George Square's 'winning' architect makes public appeal

THE George Square revamp design 'winner' launched his fightback following the council's U-turn on the £15million makeover plans.

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John McAslan braved the rain in George Square to explain his plans to members of the public
John McAslan braved the rain in George Square to explain his plans to members of the public

John McAslan, of McAslan and Partners – whose firm was chosen by a majority of the judges in a competition to re- design the square – went public with his campaign.

He met around 20 people in pouring rain to hear their views and revealed two slight changes to the 'winning' design, which included more greenery and less stone paving, to create a less "linear" scheme.

Mr McAslan said he wanted to "rescue" the project by listening to and engaging with the city's residents.

As revealed in the Evening Times, council leader Gordon Matheson announced the make-over plan would not go ahead, despite a winning design being chosen.

Political rivals are reported to have claimed Mr Matheson dumped the redevelopment after his preferred design option did not win.

Mr McAslan said the decision had undermined the competition process, but he was willing to move on and engage with plans for the square.

He said: "I would like to see something happen. I am from Glasgow, I was born in Glasgow, all my family is from Glasgow. My great-grandfather wrote the history of Glasgow in 1920, so it is in my blood, and to me you wouldn't get a better commission than George Square, because it is where I am from.

"It is all very personal. It is not about money, it is about trying to do what you think is the right thing. From my upbringing I am a bit of a stickler when I think processes aren't followed.

"Politicians are known for wriggling around and I don't like that. The decision undermines the process, it undermines his officers, it undermines the jury, but I would like to draw a line under it.

"We are in the second stage, which is to engage."

Mr McAslan said he was hopeful of a meeting with Councillor Matheson in order to get a "positive outcome".

He said: "I hope he will meet with me, I would like to meet him and have a discussion.

"He will have a strong view, I will have a strong view and I can honestly see a positive outcome."

People who attended yesterday's meeting still want to see something happen.

Michael Doran, 56, from Pollok, retired and a member of Glasgow Building Preservation Society, said: "I am very interested in George Square and I am interested in Glasgow.

"It would be great if they could visualise it as a piazza, a place where people can stand about, even entertainment, there are plenty of buskers in Glasgow."

Helen Reeves, 44, from the South Side, said: "I think it is a real shame to have an initial competition take place and then they just say 'no, we have decided not to'.

"It is a bit embarrassing for Glasgow, I don't know what effect it will have on other competitions in the future."

matty.sutton@eveningtimes.co.uk

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