The RIAS has warned Glasgow City Council not to delay the long-awaited renovation of the city’s centrepiece civic square after fresh stumbling blocks to the project emerged
In 2013 a competition-winning vision by John McAslan + Partners for a £15million revamp was ditched by city council leader Gordon Matheson who claimed the high-profile scheme lacked public support.
As an interim measure and in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, a resurfacing of the much-maligned red tarmac and the creation of more grassy areas was delivered later that year.
The authority insisted the the work was the first phase of a larger but yet-to-materialise overhaul of the square drawn up by the council’s in-house team.
However the city council has since said the future plan were dependent on the financing model for the extension of the city’s Buchanan Galleries shopping centre, a project which also includes a range of new infrastructure work in the city centre.
Now, following last week’s news that Matheson is intending to step down in September, RIAS secretary and treasurer Neil Baxter has called on his successor to prioritise completing the square.
‘George Square is too important to be left in its current shabby state,’ he said.
‘The myth that the public had no appetite for change has been repeatedly spun, ever since the then council leader, who was on a mission to remove the statues, threw his toys out of the pram and cancelled the project.
‘Let’s hope new leadership will bring fresh thinking and work with and for, the people of Glasgow to create a public focus worthy of this great city.’
A council spokesman said the authority had always intended to come back to councillors with a report detailing new options, but the ‘substantial amount of other development work taking place in the city centre’ had led to delays.
‘‘The funding for George Square work is linked to the Buchanan Galleries tax increment finance scheme and there is now a delay to that project,’ he said.
‘We still plan to bring proposals to councillors as soon as practicably possible. This will include details of the public consultation that we will carry out on the final surface treatment and colour.’
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