DAVID STIRLING Our Dear Green Place deserves better

THE old Glasgow Corporation allowed their City Engineer to produce his grand vision for the Dear Green Place.

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He proposed a few alterations, such as demolishing Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Glasgow School of Art, and the City Chambers.

No, I couldn't believe it, either.

Did city fathers in the 1950s run Robert Bruce out of town on a one-way ticket from the Central Station (which, no surprise, he also wanted to bulldoze)? No, for 20 years the guardians of our heritage bought into his crazy vision and his infamous Bruce Report ripped the heart from Glasgow.

One of the finest cities in the Empire, with architecture the equal of any, was gutted in the name of progress.

It was likened to the Highland Clearances, as tenements were torn down and families uprooted to outlying new towns or housing schemes that didn't even boast a shop.

High-rises, such as the infamous Red Road flats, shot up as a quick, cheap solution to the city's housing crisis.

We also got the M8, making once stately Charing Cross virtually a no-go area for pedestrians.

But not only tenements were wiped out. Victorian buildings vanished, replaced by such concrete delights as the Anderston Centre.

Take a walk through any city centre street today and where once stood grand facades and Charles Rennie Mackintosh tearooms you'll find 1960s monstrosities sandwiched between Victorian splendour.

The Bruce Report was a disaster and Glasgow is still paying the price for it.

Much of his sub-standard housing was bulldozed long ago and the remaining tower blocks are being dynamited.

Meanwhile, some so-called 'tenement slums' which survived his purge are still sought-after homes.

Only last week, Glasgow City Council razed the B-listed Springburn Public Halls, which the same council had neglected and left rotting since the 1980s.

Hardly surprising, then, some folk don't trust them with the fate of George Square.

An international competition is on to find a new £15 million 'concept' for the heart of Glasgow, a blank canvas on which to promote the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

That ghastly red tarmac will go, as will the remaining flower beds, and the statues will vanish (perhaps permanently?).

Six designs go on display this month at The Lighthouse, in the Evening Times' old home in Mitchell Street.

Much has been made of the final judging panel including Geoff Ellis, of T in the Park fame, but fears of a George Square Camp Site are unfounded. He is there, though, for his expertise in major outdoor venues.

The council expect your £15m to buy a "wow factor", and a water feature. Perhaps they have designed a new fountain incorporating that recent chasm in the Square which trapped a double-decker bus.

Redevelopment "will reflect the city's heritage and history", so how about levelling the horrid concrete boxes which have blighted the Square's north side since the 1970s?

Get this wrong and there will be renewed calls to level the City Chambers – with the occupants still inside.

WHAT a country! From an early heatwave to snow in 10 days – a snapshot of Scotland in 2012.

It's hard to believe that while the rest of the UK endured the wettest year on record, less rain fell on Scotland than in 2011.

Surely not? We seemed to have nothing but flood alerts, and that was just July.

And don't be fooled by that dryish spell for the Bells.

The Met folk have warned that those extremes of last year were not a freak one-off.

There's more of the same to come in 2013!

Happy New Year, indeed!

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