Red Road rubble now latest tourist attraction

October 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The remains of the six tower blocks on Red Road which were blown down on Sunday are now attracting tourists. Nicknamed – the Leaning Towers of Petershill – the two fragments of buildings still standing with ten or more floors intact, are being widely photographed.

Holding up the Leaning Tower of Petershill. Pic by Dr Helen Murray and Catriona Fraser.

Holding up the Leaning Tower of Petershill.
Pic by Dr Helen Murray and Catriona Fraser.

Dr Helen Murray and her friend Catriona Fraser came from Aberdeen specially to see the mounds of rubble. From Glasgow originally, Helen said: ‘You knew you were home when you saw the Red Road flats on the horizon. My mother has asked me to bring her here to see the site even although she’s never been on this side of the city.’

The  two friends have toured the country taking fun shots of different places and people – including tennis star Andy Murray.

Local residents in the Red Road exclusion area were – mostly – back to normal. Said Margaret Finlay, a family support worker at the Tron St Mary Church of Scotland on Red Road: ‘It was back to work on Monday. There wasn’t a lot of inconvenience.’ The Church’s community allotments had been covered with black tarpaulins to protect the vegetables and other plants from the dust. And the  Sunday service had been held in Springburn Church along with that congregation.

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Black covers (lying below the cross) protected the Tron St Mary’s community gardens. The freshly painted building will celebrate 50 years of service from Saturday 17 October.

Bonnybroom Nursery which was possibly the closest building to the demolition site, was open on Monday as usual. Glasgow City Council was asked by the head teacher to put out a tweet to that effect.

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Bonnybroom Nursery School was open as usual on Monday.

The senior citizens’ Alive and Kicking building on Red Road and the Family Centre next door were all still being cleaned up today (Thursday 15 October)  before expecting to re-open soon.

Contractor Safedem is using high-reach machinery to dismantle 123 Petershill Drive. The work will involve weakening the steel frame enough to enable it to be brought down to ground level under controlled conditions. A safe exclusion zone within the site has been set up so that parts of the structure can be dismantled safely. The exclusion zone also includes a buffer zone for debris.

A GHA spokesman said: ‘Although two of the blocks did not fall exactly as predicted on Sunday, all blocks are now at a height that the demolition can be completed as planned. The contractor is now dismantling the remaining floors of the blocks. This work will be carried out under strict health and safety conditions and with minimum disruption to residents.’

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Mechanical demolition has begun on the remaining structures.

While reports from various residents alluded to burst water pipes, broken locks, washing machines stopping working, no one spoken to had actually experienced any back lash from the major blow-down on Sunday.

The six blocks were built in the late 1960s. Designed by architect Sam Bunton, they cost £6 million.  The cost of demolition has not been revealed by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) which is part of the Wheatley Group and owns the iconic properties.

 

Blow down not such a breeze

October 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

After the blow down, parts of two of the tower blocks are still visible.

After the blow down, parts of two of the tower blocks are still visible.

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

The six tower blocks before demolition.

The six tower blocks before demolition.

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 at the viewing site before demolition.

MSP Patricia Ferguson at the viewing site before demolition.

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.’

 

 

 

 

Red Road turning green thanks to local children

December 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Local children turn Red Road green by planting trees

The Red Road in North Glasgow is turning green. Children from the Red Road Family Centre turned out to help plant some trees today, Friday 13 December.

Colin Reid, Energy and Sustainability Officer with Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) had prepared the waste ground off the Red Road by digging more than 150 holes for the tiny trees and shrubs.

With great glee, the pre-school youngsters made a race of taking a tree with its root balled in earth, placing it in a hole then putting the turf back on top and stamping on it to press it down and keep the embryo tree firmly upright.

Said Linda Fraser, Project Manager at the Red Road Centre: ‘This has been a great day. You could say the children have put down ‘new roots’ on the old Red Road!’

MSP Patricia Ferguson was one of the band of local supporters in the background. She said: ‘I was brought up in one of the multi storey flats here and have fond memories of living here. In the future these children may not remember the Red Road flats but they might remember planting a tree.’

The environmental regeneration programme  is supported by GHA, the Woodlands Trust which supplied the tiny trees and shrubs and some of the local community.

One local resident who didn’t want to be named said: ‘This could be very nice but will Glasgow City Council look after it? They’ve neglected so many other green spaces around here.’

The trees have been planted within sight of the famous tower blocks

The Red Road flats are in the process of being stripped out. Some demolitions are planned for next year and the entire project programmed to be completed by 2017.

 

Bedroom tax protesters to march on Lib Dem conference in Glasgow

August 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

A major protest against the ‘bedroom tax’ will be held on Saturday 14 September in Glasgow to coincide with Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg speaking at his UK party’s conference in Glasgow.

In an announcement on Thursday 8 August 2013 at Gorbals Parish Church, combined groups of campaigners against the tax presented a united front to highlight the issue.

The Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations, the STUC, the Scottish Tenants Organisation, the Vote ‘No’ to the bedroom tax group, and the Beat the Bedroom Tax group plan to march from Glasgow Green to the SECC where the political conference will be held.

Instituted as part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and effective from 1 April this year, the tax applies to anyone receiving housing benefit. Their beneifit will be reduced by 14% for every ‘spare’ bedroom in their council or housing association house and by 25% if they have two or more ‘spare’ bedrooms.

The cut in benefit was roundly condemned by Scottish Liberal Democrats at their annual conference in Dundee earlier this year. Speakers criticised their own party ministers who are in Government for failing to stop the bedroom tax. They called for the tax to be deferred and the issue of under occupancy to be reconsidered. Said former Lib Dem MSP Robert Brown, who is now a councillor in South Lanarkshire: ‘We should send the clearest of messages to the Government, to Liberal Democrat ministers, that the policy is damaging and unfair.’

A recent survey showed that of more than 99,000 households affected in 38 councils across the UK, fewer than 4000 unoccupied one and two bedroomed council homes were available for them. Citizens Advice Bureaux have been overwhelmed with tenants anxious about losing benefits and being unable to move house.

Said a spokesman for one of the groups planning to march on Saturday 14 September in Glasgow: ‘The Forum of Housing Associations represents 80,000 tenants. It covers all Housing Associations in Glasgow and the West of Scotland, except the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA). This is quite a coup and we expect the march and rally on the day to be very big.’

Protest campaigns widen actions

June 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Glasgow Home Owners are seasoned campaigners at occupation of premises in protests.

Direct action is the name of the game now. The Defend Glasgow Services Campaigners have targetted the Scottish Conservative Party’s annual conference in Stirling on Saturday 8 June. A bus load of them will leave from the UNISON office in 84 Bell Street, Candleriggs at 8.45am. Said Brian Smith, Branch Secretary of the trade union: ‘We’re fighting the bedroom tax and the Tory cuts! We’re running a free bus to the protest for those wishing to tell the Tories exactly what we think.’ They are linking with a similar group in Stirling which has organised a rally against the bedroom tax and the UK Government’s austerity programme in Stirling’s King’s Park at 10am.

Contact for Brian: enquiries@glasgowcityunison.co.uk

On the home front – Glasgow Home Owners Campaign is currently protesting against the unfairness of free overcladding work being given to home owners now, when their members have had to pay up to £7,500 each for such work which they were forced to carry out by their factor GHA (Glasgow Housing Association) in the recent past.

‘Many people have been put in debt through this,’ said Sean Clerkin who chairs the Campaign which meets regularly in the Jury’s Inn in Jamaica Street, Glasgow. ‘And those who can’t pay are now appearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court and face the possibility of losing their homes.’

GHA has refused to discuss the issue with them, so the group held a sit-in at the GHA headquarters last month. If they continue to get no satisfaction from GHA the campaigners have the company’s chief – Martin Armstrong – in their sights. More recently they held a sit-in at Scottish Government offices in Waterloo Street because the Scottish Government and energy companies have combined to offer the free work to home owners.

The ba’s still on the slates say home owners

December 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An independent report on work done by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) to re-roof and re-clad properties in their care, has been condemned as ‘whitewash,’ by those who pressed for it.

The report was presented to Glasgow Home Owners and Tenants’ Campaign on Wednesday 12 December by representatives of Michael Dyson Associates Ltd – the company commissioned by the Scottish Government to do the inspection.

They surveyed the exterior of 252 blocks and the interior of 465 properties for signs of defects or deficiences arising from the overcladding installations or re-roofing work or how that work was done. Their report states: ‘We have discovered no evidence of inherent defects within the over-cladding systems or re-roofing works which would give rise to dampness within the properties to which they were applied.’

However, they concluded that there were issues around condensation and mould growth ‘as a direct result of how moisture, ventilation and heating is managed in the properties.’

Said Campaign Chairman, Sean Clerkin: ‘It is an absolute insult to the people who live in these houses to put the blame on them. The company produced no evidence to support their contention instead they say “we believe” this is caused by people who live there.’

Subsequently to the formal presentation of the report, he and the  Campaign Committee discussed the findings at length. The Campaign is now advising home owners with dampness to consider action through a Cambuslang legal company, Duffy Toshner.

The Campaign will consider the report findings at their next regular meeting in Jurys Inn Hotel, Jamaica Street, Glasgow on Thursday 31 January 2013 at 7pm.

‘We would encourage all home owners affected by dampness following re-cladding or re-roofing, to come along and hear from Duffy Toshner who are as concerned as we are about these issues.’

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: ‘The First Minister fulfilled his promise to the Campaign that an independent survey would be carried out to assess the work to home owner properties and we are satisfied that this has now been done.

This is the third survey of the GHA overcladding and re-roofing works. All have confirmed that there are no issues with the overcladding specification or its application.

We are satisfied that a robust independent survey was carried out which was technically correct and procured in accordance with Scottish Government procedures. Each of the stages of the survey was discussed in detail with the GHA and the Glasgow Home Owners and Tenants’ Campaign to ensure both parties were content with the approach taken.

We fully appreciate the efforts from both and each co-operated fully. GHA owners and tenants are showing increasing levels of satisfaction with the investment programme.”

GHA’s Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire, said: “The survey results speak for themselves. There are no inherent defects in the overcladding systems or re-roofing, and no dampness has been caused by any of the work done. We will continue to help and advise tenants and factored home owners who have a problem with condensation.”

The report recommended that all properties should be provided with adequate heating and ventilation and that individual residents should be advised on how to correctly manage moisture through the ventilation and heating within their homes.

However, Sean Clerkin commented: ‘The fight goes on. The report’s major weakness is that it does not give any number for the houses affected by condensation/dampness. That is what this whole issue is about. The report also notes that roof ventilation was not visible in some properties. We’ve pointed out properties where the ventilation was sealed in the course of the work to the building. Another worrying thing from the report is that during the inspection of ‘rainwater goods’ – gutters and the like – the surveyors noted places where guttering and down pipes were blocked or defective. They recommended speedy repair and regular maintenance to ensure this does not become a problem. But there was no quality control. However, the truth will out despite what I believe is a housing mafia trying to prevent it.’

Housing campaign open to all

September 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Controversial issues from asbestos legislation to increased factoring fees and from the proposed 2018 sports village at Sighthill to the dampness in the winget houses at Carntyne will all be on the agenda at the next meeting of Glasgow Home Owners’ and Tenants’ Campaign.

Said Chairman, Sean Clerkin: ‘We want to emphasise that any resident or tenant in the city is welcome, especially if they are in GHA property or homes factored by GHA.’

The regular monthly meeting will be held in the Jurys Inn, Jamaica Street at 7pm on Thursday 27 September.

Housing issues worth campaigning for

September 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Controversial issues from asbestos legislation to increased factoring fees and from the proposed 2018 sports village at Sighthill to the dampness in the winget houses at Carntyne will all be on the agenda at the next meeting of Glasgow Home Owners’ and Tenants’ Campaign.

Said Chairman, Sean Clerkin: ‘We want to emphasise that any resident or tenant in the city is welcome, especially if they are in GHA property or homes factoed by GHA.’

The regular monthly meeting will be held in the Jurys Inn, Jamaica Street at 7pm on Thursday 27 September.

Home owners still campaigning

August 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

GLASGOW HOME OWNERS’ CAMPAIGN

 Meeting

Thursday 30 August 2012

7pm

Jurys Inn Hotel, Jamaica Street, Glasgow

 

Agenda

  1. Campaign to reverse the 8.4% hike in management fees.
  2. Progress of the overcladding survey. If you have had defective work carried out by GHA contractors on your property. Come to this meeting to report it.
  3. Update on Asbestos issues.
  4. Update on promised grant funding to ALL homeowners.

If you are a home owner in a property factored by GHA, the Glasgow Home Owners’ Campaign is looking after your interests. Come and find out for yourself how the Campaign benefits you.

End of the road for Red Road flats

June 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Finlay with his daughter Cara and her friends Connor and Taylor. The triple block on the right of the picture was where he lived as a child seen only a minute before being demolished.

‘They’ve just blown up my childhood!’ That was the emotional, spontaneous, reaction from Finlay McKay, one of the hundreds of people watching Red Road flats being demolished on Sunday 10 June in Glasgow.

Firefighter Finlay was born and brought up on the 25th floor of the Petershill Drive triple block. ‘Staying there was fantastic. I loved it. I’ve still got the pals I had then and living there made me the person I am today. But now, seeing the building come down so very, very quickly….I’m shocked.’ The 42-year-old had brought his daughter Cara (9) and her friends Connor (6) and Taylor (8) to see the GHA’s latest move in its massive re-generation plans. Since GHA was formed in 2003, Scotland’s largest social landlord has invested more than £1.1 billion in refurbishing, modernising and improving homes across the city.

Said Finlay: ‘I left in 1991. My Mum and Dad are dead, now. I’ve moved to my own house in Swinton and tell stories of growing up in the Red Road flats, but that’s the last physical link with ‘who you are’ – gone for me. I thought the building would come down in stages, so I’m shocked it happened so suddenly.’

The controlled explosion used around 275 kilos of explosive to bring down the triple block in seconds. The lower ten storeys of the steel-framed building will be demolished later using long reach machinery. The entire site will take months to clear. Steel will be re-cycled and the rubble crushed to make foundations for roads and buildings.

Around 2000 people were temporarily evacuated from their homes in the area, including residents of a care home, to allow the operation to be completed safely.

Said GHA Executive Director of Development and Regeneration, Alex McGuire: ‘The Red Road flats were popular in their day and are known around the world, but their time has come to an end. We’re pleased the demolition of the first of them went according to plan.’  The remaining seven multi-storey blocks will be demolished by 2017.

Seconds before the explosions.

William Sinclair, Managing Director of demolition contractors Safedem, said: ‘The Red Road flats have presented a unique series of challenges ranging from the size of the buildings to the steel frame structure.We’re delighted to be involved in another successful demolition for GHA – our 17thwith them since 2005.’

Blowing up Finlay's childhood home.

MSP Patricia Ferguson also spent her childhood in a flat in a Red Road block. ‘My family left a room and kitchen in Maryhill to come to a fantastic flat on the 21st floor of a different block from the one demolished today,’ she said after watching the event. ‘The thing to remember is – that tenement with the room and kitchen  – is still standing. It has been re-furbished and continues to provide good homes for people. But there is no doubt, the Red Road flats have come to the end of their time and it is right that they come down now.’

A BBC Newsnight film on living in the Red Road flats is due to be screened on Monday 11 June at 22.30.

 

Gone into a ten storey high pile of rubble.

 

 

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