THE People’s Palace has reopened after a four month refurbishment, but campaigners and visitors were left disappointed the Winter Gardens remained closed.

The museum on Glasgow Green, dating back to 1898, was closed last December after concerns for public safety relating to the greenhouse.

The fire escape from the People’s Palace went through the Winter Gardens, meaning the museum was also closed so it could be re-routed.

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The east end tourist attraction had more than 800 visitors through its doors yesterday. But campaigners expressed dismay that Glasgow City Council (GCC) and Glasgow Life have not made any assurances about the future of the Winter Gardens.

Elspeth King, from the Friends of the People Palace, the Winter Gardens and the Glasgow Green, said: “It’s great that the museum is open, but very sad to see that the £350,000 of refurbishment money has been spent on walling off all signs of the Winter Gardens to the public.

“There’s been no actual money spent on refurbishment, it’s a hiding exercise. There are some rickety tables out and a tiny ad hoc cafe, before that we had the full splendour of the cafe in the Winter Gardens.

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“Now it’s very crowded and people are falling over each other, and there is no room for wheelchairs, it’s a bit of a pig’s breakfast.”

David Ross, who has lived in the East End his whole life, said: “I am glad to hear the Palace has reopened.

“It’s a great place to be, I’ve been in it more times than I remember.

“It reminds you of your roots and your heritage and the way people grew up and lived in this city.

“To see one of these buildings, public structures, fall into disrepair, it reflects badly on the city.”

Bea Nicholson said: “It’s just not as full an experience, you’ve got photographs upstairs of what used to happen out there, but I think you need to get into it to actually feel it.”

People’s Palace opens doors... but wait for Winter Gardens goes on GCC said no decisions have been taken regarding the future of the Winter Gardens, but the current repair bill is estimated to be between £5 to £7.5 million.

Along with a new cafe, a shop and access to toilets, the £350,000 refurbishment paid for a covered route to be built through the Winter Gardens.

A spokesman for Glasgow Life said: “In the Winter Gardens there is an issue of the safety of the glass, what you’ve got now is a covered ingress to the fire escape which vacates any of that risk.”

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