George Square revamp plan descends into “shambles”

gordon-matheson.jpg
Cllr Matheson already under pressure to resign after another
scandal hit a Labour leader at Glasgow Council

Scottish News: George Square revamp plan descends into “shambles”

by Leah Pears

Labour Party plans to redesign Glasgow’s George Square at the cost of £15mn have been scrapped with public opposition cited as the reason. Scrapping the plans, which Glaswegians were not consulted on, is now estimated to have cost city residents over £100,000..

Labour’s council leader Gordon Matheson announced today that the square will receive a more modest revamp instead.  

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As one of Scotland’s best known civic squares, the plans were controversial and met opposition to the removal of centuries old statues and green space to be replaced by water features with a substantial price tag. Over 4,000 people signed an online petition to stop the plans and return the space to its “former grassy glory”.

However, the council’s complete U-turn has left the public angry that £90,000 was already spent on the project, not factoring in the time of several senior officials, with nothing to show for it.

The news adds to the mounting embarrassment and pressure on Mr Matheson who was caught by police allegedly performing a sex act on another man in a car a few days ago. The Procurator Fiscal later decided not to press charges.

Ignoring the public

A similar shambles occurred with the £140mn Union Terrace redesign plans in Aberdeen, when the newly elected Labour council ignored a referendum result leading to regeneration plans collapsing, costing the council thousands.

“Both projects have been turned into a shambles by Labour, and simply demonstrate their incompetence in office,” said SNP MSP James Dornan.

“The people of Glasgow will also be understandably angry that £90,000 of their money has been spent on a process that they weren’t even consulted on and then scrapped. This is two city centre regeneration projects Labour has now messed up in short succession.”

Glasgow City Council ran an international competition last year to find the best design and announced the winner on Monday.

Of the £90,000, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland has received £19,500, MORI pollsters get £14,000, the five shortlisted firms will receive £5000, with the “winner earning £10,000. The chairman of the competition’s jury, David Mackay, also gets £5000.

Mr Dornan added: “The people of Scotland deserve much better than this. Where Labour is in office it should strive to do what’s best for the people they are accountable to, not refuse to listen to them.”

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published this page in News 2013-01-22 15:38:04 +0000