Glasgow & West Scotland

Sighthill revamp planned for Glasgow 2018 Youth Games bid

Sighthill village square (artists impression)
Image caption The regeneration aims to introduce a new village square into Sighthill

A deprived area has been placed at the heart of Glasgow's bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympics - paving the way for a massive regeneration scheme.

Sighthill has been chosen as the preferred site for the athletes' village if the city secures the games.

Glasgow City Council will now revamp the entire area, regardless of whether its bid for the games is successful.

The scheme includes plans for 830 homes, a new school campus and the demolition of five tower blocks.

The housing proposals form the centrepiece of the regeneration plans.

Flats demolished

Up to 700 homes could be built by a private firm on the site of the Pinkston multi-storey flats.

These would include a mix of rented accommodation and low-cost private sale homes.

A further 130 homes for rent could be built by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) on the site of the already demolished Fountainwell multi-storeys flats.

Image caption The scheme includes plans for new shops and houses

Some of these 830 homes would be used for the athletes' village if Glasgow secured the Youth Olympics.

The village would house about 6,000 athletes and officials during the event and be similar in size to the village currently being built in Dalmarnock for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Three of the multi-storey blocks at Pinkston have already been earmarked for demolition and residents are in the process of being rehoused.

GHA will now be asked to consider demolishing the remaining two blocks, which it had planned to refurbish.

If the proposal is accepted, the 400 residents from these two blocks will be offered options for moving to a new home in the area or outwith Sighthill.

The wider regeneration also includes plans for a new primary schools and nursery campus; a village square; a new pedestrian bridge over the M8 motorway providing better links to the city centre; new shops; new green spaces; and a land decontamination programme.

Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson said: "The bid gives us the impetus to work with the local community and our partners - and to lever in private money - to rebuild Sighthill as a popular and vibrant community.

Job creation

"The regeneration of the area was always a priority for the city but the bid means it can now happen much faster than ever envisaged."

Mr Matheson said the the regeneration would "also create jobs and apprenticeship places, and help unlock the development potential of other areas to the north of the city centre".

He added: "What's great about this is that we need to start work on this regeneration before we know if we've won the bid.

"As a result of Glasgow just bidding for the games, people's lives will be transformed.

"You'd struggle to find a bid anywhere in the world that delivers a legacy like that."

Sighthill is the largest of eight priority regeneration areas in Glasgow.

The council said that until now, it had been likely to be one of the last to undergo major regeneration.

It said the Youth Olympics bid had effectively fast-tracked the regeneration by about 20 years.

The scheme is being backed by the Scottish and UK governments.

Image caption Up to 830 new homes could be built in the Sighthill area

Sport Minister Shona Robison said: "Bidding for the Youth Olympic Games could not only bring another world class event to Glasgow, it is a huge opportunity to put in place new facilities and infrastructure.

"This plan will accelerate the regeneration of Sighthill, whether or not the bid is successful, and create a new community."

The plans for Sighthill have, however, attracted fierce criticism from some local residents.

Elaine MacKenzie Ellis, secretary of the local community council, has accused Mr Matheson of "an appalling betrayal" following promises that existing homes would be saved and refurbished.

In a letter to other residents, she said GHA chief executive Martin Armstrong had given a previous assurance that the two Pinkston high-rise flats, which could now be demolished, had "a long-term future".

Ms Ellis said she had now been told by Mor Matheson of the alternative plans for Sighthill.

"They will demolish the 400 homes in the high flats to build 600 new builds. Only around a third of these will be social housing, the rest private.

"That means even if tenants did want alternative housing, but also to stay in Sighthill, this would not be possible.

"Never mind the fact that most people do not want to leave their high flats which have been their homes for up to 44 years."

She added: "We will of course be fighting this and will be organising a large public meeting."

The regeneration plan for Sighthill is due to go before Glasgow City Council's executive committee on 14 September.

The 2018 Youth Olympic host city will be announced by the International Olympic Committee in July 2013, following a shortlisting process in February next year.

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