All six of the infamous Red Road high flats were ‘blown down’ today but remnants of two of them remained after the explosion. Hours after the event, no one at Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) was able to comment on whether this was intended or not. Nor did the social landlord – part of the Wheatley Group – release the normal details of how much explosive was used, how many tonnes of rubble would be created etc.
One insider, however, said that the steel structure of the building was such that four times the normal amount of explosive would have been used and the two bits of building remaining standing would have been ‘not expected.’
And by early evening it was understood that hundreds of people were being advised to ‘look at the GHA website’ to see where they might spend the night if they were unable to return to their homes because of the unsafe, remaining structures.
An emergency inspection was believed to be underway as this story
is being written.
Local people in their hundreds stood at various vantage points for hours to wait for the massive implosion. They were well pleased. Cheers and a round of applause accompanied the massive cloud of dust which followed the collapse of the blocks. The dust spread over a very wide area.
Said trainee photographer Joe Graham: ‘That was quick!’ as he scrolled through his images.
Local resident Joan Flanagan said: ‘That was magic. I like big bangs and love to see things being destructed like that.’
Bobby Burns, also a local resident said: ‘That’s bitter sweet to see. It is one chapter of life closed now. But I suppose it opens a new one of re-generation for the area.’ He said he’d lived in two different tower blocks and commented: ‘They’ve both gone now. They were blown down too.’
The huge operation to clear the surrounding area of people began early on Sunday morning. ‘Two thousand five hundred people had to be moved,’ said one GHA official spokesman. ‘That takes time.’
Some resistance was expected from one householder – Tina Suffredini who chairs the local residents’ association. But when the time came, the GHA’s ‘plan B’ to have Sheriff Officers physically remove the lady from her property, was not required and she left her home of her own accord.
MSP Patricia Ferguson, who spent 11 years of her early girlhood in one of the Red Road flats said: ‘These needed to come down. I hope the new developments will bring job opportunities and community facilities and the GHA is consulting with local people to do that.’
It happened in five seconds. The demolition of 15 Coll Place in Germiston, in the North of Glasgow with 55kg of explosives. Once upon a time the 17 storey high rise was home to 102 households. But the last resident left in November last year. And in the early hours of Sunday 15 May, the building went the way of the two adjacent properties which were built at the same time in 1967 – Number 9 Coll Place which was demolished in 1992 and Number 15 Forge Place which was demolished in 2008.
The one and two bedroom apartments became unpopular as Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), gave tenants choices to have a house of their own with a back and front door in the surrounding area. The modest tower block at Coll Place was also expensive to run and required high investment to maintain.
To minimising the disruption and inconvenience to local residents, businesses and the railway line traffic, the ‘blow down’ took place around 1.30am. For safety reasons 250 residents in nearby homes were moved out overnight. Anyone from the 27 storey Red Road flats watching was forewarned – their blocks are in line for the same treatment.
A Scottish Government grant will cover the demolition costs of around £500,000 and around 90% of the 12,000 tonnes of rubble will be recycled. To see the ‘blow down’ for yourself, look at website: www.collplacedemolition.co.uk.