Architect reveals revised plan for George Square

THE architect behind the "winning" plans to revamp George Square has revealed a reworked design for the area.

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John McAslan wants to revitalise George Square
John McAslan wants to revitalise George Square

And later this month he will hold a meeting to hear people's views about what should be done to the historic heart of the city.

Glasgow-born John McAslan's design for the square was selected by a panel of judges after an international competition.

But within minutes of a winner being chosen, city council leader Gordon Matheson – who was one of the judges – said it would not be going ahead.

He insisted plans for a major refurbishment of the square did not have the backing of the public.

Instead, the area will get only a minor upgrade in time for next year's Commonwealth Games.

Mr McAslan has vowed to fight the decision and last week was in a George Square to explain his plan to the public.

He has since gone back to the drawing board and introduced more greenery and flowers to his design.

On Monday February 18 it will be unveiled at a public workshop being held just yards from the square. The event, which will run from 8am, will be held upstairs at Cafe Gandolfi, in Albion Street, in the Merchant City.

A team from the architect's London office will meet the public and hope to hear their views on how the square might be refurbished.

They also want to discuss issues like how best to incorporate lawns, the best options for replacing the red Tarmac, which of the square's statues should remain and how to make the best use of the area.

Mr McAslan spoke to the Evening Times from Haiti, in the Caribbean, where he was attending a business meeting.

He said: "These are only sketches in response to the comments received from the public.

"They are trying to illustrate what might be possible.

"The sketches show a lot more greenery, that the fountains have been turned off and that the statues are retained, which was part of my original proposal."

A statement from his firm said: "Following the information discussion which took place in George Square, John McAslan + Partners is greatly encouraged by the supportive comments made at that meeting and subsequently through social media.

"As a result, the practice is developing ideas in a way which we hope further captures the civic importance of George Square and people's aspirations for its refurbishment – essentially honouring the past and celebrating the future."

Mr McAslan says this month's public meeting is vital as he is determined to find out what they want in their square.

He said: "It is important to listen to what people's views.

"The new sketches are a suggestion of what the space could be like."

Mr McAslan admits he has been amazed at interest shown in the future of the square.

He said: "People are greatly interested in what happens. They have a view and want to have a voice.

"I hope they turn up on February 18 with their own ideas and perhaps the city council will have developed some ideas by then."

The architect revealed Mr Matheson has agreed to meet him face to face to discuss his reason for rejecting his winning design.

A council spokesman said: "The people of Glasgow have already made it clear that they do not want a radical redesign of the square.

"In response to their wishes, the square will undergo a substantial facelift which will retain the statues and grassed areas, and replace the red Tarmac."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

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