policies are entirely independent of government.

Says Heritage Places, here: “Our Heritage Places framework is founded on three principles to identify locations where our investment could have the strongest impact: Need: places with heritage at risk of loss, damage or neglect, where the sector lacks capacity and the community faces multiple challenges; Opportunity: local factors, such as events and funding, that may act as multipliers for investment and impact; and Potential: quality and type of heritage, and prior experience and infrastructure, that make success and impact more likely.”

Work ‘well underway’ on former tram cable site

WORK is being described as “well underway” on a block of 42 apartments in the Stockbridge / Canonmills area of Edinburgh, on a site previously used to pull Edinburgh’s historic trams, by cable.

The development – by local company, Square & Crescent – is to comprise a mix of different-sized apartments, and neighbours offices previously occupied by life insurance, pensions and investments firm, Royal London, on the city’s Henderson Row.

It’s not known what, if anything, is being planned for that building.

Says a media announcement on behalf of Square & Crescent: “Multi-level biodiverse roofs will add greenery and contrast to the use of traditional red brick and building techniques. Striking ironmongery helps reflect the character of the surrounding area, which includes the neighbouring former Royal London office building on Henderson Row, the last remaining portion of the former depot.”

It continues: “In the late 80s, the original depot building was demolished and transformed into office blocks, which will now be replaced with the thoughtfully-redesigned residential apartments. The former Royal London offices on Henderson Row preserved the last remaining portion of the original depot.

“Reaching a five-storey high point, the dynamic development will feature private terraces and balconies, as well as private patios on some of the ground floor properties.”

Further options for Glasgow docks scheme

A FORMER shipbuilding dock in Glasgow could become the site of a heritage ship repair service, according to an announcement by the local authority.

Says Glasgow City Council, here, while some of the ‘A-listed’ Govan Graving Docks is earmarked for housing, there are several other options for the rest of the docks, with a community consultation exercise ongoing.

Continues the announcement: “Council officers are now in discussions with a range of funders with a view of completing the redevelopment of the Graving Docks – outwith the proposed residential development – over the next decade, and [yesterday] the council has approved the acceptance of an offer of £200,000 from [walking and cycling charity] Sustrans to develop concept designs for an active travel route through the site, including a potential new bridge link to Pacific Quay.

Cost of building materials

THE rising cost of building materials appears to have been very slightly reversed, according to figures released by the Scottish Government.

In its quarterly bulletin (here) of the housing sector – ranging across build rates, mortgages and lending, prices and sales – it says: “Price inflation of construction materials used in new house building, which had reached 24 per cent in June [last year], has fallen sharply, moving into negative territory (‑1.5 per cent) in July [this year].”

High winds delay bridge delivery

HIGH winds have delayed the delivery today of a bridge over the River Clyde, connecting the city’s districts of Partick and Govan.

The delivery is due to be carried out by barge.

Says the city’s local authority, a decision will be taken at the time on whether the weather conditions can permit the work going ahead tomorrow.

Nominations open for new National Park

NOMINATIONS are now open for a third National Park in Scotland, to join Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and Cairngorms.

Read more, here.

Stirling poised for ‘environmental audits’

REGULAR ‘environmental audits’ have been commissioned, to take place in Stirling.

The charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, is to carry out the audits, on behalf of the city’s business improvement group, Go Forth Stirling.

Says an announcement on the website for Scotland’s ‘business improvement districts’, here: “The audit will be designed to measure litter and other environmental quality indicators affecting the city centre’s appearance and find out what visitors think about it.”

Architecture photography

FINALLY, the Glasgow-based photography of Chris Leslie – such as the demolition of the city’s Red Road Flats – is among the pictures on show at an exhibition opened on Saturday at the National Galleries of Scotland: Portrait, on Edinburgh’s Queen Street.

Begins the introduction to ‘Making Space: Photographs of Architecture‘: “Architecture is a record of human life past, present, and future – we are all intrinsically linked to it. 

“Making Space will explore how architecture impacts people’s lives. A poor built environment exacerbates inequality, but architecture has the power to address social issues including homelessness, poverty, and displacement. It will also consider how the built environment has a significant role to play in creating a more sustainable future.”

The exhibition – which is free to view – continues until March 3 next year.

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Main picture: the Hippos of Glenrothes; Picture credit: Place Design Scotland; Subsidiary picture (1) – Primrose Place, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland; Subsidiary picture (2): ‘Pride Bridge’, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland; Subsidiary picture (3): Henderson Row re-imagined, Picture credit: Square & Crescent

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