Pressure grows to axe Games Red Road plan

PRESSURE is mounting on Glasgow 2014 organisers to halt the demolition of the Red Road flats during the opening ceremony.

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Five of the six remaining Red Road tower blocks are to be demolished as part of the 2014 Games opening ceremony
Five of the six remaining Red Road tower blocks are to be demolished as part of the 2014 Games opening ceremony

More than 7800 people have signed a petition calling on Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and the Commonwealth Games Committee to stop plans to raze five of the six remaining tower blocks live on TV.

Former Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie, who set up the petition, said she had contacted the agencies involved in the decision to arrange a meeting but that there was no response.

Ms Leckie said she was surprised at how many signatures had been gathered on her petition since she launched it on Thursday, but said people were "taking it personally".

She hopes the plans will be reconsidered, adding: "I think that would be the right thing to do and you would think they would want to earn some credit.

"They say it's a community thing, well now they need to listen to what the community is saying."

It came as Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said she was investigating the plans.

Speaking at an independence debate in Glasgow, she said: "I'm looking into it, I think it's a very interesting issue.

"I want the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony to be something that Glasgow's proud of."

High profile critics, including Still Game star Greg Hemphill, singer Pat Kane and architectural critic Jonathan Meades have spoken out over the plans.

Mr Meades questioned if the council had thought through what the Red Road flats mean to city residents.

He said: "I think there is a certain sort of arrogance on the part of the council just to assume that these have had their day and we're celebrating something which is now historic. I think that's complete nonsense.

"It doesn't even qualify as hypocrisy as it's so patent.

"I think the main point that has to be made, and I'm sure a lot of people signing the petition would concur with this, is that in all of these incidences, the idea that it's social housing is completely forgotten."

Thousands of people are signing the petition for different reasons.

They are arguing that the flats should be "demolished with dignity".

Donald Clarkson, from Ayr, wrote: "Such barbarism belongs in the dark ages."

Ash Corry, from Edinburgh, said: "These are the homes of people.

Would the government and council enjoy the celebration if it was their home being demolished? Sensitivity is severely lacking here."

Archie Leishman, from Galston, raised concerns over what the move would do for Glasgow's reputation.

He said: "This demolition as part of the Games ceremony is in bad taste, and as a Glaswegian I feel it does the city no credit whatsoever."

A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said: "The demolition is planned to happen live during a key moment of the Ceremony, serving as an unforgettable statement of how Glasgow is confidently embracing the future and changing for the better."

Local government

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