When it comes to George Square, there is no way to make everyone happy

THE school holidays meant many councillors last week opted to leave their desks in the City Chambers to spend time with their families.

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As a result, the city's seat of government has been quietly ticking over with little or no excitement to brighten the days.

That may be a relief for our elected representatives but it is frustrating for those of us prowling the corridors of power looking for juicy titbits. This week things should return to as normal as they ever get in the council headquarters.

On Thursday, a detailed report on the £300million extension to Buchanan Galleries will come before senior councillors.

Buried in the middle of it is a paragraph which reveals the city council has been asked to put in writing that it has learned its lesson.

The equivalent of a naughty schoolboy being told by the teacher to stay behind class and write lines.

The relevant paragraph refers to the design competition for George Square which caused huge controversy.

Not only did the public not want their beloved square dug up and transformed but the plan was scrapped just minutes after the winning design was announced.

Instead it was decided to give the Square a mini facelift in time for the Commonwealth Games and to bring forward plans for a larger, multi-million pound upgrade late in 2013.

However, the row over the design competition resulted in a formal complaint being lodged and a number of external investigations held in relation to the design competition process.

The council and its staff were cleared of any wrongdoing but Audit Scotland recommended it carried out a "lesson learned" review before any second phase of work on the Square was taken forward.

This week, councillors will be told the report showing they have indeed learned their lesson has been completed and will be presented to the executive committee in due course.

As a result, a report on phase two of the upgrade of George Square is now not expected to be ready until late this year.

No doubt the public will be waiting with bated breath to find out if the council has finally learned its lesson and will now give the city the civic square it deserves.

One thing is certain, whatever is proposed will be unpopular with those who were in favour of dramatic change.

When it comes to George Square, there is no way to make everyone happy so sit back and wait for a second round of rumpus.

The good news is that the main work on the extension to Buchanan Galleries will get under way in January.

With the country limping slowly out of the worst recession in living memory, that can only be a welcome boost for Glasgow.


Local government

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