Another Glasgow landmark bites the dust – the Red Road flats are gone! Well…almost! Some glitch left two blocks with some of the structure still upright but seriously askew. Things were done safely and there were no reports of anyone harmed. But, unexpectedly, follow-up demolition will have to be done. Many local residents living within the fall-out (exclusion) zone were decanted from their homes from early morning till after 6pm on Sunday 11 October to ensure their safety during the demolition process. The glitch delayed their return home by about one hour. Glasgow Housing Association – GHA – duly apologised.
Consultations with the local community to decide what the space should be used for, have been under way for many, many months. Some of those involved in the process are disillusioned: ‘They are not listening,’ they’ve said of the GHA representatives who have been facilitating the discussions.
It would be a shame if that is true. With two years to go before the site of the demolished flats can be used for anything, there is ample time to get the plan right. Dreams can come true. Collective dreaming can produce ideas of what could work. Local knowledge and experience should be respected for understanding what DOES NOT work. Corporate clout and community dreams should merge into something suitable for all.
And if there is any glitch in that process, the stakeholders should all call a special confab to iron it out – quickly – just in the way the demolition glitch will be sorted.
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 was appropriate that Hillpark Secondary School’s new outdoor class room should be christened in the rain.
The six 14 and 15 year olds who led the creation of the space, cut a ribbon to declare it open on Friday 8 November. Then everyone rushed back inside to drink tea and talk over the story boards.
Head Teacher Mrs Jo Donnelly praised the six students who had ‘stuck to the project’ to plan and complete the work which was started after the school won £3000 in a competition.
The plans were so good that Lennie Duffy of Glasgow Wood Recycling was able to cost them and complete on working drawings for the installation very quickly. ‘The drawings were so good that 50% of the work was done,’ he said. They had been developed after consultation with the wider school.
The space now offers a wooden stage and wooden seating cubes in an amphitheatre format which can be used in a variety of ways, formally and informally.
Said Fraser McPhee, one of the six: ‘It took a lot of our time outside of school but I think we learned about leadership through doing this.’
Added Dorsa Ala Sheni: ‘This area can be used now for all kinds of things like drama productions.’ Kirsty Gouck considered the collaboration with everyone was especially useful. Hope Murray found the visit to the wood recycling produced ‘loads of ideas.’ Julie Lee thought the research work was of great interest and Ross Nicol believed that putting it all together ‘into reality’ was best.
‘Now the whole school is working together and really into outdoor learning and using the whole campus as a result of this,’ said Mrs Donnelly.
Carers in Glasgow are banding together to challenge the city’s plan to cut day care services dramatically.
They are making official complaints to the Care Inspectorate – the body in Scotland responsible for overseeing care provision. And some individuals are actively considering legal action.
At a well-attended meeting of carers, care service users and workers and a variety of groups campaigning on care and personalisation issues, everyone was agreed – Glasgow City Council has got it wrong.
Said Brian Smith, Branch Secretary of Glasgow City UNISON trades union branch, who chaired the meeting: ‘These proposed changes have been implemented poorly and are being planned in order to make financial cuts. The people concerned have not got a voice.’
Currently three out of seven day centres used by people with a wide variety of learning difficulties and special needs, are to be closed by Glasgow City Council. They are – Berryknowes, Summerston and Hinshaw Street. Those remaining open will be – Riddrie, Carlton, the Wedge and Southbrae.
The Council estimates that around 200 people with the most complex disabilities would continue to be supported by the four day centres staying open. A further 320 people could be successfully supported within the community suggests the Council.
But people at the meeting said the figures didn’t stack up and that the people attending such day centres would suffer real trauma if their regular place was closed. Said one mother whose adult daughter attended a day centre that has already been closed: ‘The alternative suggested was not suitable for my daughter and the transport wasn’t sensible. She’s stayed at home with me. Now we’re both tearing our hair out. The only place we can go is a church hall one day a week where she has nothing to do and gets sandwiches and crisps for lunch for £5. Is that quality care?.’
Another mother in her pension years said: ‘There is nothing in our community centre to do on a daily basis. We’re left with shopping centres and libraries. But my son’s needs are so complex he can’t read a book. I’d like to invite Councillors to come and share my life for 24 hours to see what it is really like.’
Consultation on the major reforms planned by the Council, is under way with a deadline of 7 January 2013 for the submission of responses. These should go to Linda Gunn, Senior Officer, Adult Services, Centenary House, 100 Morrison Street, Glasgow G5 8 LN. or email: email@example.com
The Council plans to present the proposals and responses from the consultation to its Executive Committee on 24 January 2013, with the City’s Policy and Development Committee considering the issues the day before – January 23. However, both Committees are likely to be heavily lobbied and a campaign group of carers will also meet on 14 January 2013 at 10.30am in the Adelphi Centre, Gorbals, G5.
All families concerned in the changes were strongly advised to answer the questionnaire that some people have received as part of the consultation. ‘But be warned, the questions are flawed,’ said Ian Hood, Coordinator of the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland.
UNISON’s Brian Smith said the entire process was flawed. ‘The consultation is based on a plan that already predicts 55% of care service jobs will be lost and that the service provided will be based on 200 service users. Right now there are 520 service users.’
Later, a Glasgow City Council spokesman said: ‘We are listening to the view of all stakeholders. People are entitled to comment now. The Council will wait and see what views are expressed before coming to a conclusion.’