A new deal for Shawlands

Shawlands Cross
Shawlands Cross

SHAWLANDS residents have welcomed news of a £3.3 million makeover approved by Glasgow city council.

The GCC executive committee agreed on the Shawlands town centre action plan last week, after numerous years of lobbying from community activists.

The council launched a public consultation in 2009, asking what improvements could be made to the area.

Its findings — from over 1,200 responses — generated a detailed plan, but residents grew tired of waiting for results, and in February over 100 people attended a public meeting to discuss the future of the neighbourhood.

At the time, Shawlands and Strathbungo community council chair Andrew Montgomery commented: “People are fed up. The town is slowly declining. The community council has reached the limit of its patience and will continue to push until something is done”.

This week, he told The Extra: “This is fantastic news for Shawlands. The community council very much look forward to working as part of the partnership to deliver long-term improvements”.

For Conservative councillor David Meikle, the news is “a great boost to the area, which badly needs regenerated.

“I hope we can now move quickly to implement the recommendations of the action plan and use the funding to improve Shawlands”.

Labour councillor Hanif Raja also welcomed the proposal, and added that its focus should be on drawing families back in with a redesign of Shawlands Arcade.

He told The Extra: “It’s time to encourage people to take an interest in Shawlands, which is a beautiful place”.

The news follows what community council chair Andrew Montgomery called “the start of a high point” for Shawlands.

A recent Extra poll showed that 72 per cent of residents polled see Shawlands as a safe place to live, particularly after the installation of £50,000 of CCTV cameras last November.

Last week, The Extra also reported that Pollokshields and Shawlands are the top choice for young professionals stepping onto the property ladder.

Some residents remain unconvinced of the promise of regeneration. Commenting on the paper’s Facebook page, Pat Lodge Masterman said: “Such a shame it’s about five years too late. Shawlands is in such a desperate state now that it will take more than £3m to improve it”.

However, this week’s Extra poll posed the same question, and 87 per cent of respondents said that Shawlands will benefit from the cash injection.

GCC, meanwhile, has promised that the money will boost the economy in what its action plan refers to as the ‘heart of the southside’.

Bailie Liz Cameron, executive member for jobs and economy, added that the cash boost will “take Shawlands forward over the next five years, and I believe this action plan marks the beginning of a very exciting period”.