Newsletter - Links - Advertise - Contact Us - Privacy

Sauchiehall Street firms back entertainment district plan

December 17 2013

Sauchiehall Street firms back entertainment district plan
Businesses located on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street have lent their backing to a Business Improvement District plan which would see the famous shopping street turned into a leisure and entertainment destination.

Pubs, clubs, restaurants and cultural institutions along the non-pedestrianised western end of the street have agreed to contribute 1 per cent of their rateable values to fund a number of improvements to the street following a ballot.

It is the first such scheme to be approved in the city and will initially focus on a section from Rose Street and Blythswood Street to Charing Cross – by funding marketing, events, street cleaning and policing.

Brian Fulton, BID steering group chairman, said: "Every big and successful city in the world has streets that are synonymous with entertainment and that is what Sauchiehall Street will become thanks to this decision.

"It was a famous place name in the past and it will be that again.

"The city centre entertainment sector is crucial to the overall success and vitality of Glasgow, a key factor for tourists coming here and for students deciding where to attend college or university."

Glasgow's City Centre Strategy, prepared by 7N Architects, envisions reclaiming roadway from traffic to form new pedestrian and cycling routes together with a programme of tree planting.

The scheme will take effect from next April.


kevin toner
#1 Posted by kevin toner on 17 Dec 2013 at 20:34 PM
Alarm bells from the photo!

What genuine ‘plan’ would really want to replace some of the most beautiful kerb stones in the UK, if not beyond, especially for an ‘entertainment quarter’ to be? These stones are at least ‘extremely special’ in Glasgow city centre terms alone – quite an accolade!

Some have rather superb unusual broad bands of veining that sit extremely well with the red sandstone buildings on the left, I’d imagine ‘perhaps intentionally’!

This will be a very lucky entertainment quarter indeed to inherit such a beautiful line of kerb stones, especially where the adjacent architecture justifies them in context.

Nothing can introduce the street, properties and realm better!

The businesses community &/or ‘BID plan’ should really be pushing to enhance such precious quality, not replacing it, remembering that at the very least it’s a protected Conservation Area, and why it’s that...

I could imagine these turning up to grace an internationally renowned hotel’s street: to impress its richer or royal guests.

Let’s impress ourselves by keeping them where they belong, and steer to retain rather than salvage or reuse elsewhere! Let’s see something more harmonic between both the ‘preservation’ and ‘enhancement’ obligations of the Conservation Area.

Perhaps then back to the drawing board to work up this visual seriously, i.e. beyond the ‘back of the fag packet’ approach!

What’s really the point in having CAs if they’re allowed to be badly rubbished in the above manner?
Rem Koolbag
#2 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 18 Dec 2013 at 13:04 PM
Knowing that these kerb stones are 'special' really doesn't mean that an entire urban renewal proposal should be written off.

The main issues that this proposal addresses are lack of quality public space along a very long stretch of street, poor public realm generally, and an over subscription to having 2 lanes of car parking plus a 2 lane highway, all to the detriment of the street from a pedestrian viewpoint.

I think the proposal is a good first step in starting to generate a bit of interest and steam behind the issue.

Starting with the diagnosis that there is something wrong, we can then start to address other issues such as large scale refuse collection from businesses (which is a real public ream issue and certainly does a lot to bring the 'street' down throughout the city), public attitudes to outside drinking and eating (we have a poor relationship with outside all because of the perception that nothing can be done in a city when its raining, where other european cities that have rain, ie all of them, thrive outside throughout the year)

A catalyst for the widespread regeneration of the city streets, and a possible antidote to the cancerous Buchanan Galleries (where i am going to this lunchtime to do christmas shopping!)

For all the complaints about losing superbly veined kerbstones, I think we stand to gain a lot more.

Unless the kerbstones themselves are protected within the conservation area Kevin?

Does anyone have any info on what exactly the status of the kerbstones in glasgow is? Are there any famous listed examples?
The Beard
#3 Posted by The Beard on 18 Dec 2013 at 14:14 PM
Woodside Crescent has a simply wonderful set of triple kerbs. They put ones mind back to the days of horse and carriage, when well heeled residents, dressed in tall hats and petticoats, could find relief from the dung and reek of the carriageway.

They should be photographed, documented and sent to UNESCO

kevin toner
#4 Posted by kevin toner on 18 Dec 2013 at 18:35 PM

I didn't say it should be written off, merely properly developed. I'm also an architect to be (or not to be) not one of the very few Conservation Officers that are yet left. I will however try to entertain.

Conservation Area status protects the buildings and the areas in between. It’s this status rather than Listing that currently - and I presumably solely - protects the public realm elements between buildings.

‘ kerb’ is discussed in context at pages 15, 29, 119, & 150 of the Glasgow Central Conservation Area Appraisal here:

The appraisal definitely recognises the importance of Glasgow kerbs. I suggest that the project team consult this document; and take cognisance of the definition of CAs as follows:-

“an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance"

(see here for further info -

Having a total disregard for the Glasgow Central CA, as is evidenced by the photo, is no way to enter into a professional dialogue with what few conservation officers are left...

Let’s work and not ignore the relevant parts of the planning system, whilst undertaking any environmental improvements, I’d ask!

Again, we can’t improve upon these kerbs for starters, and what a starting point they are!
Ewan Anderson, 7N
#5 Posted by Ewan Anderson, 7N on 19 Dec 2013 at 09:41 AM
Kevin - The image is from the City Centre Strategy work that we supported GCC on earlier this year which looked at the strategic, city-wide, issues which need to be tackled to significantly improve the quality of experience in the City Centre. These primarily focused on movement and strategies to reduce the dominance of vehicles and promote more walking and cycling. There was a summary of it in the last issue of Urban Realm. I fully accept that the image is a bit "fag packet" but it is not intended to be a detailed proposal for Sauchiehall Street, merely an illustration of how giving over more street space for cyclists and pedestrians would have positive benefits. GCC are now moving the Strategy forward towards developing specific proposals for each City Centre District. These will include detailed public realm proposals . . . . . kerbs and all.
Rem Koolbag
#6 Posted by Rem Koolbag on 19 Dec 2013 at 11:47 AM
Cheers 7N for the response. Always good to have someone that is involved come on and add to the chat.

What frustrates me immensely, and what KT is guilty of above (in addition to being generally quite a tiresome fellow, natch), is people being unable to see the wood for the trees. AS Ewan explains, this is an illustration of a basic strategy to enhance the public realm. Where, then, is the benefit to immediately citing pages from the conservation area appraisals on kerbs, and their admittedly undeniable, quality? The real issue here is the frankly atrocious state of the bit between the buildings and the (beautifully veined) kerb and the relationship of all that to the 4 lanes of cars beyond. More power to initiatives such as this that have much more potential to improve the entirety of the urban environment than an individual building ever would.

I saw an absolutely brilliant example just this morning, just sitting there in the street!
kevin toner
#7 Posted by kevin toner on 19 Dec 2013 at 16:35 PM
Apologies Rem and Ewan

Very positive notes indeed! Is there a link to a full document for further perusal?

There was also a recent public survey on the subject of foot and cycle paths etc. that I wouldn’t mind seeing the results of.

ps May I ask, as I'm a big fan of the road between Geo Sq & the City Chambers: is this retained in the strategy too?

I recall a recent Tayside news article on the BBC of a Roads Boss’ intention to scrap it, except for bikes, as per the following link (3rd para)?

Overall, perhaps bikes and cars can co-inhabit the lanes as part of the vehicular traffic reduction drives in the city centre, where a driver will not go wrong - and save lives - to imagine a cyclist space as that of at least a car space. I like to imagine a lorry space whether driving or cycling myself! Maybe cycle licensing and space sensoring/monitoring RE fines, and other such things could help or be debated.

Such a change in behaviour, if applied en masse, might also invoke the drastically better driving that’s gravely needed to lessen the variety of pollutions (noise, emissions, asbestos dust, etc.) that are being maximised in cities - rather than minimised –due to common driving behaviour let alone congestion...

I find it difficult to see that closing, dividing up or narrowing roads is any solution for Glasgow’s City Centre and its very healthily and characteristically wide avenues and streets. Road behaviour should be investigated first as an angle or solution before we go tampering and losing what’s best about our city.

Cycle lanes make actually more traffic sense on a motorway and bypass infrastructure than on nicely wide traffic controlled gridiron streets. Maybe, for all I know, cycle paths do indeed have a place on certain gridiron streets in traffic engineering terms (i.e. an easily congested route that is part of the cycle paths network such as alongside Waterloo St’s ‘one-way’ connection to the M8, which kills 2 birds with the 1 stone by permitting bikes to bypass queued outbound &/or oncoming inbound vehicles), but they are not the substitute for what really needs to take place for cyclists’ safety and peace of mind, overall: i.e. a shared and harmonic use of [non-segregated] road lanes between bus, car, bike, and horse; etc. You get ‘bus-taxi -bike’ lanes, so why not veritable ‘car-bike’ lanes for the main gridiron streets (Sauchiehall St included) .

For that, and to help with congestion, we best need at near their original width, expressed by the very said wide kerbs that celebrate this width.
#8 Posted by Sven on 19 Dec 2013 at 20:10 PM

Is there demand for cycle lanes or is this 'build it and they might come'? A cursory look at other cycle lanes and they are rarely used by cyclists.

I would have thought the southern pavement area could be improved by a continuous glass canopy, given that Glasgow gets over 1200mm of rain per year (Edinburgh get 660mm). You clearly have put plants and 'al-fresco' eating on the northern pavement as that is the only side that gets full sun, the southern pavement is almost always in shade, so I would hazard the only way to improve the southern is a canopy to keep the rain off.
#9 Posted by Stephen on 10 Jan 2014 at 16:01 PM
Yes please to cycle lanes Sven! I think that until we reach a critical mass of dedicated lanes then those already in place will inevitably remain under-used, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep building them. Quite the opposite. As for Kevin's usual tedious wordfest....zzzzz
Chris Stewart (SEDA)
#10 Posted by Chris Stewart (SEDA) on 12 Jan 2014 at 11:05 AM
Those interested in Urban Cycling should come along to SEDA Green Drinks on 30.01.2014 and listen to what Frank McAveety, Glasgow City Council's Cycling Czar has to say about the subject, plenty of opportunity to raise any questions at the event. We will post detail information in the Urban Realm Diary.
It would be great to see as many as possible at Siempre Bike Cafe, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow at 7.00 pm on 30.01.2014.
Fausto McCoppi
#11 Posted by Fausto McCoppi on 13 Jan 2014 at 13:03 PM
Look forward to it Chris.
The Kevin Costner approach has clearly worked well throughout Europe and city cycling is experiencing a real renaissance because the facilities are there...even in car clogged Paris. All the bits need to be joined together though.
With a decent set of mudguards and a MacIntosh, Glasgow is a superb city to cycle around. Could even join Berlin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Barcelona in Rapha’s stunning wee city riding guide series:
Chris Stewart (SEDA))
#12 Posted by Chris Stewart (SEDA)) on 13 Jan 2014 at 14:19 PM
Thanks Fausto, I did not know about these guides, perhaps we can ask Frank McAveety to produce a Glasgow guide. The event at Siempre Bike Cafe will be hosted by SEDA's Matt Bridgestock who has cycled round the world! and has to be an expert in his own right.
Look forward to seeing you there.
Nick Paterson
#13 Posted by Nick Paterson on 14 Jan 2014 at 12:14 PM
‘40 years ago Copenhagen was just as car-clogged as anywhere else but now 36% of the population arriving at work or education do so on bicycles, from all over the Metro area. 50% of Copenhageners themselves use bicycles each day. They all use over 1000 km of bicycle lanes in Greater Copenhagen for their journeys. Copenhagenizing is possible anywhere’

Bicycle Urbanism for Modern Cities. Since 2007

Post your comments


All comments are pre-moderated and
must obey our house rules.


Back to December 2013

Search News
Subscribe to Urban Realm Magazine
Features & Reports
For more information from the industry visit our Features & Reports section.