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.’
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 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.