Campaigners fighting plans to build a modern block of flats in one of Glasgow’s most historic areas have submitted an alternative proposal for public gardens and a visitors’ centre that will celebrate the unique architectural heritage of the Park district.
They have lodged a planning application for a pavilion on Park Quadrant which, they claim is more in keeping with the historic buildings that surround the site and its status as a conservation area.
The project, that includes a statue to Charles Wilson, the 19th century architect who designed the area, will provide a public benefit and enhance Glasgow City Council’s vision for the area as an international-standard Cultural Quarter, according to campaigners.
The proposed Charles Wilson Pavilion and Gardens, which has the full support of the local Community Council, will be built and managed by a charitable trust with funding expected to come from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as from private donations.
The proposal, expected to go before Glasgow City Council’s planning committee in May, will present councillors with an alternative to plans by Leeds-based developer Expresso Property to build a six-storey block of 98 modern flats on the site.
Plans and 3D modelling of the pavilion and gardens, drawn-up by architects and landscape specialists employed by the Park and Woodlands Heritage (PAWH) group, will go on display on Wednesday (March 16) in the local St Silas Church Hall, Woodlands, as part of a public exhibition and consultation event.
The event has been organised to give the community the opportunity to see the designs first hand and to offer comments and suggested amendments.
The project design follows extensive research in the Woodlands and Park area to establish the views of local residents and to determine future needs.
As well as including refurbished gardens, children’s play area and nature trail, there will also be a pavilion incorporating a café and gift shop; a flexible gallery/ interpretation space, telling the history of the area; and a meeting/education space, all of which will help generate revenue to support running costs and sustainability of the project.
The facility will be owned and managed by a charitable trust that will employ a small number of people on an ongoing basis, on both a full and part time basis, funded from community and commercial activities.
Supporters say the heritage project is driven by a desire to maintain outdoor facilities that allow the local community to celebrate the unique architecture of the area while safeguarding its green space.
A spokesman for the PAWH group said: “By regenerating the Park Quadrant gardens, we will not only provide a community and visitor asset, but will maintain the integrity of the site and the setting of the wider, world-class conservation area for future generations.
“We’re seeking to develop a facility that will tell the story of our history and attract visitors who will use the pavilion and gardens and its facilities.
“We anticipate offering spending opportunities in the proposals to allow us to generate funds to maintain the garden and pavilion on an ongoing basis, ensuring community access into the future.”
There is considerable local opposition to the proposal by Expresso Property to develop flats on the site which, locals say, will spoil one of Europe’s finest examples of Victorian heritage, architecture and urban planning.
The spokesman added: “There is, rightly, a lot of concern that this historic area should not be destroyed by an ill-thought out plan, motivated by private profit.
“Our alternative proposal will make proper use of the land, in a way that’s sustainable and sympathetic to the local landscape. It will provide an elegant, living resource that will benefit the entire community and beyond rather than the pocket of a developer.”