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September 25, 2013

A change of tack

It’s a fair bet that the forthcoming community empowerment bill will aim to strengthen the hand of local people when faced with the blight of derelict land or buildings within their community. As with many of the proposals that have been kicked around during the consultation for this Bill, if there was a little more consensus between all parties there would probably be a lot less need to legislate. Glasgow City Council, often castigated for not treading that consensual path, looks to be changing tack – at least in one part of the city.


Daily Record 4/9/13

The site, which has lain empty for 20 years, was initially earmarked for housing after the demolition of a tenement in the 1990s.

But no developer came forward and the land at the corner of West Princes Street and Ashley Street, Woodlands became overgrown and neglected.

Community figures, who have already created a community garden on a neighbouring gap site, persuaded council chiefs that a similar space could be reborn.

Now Woodlands Community Development Trust want to build a terrace of four wooden artists’ studios plus a new community hub at the site which they are licensed for in the short term from Glasgow City Council.

Manager Tim Cowen said: “We are keen to build on the success of Woodlands Community Garden.

“We have obtained a licence to occupy the site from the council and recruited volunteers to help clean up the site ahead of submitting a planning application.”

The two gap sites were part of a historic terrace designed by renowned Glasgow architects John Burnet & Son.

The same firm designed the nearby Arlington Baths, the Stock Exchange in Buchanan Street and Merchants’ House in West George Street.

Both parcels of land, however, remained untouched for decades until the community garden was created allowing people to grow their own fruit and vegetables in a shared space.

The new Woodlands Workplace will only go ahead if the Trust can raise funds and get planning permission.

If that happens, the artspace and community hub will be constructed off-site before being moved into place.

Tim added: “We have commissioned an architect-led feasibility study to help better inform our plans.

“We submitted our business plan to Glasgow City Council in February.

“This we hope will enable us to secure a long term lease on the site and make it easier for us to raise the capital costs involved in this project.”