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Glasgow promotes neglected city centre riverfront as an event destination

June 5 2019

Glasgow promotes neglected city centre riverfront as an event destination

Glasgow City Council earmarks £25m of City Deal cash to fund a major overhaul of the north bank of the River Clyde between Victoria Bridge and Glasgow Bridge.

The proposal would transform Custom House Quay from a dysfunctional space into a multifunctional events corridor as part of vital structural measures to strengthen the current quay wall.

This would see the current embankment realigned to maximise the potential of the river frontage for public gatherings, backed by new public realm, improved footpaths and a mixed-use development delivered by a commercial partner.

Studies have already established the feasibility of pushing the current quay wall 20m out into the river to accommodate a range of homes, a hotel, bars and restaurants with specific public destinations terminating Dixon Street and framing St Andrew’s Cathedral.

Council leader Susan Aitken said: "Glasgow City Region City Deal funding means that its redevelopment can now take place. Investment in strategic sites on the Clyde is currently taking place at Glasgow Harbour and at Tradeston with the Barclays campus, and the development of Custom House Quay would be another step towards realising the full potential of the waterfront."

The council’s own architects will adopt a lead role in the design brief and masterplanning, supported by  the procurement of marine engineers and landscape architects.

An application for planning in principle will now be drawn up in the expectation that a start on-site could be made by spring 2022 for a two-year build.

A crumbling quay wall has provided the impetus for change
A crumbling quay wall has provided the impetus for change
The city's centre of gravity is beginning to shift back to the Clyde
The city's centre of gravity is beginning to shift back to the Clyde


Sue Pearman
#1 Posted by Sue Pearman on 5 Jun 2019 at 11:44 AM
[Translated] Glasgow tries to sell public realm, that they've failed to maintain, to housing developers, for revenue generation.
Sue Pearman
#2 Posted by Sue Pearman on 5 Jun 2019 at 11:47 AM
.... if the council really wanted to improve the public realm here, why not just spend half of what they've 'earmarked' improving what is there instead of spending public cash on making the public site suitable to sell to private developers...?
Bamber Gascoigne
#3 Posted by Bamber Gascoigne on 5 Jun 2019 at 14:02 PM
#1 Agreed. The images look pretty bleak and soulless. I'd prefer if they just left it alone.
The simple approach they've taken to the south bank looks way better; just grass and some trees. Not sure why we need an 'event destination', what's wrong with somewhere people want to go and relax, sit on the grass and have lunch maybe. There's a dearth of such places in the city now. This seems reminiscent of the spiel they came out with before they 'improved' George Square.
#4 Posted by Ross on 5 Jun 2019 at 15:29 PM
Not sure I agree with either of the above - Glasgow Green is just along the road and isn't utilised much as is.

We need to start paying more attention to the riverside and stop neglecting it - that particular section of Clyde St is in a mess at the moment - broken, dated paving and don't even start me on that painted lion. It's an embarrassment.

There should be development here to encourage people down to the river. I'm not saying don't have any greenery, but the grass which is there at the moment is infrequently used and the whole area is a bit grim. Get some restaurants, bars, food markets etc. down this way and encourage more people down onto the Clyde! Far nicer sitting there on a nice day than outside a pub on St Vincent St or the like breathing in bus fumes.
#5 Posted by Tom on 5 Jun 2019 at 16:51 PM
What are you all on about? This looks awesome! Finally a project worth a big European city! Very much looking forward to it
Fat Bloke on Tour
#6 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 5 Jun 2019 at 17:31 PM
Part of a long term plan -- the Molendairisation of the Clyde. End up with wall to wall flats and a big underground pipe -- shame.

On a more serious note was something similar not put forward 10 years or more ago?

I'm sure all the new builds will love having their river views removed. Plus if they are going to strengthen the walls on that bank they will fix the current mess on the south bank.
#7 Posted by George on 6 Jun 2019 at 07:05 AM
#3 - the problem with "just some grass and trees where people can sit and have lunch" is that in Glasgow this is rarely possible. Here we are in summer season and it has been non stop rain for 3 weeks, and so we have to have public space which suits these conditions. Personally I think this looks a good development as it is a terrible waste of space as it is currently and this area needs some riverside restaurants and bars to bring the waterfront back to life.
#8 Posted by wonky on 6 Jun 2019 at 08:53 AM
Whatever term you use, whether its 'Events Space'/'Event Destination'/'Aspirational Hub', a simple prima facie makeover with trees and greenery isn't going to cut it- the river needs to be a magnet if people are to be drawn to the Clyde. The city centre needs to expand onto the banks of the river- this might just do it. My only concern is with massing. If verticality is called for then strategic placement is absolutely paramount- its essential we have views of the best buildings left on Clyde Street, ie St Andrews Cathedral, & not blocked by new buildings.
#9 Posted by pooka on 6 Jun 2019 at 15:19 PM
The problem with putting bars and restaurants here is that there already was...and nobody went. Because in bad weather the open waterfront is a driven rain corridor and on a sunny day it's rammed with neds, goths and canny park anywhere adjacent and the river smells awful in anything over 15 degrees - especially when the tide is in.
#10 Posted by Ross on 6 Jun 2019 at 16:32 PM
#9 - There were never really any good bars or restaurants on Clyde St. They were all dives. If an effort is made to make it more desirable then people will go and that'll drive off the 'neds, goths and alkies'.

As for parking, what is the need when there's two stations within a 5/10 minute walk and numerous bus stops? In any event, there's St Enoch car park literally across the road so I fail to see your point?

Having been down there on many a sunny day I have no clue what smell you're referring to either.
#11 Posted by wonky on 6 Jun 2019 at 16:43 PM
There's only ever been one or two bars/nightclubs down there at any one time, to my knowledge, its certainly never been a Mecca for nightlife- & even then there's been significant shift-change in the city,its culture, the world, since the bad old days of Eldorado jakies doon the Clyde. Many cities with climates worse than ours manage to have active & dynamic social scenes around their rivers so I don't think that's a problem. Most problems in a big city are normally down to one thing, & that is densification- if you have the requisite number of people in an area then services will improve due to demand & businesses increase to service the higher densities: it may no be a panacea but growing the population around the area will significantly increase the chances of success.
Old boy
#12 Posted by Old boy on 6 Jun 2019 at 17:34 PM
Pier 39 I think it was - uber trendy/yuppie bar in the 80's almost entirely made of glass. If I recall correctly it was the owner of G1 group's first venture. It didn't last for some of the reasons that pooka says and some of the environmental issues with having a glass box on the riverside. There was also a nightclub below but I can't remember the name. The stonework around the suspension bridge is all that remains.
#13 Posted by Billy on 8 Jun 2019 at 08:26 AM
The night club was Panama Jax. There was another one on Clyde st. Think it was called Steps. The proposals look promising and with the proposed 2 new hotels and the Hootenanny and Clutha attracting footfall with their outdoor seating, the area is more appealing. Still work to be done though. That Morrison’s pub building is an eyesore and should be demolished and the St Enochs hotel needs an upgrade. They could also move the Renfrew Ferry down to this location . And maybe even river cruisers in the Summer up the Clyde to Dumbarton Rock and back-!ots of history on the Clyde.They do it in Bremen-a smaller city than Glasgow and in Northern Europe.

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