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£11m city village to rise from the ashes£11m city village to rise from the ashes (© Evening Times)
Work is under way to transform a city community into an ‘urban village’.
Four towerblocks in Pollokshaws have already been demolished and now work
has started on an £11 million development of replacement homes. Glasgow
City Council and Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) are working together
to regenerate Shawbridge, in Pollokshaws, on the South Side of the city.
It is hoped with redevelopment the area, helped by amenities such as Pollok
Park and extensive transport links, will attract families who would ordinarily
migrate out to the suburbs.
Liz Cameron, executive member for Development and Regeneration services,
said: “It’s a 10 year vision. It’s not just about the housing. It’s about putting
the ‘village green’ back into the community.”
The results of a survey to ask residents what they want to see in the area will
be published next month. An exhibition was held at Pollokshaws Library and
Learning Centre on the plans earlier this year to let locals have their say.
Ms Cameron said: “It’s become quite clear they love the area. It’s an area
of diversity and we want to work on that. They also want the community spirit
which was part of the fabric of life before the 1960s and the development. They’ve
got it in part, they want it wholly restored.”
Isabel Gallacher, 67, has lived in her high rise flat since 1972. She’ll move
into one of the new GHA houses on Riverford Road when they are finished
over the next 18 months. She said: “When I came to live here after I got married
it was high rises. It was a good area. You had a good community which you
don’t seem to have so much now. It’s not as nice. We’d like to get out community
back a wee bit better. They are good plans. I think it would be really nice if we
could get this right and get back to being a village. People will be happier if
they’ve got a half decent house to live in. The area just seems to have
deteriorated a wee bit.”
The new houses will be a mix of three and five-bedroom flats – in four-storey
and two-storey blocks – including two flats with wheelchair access. There will
also be five houses: two four-bedroom homes and three three-bedroom homes
and some will be available to buy.
Alex McGuire, GHA’s executive director of development and regeneration, said:
“We’ve demolished four multi-storey blocks, and some low rise accommodation
and that creates a site for new build homes. We are working with the community
to make sure as we regenerate the area they get what they want out of it. As
a major landlord we have a real influence on the area.”
He continued: “Of course regeneration’s about much more than just bricks
and mortar, so we work very closely with the community to make sure things
like employment opportunities and health and wellbeing issues are also part
of that package. We’ve worked very closely with residents. What we’ll build
in terms of the first phase very much reflects what the residents wanted to see.
It will take a long time, probably 10 to 15 years, but what we’re trying to do is
reshape the area so it has much more of an urban village feel that makes the
best use of the White Cart River, its closeness to Pollok Park as well as being
close to the centre of Glasgow.”
The Scottish Government is also backing the plans for Pollokshaws, which is
one of eight communities across the city which have been earmarked for major
regeneration. Over the past two years tower blocks, on Shawbridge Street,
Shawholm Crescent, Riverford Road and Riverbank Street were demolished
to clear the site, with the existing residents rehoused by GHA.
The demolition of the 23-storey blocks on Shawbridge Street last summer saw
hundreds gather to see their former homes disappear. Hundreds of other residents
had to be evacuated as 30 kilos of high explosives turned the towers into a pile
of dust and concrete. However most of the debris was recycled for foundations
for roads and other buildings.
As part of the wider regeneration of the area GHA is also part-funding a series
of initiatives in Shawbridge, including the Participate in Change youth project
and the employability and training project, Shawbridge Opportunities.