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Contract to deliver new M8 bridge connecting Sighthill and Glasgow city centre approved

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Glasgow City Council today (16 January) approved the award of a contract to BAM Nuttall Ltd to deliver a new pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the M8 connecting Sighthill and Glasgow city centre.

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The contract – worth £18.468million – is funded through the Glasgow City Region Deal, which sees the Scottish and UK Governments each providing £500million for infrastructure projects in the Glasgow city region.

 

The new bridge will connect Sighthill and communities in North Glasgow to the city centre, with Sighthill a walk of 15 minutes or less from George Square. Given that there will be almost 1000 new homes in Sighthill once the regeneration is complete, it is important – for reasons such as active travel and simple access to the city centre – that such a connection is developed.

 

This new bridge – a ‘street in the sky’ – will replace the current one with a structure that is far more attractive and fit for purpose, with landscaping on both the northern and southern approaches forming new civic spaces that allow free-flowing movement for cyclists and pedestrians with special places to pause and enjoy the environment.

 

This is a key stage in the £250million Sighthill Transformational Regeneration Area (TRA) – the biggest such scheme in the UK outside of London.

 

The bridge project will begin in February, with completion expected in late summer 2021.  BAM Nuttall Ltd will demolish the existing North Wallace Street Footbridge and an existing high mast light, and then build the new footbridge over the M8 including wing walls and ramps on both approaches; retaining walls on the south approaches; will complete landscaping (with a five-year maintenance programme) and construct two new high mast lights.

 

The bridge span will be just over 58 metres (191 feet), and its width varies between 20 – 7.5 metres.  It will weigh 2420 tonnes (420 tonnes steel, 2000 tonnes concrete) and its structure is a steel box girder with a reinforced concrete composite desk slab.

 

The approach taken to its design means that the bridge will need minimal maintenance and will also not require painting therefore minimising disruption to the motorway.  The parapets are designed to emphasise key views across the city skyline yet obscure direct lines of sight to the motorway below.  The paved bridge deck is an hour-glass form that varies in width from 20 metres at the widest to 7.5 metres at its narrowest.

 

Final funding of this contract will be considered for approval at the Glasgow City Region Cabinet.

 

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Glasgow City Region City Deal Cabinet, said: “This new bridge will transform and encourage connectivity to and from Sighthill and will very much be a symbol of the emerging regeneration and revitalisation of the North of Glasgow.

“Communities like Sighthill are so close to the centre of Glasgow but have for far too long felt remote from it, physically, socially and economically. The new bridge will connected a vibrant new community to the benefits of its wonderful location and to the wider city.”

 

Michael Matheson, Scottish Government Infrastructure Secretary, said: “I welcome this new bridge, which will provide quick, easy and environmentally-friendly access to the city centre for the people of Sighthill and the surrounding area.
“Including our additional investment, the Scottish Government has now committed to more than £1.8 billion in City Region and Growth deals, helping to bring improvements like this to communities right across the length and breadth of Scotland.”

 

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “It’s great to see another milestone being hit at the hugely important and ambitious regeneration of Sighthill.  The Glasgow City Region Deal is essential to ensuring the future prosperity of residents and local businesses.”

“The UK Government is investing more than £1.4 billion in City Region and Growth Deals across Scotland.  This programme is creating thousands of jobs and opportunities and we will continue to work with the Scottish Government to make sure these reach every part of Scotland.”

 

Once the (50 hectares plus) Sighthill TRA is complete, an enhanced neighbourhood – immediately beside the city centre, just 15 minutes’ walk from George Square – will have been created for existing members of the local community and for new residents choosing to move to Sighthill, with almost 1000 new homes of various tenures.

 

Some of the other features of the regenerated Sighthill will include the recently-opened community campus school, and a new road bridge over the Glasgow-Edinburgh railway line improving the connections between Sighthill and neighbouring communities.  The parkland and the greenspace of the area are being significantly improved, and a new public square, new shops and businesses will come to Sighthill.  Sighthill will be reconnected to the Forth and Clyde canal at the Pinkston basin, with a fantastic canal terrace transforming the area.  Land remediation – now complete – has made the delivery of these new features possible.

 

Find out more about the Glasgow City Region City Deal here: http://www.glasgowcityregion.co.uk/.

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Glasgow Bus Operators Reach Low Emissions Milestone

40% bus compliance

Bus operators have marked the start of year two of Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which will see a significant increase in the proportion of city centre bus journeys that must be made on low emission vehicles.

As part of the phased implementation of Glasgow’s LEZ (which presently affects local service buses only) at least 40% of journeys through the city centre will now be made by buses that meet the required emission standard, and follows significant investment by operators into their fleet.

40% bus compliance

Introduced in December 2018 to reduce emissions and protect public health, Glasgow’s LEZ is Scotland’s first, and is modelled to reduce levels of harmful air pollution from road traffic that particularly impacts upon the very young, the elderly and those with existing respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

This latest investment by the main city operators follows on from the initial year one LEZ requirement that not less than 20% of bus journeys through the city centre are made by low emission vehicles; and will contribute towards improving air quality, ensuring our vibrant city centre is a cleaner, healthier and more pleasant place to be.

By the end of 2022, 100% of buses travelling through Glasgow city centre are expected to meet LEZ emission standards, at which time the LEZ will broaden in scope and become applicable to all other vehicle types, including taxis and private cars.

Cllr Anna Richardson, Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction said; “I’m delighted that the bus operators have reached this low emission milestone as part of the phased introduction of Glasgow’s LEZ. It’s a testament to their commitment to improving air quality and providing an improved experience for passengers that they have made such a substantial investment in their fleet. We’ve introduced a range of measures to tackle city centre congestion, for example new bus gates, that encourages a shift towards alternative travel options such as bus, offering it up as a convenient and sustainable alternative to the car. The council has worked very closely with bus operators to phase in the LEZ and we’ll continue to work in partnership to improve services that are vital to the lives of Glaswegians.”

Paul White, Director of CPT – Scotland said; “Bus is an enabler of better air quality. It is responsible for less than 5% of Scotland’s road transport emissions and one bus can replace 75 private cars. Operators have accelerated fleet investment to further improve the environmental credentials of Glasgow’s bus network. In turn the sector hopes to see the council continue to invest in bus infrastructure and limit car use in line with the objectives of the National Transport Strategy. Closer partnership working, supported by the Government’s £500m Bus Partnership Fund, will not only improve air quality, but deliver a quicker, more reliable, more comprehensive bus network for Glasgow. Thereby making modal shift from the private car to more sustainable modes not only viable but appealing.”

Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director for First Glasgow, said: “We are delighted to have met the challenge of getting our fleet 40% compliant ahead of the Hogmanay deadline this year. I would like to praise our highly skilled staff for their professionalism in delivering not only the new bus roll outs across the last 12 months, but also a complicated retrofit programme which has seen us transform a total of 40 mid-life buses that go through the LEZ into Euro 6 compliant vehicles. This is an achievement that has taken a significant amount of investment from operators to reach and the requirement will only increase as we enter the next phase. New government support for retrofitting vehicles is awaiting approval from the European Commission and the delay is stalling further retrofit investment. I am sure all partners would agree that clarity on this support is eagerly awaited.”

Fiona Doherty, Managing Director at Stagecoach West Scotland, said: “At Stagecoach West Scotland we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and are proud to be playing our part in supporting Glasgow’s Low Emission Zone. It’s extremely satisfying to have surpassed Glasgow’s low emissions target this year and 2020 is set to see Stagecoach West Scotland provide even more environmentally friendly and sustainable ways to travel. The current standard requires 20% of our vehicle journeys to comply however we already have a compliance level of 75%. We know that some of our customers make choices on how they travel based on carbon footprint and reaching a 75% fleet compliance level for our buses ensures minimal environmental impact. Some people may be surprised to know that buses in Glasgow account for only 3% of carbon emissions and the bus industry is proud to be at the leading edge of low carbon transport.”

Sharon Morrison of West Coast Motors (owners of City Sightseeing Glasgow and Glasgow Citybus) said; “As a transport provider we’re fully committed to investing in cleaner, greener vehicles and shall continue to work in partnership with Glasgow City Council to improve our local environment and encourage more people out of cars and onto bus. We are in a state of climate emergency and it’s important to recognise bus offers the smarter and more sustainable way for both locals and visitors to commute and explore Glasgow. Cars in our city are a major contributor to the growing level of damaging congestion. One double decker could easily take up to 75 cars off and help reduce our city’s issue with congestions. We would ask car users to give bus a try, they might be pleasantly surprised.”

 

The Scottish Government has pledged to introduce Low Emission Zones into Scotland’s four biggest cities; Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee by 2020.

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Council Response As Shelter Abandons Court Action

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A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Shelter’s legal action had no impact on the Scottish Housing Regulator’s decision and we welcome their move to abandon their court case.

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“We are working constructively with the Regulator in order to improve homelessness services and our door remains open to Shelter to engage positively with us.”

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Unsung heroes – home carers deliver Christmas care and cheer

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As many people start to wind down for the festive period, hundreds of home carers across Glasgow are gearing up to carry out thousands of visits to some of our most vulnerable citizens on Christmas Day and over the festive period.

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On Christmas Day last year, more than 13,500 visits were carried out by Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) home care staff – carrying out their normal daily duties whilst the rest of the city tuck into their turkey dinners.

To many of our service users the visits on Christmas Day will be a lifeline. This includes more than 12 service users who are all over 100 years young – the oldest 104!

As Frances McMeeking, Assistant Chief Officer, Operational Care Services for Glasgow City HSCP explains: “Instead of winding down at this time of year our staff are very much the opposite – making sure that all our service users have their visits scheduled for over the holidays – but also trying to juggle staff holidays.

“Home carers have families too and we want to make it possible for as many of them to have time off with their loved ones at Christmas and New Year.

“We have sent out letters to all our service users across the city asking them to confirm that they still require the same level of service – as we know that extended family have more time to spend with their mums, dads, aunts and uncles which results in our staff not being vital for a home visit for example.

“However, this does not mean a reduced service – far from it.

“In the lead up to Christmas we can see a 21% increase in referrals as hospitals try to ensure that patients can be home safe for the holidays.

“To this end we want to urge families to let us know as soon as possible if their family member receiving a care package is not going to require a scheduled visit – if we don’t know and then our home carer arrives to a locked door we have to follow protocol and try and find out if the service user is safe.

“This could involve requesting the emergency services to attend and wasting valuable resources that could be directed elsewhere.

“By letting the team know in advance can prevent any mix ups and letters have been delivered to every one of our 5500 service users explain the process.

“It’s a constant changing landscape but if we have as much information in advance it will allow us to manage staff efficiently and also allow as many of our staff time off with their families.”

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Greater Easterhouse Green Infrastructure Project Now Complete

Greater Easterhouse Green Infrastructure Project Now Complete

Pupils from Aultmore Park Primary School headed out to Blairtummock Park today to mark the recent completion of the £7.4 million Greater Easterhouse Green Infrastructure Project which has created new greenspaces and enhanced those existing, by introducing surface water management features that will reduce the risks and impacts of flooding for the local area, and also downstream through the east end of Glasgow, whilst creating drainage capacity for housing led regeneration.

Greater Easterhouse Green Infrastructure Project Now Complete

The pupils were particularly keen to see one of the recently installed footbridges that spans the new open section of the Whamflet Burn, following on from their previous site visit where they helped contractor R J McLeod choose the colour of the new footbridges within the much improved local park.

Glasgow City Region City Deal (funded by both the UK and Scottish Governments) provided funding for the project through the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership (MGSDP) – with Scottish Natural Heritage providing Green Infrastructure funding from the European Regional Development Fund. The project also benefitted from contributions from the Vacant & Derelict Land Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund via the Seven Lochs Partnership.

Works delivered on site to the design developed by Sweco, have seen the area’s natural resources advanced to encourage increased use of local parks and other high-quality green and water spaces (including links to the Seven Lochs Wetland Park) – alongside interventions to tackle flooding which can result from heavy rainfall.   By implementing improved drainage measures, the potential for future residential and commercial developments has now been unlocked and local wildlife protected, including the creation of connected habitat networks for the area’s grassland water voles.

Through MGSDP City Deal investment of circa £45m, Glasgow is proactively working in partnership with key stakeholders such as Scottish Natural Heritage to deliver a programme of schemes to ‘Sustainably Drain Glasgow’, targeting areas across the city where rainfall adversely impacts communities.

Cllr Kenny McLean, City Convener for Neighbourhoods, Housing and Public Realm said; “I’m delighted to see completion of the Greater Easterhouse Green Infrastructure Project that, through partnership working will deliver a wealth of social, economic and environmental benefits to the local community in the east of the city.  Not only has the project increased the attractiveness of the area by developing its natural resources, it’s also reduced the risk of flooding which will encourage future development, allowing more homes to be built, and bring more visitors to the area.”

Dr Mike Cantlay OBE, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage said; “We are delighted to celebrate the completion of the Greater Easterhouse project and to see local communities and school children already benefitting from the dramatic greenspace changes. The scale of this project was ambitious, with a total area equivalent to more than thirty Hampden Parks transformed from vacant and derelict land into attractive urban parks and green corridors. Its completion has taken us a step closer to creating a nature-rich future for everyone in Scotland by improving biodiversity, creating better habitat for wildlife, helping to mitigate climate change and reduce flood risk and connecting more people with nature, with all of the many mental and physical health benefits that brings.”

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Michael Matheson said: “The partnership working demonstrated within this project and all through the Glasgow City Region Deal is very encouraging to see. We want the deal to deliver inclusive economic growth for communities within Glasgow and its wider city region. By collaborating with key stakeholders and utilising other funding sources, regional partners can extract the most value from the Scottish Government’s £500m investment in the deal.”

Cllr Maureen Burke, Chair of Seven Lochs Partnership said; “The Greater Easterhouse GI project is a great example of organisations working together to deliver benefits for people and nature. We now have two new, high quality green routes that connect surrounding communities to the Seven Lochs Wetland Park as well as new habitat for Glasgow’s unique grassland water voles.  It also offered a great opportunity for the Seven Lochs Partnership to work with local people to celebrate their local heritage by designing way markers for the Water Vole and Provan Hall trails”.

Vhairi Cochrane, Headteacher at Aultmore Park Primary School said; “Our children are keen environmentalists and they have enjoyed learning about green infrastructure and how work to alleviate flood risk will benefit the wider community.  They particularly enjoyed their previous visit to the park with the site contractors and are looking forward to spending time in the future enjoying the improved surroundings.”

Bruce Clark, MD of RJ McLeod said; “RJ McLeod are delighted to have been the contractor chosen to be part of the team that built Cardowan SWMP scheme, and doing our part in reducing flooding risk and improving water quality in the East side of Glasgow. As a local Scottish civil engineering firm, we are grateful for the level of support we received from the community, which was vital in the successful construction of the project.”

Tom Rathmell, Operations Director at Sweco, said: “We’ve been able to deliver an attractive green space for local residents and a welcoming habitat for local wildlife, reconnecting them with the local burns and re-establishing the floodplains, all while naturally cleaning surface water and reducing the risk of flooding in the local area and downstream. Projects like these are a big part of creating the communities and cities of the future, and this project will directly support the creation of a healthier, more sustainable local environment.”

 

Both the UK and Scottish Governments are providing the Glasgow City Region local authorities with £500million each in grant funding for the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

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Best Start Grant turns one

Cab Sec and Jace 1st Birthday

Best Start Grant turns one

Extra money for low income families

Social Security Scotland is marking the first anniversary of its Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

Cab Sec and Jace 1st Birthday

Since its launch in December 2018  to September, £7.7 million has been paid out to families with children up to six months old.

The Pregnancy and Baby Payment was the first of three new benefits in the Best Start Grant package to be introduced to help low income families at key stages in a child’s life.  Along with Early Learning Payment and School Age Payment,  a total of £17.7 million has gone to low income families with young children through 61,000 payments between December 2018 and September 2019.

Speaking on a visit to One Parent Families Scotland, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“It’s a pleasure to mark the first birthday of the Best Start Grant, the first application based benefit delivered by Social Security Scotland.

“We want to ensure that every child has the best start in life, and the Best Start grants help do just that, providing vital financial support to thousands of families across Scotland.

“We know Christmas can cause financial stress for many families, with low income families in particular often feeling the burden as they struggle to cover the normal bills with the extra cost of the festive period.

“I would urge anybody who thinks they may be eligible for any of the Best Start Grant payments to find out more and apply today.”

Caitlin Donachie, 25, from Glasgow, received the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment for her son Jace last year. He is now celebrating his first birthday.

She said: “I got the Pregnancy and Baby Payment last year. It made a real difference, Jace had just been born and he needed a lot of things. He was born near Christmas and with having two other kids, I was getting stuff for them. If I didn’t have the grant I wouldn’t have been able to buy everything I needed to get for a baby arriving. It was really helpful.

“I also got the Early Learning Payment for my daughter who is three. I used it to get her new clothes, jackets and wellies for the winter coming in. It was really good, I’d recommend it. If you’re entitled for the Best Start Grant, definitely apply for it.”

Director of One Parent Families Scotland, Satwat Rehman said:

“The earliest years of life are vital to a child’s development and affect inequalities in health, education and employment opportunities later in life. We know that single parent families are disproportionately affected by child poverty and the Best Start Grant payments are often a crucial lifeline

“One Parent Families Scotland has supported parents to take part in development of the Best Start Grant all the way through to the launch last year and we are pleased to have helped hundreds of parents access the grant and reduce money related stress.

Background:

  • Pregnancy and Baby Payment is £600 for a first child and £300 for subsequent children

  • Two brand new payments were also introduced, the Early Learning Payment, launched in April which paid out £6 million and the School Age Payment, launched in June has paid out a further £4 million.

  • School Age Payment is £250 to help with the costs of preparing for school

  • Early Learning Payment is a £250 payment for eligible families who have a child between the ages of two and three years and six months

  • Payments are made to families in receipt of eligible benefits – including Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit and Tax credits

  • More information can be found at mygov.scot/best-start-grant or by calling 0800 182 2222

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Overdose Victims Revived 17 Times at Glasgow’s Winter Night Shelter

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Rapid action was taken to revive overdose victims 17 times in four months at Glasgow’s Winter Night Shelter last year.

Staff trained in the use of Naloxone, a drug which can revive people experiencing potentially fatal overdoses, sprang into action to avert disaster.

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The number of Naloxone interventions in four months, at the Winter Night Shelter alone, demonstrates the high prevalence of drug addiction among Glasgow’s homeless community.

Naloxone is used across homelessness services in the city, as Glasgow, like the rest of Scotland, is battling a drug deaths crisis. Fatal and non-fatal overdoses are on the increase.

In 2018, Scotland suffered a record number of drugs deaths. Tragically, 1187 people died across the country and 280 (24%) of deaths were in Glasgow. A number of the people who died were being helped by the city’s homeless services, as well as our addiction services. We are currently working on a comprehensive drugs deaths action plan to implement a range of action to respond to this crisis.

Sadly, last year, 45 people recorded as homeless in Glasgow died. Forty-three of the people who died (95%) were in temporary accommodation at the time of their deaths. Drug and alcohol addiction along with mental health problems are prevalent among the city’s most vulnerable homeless people. They threaten their long term health and ultimately, their lives.

Susanne Millar, Interim Chief Officer of Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership said: “Sadly, of the 45 people who died, the majority of those deaths were related to complex health issues often associated with previous or current addiction issues, including mental health, with a smaller number recorded as drugs deaths.

“Many of our service users who died had previous or existing addiction issues, some also with significant mental health needs. It is the complexity of those needs which contributed to their deaths, rather than issues relating to their housing status.

“The number of lives potentially saved at the Winter Night Shelter demonstrates the scale of the problem. Unfortunately, this heart-breaking reality is replicated in our other homelessness services too. It is emotionally difficult for staff and trained volunteers at the Night Shelter who work closely with service users and whom I’d personally like to thank for their dedication and professionalism in these difficult circumstances.”

At the last official count, there were 29 people sleeping rough in the city. The Winter Night Shelter, run by Glasgow City Mission, can accommodated up to 40 people and in winter 2018, although more people used it, it was never full and multi-agency work at the shelter saw the vast majority of guests offered alternative accommodation quickly.

HOUSING FIRST TENANCIES

Homeless people with complex needs are being helped by Glasgow’s Housing First initiative which provides mainstream secure tenancies for people. Reintegrating into a community can prove difficult for people who have lived in hostels or slept rough.

As well as offering people their own homes, Housing First also provides intensive wraparound support to help them maintain their tenancies. This can include help liaising with utility companies, buying basic furniture, ensuring they are in receipt of all the benefits they are entitled to, encouraging them to attend medical appointments and learn new skills to boost their self-confidence and future employability.

Since Glasgow’s Housing First programme began in September 2018, 70 people have moved into new homes and 91% of those tenancies have been sustained. This includes people who were previously accommodated in outdated and unfit hostel accommodation which has been closed.

The Housing First programme operates in addition to existing homelessness services for people who do not have such issues.

ALMOST 10,000 APPROACHES

In 2018/19, Glasgow received 9,688 approaches for Housing Options advice, with 59% (5,679) progressing to a homeless application. This is 16% of Scotland’s total homelessness applications.

The 4009 cases which did not progress to homelessness applications, were not roofless and were seeking information and advice regarding their housing status.

We know that where we have a duty to provide permanent accommodation for people who are homeless, this does not happen quickly enough, and many people spend too long in temporary accommodation. We are working with partners and with the Scottish Housing Regulator to speed up our processes and reduce the length of time people spend in homeless accommodation.

Our Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP) will transform the service over the next five years, including the reduction of time spent in temporary accommodation and speeding up access to permanent solutions, including for those with complex needs through Housing First, moving away from outdated hostel accommodation and reducing the use of B&B accommodation.

This works includes an investment in statutory and third sector resources to support implementation of the RRTP.

Critical to the success of all of this work is the need for us to continue to work closely in partnership with the city’s 68 Social Registered Landlords, Third Sector partners and people with lived (personal) experience of addiction and homelessness to address the challenges faced in a city with well documented deprivation issues.

A full update on homeless services was presented to Glasgow’s City Administration Committee on Thursday November 28th.

www.glasgow.gov.uk/councillorsandcommittees/viewDoc.asp?c=P62AFQDN0GNTDNT1DX

CAPTION:-  Naloxone use has increased in the city as the number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses has risen. The drug may help revive people experiencing an overdose.

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Council approves regeneration framework for Glasgow’s St Enoch District

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Glasgow City Council has approved the St Enoch District Regeneration Framework (DRF) and its 10-year Action Plan.

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The St Enoch DRF shares a number of objectives with the other eight city centre districts:

      • Retaining and improving the competitive edge of Glasgow city centre;
      • A centre for all Glaswegians; integrating the city centre and surround areas;
      • Repopulating the city; increasing city density and function mix;
      • Reducing car dependency; making space for people and nature; and
      • Creating more attractive and remarkable spaces.

 

Over 5,500 people were directly engaged in the consultation process around this DRF, which aims to regenerate the district over the next decade.

 

A number of themes and projects were proposed in the St Enoch DRF, and the most popular of these was the theme of creating Great Streets and Spaces, with many respondents supporting the role of active travel in this.

 

Other popular proposals included more pro-active interventions to deal with gap sites and building maintenance; better integration of transport modes; the development of a range a range of day and night-time amenities and attractions to attract footfall and increase dwell-time; more local, independent business and retail, as well as bars and restaurants, and more usable outdoor green space.

 

There were also calls for a greater residential population that could tap into and drive the area’s existing art and creative scene.

 

Consultation feedbank on the proposed River Park along both banks of the Clyde in the city centre led to a change in the draft DRF, with respondents calling for mixed-use development to attract footfall and bring vibrancy to the area, more greenspace and trees, and the addition of jetties and platforms to allow greater access to the river Clyde.

 

The St Enoch DRF can be found here: https://www.glasgowcitycentrestrategy.com/st-enoch-district-regeneration-framework-update.htm.

 

The 10-year Action Plan to deliver this DRF features key projects such as the Argyle Street and Clyde Street Avenues, the River Park, and a number of local masterplans.  The council will work with partners and stakeholders to deliver these projects.

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Council considers findings of best value review into built heritage

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Glasgow City Council recently learned about the findings of its recent Heritage best value review, and approved the release of funding for Glasgow City Heritage Trust.

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The maintenance of Glasgow’s built heritage – the city has over 1800 listed buildings – is a key part of the council’s Strategic Plan.  The council has a substantial portfolio of ‘heritage’ buildings, managed under the recently adopted Heritage Assets Plan.

 

As part of its commitment to the city’s built heritage, the council funds two organisations that aim to promote, protect and enhance it: Glasgow City Preservation Trust (GBPT) and Glasgow City Heritage Trust (GCHT).

 

GBPT is Glasgow’s only building preservation body, acting as a ‘developer of last resort’ in the preservation and regeneration of historic buildings, including Buildings at Risk.  GBPT has many years of experience and expertise in its role, usually working on behalf of local communities or communities of interest. GBPT fundraise for each project that it delivers and has a track-record of securing significant capital funding from a range of funders.  GBPT also co-ordinates the successful annual Doors Open Day Festival.  The council provides £50,000 of core annual funding to GBPT with a further £45,000 of events funding.

 

GCHT is one of seven City Heritage Trusts in Scotland, running a grants programme to aid the repair and restoration of historic buildings, as well as education, training and outreach programmes.  The council provides £50,000 of core annual funding, and a further £190,000 of grant funding, to GCHT. This is in line with the commitment made to provide contributory funding to augment Historic Environment Scotland’s (HES) £750,000 contribution towards funding of the built heritage of Glasgow. This combined funding supports direct grant funding to building owners in Glasgow to allow them to undertake works in their listed buildings. The HES funding is conditional on the council’s contribution of £190,000.

 

The report on the council-commissioned independent best value review into the city’s built heritage found that both organisations provide good value for the allocated funding.  For more detail on the report, visit: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=47499.

 

A number of recommendations were made in the report:

  • The adoption of a partnership model, which reduces the property burden upon the local authority. HES is supportive of this type of model and it has the potential to provide sustainable, inclusive, heritage-led regeneration;
  • Maximise the potential for the two organisations to access external funding for Glasgow’s historic environment, through applications for large-scale heritage-led regeneration schemes such as (for example) Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Renewal Schemes;
  • Explore other ways in which GCHT and GBPT could work in closer partnership with each other and the council to protect and enhance the City’s historic environment, such as working jointly with the council to deliver aspects of the council’s Heritage Assets Plan.  This working would see a joint analysis of the heritage estate carried out by GCHT and/or GBPT in partnership with the council;
  • A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) – or similar suitable arrangement – be put in place to clearly set out the relationships between the council, GBPT and GCHT. The MoU/partnership arrangement will document the roles and responsibilities, governance and reporting arrangements and financial obligations of all the parties; and
  • Explore the potential of GCHT and GBPT working more closely with other organisations such as HubWest and similar bodies.

 

Current funding arrangements will be kept in place to ensure that grant commitments are met, that the grant funding from HES is secured, and to ensure the financial sustainability of both heritage organisations.

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Glasgow City Centre Living Strategy approved by Council

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Glasgow City Council has now approved its City Centre Living Strategy, a document which shows the way to doubling the area’s population to 40,000 over the next 15 years.

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A 10-week public consultation on the strategy will now begin on 6 December.

 

While the city centre is currently home to a growing figure of just over 20,000 people, Glasgow lies behind competitor cities such as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham in terms of the numbers living and moving to live in the centre of those cities.

 

Although Glasgow is now seeing a significant increase in both investor interest and planning approvals for private sector rent developments – and so an increase in the city centre population – the need to accelerate this trend has been identified through the City Centre Living Strategy (CCLS), which aims to establish a city centre population of 40,000 by 2035.

 

Population density is now considered crucial to the success and sustainability of city centres.  These areas have traditionally been home to a thriving retail sector, and while Glasgow continues to be the biggest shopping destination in the UK outside of London’s West End, the rise of online shopping and shifting investor demand means that new uses have to be found for redundant floorspace, and residential development offers a good opportunity to repurpose this space.

 

The number of people living in UK city centres almost tripled between 2000-2011, as young, single and highly-educated millennials choose to live in urban areas and – while both Glasgow‘s city centre strategy 2014-19 and city development plan have contributed to making a more mixed-use (combining leisure with retail) city centre that is more attractive as a residential location – the CCLS will further guide the growth of this population is Glasgow and the provision of all the supporting infrastructure and services that will be required.

 

The city centre strategy 2014-19 had proposed a number of measures to make the area a ‘place to stay and live’, including:

  • Encouraging new developments, and the conversion of vacant properties into residential properties, to attract professionals, families, down-sizers and students;
  • Providing appropriate services such as schools and open spaces; and
  • Creating quality spaces and environments – now being made a reality through the Glasgow City Region City Deal Avenues project.

 

Glasgow does have advantages over other city centres in terms of attracting a wide demographic to live there, due to its atmosphere, vibrancy, connectivity and the scale of its shopping and leisure facilities, but there are also challenges around meeting supply and demand for residential development, such as a high proportion of listed buildings (possibly difficult and expensive to convert) and pre-1945 properties.

 

Research and public engagement by Savills over the past couple of years generated some key findings on the issue, including:

  • A lack of residential availability and choice, and unmet demand;
  • Social housing plays a key role in some districts, providing affordable and secure accommodation;
  • A perception that private housing in the city centre was expensive, and calls for more variety in housing cost and types;
  • The greatest demand for city centre housing was in the Merchant City, Broomielaw and Sauchiehall Districts;
  • Different types of infrastructure – community, social, smart and green – and tackling cleaning and anti-social behaviour issues are needed to make the city centre liveable; and
  • Developers look for information on the local authority’s priorities on issues such as the vertical separation of uses (ie retail on ground floor, residential above).

 

The CCLS has six key objectives:

  1. To increase the city centre’s population from just over 20,000 to 40,000 by 2035;
  2. To find productive outcomes for vacant commercial space, with a particular focus on upper floors;
  3. To provide a quality city centre environment that is cleaner, greener, more sustainable and better connected;
  4. To deliver quality in design across all development;
  5. To offer a responsive, innovative approach to investment opportunities that support this strategy; and
  6. To enable resilient, empowered and socially cohesive neighbourhoods.

 

The CCLS also takes into account the critical nature of climate change, and will identify actions that form part of the collective response to the emergency.  Some of these are likely to include: enabling the reuse of buildings; the promotion of district heating systems where possible; supporting the ‘Avenues’ programme and other city centre projects incorporating green and active travel infrastructure, as well as smart and electric vehicle infrastructure.

 

A draft action plan has been produced to deliver these objectives, some of which focus on specific city centre districts, others on social infrastructure, resilience and environmental improvements.

 

To find out more about the draft City Centre Living Strategy, please visit: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=47302.

 

The CCLS will inform planning guidance for future city centre development and strategy.