4000 signatures on petition to stop Red Road flats being demolished in Commonwealth opening ceremony

More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition calling for a rethink of plans to demolish city tower blocks as part of the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony.

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Organisers revealed this week that five of the six remaining Red Road blocks of flats will be blown up on July 23 and the footage beamed live into the ceremony at Celtic Park.

They say that razing the derelict 1960s blocks will show how Glasgow is changing for the better while celebrating the role the flats have played in the lives of thousands of city families.

More than 4,280 people disagree and have signed an online petition lodged by former Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie.

Some people have said they find the plans insensitive to former residents and to the asylum seekers who occupy the sixth block - 33 Petershill Court - which is due for demolition at a later date.

The petition addressed to Sports Minister Shona Robison and Glasgow City Council says: "Stop the plan to demolish Red Road flats as part of Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

"The homes and communities of families should be demolished with dignity. If the flats are not fit for 'human' habitation, the message to the residents (asylum seeking families) in the remaining block is that they are not human enough to deserve decent housing."

When they were built between 1964 and 1969, the Red Road flats were welcomed as modern accommodation for 4,700 people in the north east of Glasgow, complete with central heating and indoor bathrooms.

After decades of decline the estate became associated with anti-social behaviour and crime.

Two of the blocks owned by the Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) have already been demolished and the remainder were scheduled to be demolished over the next two years.

GHA says bringing five down at one time will minimise the number of times residents have to be evacuated to allow for the work by demolition specialists Safedem using 1,250kg of explosives.

Almost 900 people living near the site will have to leave their homes and have been invited to join in the Games opening celebrations at local venues.

City council leader Gordon Matheson, who has written to each affected household, said this week: "Their (the blocks') demolition will all but mark the end of high-rise living in the area and is symbolic of the changing face of Glasgow."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Glasgow 2014 are responsible for the content of the opening and closing ceremonies. Through the Glasgow 2014 strategic group meetings, ministers have been informed of plans and proposals for ceremonies."

Local government

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