Network Rail – Strathbungo Station demolition

(Latest Update on 19 July 2020: NR’s second response, background on electrification)

Only a couple of weeks ago we were concerned that Network Rail were restarting tree felling along the railway line, and sought assurances that they would abide by previous agreements. They replied to reasssure us that they would. There remains a certain lack of trust around what Network Rail say, and what they do, so perhaps this was a sign of progress.

Jump forward to this week and we discover that, without any consultation with anyone, Network Rail were to demolish the old Strathbungo Station booking hall (more recently Susie’s Shop) on 18-19 July.

However before we had time to publicise it here, word got out on Facebook and Twitter, and caused a certain amount of outrage. As a consequence Network Rail have postponed the demolition to allow a period of consultation. Why they couldn’t have done that first is anyone’s guess. Postponement is a long way from preserving the building, and they clearly see no future for it, but none the less it is a small victory of sorts. Thanks for this must go to several people who objected, and alerted others;

  • The Strathbungo Society
  • Vivien Thomson
  • Niall Murphy, Glasgow Heritage
  • Paula Khan, Change.org petition – you can still sign to support!
  • Cllr Jon Molyneux
  • Stewart McDonald, MP Glasgow South (includes the Station) – his letter here
  • Alison Thewliss, MP Glasgow Central (includes Strathbungo)
  • and others I may have missed

Network Rail’s response to the Society is below:

Hi Jane

I hope you are well.

We have taken the decision to postpone the demolition work planned for this weekend on the former Strathbungo Station booking hall which adjoins Nithsdale Road on the Southside of Glasgow.
The former Strathbungo station building has been vacant for some time and is no longer fit for commercial use. Unfortunately, due to its deteriorating condition, we believe the best course of action is to remove the building from the railway.

Pausing the planned demolition this weekend gives us the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the community, and to share more information about the structure and why we believe it has no viable short or long-term future.

There are a number of bridges in the area which will require different levels of work for the future electrification of the line. We are keen to share information on our proposals with the community at a time which will enable meaningful discussion as we develop the plans. This will be as part of the wider engagement ahead of work starting on the East Kilbride Enhancements programme.

We will contact you again to update on this matter in the near future but if you have any questions or would like to discuss, please let me know.

Regards

Owen

A further more detailed response was received on Thu 16 July:

Hi Jane,
Further to my previous email confirming the postponement of the demolition of the former Strathbungo station booking hall (Susie’s Shop), may I respond to some of the points you raised in your email.
Firstly, please accept my apologies that this situation has arisen. It is not what we want and expect in terms of how we conduct our business and is symptomatic of the time it takes for a large organisation to change how it operates and to live up to what we have committed in relation to community engagement.
When we became aware of this situation, we escalated the matter within the business and this directly led to the postponement of work.
For context, the work was planned in order to remove any safety risk associated with the deterioration of the structure to both the operational railway and carriageway and from any further trespass or vandalism – which has seen an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown.
From visual assessment, it was the view of our property team that the condition of a range of elements of the building deemed it uneconomic in commercial letting terms to restore the building to a lettable condition in line with current building standards and regulations. Some issues included the lack of utilities, the presence of asbestos but primarily the condition of the wooden floor, sitting as it does over the railway.
It was also noted that the significant investment required would be only for a short time period -given that the structure would require work to ‘height clear’ to enable the proposed electrification project and so a poor use of tax-payer funds.
As previously advised, a range of work is required on a number of bridges on the line to make them safe for an electrified line. We are in the process of designing these solutions and developing plans for how this work will be delivered. This will include securing all appropriate consents and permissions where required. The structure on Nithsdale Road will now become part of the wider plan to enable electrification of the line and consequently will remain untouched in the short-term.
As per our previous discussions, it remains fully our intention to discuss the development of this project openly and constructively with the community. The recent situation has reaffirmed the view of the project team on the importance of ensuring that our lineside communities are fully sited on what we are doing and part of the process as the plan is developed. This will include what the bridges look like and will not include any ‘temporary’ barriered solutions that become permanent over time.
I hope this clarifies the points you have raised but if you need anything further, please let me know.
Best regards
Owen

For some background reading I discovered a Network Rail document from 2015 on electrification. If you are of an engineering bent, it is actually quite readable and interesting. If not, confine yourself to Chapters 11 & 12, which indicte the issues NR are likely to have with the station and with the footbridge also. The footbridge in particular would appear to be doomed by electrification, so odd that they just spent so much money doing it up.

Meanwhile Paula Khan, who orgainsed the petition, arranged a drop in session outside the station on Saturday, and received many positive comments.

Comments on preserving Strathbungo Station

If you have any ideas, let us know, here or on facebook.

We will keep you updated as things develop.

Battle of Langside

Hi, I read an article relating to Queens Park that states that inside Camphill House there were Memorabilia from the Battle of Langside.

Do you know where this is now?

I would love to see it.

Much Appreciated.

William.

Doors Open Day in Strathbungo – we need your contributions

We’re calling for videos and pictures for “Doors Open in Strathbungo”!

Glasgow’s Doors Open Day is going digital this year and they are asking for contributions. The Strathbungo Society is helping with a couple of projects in the area, but we also proposed one of our own – made up from contributions from residents in the ‘Bungo.

We’d like to present a short film giving a residents’-eyes view of our area. It would be made up of videos and photos by ‘Bungo-dwellers to share what they love about this part of Glasgow (we’ll also include some Then & Now comparisons from the Bygone Bungo site). Overall, it will show the streets, the lanes, the architecture and some of Strathbungo’s history, perhaps with a flavour of the community events that are held throughout the year.

Here’s where you come in… We’d love to include your videos and your pictures in the film. Videos need to be short – we only have a total length of about 5 minutes and we have lots to pack in! Contributions should show off the bits of the ‘Bungo that you love – be that the railing or cornices at your home, the greenery currently along the railway line, the architecture – close-ups or panoramas – with or without a commentary… The choice is yours!

Practical stuff:

  • you don’t need any fancy equipment – using your phone is fine
  • all photos and videos sent to us must be in LANDSCAPE orientation, not portrait
  • for video, feel free to record a short voice-over saying what we’re looking at and why you love it
  • ideally, we need to have contributions in by the end of next week, i.e. Friday 24th July

Send your contributions to bitbl@strathbungo.co.uk (we’re recycling that email address!) and we’ll do our best to include it in the ‘Bungo movie of the year 😊

Network Rail Tree Felling, again

On 22nd June Network Rail wrote to neighbours about the resumption of tree cutting on the East Kilbride-Glasgow line, which was suspended due to Covid. The letter makes little or no reference to the previous discussions held between Network Rail and the Society, which raises concerns about their intent. Do they intend to stick to their promises, or not?

The letter to neighbours is available below, along with the Society’s response.

20 06 22 Network Rail Letter (pdf)

20 07 03 Strathbungo Society response (pdf)

We have since had a reply by email from Owen Campbell of Network Rail, which is reassuring, and reproduced below.

Hi Jane
I hope you are well.
As I am sure you will acknowledge, we have all been blown somewhat off-course by the unprecedented global events that have impacted on us. However, it remains our firm intention to fully engage with the Strathbungo society and other interested stakeholders as we carry out the vegetation clearance and throughout any project which may follow.
Our recent notification was similar to the one that we distributed in February to highlight the resumption of work and, as it was sent out across the whole route – some 10,000 addresses, is necessarily generic.
It could not address the detail of the discussions we had with the society however we can confirm that where the railway narrows and the six metre corridor takes us to the boundary, we will work to retain a screen by selectively targeting and removing only those trees which pose a safety risk either now or going forward.
More widely, we will also honour each of the ‘practical commitments’ which we outlined in earlier emails.
As work resumed, we had our ecologists and those of our contractor in place to specify, monitor and ensure that the work was being delivered appropriately. This will continue throughout.
It is our intention to ‘manage’ the railway embankment to control regrowth and ensure the corridor is safe for the railway and supports a habitat and environment that is no less diverse than at present. Including establishing or enhancing the hedgerow boundaries
And while mitigation for the trees cut will entail planting outwith the railway corridor, we remain open to the idea of doing this in the locale of where the trees were removed – without importing any future risk to the railway.
We will share any further information and updates with the community as early as we can and will work to maintain the consensus we had reached on how the delivery of this work will proceed.
I hope this response provides suitable reassurance.
Best regards
Owen

The planning application for a new car park in Pollok Country Park

On 27th May Glasgow City Council applied for planning permission to itself for a new car park, road and footpath as part of the Transforming Pollok Country Park Project (see here for planning papers) and in anticipation of higher visitor numbers to the Burrell once the refurbishment/expansion is complete.

Key: blue = existing road upgraded; black = new road; brown = new footpath;  light blue – existing footpath upgraded to disability standards.  All illustrations courtesy of GCC Planning Portal.

The application form is not entirely clear but planning consent appears to being applied for:

  • a new car park for 277 vehicles on the existing unused Nether Pollok blaes pitch by Hagg’s Road
  • widening of the Hagg’s Road exit to form an entrance/exit
  • creation of a new road to the Burrell car park and
  • installation of various car barriers to limit vehicular access elsewhere in the Park.

The application is open for comment until 6th July and you can do so on the online planning portal above or at end of this blog.

The declared purpose of the application is to reduce the circulation of traffic in Pollok Country Park.  It is part of a wider active travel plan accompanying the re-development of the Burrell.  The Application contains a report of Glasgow City Council’s engagement with stakeholders that took place in 2019.   Since then, as a result of Covid-19, the world and Pollok Country Park have changed beyond recognition.

More specifically the closure of Pollok Park to vehicles during the lockdown and the large numbers of people accessing the park by foot or by bike has transformed ideas of what might be possible.  The proposals now look very dated and it is regrettable that Glasgow City Council has not re-considered them before submitting the planning application.

Continue reading

Thank you to all who helped make Bungo (NOT) in the Back Lanes possible

First, a big Thank You to all who took part today:

  • the talented musicians (hope their busking was well rewarded!)
  • the stall holders (especially those local stall holders responding through the day)
  • and everyone who had a party, lunch, glass of wine or water or cuppa, and celebrated all things Bungo on their own, with family or with suitably distanced friends

In normal times, BITBL is put together by the Society’s committee and many other willing volunteers & local business. This year was a wee bit different. Well, a lot different.

So there are three special Thank Yous:

  • A huge Thank You to Bungo-ites Mark & Mandy Reid-Foster from Submarine who put together the online market for us, as well as the supporting BNITBL pages on our website. An amazing job, and a LOT of work.
  • Massive thanks to Crawford Smith of Southside Sessions for pulling together the music schedule and keeping it all on track today (as well as finishing with a set of his own!).
  • From the initial suggestion of “we should do something in our gardens/homes on the day”, one committee member in particular picked up the idea and made this event happen. So another big Thank You to Paola Rezzilli for the vast amount of work she put into making this event possible and keeping things on track through today.

We hope everyone enjoyed their virtual BITBL today, and will carry on visiting our our market! [open until 8pm Sunday 21st June]

It’s Bungo (NOT) in the Back Lanes TODAY!

Ta-ra!

Every year, the Strathbungo Society organises the community summer festival that is Bungo in the Back Lanes. This year, we’ve had to be a little more inventive.

We couldn’t physically hold the event this year, so the Society has organised an online version of it to create a little of what the event brings to our community, complete with stalls, live music and virtual participation!

The online market will be here  from 12noon until 5pm. You can listen to the music and contribute photos or videos of your own celebrations in our Facebook event.

 

Neighbours entertaining neighbours on Titwood Road

It may have escaped the watchful eye of the Bungo Blog but since lockdown a musical event has taken place every Saturday evening on Titwood Road. Following the initial Thursday “Clap for the NHS”, all of the neighbours on Titwood Road from the corner of Pollokshaws Road to the corner of Thorncliffe Gardens/Waverley Street got together in an attempt to soften the blow of isolation.

Those residents who can play a musical instrument (and/or sing) entertain the others who are more than willing listeners during an historic, unique and never to be forgotten period in the lives of all of us. All of this is enhanced by the presence of one of the neighbours Grant Parfery who is a professional photographer. During each concert Grant has captured the atmosphere in photographs and videos which have come to the notice of the Royal photographer, the Daily Record and Glasgow Live.

Those in attendance vary in age from toddlers to octogenarians. The occasion has become one to savour and eagerly anticipate for all of us. We share glasses of wine, beer and whisky whilst keeping each other good company at distances well in excess of the 2 metres recommended. Friends and relatives have heard about the concert by word of mouth and are adding to the friendly atmosphere by their attendance albeit still maintaining a safe distance. The event takes place – whilst Lockdown is with us – each Saturday evening between 6.30 pm and approximately 8.00 pm. Images can be obtained from the Facebook page of Grant Parfery.

Grant Parfery Photography Grant Parfery Photography 3 Grant Parfery Photography 2

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