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Quay move can unlock bright future

  • Date: Monday 3rd June 2019
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Glasgow quayside was once a buzzing hive of activity – the thriving industrial heart of the city no less, built on the proud foundations of world-leading shipbuilding know-how. 

 

Over the years though as construction demand ebbed away, the area endured mixed fortunes.

 

While the popular Glasgow Garden Festival of 1988 temporarily brought ambition and purpose back to the Clyde, it’s been a slow rejuvenation process ever since.

 

Of course, we now have the SSE Hydro, Clyde Auditorium, SEC, Glasgow Science Centre, and BBC and STV, not to mention several modern developments springing up around them, but it’s still a work-in-progress in many ways.

 

It’s exciting then to hear that fresh plans have just been unveiled which have seen Glasgow City Council bosses pledge a not insignificant £25 million towards regenerating Custom House Quay.

 

For those who may not know, the development site is located in the section between Victoria Bridge and Glasgow Bridge, which is currently a large, unoccupied space.

 

This transformational plan looks set to give an unused space new meaning.

 

Regenerating Custom House Quay has been a tricky task in the past. There have been concerns over the structural integrity of the quay walls which currently do not provide adequate flood defence for the area.

 

However, this project alone, as part of the City Deal scheme, will fix the structure of the walls by installing 20 metres of new support.

 

If the plans are approved, they will no doubt help to transform this space into an attractive waterfront destination that complements wider investment.

 

Indeed, Custom House Quay would accommodate a mixture of residential, hotel and commercial spaces. There would also be a handful of restaurants and bars for locals and tourists to enjoy, enhancing leisure opportunities and making it a go to destination for both day and nightlife.

 

The vibrant plans certainly look eye-catching, with an artistic concept suggesting a towering modern centrepiece and some fantastic pedestrian spaces.

 

It would also make the riverside area a more welcoming zone for pedestrians and cyclists, lending the spot a real focus.

 

Ultimately this development will boost the footfall in the area, partly thanks to being centrally located near the bustling centre of town, providing easy access to transport links that take you quickly in and out of the city.

 

Furthermore, it has the potential to form an attractive space for Clydeside tourism to flourish, while capturing the office crowd and bringing a boost to the local economy.

 

 

A project of this scale also allows great opportunities for the residents of Glasgow to get involved, including an additional boost to the local job market.

 

If permission is secured, works will be due to start in 2022, with an estimated completion date of spring 2024.

 

This financial commitment from Glasgow City Council is not to be underestimated.

 

Whilst it may seem like unnecessary expenditure in the short-term for an already financially stretched council, the future benefits for Glasgow are potentially priceless. 

 

As the old adage goes, you have to speculate to accumulate. The nearby Scottish Event Campus recognised that last year when it proposed a £200 million expansion plan.

 

While some areas of the quayside have been recently restored, there are other areas that are completely derelict, and approval for Custom House Quay could kick-start greater regeneration ambitions on the Clyde, transforming the waterfront further.

 

Certainly, the local authority won’t be resting on its laurels with further quay wall improvement projects already earmarked for the Scottish Event Campus, the Canting Basin at Pacific Quay, and Windmillcroft Quay.

 

Only fresh and sometimes bold investment aligned with inspired design can inject new life and community into this area, helping to restore it to its former glory.

 

 

 

SIDE

 

The Tour of Britain’s route plan this year is brilliant news for cycling fans and the Scottish economy alike.

 

A second Scottish stage has been revealed for the iconic tour, meaning top riders will take to our roads during its first two days.

 

They’ll go from Glasgow to Kirkcudbright via Dumfries & Galloway on a 125mile jaunt and the next day they’ll do a 100 mile loop starting and ending in Kelso – taking in loads of towns and villages on the way.

 

It’s bound to create a real spectacle and bring fans out in force, and with a bit of luck will bring the same sort of economic boost we’ve seen in previous years.

 

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson said the area, which has hosted the event seven times over the last decade, had brought thousands of visitors – and its impact has been tremendous.

 

An economic boost of a whopping £1.5million was the result in 2017 alone.

 

So let’s hear it for cycling – and not just the Tour of Britain, but cycling in general. I bet many people have no idea just how much of an economic contribution it makes.

 

The first ever study measuring this was released in 2017 and revealed a contribution of more than half a billion pounds annually.

 

That’s taking into account manufacturing, retail and tourism activity.

 

And apparently that doesn’t include “indirect benefits” like health-related or environmental benefits so it really has a huge impact.

 

So next time someone tells you to ‘get on yer bike’, it might just be a great idea.

 

 

LAUGH

 

Brewdog is up to its usual tricks by pulling pints as well as headline-grabbing stunts.

 

I had a wee chuckle at its latest gimmick, called ‘Honest to Dog’.

 

Its ‘Equity Punks’ get to choose how much they pay for a beer, and those who pay less are asked to fill out a feedback card which sees their comments printed online.

 

Is Brewdog wondering how many will have the brass neck? I suspect the odd few will still take the p…int.

 

The funny bit, however, is the fact that this Scottish company’s stunt can’t really work on home turf because we’ve got minimum pricing legislation in place.  

 

So it’s not quite as cut and dried as naming your price – unless it’s actually over the minimum price, and you’d have to be barking mad to pay that.

 

 

 

WEEP

 

I was a little surprised to see a planning application for a phone mast in Pennan got the thumbs down.

 

You may know the seaside village – and its traditional red phonebox – from that brilliant Scottish movie Local Hero.

 

Apparently the application was refused because critics reckoned it would affect the village’s charm. 

 

Yet the eight-metre mast was supposed to improve phone coverage, including for emergency services.

 

I’d be the first to say that we shouldn’t spoil our beautiful landscape – but in this day and age surely practicalities like getting a phone signal, for emergencies in particular, should take precedence over charm?

 

I’d love to be a fly on the wall in Pennan to hear what locals think of the ruling.

 

 

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