£1m boost for historic East End

GLASGOW'S East End has been given a double boost.

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Parkhead Cross is at the heart of the existing conservation area, which is to be extended
Parkhead Cross is at the heart of the existing conservation area, which is to be extended

The Parkhead Cross Conservation Area is expected to be extended to include a Victorian school and a historic burial ground, while £1million in grants is being awarded for essential repairs and improvements.

A detailed review has led to councillors agreeing to a draft proposal to extend the conservation area to include the Eastern Necropolis and the old Westmuir School.

It is part of ongoing plans to preserve and protect the East End's historic heartland.

The cross, where five roads converge, is one of the busiest junctions in that part of Glasgow.

An extension of the Conservation Area will give added protection to the cemetery's gatehouse as well as Westmuir School, which was previously known as Parkhead School.

It is lying empty but council officials are hoping it will be converted into social enterprise business units.

Ruth Johnston, who chairs The Friends of Glasgow Necropolis, welcomed the proposal to protect for the East End burial ground, which opened in 1847.

She said: "I think it is a very good thing. The Eastern Necropolis – like the Glasgow Necropolis – is full of history."

Past improvements in the area have included the conversion of a TSB Bank into flats and a creche, while a disused Clydesdale Bank now offers a mix of shops and flats.

A initiative designed to regenerate the area was spearheaded after the council first granted the area conservation status 10 years ago.

A council spokesman said: "We recently received planning approval for a revised conservation area for Parkhead Cross, in which we will identify the key features contributing to the character of the area, the challenges to be met to protect its special architectural and historic interest and suggested changes to the existing boundary of the conservation area.

"This ties in with our townscape heritage initiative plans for the area, which is now moving into its second stage. This scheme aims to regenerate Parkhead Cross, the heart of this historic part of Glasgow."

A second initiative is planned and has been boosted by an announcement from Heritage Scotland of £1m towards essential repairs and improvements at Parkhead Cross, as part of a £10m Scotland-wide package of grants.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, said: "Our historic environment plays a key role in communities and this funding provides an opportunity to invest back into the historic fabric and back into the heart of communities.

"It also provides the opportunity to help stimulate economic regeneration, a key priority in today's economic climate, be that through a new end use or rejuvenating an existing facility.

Councillor Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Regeneration and the Economy on Glasgow City Council, said: "This announcement from Historic Scotland is very welcome and fantastic news.

"The townscape heritage initiative has already made real progress in turning around the fortunes of this key historic cross which lies at the heart of the city's East End.

"This latest support will enable us to consolidate this work and provide a real future for the area."

The cash boost comes at a time when council officials are preparing a bid for more cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to enable them to provide grants to owners towards building repairs, restoring architectural features and breathing new life into vacant, landmark properties.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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