Category: Local interest (Page 1 of 5)

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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Update on the Arnold Clark development

Representatives from AS Homes and Southside Housing Association (SHA) were kind enough to attend the last Strathbungo Society committee meeting, and elaborate on their plans for the site at Pollokshaws Road and Nithsdale Drive.

Some points to note:

  • In response to concerns raised, the height at the corner has been dropped from eight storeys to seven, though possibly by extending the seven stories a little further along Pollokshaws Road (see sketches). At this end it will then drop to 5 storeys to match the roof line of the next building. On Nithsdale Drive it will drop to 4 storeys near the Mission Hall. They intend to provide “sunlight analysis” diagrams with their planning application, which may help decide if this sufficiently allays fears of neighbours, especially those on the other side of Nithsdale Drive. While they justify the height based on examples of other tall corner buildings in the neighbourhood, we did note that generally those buildings do not cast shadows over neighbouring residents.
  • There will be no on-site car parking, in line with Council expectations. SHA state that car uptake amongst their tenants on other developments is actually very low, even where parking has been provided. The parking (nose-in) on Nithsdale Drive will be retained, and they may provide electric charging points on some of these bays. Secure cycle storage wil open straight out onto Pollokshaws Road.
  • All services are contained within the footprint of the building (bin-stores etc.)
  • The building will be in a mostly red brick finish, to reflect the local red sandstone tenements.
  • They expect it to be a “gas free” development, and are looking at alternative heating options, and solar panels on the roof.
  • The planning application will be lodged with the council in about two weeks from now, and there will then be the usual statutory period if you wish to object or raise concerns. So watch the Council planning portal, and if we hear, we will link to it here.
  • SHA and AS Homes are not involved in the other Arnold Clark future development further along Nithsdale Drive (the old servicing depot).

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Queen’s Park North Play Area – petition

We’ve been asked to publicise this by a Bungo resident, who says:

There is a campaign to improve Queen’s Park north play area. It’s in a terrible state and not fit for purpose.

The park serves as an important asset to children living in flats with limited garden space. There’s currently poor separation of play equipment by age group and no inclusive play equipment.

I’ve organised a petition calling on the council to ensure the Scottish Government’s “parks and open spaces funding” is allocated to improving the play area in their capital investment programme 2022-23.

You can find out more and view photos of the play equipment here: http://improveourpark.co.uk/

You can view (and sign!) the petition here: https://chng.it/YQP6kz7PC5

Glasgow Times article here: https://tinyurl.com/yckhpc5h

Your support would be greatly appreciated!

More bike hangers

Another bike hanger has appeared this week in Strathbungo, at the Pollokshaws Road end of Queen Square.

It was originally planned for the other end of the street, but the Society passed on concerns regarding the width of the hangar on the narrow roadway, and so it has been installed at 2 Queen Square, which is slightly wider.

There is clearly a need for these; sadly this one is already fully booked, as is every other one in the neighbourhood. If you want to add your name to the waiting list, or request another one somewhere, you can do so on the cyclehoop website. A space costs £72 per year.

Little Einsteins Nursery

Note: We have been asked to post this by a Strathbungo resident. The Society itself has no knowledge of, or views on, the issues raised.

Hi there,

I’m writing in relation to something that I’m sure hasn’t escaped your attention: the closure of Little Einstein’s Nursery on Nithsdale Road. Publishing on it in the future could be a really helpful thing to do and I would love to assist with that, as for right now I’m hoping we can exercise some Strathbungo community power to avert the permanent closure of this treasured local nursery.

They received a devastating lowest possible grading in their Care Inspectorate assessment last year. As a direct consequence of this, they now cannot find an insurer and have been shut since Monday last week (21st March). Having explored all the UK markets including Lloyds of London (my wife works for an insurance broker and has been supporting this process), it is becoming clear that the insurers are not interested in them at this grade. This is understandable given this is the lowest possible score the CI can award, which presumably is as close to instant closure as can be allowed to operate. This is a ridiculous overstatement and wildly inaccurate reflection of reality. The CI seem ignorant, unsympathetic and unhelpful on the fact that their rating is created a situation where permanent nursery closure is becoming the only possible outcome. If they cannot operate, they cannot make any earnings and will be unable to get reassessed.

We’ve been very impressed by all the improvements the Little Einstein’s team have made since the grading, but unfortunately their published scores remain unchanged. From our perspective, there is no cause for the nursery to be shutting over this. I’m confident our daughter receives above average care today, she loves the place and people, and misses both sorely. The impacts of closure are significant; loss of jobs, disruption and lost earnings for families, and disrupting the happy lives of young people in our community.

I’m frankly shocked by how this has all unfolded and am confident that if those involved could sit down together for a reasonable and considerate conversation, informed by all the relevant facts of the matter, that it wouldn’t be happening. I’m going to write to our MSP today.

One thing I wondered if you could help with is whether through the community network we know any Underwriters? My experience of these people is they are pivotal in the insurance world and that they make balanced and pragmatic decisions, which I’m confident in this case would be to find a way to allow the nursery to continue to operate.

Any other ideas or help of any sort you can lend to this cause will be so gratefully received by everyone effected I’m sure.

Many thanks for all your work and service to the community, I’m an avid reader of the newsletter and proud Strathbungoan.

Neil
neil.a.w.harrison@googlemail.com

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