Shawlands shows the way in Town Centre planning
January 27, 2012 by Grace Franklin
Shawlands is a step closer to becoming a vibrant town centre, thanks to an Action Plan which was up for public scrutiny on Monday 23 January.
After several in-depth surveys on different aspects of the area, Glasgow City’s Development and Regeneration Services drafted proposals to re-vitalise the neighbourhood of around 21,000 people.
For businesses, lack of free, convenient parking is a handicap along with a decline in consumer spend as people drive to more modern centres with better facilities, to shop. For local residents, the aim is to make the district the Heart of the Southside by balancing the needs of people, businesses, the sense of ‘place’ and sustainable living.
Said Tim Mitchell, senior Planning Officer with Glasgow City Council: ‘This has been a very productive and useful day. We’ve had a lot of input to get to this point and have confidence that the final version of the Action Plan can come from this within the next two or three months.’ Between 50 and 60 people visited the Action Plan exhibition in Langside Public hall and at least as many sent online comments which will all be considered for the final Plan. Individuals have till the end of January to submit their comments on the Action Plan.
David Dunlop of the Development and Regeneration Services of the City, who has been involved in developing the Action Plan and attended the day-long consultation said: ‘We are really delighted with the turnout. Many people have taken the time to share their thoughts on the draft proposals and ideas and some really interesting ideas have come forward.’ One was that people driving along Kilmarnock Road couldn’t get back into Shawlands because of lack of turning junctions. Pedestrians said there were not enough crossing points along Kilmarnock Road for them. Other thoughts were to turn the Arcade into an amusements centre or knock it down.
Said Norman MacLeod who has been selected to be a candidate for Glasgow City Council election on Thursday, said: ‘This exercise has been done in exactly the right way – community consultations first and from that a draft Action Plan which everyone can look at.’
Visitor Roger Guthrie who is a director of the Alexander Thomson Society, proposed that the Martin memorial Fountain which was recently re-located on Glasgow Green and had been removed from the front of the Langside Hall many years ago, should be brought back to Shawlands where it belongs.
John Dunn of AWG Property which owns the Shawlands Arcade, attended the consultation and read the many -mostly negative – comments on the site. ‘We are pretty open to what to do in the Arcade. If the concept is right we will support it. There have been quite a few sparks of interesting comments made on these draft plans.’ He said that a licencing application was due to be heard in February which, if granted, would fill one major unit. In addition, two new tenants had been signed up recently and should be opening soon.
A large representation from Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council visited the consultation to see what had happened to many of their ideas and suggestions. ‘The whole consultation idea was sparked off four years ago when we held the first public meeting in Langside Halls to challenge local City Councillors about the needs of the area,’ said Andrew Montgomery from the Community Council. ‘From that came the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan steering group which resulted in the publication of Glasgow City Council’s draft Town Centre Action Plan for Shawlands. The draft Plan was the focus of the consultation exercise and will be discussed at the next Community Council meeting at 7pm on Thursday 9 February in Shawlands Academy.’ Said Andrew: ‘We encourage everyone in the area – residents, business owners, people who work or shop in Shawalnds – to have their say.’ It is expected that local City Councillors and MSPs will attend.