In November of last year Glasgow City Council approved plans for a regeneration of the Sauchiehall Street and Garnethill area. These plans included proposals for a park built over the M8 at Charing Cross, tree-lined and canopied sections of Sauchiehall Street (possibly with seating areas), a park in front of the Mitchell Library and improvements to cycle paths as well as improved parking for both cars and bicycles. These proposals are an attempt to make the area greener, more animated and more accessible.
The plans came as the result of several months of consultation between business owners, residents of the area and local councillors and are an attempt to ‘repair the “scar” of the M8 on the city’ as well as foster links between organisations in the area, create a closer sense of community and improve living and working conditions for people.
The Sauchiehall and Garnethill area (as I’m sure we all know) is a prime nightlife location in the city, but it also holds a great variety of other cultural venues such as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, King’s Theatre, the CCA, the Mitchell Library and the Royal Concert Hall. There are also several academic institutions within the area such as the Glasgow School of Art and St. Aloysius’ College.
The abundance of cultural institutions in the area has led Jeff Sharkey, principal of the RCS, to compare it to the Lincoln Centre in New York. He said that ‘This is one of the great art districts in any city. The Lincoln Centre doesn’t have half the things we do.’ The area was never planned as such however, and so the plans put forward in the Sauchiehall and Garnethill District Regeneration Framework will attempt to optimise on the area’s cultural capital and draw more visitors in daylight hours as well as at night.
The initiative also plans to protect residents of the area from the inevitable downsides of living in a nightlife hotspot by insulating flats properly against noise.
Schoolchildren from Garnetbank Primary, also within the area, have said they think that ‘Sauchiehall Street should […] be an experience like the Royal Mile.’ As long as the obscene number of ‘Scotland shops’ doesn’t appear as well, this could mean an exciting new chapter for Glasgow’s Sauchiehall and Garnethill district.
[Caitlin Walker –@hirquitallient]