Strathbungo AGM and our big birthday – we’re 50!

Notice is hereby given that the Strathbungo Society AGM will be held on 16th November 2021.

Where: In the Hall at Queens Park Church of Scotland, 170 Queens Drive
When: 16th November at 7pm

First there is the required business of the AGM

  • Chair’s report
  • Financial report
  • Election of the management committee
  • Report of the East Kilbride line electrification
  • Bin & Cleansing issues

Any other issues you wish to raise, please contact the chair at chair@strathbungo.co.uk by October 15th.

Our birthday!

We are also celebrating as the Society will be 50 this year. The AGM will be followed by the launch of a new publication on the history of the Society and Strathbungo, with cheese and wine.

Please come along, hear about our past and our future, and support the work we do; new blood on the committee is always welcome too!

Bins!

I chatted with the guy emptying our bins this morning (doing it all by himself!), and he said the Council and unions are in discussions about the bin lorries not going down the back lanes from the end of September!!! He had no idea what arrangements would be put in place instead. Has anyone else heard anything like this? Has the Society got a contact in the Council to check this out? 😩

Society Update 21 Sep 2021

We made some enquiries. The following statement has been received from the City Council.

“We are currently reviewing all collection routes across the city, particular attention will be given to properties where the bins are presented to lanes.

This is to assess the bin presentation areas to confirm they are safe for our refuse vehicles and staff. Where issues are identified, control measures will be put in place to reduce the risks.

These measures could be advising residents to present their bins to the end of the lane or at the front of the property.

As yet there has been no decision made however once recommendations have been made, we will consider the alternatives and engage with elected members and residents affected before any changes are implemented.”

The Strathbungo Society has asked what assessments have been made of the hazards that this will produce, particularly in the Squares, with their narrow width and parking hazards, or how the measures will affect elderly or disabled residents. We await a council response.

It is also worth noting this issue has been raised by the council several times over the last 20 years, but nothing has yet come of it.

A new bridge is coming – but where?

Network Rail (NR) have announced that the public consultation on a new footbridge for Strathbungo has decided in favour of design A, which nods to the design of the current bridge and allows Strathbungo residents to maintain the fine old tradition of waving at the trains.

shows new bridge

However,  we still don’t know where the bridge is to be situated. The local consensus appears to be that the bridge be re-sited at the end of Marywood Square, where one existed until the end of the 1990s.

The Society met with Network Rail in early August to discuss this and associated issues of the road bridge on Nithsdale Road, where Susie’s still stands, though not for much longer (demolition is scheduled for early 2022). Network Rail have a deadline of 2023 to get electric trains on the tracks.  This means all timescales are tight but it seems much has still to be determined.

Moving the footbridge was raised and their engineering spokesperson said that he had done a location visit at Queens Square but had not investigated  the original site of the Marywood Square bridge, which seems odd! There seemed little resistance in principle to the idea of re-locating the new footbridge but the feasibility is in question. Where the engineer investigated at Queens Square, they felt there was no safe pedestrian access to it, as it is sited on a semi-chicane T-junction with narrow pavements on the Moray Place side at the Queens Square junction. NR believed that the same would apply at the top of Marywood Square. However this is not the case. Where the previous  bridge landed at Marywood, the infrastructure is intact with a pavement as wide as at  the existing bridge, but considerably longer and with the advantage of overhead lighting. It also provides safer access to Pollokshields, in that this site is nearer the pedestrian crossing across Darnley Road.

Questions were also asked about the road bridge at Nithsdale Road. Given the state of the bridge, it is not surprising that it is to be replaced but the new  road bridge will replace the deck only – not the superstructure at either end that holds it up – and  will remove the ‘temporary’ props under the bridge. The  new deck will be thinner from top to bottom than the present to raise the clearance. There was also discussion about the replacement parapets, ensuring that they are suitable in a conservation area .

For the Society, there are major concerns about how the new road bridge will be configured . Currently it is a  two-lane road,  one in either direction, due to weight restrictions. However, with new commitments by the Council to active travel, we are keen to enter into discussions with them about the road design. It will also be important to have a footbridge before the road works start, or crossing the railway will have to be done via Titwood Road or Albert Drive. As things stand, we are seeking the urgent engagement of council officials in the Planning and Roads departments to seek solutions that suit the Strathbungo area .

Brighter Bungo no more??

As many of you will know, Brighter Bungo is our quarterly clean-up by residents of the lanes in the Bungo. It has taken place for many years, organised by the Society in cooperation with Cleansing officers from Glasgow City Council. Our aim is to keep the environment in Strathbungo cleaner, brighter and enjoyable for all.

One crucial element has been that volunteers are covered by the Council’s Public Liability Insurance (PLI). Public liability insurance protects the Society against compensation claims and legal costs if volunteers are injured or property is damaged. In all our efforts over the years, we have never needed to use it, thankfully. But like all insurance, it needs to be there.

Now we have been informed that the Council will not provide this back up. We think their position is contradictory. They want volunteers to play their part to “Make Glasgow Greener”. But as an organisation that has played this role for years, our hands are now tied by the Council withdrawing the insurance that makes it possible. We are not alone, as community groups all over the city are finding that they are in the same position.

The irony is that, as community groups now needing to take out PLI policies, we would do so by applying to the Council for grants to pay the premiums! Will we all be financed to make the payments? And will that be more that the Council would pay for an overall policy?

We are in correspondence with the Council about this.

Network Rail Consultation Response

Here is Network Rail’s response to some of the questions raised by the recent bridge consultation:


Hello,

Thank you for your email and for providing us with meeting dates, I have shared these with the wider team and will get back to you with availability as soon as I can.

We have so far received a fantastic response rate from the community vote, and while we appreciate some residents in the area are disappointed at not being able to retain the current footbridge, overall the response to this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive. We have since extended the vote to encourage further engagement and the vote will now close on Friday 11th June.

For your reference, I have shared information below that supports some of questions that were raised by members of the community.

Community Option/Comparison to Stirling Station

Our teams were aware of the ‘Option D’ footbridge design that was shared by a member of the community, and while we are very appreciative of this engagement, the design unfortunately provides us with the same challenges around raising the height of the structure, an option that our project team and architects have explored in great detail.

The reasons for undertaking a bridge replacement at this location is that the bridge needs to be lifted in height to allow for electrification below it, and the sides of the bridge must have solid 1.8m high unclimbable parapets. Both these elements are safety related matters and therefore are not open to change or non-compliance. Due to the additional vertical loading from the proposed bridge modifications and the solid side increasing the wind load which would be applied to the bridge, substantial strengthening of the existing bridge would still be required, all of which would have significant impact on the visual appearance of the footbridge.

We appreciate there were some references in regards to the Stirling station project, although these bridge works are quite disparate. Stirling Station bridge was capable of accommodating the additional loading as a result of the 1.8m Perspex attached to the inside of the parapets, whereas the footbridge in Strathbungo cannot accommodate this loading without substantially strengthening the lattice work, and losing its main characteristic. The bridge in Stirling also sits within the A-listed station building and has a high footfall serving platforms 6 to 9, whereas the footbridge in Strathbungo is a C-listed structure, with a much lower footfall and doesn’t serve railway passengers.

Aside from the visual difference, altering the current footbridge with these changes is much more costly than a replacement. The bridge modifications could not be undertaken while the bridge remains in place from a safety point of view, therefore the bridge would need to be removed and taken away for such works to be undertaken. While the footbridge in Strathbungo encourages active travel amongst the community, it would not be a financially responsible decision to make these changes and raise the height of the current footbridge at this location. Although the most cost effective solution would be to remove the bridge entirely, we believed that this was not an appropriate solution in this instance due to local communities strong connection to this bridge, and as such took the novel and unusual step of creating multiple solutions and engaging with the local community to offer the opportunity to select their most preferred solution.

We appreciate that a bridge replacement is moving away from the Victorian style lattice structure which is there today, but sadly the existing structure is not fit for purpose in terms of the safety requirements for electrification.

Accessibility

In addition to the current footbridge not being the correct width for accessibility access, we are unable to provide the appropriate ramps for accessibility access due to several challenges. The bridge access on the East side leads directly onto the road at Moray Place which is not preferable for a proposed accessible bridge and the pavement widths also do not lend themselves as accessible approaches to the bridge itself. These issues associated with the road network and approaches are out with our control, and sit with the local authority.

There is a fully accessible alternative route over the railway on Nithsdale Road, approximately 50 metres away, and given the proximity of this alternate route, low footfall and this not providing access to station platforms, we are not obligated to consider an accessible solution for this structure. These factors, balanced with restricted space confirm that making this bridge fully accessible would not be considered an effective use of money. As these works form part of a larger tax payer funded decarbonisation scheme, we must demonstrate responsible and efficient use of public funding.

Please be assured that where possible and in line with regulations, we are progressing with many accessibility improvements along the route as part of this project.

I will be in touch shortly regarding the Zoom meeting, although please let me know if you have any further questions.

Kindest regards,

Rosie

Rosie Riddell
Communications Manager
Scotland’s Railway

Network Rail
151 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5NW
Rosie.Riddell@networkrail.co.uk
www.networkrail.co.uk

Strathbungo Eco-Group: Connecting and Protecting

You are invited to join a meeting of the Strathbungo Eco-Group: Connecting and Protecting. Examples of existing wildlife and habitats in Strathbungo and a discussion of what we can do to make them even better.

The meeting will be on Zoom.
When: Jun 8, 2021 20:00 Glasgow

Register in advance for the meeting:
Register here

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Help for Hedgehogs

In response to recent sightings of hedgehogs in and around Strathbungo’s Gardens, the Strathbungo eco-group, ably assisted by local children, has put together a leaflet on helping hedgehogs to thrive. Printed copies are being distributed to houses in the Gardens, but if any one else would like a copy, here it is.

Hedgehogs Page 1

Hedgehogs, Page 1 – click to open pdf

Hedgehogs page 2

Hedgehogs, Page 2

Those weblinks from the poster:
Tiggywinkles
Hedgehog Street
Hessilhead Wildlife
Eco Group: strathbungoecogroup@gmail.com

That bridge again

The reasons Network Rail say the footbridge at Strathbungo has to go are

  • It is too low to allow clearance for the electric overhead wires.
  • It is too dangerous as members of the public can poke objects through the lattice and risk electrocution.

Network Rail have proposed a higher bridge, with glass sides for protection.

A local, Seamus Phillips, created an interesting alternative approach, raising the existing bridge, and providing glass protection panels.

It is such a shame Network Rail have no prior experience of such a project.

Meanwhile, in other news

Here’s how Network Rail raised and restored the footbridge at Stirling Station to allow for electrification. How clever!

Bridge replacement at Stirling Station

You can read more about it on their website.

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