Glasgow 2014 boss: We will listen to public views over Red Road flats

GLASGOW'S Commonwealth Games boss today vowed to listen to the public's views over the plans to demolish the Red Road flats.

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But David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, said the team and its partners remained "committed" to ensuring the "important" story was part of the opening ceremony.

In a letter to the Evening Times, Mr Grevemberg said he recognised how passionate people feel for the city and respected the wide range of views. He said bringing the Red Road story into the ceremony was an "opportunity to commemorate an important part of Glasgow's social history".

He said: "This is not a story being created especially for the Games; it is a story in its own right and part of the on-going regeneration of social housing in Glasgow.

"Yet, while recognising the demolition was already going to happen, there is no doubt the decision to include it in the opening ceremony is new territory."

Mr Grevemberg said the team would "strive to ensure plans for the ceremonies are properly represented" and welcomed engagement.

He added: "Red Road is by no means the only story we will be telling. Nor has it ever been proposed as an alternative to a finale firework celebration. But, by dedicating just a few moments of the ceremony to the extraordinary story of Red Road it is our ambition to depict Glasgow as a brave, confident and great city that is confronting the need for change."

It came after organisers revealed the plans would be "going ahead" despite the opposition.

As we reported in later editions yesterday, a spokesman for the Games said: "At this stage there are no different plans."

A meeting between the organisers and former Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie, who launched a petition against the plans, is due to take place next Tuesday. More than 14,000 people have signed the petition.

Mr Grevemberg's letter is included in full, below.

"Developing Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games which genuinely reflect 21st century Glasgow and Scotland has involved considered debate and many conversations across a wide range of people over the past couple of years.

While most of the stories and ideas that will form part of the Ceremonies are still to be revealed, it has been important that the inclusion of the demolition of five Red Road blocks was one of the first to be shared.

The Red Road blocks have been planned for demolition since 2008. With their demolition contractors, GHA will manage the demolition, safely and securely as they have demonstrated on many occasions. And along the way GHA will engage with local residents to ensure they are informed and supported. This is the 'business as usual' approach - safe, respectful, considerate, low key.

But we felt there could be more -- that bringing the Red Road story into the Opening Ceremony was opportunity to commemorate an important part of Glasgow's social history in an unique and powerful way. This is not a story being created especially for the Games; it is a story in its own right and part of the on-going regeneration of social housing in Glasgow.

Yet, while recognising the demolition was already going to happen, there is no doubt the decision to include it in the Opening Ceremony is new territory. It is reflective of an Opening Ceremony designed to celebrate Glasgow's authenticity, passion and ambition.

Glasgow 2014 and our Games Partners remain committed to ensuring this important story is part of the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. Everyone involved in bringing this idea to life appreciates deeply that many people have powerful opinions of Red Road - a good many formed by living there.

To that end we will strive to ensure plans for the Ceremonies are properly represented and we welcome engagement with people on this issue. We recognise the passion people feel for Glasgow and respect the wide range of views being expressed on how the city is portrayed.

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Ceremonies create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share positive aspects of Glasgow and Scotland with a global audience. Over coming weeks we look forward to sharing further details of the stories our Ceremonies will tell about the communities, and the people of Scotland - their pride in the past, their warmth and generosity and their ambitions for the future.

Red Road is by no means the only story we will be telling. Nor has it ever been proposed as an alternative to a finale firework celebration.

But, by dedicating just a few moments of the Ceremony to the extraordinary story of Red Road it is our ambition to depict Glasgow as a brave, confident and great city that is confronting the need for change: A city that has meaningful, revealing and sometimes challenging things to say and share. A city we are all proud of, and a city with stories worth celebrating across the Commonwealth.

David Grevemberg"

Sport

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