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Urban Union launch Pollokshaws Living

May 27 2020

Urban Union launch Pollokshaws Living

Urban Union with Barton Willmore has launched Pollokshaws Living in the south side of Glasgow, a brownfield regeneration project to deliver 137 homes near Pollok Park.

Timetabled to complete in 2023 the £25m project forms one of eight districts in the city to be designated a transformational regeneration area by Glasgow City Council.

Work is already underway on the scheme which will employ feature textured brickwork to ground floor areas, with a variety of properties on offer from one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom terraced properties.

A central open space is conceived as the focal heart of the development with subsidiary play spaces providing additional recreational amenity spaces.

Situated on Shawbridge Street the well-connected site is the fourth inner-city regeneration project to be undertaken by the developer, a subsidiary of Robertson.

A mix of apartments and houses are included on the site
A mix of apartments and houses are included on the site
Homes are well positioned to benefit from Pollok Park
Homes are well positioned to benefit from Pollok Park


#1 Posted by wonky on 27 May 2020 at 10:54 AM
I genuinely despair for Glasgow as a city at times- this site is a 15 min walk to Shawlands/it has 3 train stations nearby and a couple of main arterial bus routes into town-Shawlands- and this is the density we get?
I stayed in Bilbao for a time and areas like San Ignazio in Duesto or even Santutxa, areas relatively close to the edge of the city centre, with transport links not even as good as Pollokshaws, are high density neighbourhoods of six storey blocks with cafes, bars, shops & bustling streets- if we can't even compete with Bilbao what chance have we of ever catching up with the likes of Copenhagen, Hamburg or Turin, never mind the likes of Milan or Barcelona. Even car junkie cities like Brussels understand its not about reinventing the wheel, its just a case of transversable high density blocks, with defined legible street edges and porous interlinking of nodal points that connects an area & gives it identity. Like we see 10 minutes away at Kilmarnock Road? Those areas of Bilbao I mentioned have basic architecture but the blocks remain true to the traditional form of the tenemental European block & by consequence are dynamic areas with street life. I was in Dusseldorf before the virus kicked off & they have an area around the Toulouser Alle that was once a waste ground, just like parts of Pollokshaws, but now large tracts of it offer dense urban living with vibrant street-life- all the planners did was extend the grid block that already existed into waste-ground.
Why or example are there random 'green-zones'- Pollok Park, Greenbank & Auldhouse parks are all five minutes walk from this site. If the planners insist on having some random green-zone why have it facing the main arterial route on the site at Shawbridge Street? This is the last place it should be. Why have they got low density suburban housing facing onto a main arterial route? Why not just plan a continuous urban corridor of tenemental scale blocks all the way down Shawbridge Street? The worst thing about the area are those suburban semi's next to the Methodist Church & yet the planners thought it wise to repeat that scale throughout the rest of the area. This is absolutely atrocious. I really don't understand what this fad of random plonking of structures onto site means either. Maybe its just me, maybe I'm just missing something.
Why is the city repeating this 'model' ( if repeating the same random mistakes is a model) all over the city- one only has to look at the 'vision' for Cowlairs and lose yourself in despair for the future of the city. Pollokshaws probably has more going for it than just about any other'clean-slate' area of the city, with the motorway, rail infrasturcture, buses, Shawlands, Pollok Park-Burrell Collection, proximity to a River, SIlverburn etc- and this is the level of ambition we get.
#2 Posted by David on 27 May 2020 at 11:24 AM
#1, I must say I don't see the problem with this particular site, it sits 10-11km from central Glasgow and the surrounding area is fairly suburban in its density. The cities you mentioned have much less dense developments at that distance from their centres.
That new Gorbals retail park on the other hand....
#3 Posted by Charlie_ on 27 May 2020 at 11:50 AM
Yeah, its rare i find myself in disagreement with wonky but Hamburg, Copenhahen, Dublin, Munich have all settled into sparser suburban layouts by the time you get >3 miles from city hall & I can't see any reason to expect better from Glasgow. This seems ok to me given the location.
#4 Posted by wonky on 27 May 2020 at 12:10 PM
Yeah but my point is that its surrounded by 3 train stations/4 if you count Thornliebank to the South- all TEN or less mins from Central station/its only a few blocks from Shawlands- why not try and connect this area with Shawlands by replicating the tenement blocks of Riverford Road here so the area is defined by continuous urban scale? Are we not trying to promote a paradigm shift here- why the lack of ambition for a site that potentially serves so much in terms of urbanism? I could understand the acquiescence at sites like that godawful Boydstone Park development next to Silverburn or anywhere south of Nether Auldhouse Road frankly, but here was an opportunity to expand the densified urban area of Shawlands a little further south
Auntie Nairn
#5 Posted by Auntie Nairn on 27 May 2020 at 13:54 PM
I admit to not knowing the site very well, and I can see the argument that suburbia has to start somewhere as not everyone wants to live in a high density development, but surely there is scope for suburbia to be done well, rather than this.
Also, is it too much to ask for some consistency across the piece - the 2/3 storey pitched roof blocks might as well be a different development from the 4 storey flat-roofed blocks.
#6 Posted by Johnjo on 27 May 2020 at 14:14 PM
Having lived in bothFrance and Spain for a number of years, I completely understand what Wonky is getting at. However, I have now lived in three different flats in Glasgow over the last eight years and have come to the conclusion that civilised shared living on the continental model is impossible here because of the poor attitude and behaviour of too many people. I have been shocked by the lack of regard shown to their neighbours by too many tenants and flat-owners here - noise, dirt, casual vandalism and, occasionally, downright aggression. As a Spanish colleague who had lived in Glasgow for a time replied when I asked her if she would come back here to live: "No way, there are just too many horrible, aggressive people."
#7 Posted by Colin on 27 May 2020 at 14:31 PM
I live two minutes from this development and will welcome it. There is another similar mix of flats and houses being built up the road next to Lidl. I like the mix and don’t want another load of high density flats in the area. Remember, prior to this, the street consisted of multis and deck access flats and went right downhill. What I do not like is that block next to the library made of some dark or black brick which in my opinion looks dreadful.
PS what are the white blocks in the third photo?
#8 Posted by wonky on 27 May 2020 at 18:14 PM
#7 Colin, that development you speak mentioned is pretty high density & fairly well designed- this is dog vomit in comparison- its just random forms clunked down in a random arrangement. Shawbridge Street could only be saved by having an urban corridor- if you want to be prissy about it then have the suburban pap BEHIND the urban corridor. The urban corridor of Shawbridge would ideally be 4 to 6 storeys max- hardly the same as 20 plus storey tower blocks- and Pollokshaws was never a bad area/if it ever did go 'downhill' it was a consequence of outsiders moving in from the mass destruction of parts of Pollok, such as Nitshill, Darnley etc and parts of Kennishead-Carnwadric. We can't possibly just give up all hope of high density urban living just because of a few 'horrible, aggressive people'
#6 John, out of curiosity, where have you lived in Glasgow? I've been lucky enough to live in Cathcart, Battlefield, Shawlands & tenements in numerous parts of the WestEnd & never experienced anything like what you describe- did someone do a jobby in your Ibrox stairwell?
Islands of sanity
#9 Posted by Islands of sanity on 27 May 2020 at 19:13 PM
The standard density gradient does not apply here. Glasgow as it expanded, swallowed many villages, and some of these were subject to Victorian investment, such as Shawlands. As such the density gradient has spikes. Where it makes sense in terms of connectivity and access to green spaces cf Wonky; and if the urban grain parameters makes sense, there is an argument in favour of the high density versus suburbia model.
urban realm
#10 Posted by urban realm on 27 May 2020 at 19:17 PM
@7 The white blocks are all that remain of the sixties estate. These constrain access/development to the north on Shawbridge Street.

@8 A perimeter block was investigated to the south and pushed for by planners but discounted owing to ‘utilities and ownership constraints’. Apparently there are drainage issues, private gardens and rights of way which must be maintained.
#11 Posted by wonky on 27 May 2020 at 19:34 PM
I can't understand why people keeping ramming this 'urban village' guff- the site had half a dozen 20 storey tower blocks/various other flats not that long ago/& tenements before that- if there are material constraints then that's a completely different issue altogether. If the planners pursued this avenue then fair play to them- they were clearly thinking along the same lines as myself.
Glasgow Bob
#12 Posted by Glasgow Bob on 27 May 2020 at 22:27 PM
#6 Johnjo is right. It suits the locale and you can't select the occupiers. Rather Corbusier don't you think? - anyway enough about that walloper, I know a few residents and locals of the black block and there's not many fans despite it's awards... And yet I still can't understand why achitects are seen as elitist.
Gandalf the Pink
#13 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 28 May 2020 at 10:44 AM
I agree with Wonky.

#2 - the site is around 5km from the city centre.
Customs Officer
#14 Posted by Customs Officer on 28 May 2020 at 11:20 AM
#1 we get it, you have a passport.
#15 Posted by David on 28 May 2020 at 11:40 AM
#13, by road or rail or walking, it is between 9-11km depending on the route you take. I think the figure you refer to is in miles, not kilometres.

Wonky has made some excellent points that I'm not wholely disagreeing with, I just think there are more central prominent sites where design and lack of density is a much bigger issue, such as the new Crown Street retail park that I mentioned in my earlier comment. Shawbridge Street is already low density and on the fringes of suburbia, so this development doesn't both me as much.
#16 Posted by wonky on 28 May 2020 at 11:44 AM
#14 get back in your Brexitbox
#17 Posted by wonky on 28 May 2020 at 11:59 AM
David I can see where you're coming from here & I would mostly be in agreement with you, but only if I didn't recognise the massive potential this area has for urban living. I know I keep saying it but its a waste to have low-rise suburbia in such close proximity to such fantastic transport infrastructure. Yes have this sort of scale in Castlemilk or Toryglen, which are about the same distance from the city centre, and where there's little transport provision- this is a total waste of the site in my opinion.
But I agree there are more urgent areas needing urban intervention: Eglinton Street, parts of Pollokshaws Rd/Gorbals Street & other main routes into the City such as Garscube Road or Gallowgate from the East- and you're right about the Crown Street development being a missed opportunity. In a process of transformation the city cannot afford to get these sorts of developments wrong- Architecture is too often left with the legacy of poor judgement that linger longer than any other human activity.
Nairns Bairn
#18 Posted by Nairns Bairn on 28 May 2020 at 12:20 PM
Judging from my last visit, there's no lack of density in Pollockshaws.
Gandalf the Pink
#19 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 28 May 2020 at 13:00 PM
#2/15, I'm afraid you're a bit off here.

Shawbridge Street to Glasgow Queen Street is a 3.5 mile walk, or 5.5km. To Glasgow Central it's 5.1km. I used to live in the area and cycle regularly into the city centre. It takes 20 minutes on a bad day. It's really not very far away.
The Bairn
#20 Posted by The Bairn on 29 May 2020 at 12:54 PM
I propose a late candidate for RIAS Presidency - Wonky. If they can successfully sell 'wonky' fruit & veg in supermarkets these days surely the time is ripe for an era of wonky architecture!! Any seconds?
Kevin McAvinchey
#21 Posted by Kevin McAvinchey on 1 Jun 2020 at 09:36 AM
@#10, this pretty much nails the site. Site is riddled with underground services left over from the demolition of the former high-rise, and privacy and right-of-way concerns due to the surrounding houses and flats.

Far from being random structures, the flatted blocks respond to longer views and prominent edges, forming an urban edge (reflecting the same higher density condition on Pollokshaws Rd) to let the terraces and semis work internally.

Its not perfect, but its an incredibly difficult site.
#22 Posted by Monkeyandweasel on 2 Jun 2020 at 16:37 PM
I have no particular view on the layout / form, but where's the above-ground management of surface water / SuDS?
Hope the developer hasn't decided on the layout before working out what to do with the drainage.
I suppose it'll likely be vast expanses of permeable paving parking areas that will never be properly maintained.
Would be nice to see some green roofs on those flat roofs also.
mary bryson
#23 Posted by mary bryson on 11 Sep 2020 at 23:16 PM
I've stayed in Pollokshaws most of my life and I think it needs more social housing rather than private most young couples could not afford to buy one of these developments
#24 Posted by Sha on 5 Feb 2021 at 01:08 AM
Why on earth would you start urban density in Shawbridge street?

While we can hope an ambitious project would end up like Tao Poyah, the absolute lack of central and coordinated planning would result in either the Barbican, with spectacular views, public green space and city-centre access resulting in massive price increases, pushing the existing underprivileged locals out further and restarting the whole pattern; or more likely every single "urban living" box in Manc/Salford/Birmingham which are so unambitious, soulless, overpriced - but at least they're dense, make a godawfully tacky nod to local roots like a honeycomb facade, and while every cafe/shop/bar is run by three companies, they've put a different name on the chalkboard and pallet so it's like it's independent locals.

It doesn't make sense to put a high-rise urban core well outside of a poorly-developed city centre, with a low-density semi-gentrified thoroughfare, and public transport from two (East and Shawlands are the same line, equidistant but one station up, pointless to count as 3)

To do so you'd need to flatten or redevelop the Auldhouse retail park to avoid mismatched services, routes, and parking between out-of-area shoppers and pedestrians. You'd also need to increase train set size continously on the Pollokshaws West route - the relative lack of preceding passengers, easier walk, and shorter journey time would prioritise it over Shawlands/East. I would also consider how it impacts the care home in particular and other supported housing - quite literally living in the shadows.

The issue with proposing these density increases without considering or outlining that you've considered wider issues, is it looks like you're someone who has prioritised form/architectural desires over function, or got a bit overenthusiastic about urbanism and density without considering political context or actually living there. I'd love to live in a world where building ambitiously prompts the necessary wider ambition to sustain the cultural changes it could bring, but we're in what is realistically an overexpanded provincial town so it won't.

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