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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Brighter Bungo returns too!

Please do your bit to ensure the lanes are in good nick for Bungo in the Back Lanes by coming along for a half hour on Sunday 12th June between 11 and 1. Litter pickers, bin bags and high viz vests will be available outside Zinfandel on Nithsdale Road. Hope to see you there, but if you can’t make it could you have a look at your own stretch and spruce it up for the occasion?

It is no longer acceptable to have the Council spraying chemicals to kill the vegetation along the lanes, but we do need enough clear space for our stalls and our visitors. If you are willing to help with a more natural approach to a little vegetation control, we would love to hear from you. Contact Imelda Devlin on 07598 941168 or email: brighterbungo@strathbungo.co.uk

Bungo in the Back Lanes Returns

New residents begin here …….or if you need a reminder …..

Bungo in the Back Lanes will finally be returning to Strathbungo after a 2 year hiatus. This year’s event will be Saturday 18th June, 1-5pm.

BitBL began in 2000 with the aim to bring our lanes to life. We don’t have community facilities within our boundaries but there are almost two acres of back lanes there for us to play with or play on, two acres of performance area, music venues, playground, exhibition space and dance floor! Bungo in the Back Lanes encourages everyone to open up their back gates, set out their stall and sell their wares – whether it’s home baking, barbecued burgers, craft goods, or junk from their attics (which becomes someone else’s treasure). Just set up your own table and get going. Or, if you don’t set up your own stall, take a wander round the lanes yourself and enjoy the variety that will be on offer.

The Strathbungo Society is responsible for the organisation, and arranges for two bars to be run (one in Marywood/Queen, the other in Queen/Regent Park, though the latter may not happen this year due to garden alterations) plus courtesy of Southside Sessions, a live music venue giving a wide variety of local performers a platform for entertainment. This has in the past been supplemented by local residents who have hosted their own live events. The Society also organises a Tombola where you can try your luck and win from a host of prizes, a community zone with local voluntary organisations, and its own stall with Society merchandising.

Visitors – BitBL is a major community event which welcomes people from outwith Strathbungo. If you have not visited before, the Strathbungo back lanes are mainly cobbled, with generally uneven surfaces and contain many potholes. While people walk along them the whole time, there are many potential hazards in terms of tripping and stumbling, so you need to have suitable footwear and look where you put your feet. It is stallholders who are responsible for ensuring that any products they sell meet Health and Safety requirements, especially if providing food.

But Bungo in the Back Lanes is primarily about having fun and getting to know your neighbours and your neighbourhood. Come rain or hopefully shine, take part and have fun!

Can I help?

Absolutely. You might not want to run your own stall but you can still be part of the day. The event is run by a small team of volunteers, and we are grateful for all the help we can get, especially on the day.

Early on Saturday, there’s a team (no, “The A-Team” [Ed]) involved in doing the set up, sorting out gazebos, society stalls, and other infrastructure needed. By early, we are talking 9am, usually starting on the Marywood/Queen lane at the Pollokshaws Road end.

There’s always need for help staffing society stalls. Can you sell a raffle ticket? Then you could be a volunteer on the Tombola. Sell a ticket, give out a prize. There will always be someone to show you the system. Or you could help sell Society merchandise. Or if you have unwanted christmas presents, bottles of drink or other bric-a-brac you could donate it as prizes.

We also need stewards, to help with enquiries and assist people to enjoy the day or direct them to other services if needed (like our first aiders). Again, you will be briefed and have a hi-viz vest so that people know who you are, but it doesn’t stop you walking and enjoying the lanes yourself.

And at the end, there’s the take down. That’s the opposite of set up, when the event has ended. How quick can you dismantle a gazebo, without breaking it of course? Contact bitbl@strathbungo.co.uk if you want to help out.

Whose permission do I need to set up a table?

No-one’s, if it’s in or behind your back garden. It doesn’t cost anything. We are very grateful for core grant support from Glasgow City Council, to meet essentials costs like insurance without which the event could not run. But we ask stallholders, except for children or charities, to contribute 10% of their earnings on the day as a donation to the Strathbungo Society (the Society is a registered charity).

Stewards will issue an envelope for donations to all stallholders which they will collect at the end of the afternoon, or they can be returned to the Strathbungo Society – receipts will be issued on request.

If you are setting up a stall this year, please email us at bitbl@strathbungo.co.uk so we can update the map for the event.

Eating

Residents selling home-made produce (e.g. curries, cakes or biscuits, whatever your secret recipe is) also need to be aware of basic hygiene and food safety.
The most important rules are:

  • you must advise people of possible allergens in your food, perhaps with a sign or chalkboard on your stall
  • you must have suitable facilities for hand washing and for washing equipment between uses (for residents, these can be in your house)
  • you should have a sanitiser spray available for disinfecting your food surfaces; hand sanitisers are also a good idea
  • where appropriate, you need to be able to store food at low temperature (e.g. if you are cooking pizzas using fresh toppings) – cool boxes are allowed but you must ensure they are kept cold enough
  • for hot food, you must cook or reheat food at the correct temperature

To find out more about what is needed, please refer to the following documents provided by Glasgow City Council online:-

  • New Food Business Pack or Allergen chart – although written for food businesses, the principles remain sound for residents selling home-made food

We notify the Environmental Health team at the Council of the event so it is possible that they will inspect food stalls at some point during the afternoon.

See our food safety page.

And drinking..

As noted, the Society runs two bar areas, hosted by local businesses. Laws on the sale of alcohol insist that every bar has to apply to the Council licensing court for a licence for the day. There is no general licence for the event and anyone wanting to sell alcohol would need to go through Council for their own licence. Licences are required to be displayed in all bar areas, and it is a condition of the licence that the bar area requires to be fenced and stewarded to ensure the boundaries are respected and ensure that people are not going beyond the bar area with alcohol. And as a customer, please help by sticking to the licencing rules.

More info

There’s more on our dedicated BitBL pages.

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