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M8 'garden cap' among seven Glasgow projects prepped for UK funding

June 22 2022

M8 'garden cap' among seven Glasgow projects prepped for UK funding

An M8 Garden Cap and the People's Palace are among seven Glasgow projects in the running to receive funding from the UK Government's £800m Levelling Up Fund for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The two city centre bids join regeneration projects in Drumchapel, Easterhouse, Maryhill and Possilpark in pursuit of the cash, as well as the Clyde Connectivity initiative in Govan which would see highway infrastructure removed in favour of green and active travel routes linking the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to the SEC campus.

The most eye-catching project calls for the complete reconfiguration of Charing Cross by placing a 'garden cap' over the M8 between Sauchiehall Street and Bath Street, establishing a verdant oasis in an area currently dominated by the rumble and fumes of passing vehicles.

Four town centre regeneration bids are also in the works for Drumchapel, Easterhouse, Maryhill and Possilpark, each of which could benefit from improved public realm and active travel routes. Another potential candidate is the People's Palace and associated Winter Garden, the latter element remains closed after all plants died or were transferred elsewhere during the lockdown.

The projects have been assembled to fulfil award criteria mandating that each initiative either improve local transport, regenerate an existing urban centre or support a cultural asset. Each application carries a maximum value of £20m with provision for one large-scale transportation bid of up to £50m.

Formal bids are to be submitted next month for a decision in the autumn, with each project potentially deliverable before the end of 2025 if successful.

Large areas of the open chasm north and south of Sauchiehall Street would be decked over and landscaped
Large areas of the open chasm north and south of Sauchiehall Street would be decked over and landscaped
The open wound of Glasgow's M8 motorway could be healed in one proposal
The open wound of Glasgow's M8 motorway could be healed in one proposal


#1 Posted by Chris on 22 Jun 2022 at 13:59 PM
Would be great, but as long the Mitchell Library stretch remains uncapped this project will never reach its full potential.

Use raised gardens to circumvent the tunnel height issue.
#2 Posted by Pedro on 22 Jun 2022 at 16:49 PM
Really depressing lack of vision. #1 is correct, why not have stepped or raised gardens to cover the higher part.

This will only be worthwhile if they cap it all the way down to St Vincent Street.
town planner
#3 Posted by town planner on 22 Jun 2022 at 17:40 PM
Agree with #1 & #2, this could be really great if done right. A really obvious public space for people to congregate is in front of the splendid Mitchell Library. The cap should be extended, and let's maximise the green spaces of the scheme too.
Georwell 84
#4 Posted by Georwell 84 on 22 Jun 2022 at 17:57 PM
Yes step up to viewing platform - views of Kingston Bridge and Liberty Statue - and then step down to St Vincent Street.
Ilias Hisset
#5 Posted by Ilias Hisset on 22 Jun 2022 at 18:04 PM
A "stepped cap" is hardly doing it "right"...
#6 Posted by Chris on 22 Jun 2022 at 18:14 PM
#5 Doing it right i.e downgrading/diverting the motorway would cost billions and take decades. Fat chance of the government doing that.
Ilias Hisset
#7 Posted by Ilias Hisset on 22 Jun 2022 at 18:34 PM
#5 Dealing with the Charing Cross tunnel doesn't equate to downgrading/diverting the motorway nor a cost of billions spent over decades. You are conflating the simple rerouting of the M8 cut at Charing Cross underneath the shallow rail tunnel with a project on a scale that noone is suggesting here. The M8 could be sent under the rail tunnel by portalling at St Vincent St and re-emerging just east of Garscube Rd just after the Woodlands Viaduct that's currently having millions spent on its repair. What's being proposed here is a good demonstrator project that will allow people to see and feel what something like that would look like on the ground (not that I necessarily think such a demonstrator is actually needed), and have the added benefit of being able to retain it should the regrading of the M8 cut under the Charing Cross tunnel ever go ahead.

This idea of a ziggurat in front of the Mitchell would be an utter waste of money...
fat architect in a black shirt
#8 Posted by fat architect in a black shirt on 22 Jun 2022 at 18:39 PM
It is 1st April already.
Free Unicorn for every weegie if the M8 gets a lid.

if we cannot fund a simple rail link to Glasgow Airport or invest in Springburn ( like GCC did years ago West, South and East of city) why pay tree huggers to dream up new fantasies.

#9 Posted by Odd-job on 22 Jun 2022 at 21:29 PM
Wouldn't it still be a noisy and polluted space to inhabit? Who actually wants to congregate on top of a motorway...
town planner
#10 Posted by town planner on 22 Jun 2022 at 22:07 PM
#9 True at the moment, but electric vehicles only going to increase, so good investment for the future.
It should be a small green park though, not roughly 50% concrete :(
#11 Posted by Chris on 23 Jun 2022 at 05:58 AM
#7 Tunnelling under the railway would cost billions, and would require that stretch to be closed for years. It’s not the simple task you make it out to be.

It’s an infinitely better solution, but the political and monetary capital isn’t there, at least not yet.
#12 Posted by classarchitect on 23 Jun 2022 at 12:33 PM
The PR exercise of taking our taxes and borrowing collateral and packaging it up as a 'fund' as if the Tories are some sort of benefactor is hilarious. More so that the design cost of the failed London garden 'Boris Bridge' (53m) is roughly the budget for this mini Boris Bridge.
#13 Posted by "El" on 23 Jun 2022 at 13:24 PM
Nah, this seems like a great idea but will be a complete nightmare in real life.

So how do you get from the M74 to the M8 then? Presently you come off the M74 on North St. and enter the M8 at the on ramp at Woodlands.
What has been shown looks like pie in the sky, wish fulfilment nonsense. It will reduce two / three lanes of traffic going North to a single lane that needs to cross onto Newton St. Mental!
The only other option would be to open the Kingston Bridge fully to North bound traffic, and this will lead to carnage too. Rush hour is already brain draining when coming from the South to the North of the river. Opening it up to M74 traffic as well as that of the M77 at Kinning Park, would just be crazy.
It's like people who design cycle paths and infrastructure, you must ask if they have ever used them???

I am all for better public spaces, but this proposal will only lead to more congestion, in an area that is already struggling. It won't improve the city.
Ilias Hisset
#14 Posted by Ilias Hisset on 23 Jun 2022 at 14:09 PM
#7 Let's see your working for those figures? Who said anything was simple?
#15 Posted by modernish on 23 Jun 2022 at 14:24 PM
What's the point? There is already a garden cap to the north of Tay House (in front of the old clydesdale bank) but i've never seen anyone rushing to congregate there, largely because it's surrounded by very busy roads. This will be the same south of Tay House. North Street, Newton Street and Bath Street/Berkley Street as still going to be busy old roads that no one wants to sit in the middle of.
The real issue is why? What is the purpose of a 'verdant oasis' here. There are two very nice green spaces very close by but, unfortunately, both are private spaces not available to the general public. If it's just to make a shortcut between Bath Street and Sauchiehall Street then it's a monumental waste of cash.
Given the choice of walking a couple of minutes more and sitting Kilvingrove Park or enduring a space above a motorway and between busy roads i know where i'd be going.
#16 Posted by DJ on 23 Jun 2022 at 14:28 PM
El- surely you go up the m73 to access the M8 or the M80? going through Charing Cross is madness.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#17 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 23 Jun 2022 at 15:07 PM
Incredible that the council can't keep the buildings that it owns in a good state of repair -- the Peoples Palace for example -- and has to run cap in hand to Westminster for money so that it can do its day job.

Local government financing has been destroyed over the past 12 years by central government because it is an easy target that takes the cuts one level away from the real perpetrators.

Westminster / Holyrood -- different cheeks of the same erse.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#18 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 23 Jun 2022 at 15:09 PM
They need to do the area in front of the Mitchell Library.

A bit awkward but worth the effort.
#19 Posted by Roddy_ on 23 Jun 2022 at 15:38 PM
Hopefully we will get the road closure at North Street and the ped/cycle bridge to Charing X station as suggested by the Sauchiehal and Garnethill Regeneration Framework from 2016...
Fat Bloke on Tour
#20 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 23 Jun 2022 at 16:05 PM
Worse than I thought -- no improvements in the Glesga civic infrastructure unless we tug a forelock to Westminster or Holyrood.

Plenty of money however for middle class welfare with endless studies / frameworks / concepts.
#21 Posted by GMan on 23 Jun 2022 at 16:22 PM
Might be a waste of money as the place is swarming now with tramps carrying spray paint, wouldn't buy a house here, absolute dive because People Make Glasgow a Sh!thole, simple, might be cheaper just to nuke the place..
Babbity Bowster
#22 Posted by Babbity Bowster on 23 Jun 2022 at 19:19 PM
#21 - gee whizz, tell us what you really think.
#23 Posted by Cateran on 23 Jun 2022 at 23:03 PM
Can we fix the Rest and be Thankful first please so we can come and admire this grandiose scheme? It's been ten years.
Ilias Hisset
#24 Posted by Ilias Hisset on 24 Jun 2022 at 08:08 AM
Some of the comments here are crazy. New train lines and services, neither does Springburn, hugging trees, winter gardens, "middle class welfare (I'm not sure what is meant by this), vagrancy, graffiti, your opinion of Glaswegians in general, nuclear missiles and mountain roads in rural areas have nothing to do with reconfiguring some surface roads and landscaping on an existing tunnel roof.

This is such a small scale project with obvious immediate benefits that in my home country would have been done 20 years ago already.

Do the people of Glasgow not think they deserve such basic things as trees and safer roads?
#25 Posted by modernish on 24 Jun 2022 at 11:26 AM
Dear Ilias,
The issue is there is a limited pot of cash and this project offers nothing in return for a what it would spend. Fundamentally having a motorway bisect the centre of the city is the problem. This can be resolved with political will and a significant chunk of cash. Anything that fiddles around the edges, literally in this case, is a waste of money and takes cash away from a more immediate cause. I went through the area yesterday and GCC have almost already made a verdant oasis..the place is literally covered in weeds from almost every crack in the pavement.
GCC need to get on with their day job and actually manage and maintain the existing infrastructure (in the widest sense physical and social) before getting onto frivolities like this.
All these projects do is shift the focus away from the appalling physical state and mismanagement of the city by those sat in city chambers and their recalcitrant officials.
#26 Posted by Adam on 24 Jun 2022 at 13:21 PM
Dear modernish,

It's true that there's a limited pot of cash, but the limited pot of cash in this case is from Westminster. If this project doesn't win an award, then a project from another city will win it instead.

Glaswegians should be fighting for every scrap of westminster's money they can get instead of saying "well another city could probably use the money better"
#27 Posted by modernish on 24 Jun 2022 at 13:37 PM
Dear Adam,
I take a slightly different view. Wasted money, is wasted money no matter where it is wasted. This project just doesn't, in my view, deliver any tangible benefits.
The money from Westminster, or Holyrood, or any other government quango still comes from the pockets of workers and business's (or it's borrowed and those same people will need to pay it back). Given that responsibility it's important, in my opinion at least, that it's spent sensibly and in such a way that actually creates some benefit.
Maybe i'm just old fashioned but wasting money just to beat someone else from wasting it seems like a monumentally stupid thing to do.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#28 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 24 Jun 2022 at 14:17 PM
Dancing to the Westminster / Holyrood jig for resources that should have been dished out to the cities in the first place.

That is not politics or economics it is political sadism.

The whole idea of competing for funds is just a spectator sport for rich people far away -- "They Shoot horses / cities don't they".
Ilias Hisset
#29 Posted by Ilias Hisset on 24 Jun 2022 at 16:53 PM
#25 So no more new things untill you are satisfied Glasgow deserves it? That seems reasonable...

#28 I don't think any local authority anywhere in the UK was given a choice about it. You either compete for the money or you don't. It is no different to any other bid for funding, and I don't think Glasgow or any local authority should sit on their hands.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#30 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 24 Jun 2022 at 17:27 PM
Compete for funding -- at a city level -- where is the democracy in that?

Local government has been starved of funds for 12 ears and now they have to dance for crumbs -- no thanks.
Jimbob Tanktop
#31 Posted by Jimbob Tanktop on 24 Jun 2022 at 20:03 PM
On the plus side, while the rest of us sing for our grassy bridges, a nationally-funded £19bn underground line has just opened in London, which is great because it will provide £42bn of benefit to corporate London. So that's nice.
#32 Posted by Peter on 27 Jun 2022 at 11:06 AM
So, this concrete nonsense (we could imagine final result) vs the renovation of People's Palace (another project on the list). I believe the later deserves a lot more attention.
#33 Posted by modernish on 27 Jun 2022 at 14:59 PM
@31 - it might be better to look past the one sided leaflets that get delivered around election time and the soundbites when considering Crossrail finances. It will pay back the spend through it's operations over a period of time (alongside the CIL levys and overland development sites it created, etc..). It's hard to see how this pointless proposal will wash it's face in that regard.
And so it goes...
#34 Posted by And so it goes... on 27 Jun 2022 at 21:22 PM
Nice to see the powers that be have found a home for the old George Square and irony doesn't even get a look in.
#35 Posted by CyclingSlowly on 28 Jun 2022 at 12:05 PM
@33 Crossrail paying back the initial investment is not the issue. There is a limited pot for investments like that and then we need to wait for the projects to payback before we re-invest.

Therefore, you can only do so many projects like that at once.

And constantly choosing the projects in London (even if they show the best cost/benefit analysis) helps to overheat London in comparison to the rest of the UK. It drives the brain and financial drain and we are left with pathetic infrastructure in places like Glasgow where the M* cuts the city in two. Or where we built the third subway network ever and and yet are the only people who never extended their network. Or the rail network is split in two and it would cost a few hundred mil to reconnect it, but there is no money and there never is money from Westminster, Holyrood doesn't have the borrowing powers and the City council is skint.
#36 Posted by Mark on 28 Jun 2022 at 13:13 PM
In theory it could improve the immediate surroundings, but it does smack of being a vanity project, and GCC has a history of putting forward "Can I have one too, please?" projects. This is a version of the Boston Big Dig - and twenty years ago the Lord Provost mooted a cable car from Port Dundas to George Square, which was a version of the Emirates cable car over the Royal Docks in London. Agree that reconnecting the two sides of the rail network would achieve more in terms of making peoples' lives easier and likely in cost-benefit analysis terms too.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#37 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 28 Jun 2022 at 15:25 PM
Loving the CrossRail chat when locally we had Holyrood spend £1.5bill or thereabouts on an extra tourist attraction for Auld Reekie commonly known as the Queensferry Crossing.

Public sector waste on a huge scale -- where all the economic benefit lowed to China rather than local industry.

At least CrossRail built its tunnel segments in the UK.
#38 Posted by CyclingSlowly on 28 Jun 2022 at 15:52 PM
@37 Queensferry Crossing cost £1.34b, less than the original estimated cost of £1.45-1.6b but ten weeks over the contract period after weather related delays. It is actually considered a very well managed and pretty successful project. It is also holds up very well when considered against similar transport infrastructure projects in other countries.

Also steel might have came from China but we closed all the steelmills before I was born, I genuinely don't know where it is still manufactured in the UK at scale, so that seems like a problem that bigger than one bridge building project. It still will have hired local labour and provide economic benefits over its life-span.

But when was the previous project of that scale in Scotland? And when is the next? And not just Scotland but Wales or England outside of London?

Most of the Glasgow infrastructure I mentioned was supposed to be upgraded as part of the Commonwealth Games bid, but once we won the bid it was all abandoned.

The same storey everywhere else too, ever tried to get a train East/West across Northern England? They use train discarded by the London Underground.

Every region will have similar projects that they can't get off the ground, I just don't live there so don't know them.

Focusing all the big infrastructure projects in London, like Crossrail, induces as much demand as it satisfies.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#39 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 28 Jun 2022 at 17:02 PM
#38 -- havering in the extreme.

It was not only the steel that came from China -- they were allowed to process into deck sections as well.

Steel was / is available for the UK and the EU but Wee Eck went to China -- he had form s he was currently renting two pandas and must have got a discount.

Train story -- that dog don't hunt.
No ex London Underground trains running in the north of England.

Glasgow could have its own CrossRail project if it wanted -- unfortunately TS for some reason does not want to take it forward.

So bang goes the potential of Ayrshire / Inverclyde / Paisley with the east -- starting with the east of Glasgow before moving on to Stirling / Falkirk / Edinburgh.

Ask the questions closer to home -- maybe you will get a better understanding of the challenges we face locally.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#40 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 28 Jun 2022 at 17:06 PM
The Queensferry Crossing is a disaster -- a microcosm of how Holyrood fails on a daily basis.

It is not a transport project it was a Auld Reekie ego trip and tourist attraction in equal measure.

The towers were taller than they needed to be for
bragging rights and guess what the extra height encourages the development of ice in the winter and then they have to shut it.

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