Glasgow & West Scotland

George Square revamp: Design decision delayed until next week

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Plans to announce the winner of a competition to redesign George Square in Glasgow have been delayed after the jury was unable to reach a decision.

Panel members have been considering designs from six firms that had been shortlisted for the £15m revamp.

Jury members have, so far, been unable to agree on a winning design and are not able to meet again until next week.

Glasgow City Council had expected to announce a winning design for the controversial project on Friday.

The authority wants the first part of a phased redesign in place for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Public feedback

Earlier this month, six shortlisted designs were selected from a total of 35 companies that expressed interest in the project.

The four British firms on the shortlist are Burns and Nice, Gustafson Porter, JM Architects and John McAslan and Partners.

They are joined by American firm James Corner Field Operations and Agence Ter from France.

Their designs have been on display for the past few weeks at The Lighthouse, where members of the public have been able to register their comments.

The judging panel comprises of David Mackay, MBM Architects Barcelona and Professor Andy McMillan, former head of Mackintosh School of Architecture, Glasgow School of Art.

They are joined by David Harding, former head of environmental art, Glasgow School of Art, Geoff Ellis, director of DF Concerts and Cllr Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council.

The technical advisor of the panel is Neil Baxter, secretary and treasurer, The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

Waste of money

The panel's decision had been expected on Friday, but Cllr Matheson confirmed that this would be delayed.

"It's disappointing, but it's important that we get this right," he said. "We will make a decision next week."

The proposed redesign of the square has drawn fierce criticism from opponents who say it is a waste of money, will see much-loved monuments removed and force through an unpopular design without proper consultation.

While the SNP-group on the Labour-controlled council supports plans for a revamp of the square, it has labelled the current process as "shambolic and insulting" to Glaswegians.

SNP group leader Cllr Graeme Hendry said: "The failure to come to a decision this week will leave the public wondering what is going on.

"The public are desperate to be listened to so maybe its time to have a proper consultation which ensures they are heard.

"This decision is too important to be made in a small room by a bunch of guys unable to agree."

Other opposition has come from Prof Alexander Stoddart, the Queen's Sculptor in Scotland.

He has written to the council, comparing plans to move public monuments with the Taliban in Afghanistan blowing up the rock-cut Buddhas of Bamiyan.

A motion has also been lodged at the Scottish Parliament, condemning "the shortage of information and severe lack of public consultation" over the proposals.

An online petition has been started, calling for George Square to be restored to "its former grassy glory".

So far, it has attracted more than 3,000 supporters, many of whom are planning to take part on a protest rally on 2 February.

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