Autumn 2022 Newsletter

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Details of our forthcoming AGM, changing Strathbungo, meet Cllr Zen Ghani, local news, new businesses and more.

Thanks to Sharon Schweps for editing this one. If you want to write something for the newsletter, or even better if you fancy helping edit it get in touch.

You can also find the newsletter, and old ones back to the 1990s, at the BygoneBungo Newsletter Archive.

Strathbungo Society AGM 2022

Calling all Strathbungo Residents – Your Society Needs You!

The AGM of the Strathbungo Society is set for Tuesday 8th November. The event is again in Queens Park Church of Scotland over on Queens Drive, and will begin at 7.30pm. Doors will be open from 7pm, with tea and coffee available.

The principal business of the evening will be the Society’s report and accounts for the year. We also hope to have a discussion about making changes to traffic management in the area, when the new road bridge at the end of Moray Place is opened next year.

Next on the agenda will be the election of the new committee. Every community organisation needs to reflect the diversity of the people living in the area, and always needs a variety of different talents to make the machine work. We meet 10 times a year, in the den of The Bungo Bar on Nithsdale Road, and you can contribute as much or as little as you like, according to your interests and skills. Beyond committee work, we also need volunteers to take part in Bungo Cleanups, to help organise local events like Bungo in the Back Lanes, or even introduce new ideas for other events. Have you any time that you can give to your local community? Have you new ideas, but need some help to get them going?

Can I also remind people that we have had a vacancy for Secretary for the past year? The Secretary is one of the senior officers, and is responsible for the committee administration and minutes, as well as being a trustee.

We also need a fresh newsletter editor. The editor is responsible for bringing the content of the newsletter together, editing, and preparing copy for publication. Currently we publish four editions a year, usually in advance of other society events, like Bungo in the Back Lanes. Do you have any skills in writing, editing or design? Fancy an outlet for your skills?

As chair I’m also coming up to five years in the job, and apart from one year (thank you Sharon) I have rarely been in a position where we also have a Secretary. I think that it’s time for a change and I welcome nominations for the position of Chair as well.

The Society is only as strong as those who contribute, so it needs your support.

Please contact me for further information, or if you want to volunteer we can arrange a nomination for the AGM.

Oh, and when we get through all that there’s a glass of wine on offer. So come for that alone and meet the neighbours.

Crime Update

Rhiannon Spear has provided the following summary of the recent meeting with the Police regarding crime in the area (see previous blogpost)

Meeting Report

Over the last couple of weeks the Queen Square WhatsApp group has seen an increase in people reporting thefts from their cars, so I organised a meeting with local Councillors and Police to discuss what was going on in the area. Councillors John Molyneux, Norman MacLeod and Zen Ghani all attended the meeting as well as Community Policing Inspector Cennydd Smith, all of their contact details can be found at the bottom of this report.

The biggest takeaway from the meeting is that when we believe there has been a theft or an attempted theft you must report this to the Police. The Police have crime statistics for the area and Cennydd brought these with him but it was clear at the meeting that there was possibly more happening within the Strathbungo area than was actually being reported to the police. Cennydd stressed the importance of reporting to local policing as resources are deployed based on the need in local areas. If things are not being reported local policing will allocate resources to areas with higher reports of crime. If there is an emergency or you see an ongoing incident call 999, otherwise call 101 to make a crime report, this can be done retrospectively.

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Crime in Queen Square

The Society has been made aware of a recent spate of criminal acts in and around Queen Square, mostly car break-ins, but also an episode of serious fire-raising behind the tenements.

Queen Square residents report several car break-ins in the last month. These are seemingly without violence, suggesting the use of unlocking devices, although surprisingly without much being taken, and no thefts of cars themselves. Several incidents have been reported to the police. We are unsure if other streets have been affected also.

Furthermore, this week someone set fire to bins behind both Pollokshaws tenements at the entrance to Queen Square, requiring prompt action from the fire brigade to prevent a more serious incident. We are also grateful to the council for prompt action in replacing the bins.

As a result, Strathbungo resident (and former councillor) Rhiannon Spear has requested a meeting with councillor Zen Ghani and a police representative to discuss the issue. The meeting is on Saturday 1st October 2022 at 11am in the den at The Bungo, Nithsdale Road. If you have similar experiences, you are welcome to attend. This is not a Society meeting, but we hope to report any outcome.
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Of bridges and Network Rail… an update

The Society has had the following communication from Network Rail:

Following successful demolition of the Nithsdale Road bridge deck, I wanted to update you on some aspects of the project taking place within the Strathbungo area.

Columns

During one of our previous discussions with the Strathbungo Society, the four columns under the road bridge were discussed, and how these could possibly be saved and re-utilised. We weren’t able to confirm the condition of the columns until the bridge deck demolition was carried out. Now that has been done, I can confirm that we were able to retain the columns in good condition.

We’ve had some interest from Caledonian Railway, but we are keen to establish if there is an appetite within the Strathbungo community to re-use these locally. If you have any ideas for local re-use, could you please let me know by the end of next week?

Note: please contact Jane Carolan (chair) at chair@strathbungo.co.uk if you have suggestions (or comment on this post).

Footbridge

As you will be aware, last spring we carried out a public vote for the design of the new footbridge between Moray Place and Darnley Road. Three artist impressions of bridge designs were given to the community, based on construction drawings of the bridge built at Aristotle Lane in Oxford. The vast majority of residents voted for Bridge A.

shows new bridge

The chosen bridge was taken forward through a detailed design process. We also took on board feedback around concerns raised about certain specific aspects of the bridge.  As part of the detailed design phase, the designs were adjusted accordingly to address these comments and concerns.

BRIDGE A DETAILED VISUALS

I’ve included detailed visuals of the bridge below, which include a few enhancements to the original images:

    • Height of top chord (curve) – the 3D visual showed parapets at a significant height (+2.3m).  This did not meet the aspirations of a simple, modest structure and the designers were asked to reduce the height to 1.8m (the parapet height standard over electrified lines).
    • Colour – the structure is black and white to reflect the colours used in the current footbridge.  It was previously shown as all grey.
    • Stair units – only the lower part of the stair unit is to be clad in stone.  The balustrades are now open steelwork and will match the railings found at Moray Place in profile and colour (black).
    • The entrance to either end of the bridge has been fanned out to address concerns of some residents for a more open approach to improve visibility for users.

The designs will now be submitted to the council planning team for Prior Approval.  At the same time, we are submitting a listed building application for the removal of the existing C-listed footbridge.

Network Rail’s latest bridge design proposal. Apologies for the low resolution, but that’s what they supplied. Click to enlarge.

Network Rail suggest a design based on Aristotle Lane, Oxford. There is some video of that bridge here. Note however they are proposing glass sides for the Strathbungo bridge.

 

A Booming Local Chess Scene

A lively chess scene has emerged in the Queens Park area.

On Sunday mornings throughout the summer, Queens Park Chess Club have been supporting “bring your own board” meetups on picnic benches by the Park’s boating pond on Sunday mornings from 10am to 1pm.

The sessions have proved highly popular, and will now be continuing on Sundays throughout September and October 2022. In the event of bad weather, two cafes in Shawlands have hosted the 14-20 players that typically attend each week. A busy WhatsApp group is used to coordinate meetings. Information is available on the Chess Club website:

Outdoor Chess in Queens Park – Extended!

Queens Park Chess Club, who were known as Govanhill Chess Club until a name change was agreed at their AGM this month, have been doing additional outreach work in the local area and through social media.

They are accepting an influx of new members for their 2022/23 season, which starts on Tuesday 30 August in Wellcroft Bowling Club in Queens Park. On the first night, they are offering a free introductory class on over-the-board classical chess, covering rules, etiquette and advice on strategy. They will continue meeting on Tuesday evenings until the end of May 2023, and newcomers are warmly welcomed:

New Season, New Name, Same Ancient Game! 

Chess Scotland historian Alan McGowan has been providing the Queens Park Committee with archive materials on a remarkably successful historic club of the same name, which formed in 1873 and was active for 60 years.

These materials have been used to inform a summary article that elaborates on the history of the historic club and the development of the current incarnation, which began in 2019, and which includes members from Strathbungo and Shawlands:

History

Separately to Queens Park Chess Club, a group of local enthusiasts get together weekly for casual chess meetups in Brodies Bar on 777 Pollokshaws Road, at the north corner of Queens Park. The group is particularly welcoming to beginners and newcomers.

Several tables are reserved exclusively for chess on Thursday evenings from 6pm to late. Players are encouraged to bring a board if they have one, although this is not required. A location map is available on the Bar’s website: https://www.brodies.bar/

 

Aug-2022-Chess-in-Queens-Park.jpg

150 years is worth celebrating!

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be at New Victoria Gardens’ Open Day on Saturday 20 August at 2.45pm to launch NVG’s 150th Anniversary Book. The book, edited by Strathbungo historian Andrew Greg,  is a compendium of history, photographs, stories, drawings, poetry and even recipes from NV Gardeners, past and present.

This is (no coincidence) the 150th year since the first New Victoria Gardens Flower Show was held at the allotments over in Pollokshields.  If you’ve never been before, it’s always a good day out and it will be extra special this year because of the anniversary. It’s even more special because, for the first time since WWII, we had to cancel it the last two years – so do come and help us celebrate!

Bye-bye Susie’s, bye-bye bridge

It was a busy weekend in the Bungo, bringing the largest changes to the neighbourhood in living memory.

The Booking Hall

Strathbungo Station opened in 1877. The booking hall had stood on the Nithsdale Road bridge ever since, even after the station’s closure in 1962. It finally disappeared last weekend (5th-7th August 2022), followed shortly after by the bridge itself.

The booking hall was a local landmark, and in recent years was better known as Susie’s shop, run by Joe Deo and his family until his recent retirement. Joe was out himself to see the work. You can read the history of Strathbungo Station on BygoneBungo.

Joe stands in front of the bridge, with fencing and demolition cranes behind

Joe Deo, former proprietor of Susie’s shop at the demolition

The Bridge

Crane lifting girders off the Nithsdale Road bridge

The bridge removal was required to allow electrification of the railway line. It was a major civil engineering undertaking and along with works at other locations on the line, had to be completed in one weekend to minimise disruption to the line. Many will have seen the huge crane employed to remove the steel girders of the old bridge. The exercise seemed to go without a hitch, although I have been told it did sever the connection between the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and several important national IT systems over the weekend – in diverting essential services over the temporary bridge on Moray Place, someone missed a cable somewhere.

The girders for the new bridge are due to be installed this weekend, so expect to see another large crane in the area. Meanwhile modifications have been made to the footbridge to allow step free access for the months that the Nithsdale Road bridge is being reconstructed. Sadly the footbridge will go too in the Spring, and rumours are that no one has yet been found to rescue it from the scrap heap.

Local photographer Nic Gordon recorded the events, and more pictures can be seen on his website.

Tree felling & Works Depot

View from footbridge showing a large section of trees being felled

Felling of trees in progress on Darnley Road. Credit: Nic Gordon

Network Rail also arrived with chain saws and conducted extensive tree felling on the Darnley Road side of the tracks which caused some alarm and no little environmental destruction, especially as no warning was given about this aspect of the project. It has been difficult to find out what this was all about, and one Twitter user was given a generic response about tree clearance to allow gantry installation which clearly didn’t fit the bill, but we have finally got some detail from Network Rail representatives. They intend to take down a section of the stone wall and use this area for track access and a depot during the works, and will (hopefully) reinstate things once they are done. There are also issues around the presence of Japanese knotweed.

As you know, the primary work in the Strathbungo area for the last few months has been around the bridge at Nithsdale Road and nearby footbridge. Since April we have also been undertaking work along the length of the route from Barrhead to install foundations for the overhead lines, something you had previously sought clarity on following our notification letter in April, specifically around the type of piling this would involve. With the foundation work now reaching the Strathbungo area, this has brought with it some accompanying activity required in order to deliver the work. I’m sorry this wasn’t made clear in our letter in April.

Upcoming work for this activity includes:

15-19 Aug – Dayshift removal of wall section and installation of drop kerb.

20 Aug – Dayshift commencing of site clearance and excavation, including stump removal.

21-26 Aug – Day and nightshift civil works, including delivery of stone, ahead of construction of compound surface.

28-30 Aug – Installation of compound surface.

31 Aug – Dayshift work involving final site walkthrough of compound.

The construction of the compound involves removing a section of the boundary wall, retaining the existing copes, and installing a concrete drop kerb. This will involve the use of an excavator and concrete wagon with small work tools. Once complete, an excavator and dumper truck will be in operation within the de-vegetated area to dig out the compound area, and all materials, soil etc will be stockpiled on site. No soil material will be leaving the site. We do not envision vibrations from these machines impacting on surrounding properties.

From an environmental perspective, the entire area is confirmed as having knotweed contamination which is why no soil will be removed from site. The dumper truck and excavator will remain in the contaminated zone, and will be fully cleaned and inspected before leaving site to ensure they are not contaminated with knotweed. All operatives working within the site will be required to undertake a full boot and PPE wash and inspection when leaving site. A knotweed membrane will be installed for the full extent of the compound area, and a quarantine zone around the stockpiled soil materials. A weekly inspection of the compound surface will take place, but as the growing season for knotweed has now passed, there won’t be any encroachment growth out of the quarantined area. As we approach summer 2023, which is next knotweed growing season, an increased inspection regime will be implemented, primarily inspecting the compound surface for any signs of penetration of the knotweed membrane and growth outwith the quarantine zone.

In terms of noise, this will be at its highest in the final week while we are laying the new stone for the compound surface, which will sit on top of the knotweed membrane. This specific activity takes place nightshift 28-30 Aug, however earth moving machines will be in operation for the duration of the civil works.

In terms of the knotweed treatment plan, this will not commence until the 2023 growing season and involves a spray herbicide over two sessions suitably spaced apart, with a further inspection towards the end of the growing season to review the effectiveness of the treatment. This treatment plan will continue for the next 2 to 3 years. Your concerns have also been passed to our knotweed specialist regarding any impact the herbicides may have on other plants in the surrounding area.

In terms of future environmental management plans for the area, it is intended that the top compound surface will be inspected and removed along with the knotweed membrane. Depending on the results of the inspection, these materials will likely be classified as waste and treated accordingly. A review of the stockpiled soil material will be undertaken to determine if it should be left in place I.e if there has been suitable wilding taken place. The wall will be reinstated with matching stone, rather than engineering brick, and opportunities for biodiversity improvement assessed. The Network Rail environmental team will be involved throughout this process.

We don’t have specific dates for the foundation and stanchion installation, but it should take place at some point between 3-30 Sep.

The Arnold Clark development – Planning Application

Further to previous posts on this subject (in February and April), the planning application for this development is now live and you can read it on the Glasgow Council website: Glasgow City Council Planning Department.

Search using the application reference: 22/01468/FUL

The last date for comments is Tue 19 July (see “Important Dates” tab for the application).

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