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Glasgow's 'iconic' Royal Concert Hall steps saved – for now

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Developers have gone back to the drawing board on a shopping centre scheme which threatened to demolish the steps of Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall

The plans for the BDP-designed extension to the concert hall’s neighbouring Buchanan Galleries shopping centre were approved back in February despite a wave of protest against the demolition of the iconic steps.

The £390 million proposals received more than 300 letters of objection and a petition against the demolition of the steps garnered around 14,000 signatures. Even so councillors approved the scheme by 11 votes to four.

But last week, the developer Land Securities said the scheme was to be put on hold.

In a statement, the property giant said: ‘We are not currently pursuing the existing plans for the extension of Buchanan Galleries, due to an increased level of risk generated by the simultaneous delivery of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP).

‘We will continue to work on our plans to extend Buchanan Galleries, as Network Rail delivers EGIP over the next 18 months.’

Designed by Leslie Martin, the architect behind London’s Royal Festival Hall, the concert hall opened in 1990 as part of Glasgow’s year as European City of Culture. The steps which also feature a statue of the inaugural First Minister of Scotland Donald Dewar became a popular meeting place.

The plans had proposed for a new gathering space to be created to the south of the shopping centre extension with the statue moved a few yards from its present location.

Commenting on the development, local architect Alan Dunlop, said: ‘People are fed up with the developer mantra of “improving the retail experience” particularly if it means diminishing the quality of the public realm. 

‘Land Securities, its architects and Glasgow councillors have to now stop and take stock of the real concern raised among people in Glasgow about the changes being imposed on them and their city.

‘The proposal to remove the concert hall steps was significant, for it allowed objectors to rally but there were other big issues, which raised real concern. The entrance to the concert hall being proposed through a shopping mall; the massive car park addition which was set to loom large over George Square and the extension to the Millennium hotel intended to mask it. I’m surprised that these did not register with all three as a real problems.’

The scheme was set to complete by the end of 2017, but this now looks unlikely.

Previous story (AJ 26.02.15)

Plans approved to demolish Glasgow’s ‘iconic’ Royal Concert Hall steps

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • City of Culture? and they can give that proposal a minutes consideration---- if so, title withdrawn.

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  • 'City of Culture' is, in Glasgow's case, all too easily seen as a place that's 'all fur coat and no knickers'.
    To add to Alan Dunlop's list of bad planning decisions and cack-handed architecture threatening the quality of George Square, Network Rail's EGIP (Edinburgh - Glasgow Improvement Programme) involves extending Queen Street Station to a new frontage looming over George Square - and the original sensitively designed glass curtain wall has now degenerated into a sloping glass monstrosityl topped with a massive eaves projection, maybe appropriate for an airport terminal but utterly alien to the setting of George Square.
    That the designer of this is a qualified architect beggars belief.

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