In mid-August pavements on Nithsdale Street and Road were resurfaced with black tarmac. This was done to a very poor standard and seems to have no account of the Council’s policies for Conservation Areas. As a result the Strathbungo Society Committee wrote to the Council to express our concerns, state that we thought this was a lost opportunity to improve the local streetscape and to ask for a way forward (the letter is pasted below). The Council has now agreed to a site meeting on Thursday 25th September to look at the standard of the work undertaken and discuss the issues that we have raised. We will post an update following this meeting.
Meantime the Society has contacted a number of local residents who we know have expertise in architecture or planning conservation who may be able to give examples of good practice we could cite at the meeting. If you think you could contribute to this please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
21st August 2014
Executive Director of Land and Environmental Services,
Glasgow City Council,
231, George Street,
G1 1 RX
Dear Mr Devlin,
Resurfacing of pavements on south side of Nithsdale Road between Pollokshaws Road and Samuel Dow’s Public House and north side of Nithsdale Street to March Street in Strathbungo Conservation area.
At a Committee Meeting on the 19th August 2014 a mandate was given to write to you on behalf of the Strathbungo Society to object to the very recent resurfacing of the above sections of pavement with black tarmac.
The work itself is of extremely poor quality with an overall appearance and feel of unevenness. Among the obvious defects are gaps in the work, where no tarmac has been laid at all; a particular example of the unacceptable quality of the work is outside The Bungo Pub on Nithsdale Road. There are holes and sections of unfinished surface and places where people have been allowed to walk before the surface hardened, leaving footprints, as well as sections where the tarmac is loose and crumbly.
Our major concern however is that this work is not in accordance with the Council’s policies on Conservation Areas and the Strathbungo Conservation Area Appraisal. The Appraisal lists the traditional materials used in the area, which include granite slabs, whin setts and cobbles; and notes the existence of other more modern materials, including tarmac, but notes: “this does not mean their use is acceptable”. It goes on to state:
• “…use of high quality traditional building materials contributes to the character of the Conservation Area”
• “The use of materials in any conservation area is another element of its character and appearance”
• “The quality and upkeep of the public realm within the conservation area is important”.
Then under Development Policies and Design Guidance the Appraisal states that: “The re-introduction of quality surfacing should be encouraged”; and makes a specific reference to the policies at the time on footpaths and carriageways.
While we appreciate that policy has developed further since the Appraisal was written, it has not made what is in it redundant. We do not believe this work has been in the spirit of any of the Council’s Policies and that a real opportunity has been lost for the Council to make a positive contribution to the regeneration and character of this part of the Strathbungo Conservation Area.
We very much seek to work with you on all issues affecting the character and quality of the environment of Strathbungo and are delighted and grateful for your recent commitment, in response to our correspondence, to improve the appearance of the Rail Bridge at Nithsdale Road in keeping with the quality of materials and character of the Conservation area, as well as confirming the responsibility of Network Rail for the maintenance of the pedestrian bridge over the railway at Regent Park Square. Your commitment will undoubtedly have a very positive impact on the amenity of the area.
It is thus a great disappointment that the Council appears to have spent resources on very poor quality work to pavements, using a material that is not in keeping with the character of the area and does nothing to enhance the look of either street.
While we are aware that budgets are under pressure, the use of traditional materials would undoubtedly save money in the longer term. It is also our view that the appearance of the more traditional surfacing would encourage the use of local businesses in Nithsdale Road and Street, and reinforce the efforts of these businesses, to promote and sustain the local economy. In short, the use of very hard-wearing traditional surfacing would not only preserve the character of the Conservation Area, but also enhance local amenities.
We would therefore request a meeting with your staff to discuss our views on the current work and to find a way forward, within the spirit of Community Empowerment.
Many thanks for your attention in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you.
Teresa Anne Mooney
Chair, The Strathbungo Society