Sauchiehall Street Updates: Task Force announces action plan for local businesses | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Sauchiehall Street Update

4 July

Sauchiehall Street Task Force announces action plan for local businesses 

A task force set up to help Glasgow businesses affected by the two major fires on Sauchiehall Street has announced a string of actions following its inaugural meeting earlier this week (Monday).

The Sauchiehall Street Task Force, which comprises the local Business Improvement District, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, is helping to co-ordinate support for the many businesses affected by the fire which gutted the historic Glasgow School of Art building and an earlier blaze which destroyed Victoria’s nightclub in March.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: “The impact upon businesses from these two major incidents has been huge. Even though parts of the street are trading as normal, many shops, restaurants and bars have been forced to close temporarily due to vital restrictions within the safety cordon and others have seen their footfall reduced dramatically.

“It’s hard to underestimate the negative effect this has had on many businesses locally, but the task force is determined to do all it can to alleviate the effects on traders in one of Glasgow’s most important and best-known thoroughfares.

“The City Council has been working extremely hard to deal with what is one of the biggest challenges to face the city in recent years. The Victoria’s fire was bad enough, but to have that compounded with the blaze at “The Mac” is simply heartbreaking.

“The sheer scale of the task is enormous, but, having spoken on a daily basis to various Council Departments, it’s clear that they are doing everything humanly possible to mitigate the worst impact on local businesses and residents.

“The fact that Sauchiehall Street had already embarked upon multimillion pound transformation, with major landscaping, pedestrianization, transport improvements and the creation of a Business Improvement District, underlines its importance to the city.

“To see the impact of these two fires on local businesses and residents has been very sobering and, whilst no-one is underestimating the sheer scale of the challenge before us, the Task Force has outlined a number of key priorities to try to minimize the negative impact as much as possible.

“While this work is underway, we encourage the public to continue their support for the traders who have remained open, still choosing to visit Sauchiehall Street and its offering for retail, leisure or entertainment.”

A full list of the actions agreed at this week’s meeting will be communicated via the Chamber’s website, the BID Facebook page, through on-street ambassadors and on a local traders’ WhatsApp Group, as well as on the main Glasgow City Council website.

They include:

  • Employment support for staff losing jobs as a result of business closures
  • Liaison with the Association of British Insurers to support local firms encountering difficulties with business interruption claims
  • Co-ordinating meetings for Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken and senior officials with businesses inside the safety cordon which have been forced to close.
  • Liaison with Scottish Government regarding business rates for affected businesses
  • Re-phasing landscaping works outside the safety cordon area to ensure the ‘Sauchiehall Avenue’ St project can progress as quickly as possible
  • New signage to ensure business offering to consumers is advertised 

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “The Sauchiehall Street Task Force will do everything in its power to restore Sauchiehall Street to its traditional position as one of the city’s leading destinations for those shopping, eating or drinking out, and going clubbing or to a concert or the theatre. 

“The council will work with our partners on the taskforce and all those affected by these tragic fires to ensure that action is taken to make Sauchiehall Street the fantastic city centre location that it should be.  The current City Deal investment to create the Sauchiehall Avenue is an example of the type of project that will make the street a desirable place in which to live, work, study, visit and invest in.  We have great confidence in the future of Sauchiehall Street.”

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28 June 

Work to dismantle sections of the Mackintosh building expected to begin.

Work to partially dismantle sections of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building is expected to begin in the coming days.

Recent remote surveys and close-in surveys from baskets suspended from cranes have revealed more substantial movement in the walls of the building than previously thought. This means a sudden collapse of parts of the building is likely, rather than possible.

There is now a requirement to at least partially dismantle sections of  the building as a matter of urgency. However, the dangerous nature of the site which includes the Mackintosh building and the O2 ABC is such that it will take around two days to devise a methodology for taking down the south façade, which is the most seriously affected part of the building. The West gable of the Mackintosh building has continued to deteriorate and the East gable has continued to move outwards.

It is not possible at this time to say exactly when the work will begin, but it will be as soon as possible.

While it is not possible to say for certain what the methodology will be, the demolition contractor has been asked to consider beginning at the Eastern side of the site. If this is possible it could make it more likely that we will be able to make the East wall safe and allow access to residents in Dalhousie Street. However Glasgow City Council, GSoA and the contractors wish to be clear that people should still not believe that this will be a quick process and that it is still impossible to say how long the cordon will remain in place.

While any part of the building remains unstable there is still a risk of falling bricks or stone moving quickly downhill and into the buildings on Sauchiehall Street.

Glasgow City Council's Head of Building Control Raymond Barlow said: "This building has undergone substantial stress in recent days. With each passing day a sudden collapse becomes more likely. It has become urgent that we take down the south façade. As the process begins it will be likely that the other walls will also need to be reduced.

"We do not know what effect this will have on the rest of the building so I have to be clear this site remains dangerous and is becoming more dangerous. It is particularly important that people observe the cordon which remains in place."

INFORMATION LINE: 0141 287 0416

A single information line is now in place for anyone within the exclusion zone and requiring assistance - including help with temporary accommodation and support for businesses. A recorded message on this line will give the latest available information on the status of the exclusion zone - although this is not expected to change in the immediate future.

Council business advisors and social workers are also based in the Dental Hospital on Sauchiehall Street to offer face-to-face advice to businesses and residents affected by the fire. They will be available in the hospital from 10am-4pm weekdays.

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26 June 

Next phase of detailed work on assessing condition of Mackintosh Building to commence this week

Engineers from Reigart Demolition, on behalf of Glasgow School of Art, as well as engineers from Glasgow City Council, are intending to begin the next phase of assessing the condition of the Mackintosh building on Wednesday 27th June.

The inspection is expected to take place from a basket suspended from a crane, as it is still too dangerous to get close to the building at ground level. This follows the results of earlier stages of investigation which were announced last week, and which identified substantial movement in the East and West gables of the building and a stairwell on the South elevation.

The close-in visual inspection is expected to take at least 3 days.

The results will then be combined with the results of drone inspections and remote laser surveys to design a methodology for the removal of the unsafe parts of the building.

Unfortunately this means that it will be at least another week before it is possible to make any kind of estimate about when it will be safe to enter the cordon and therefore when it will be safe for people to access their homes and businesses.

Speaking in advance of the work, Cllr Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council said: "It is positive news that we are able to get a clearer idea of what we will need to do to make this site safe. The need to protect public safety has meant that it has been impossible to let people into their homes and businesses.

"I understand that this is incredibly frustrating for people and we want to give them access as soon as we can.

"However we need to be realistic about how long this might take. It is likely to take at least a week for us to fully understand what has happened to the building and formulate a detailed plan to make it safe. This means that the very earliest we might be able to give indicative timescales is the beginning to the middle of next week and at this stage even that is not guaranteed.

"We are now supporting some 18 families and individuals with accommodation and other types of help. However people's circumstances do change and if you find yourself in need of help then please contact us by visiting our staff in the dental hospital or calling 0141 287 0416."

INFORMATION LINE: 0141 287 0416

A single information line is now in place for anyone within the exclusion zone and requiring assistance - including help with temporary accommodation and support for businesses. A recorded message on this line will give the latest available information on the status of the exclusion zone - although this is not expected to change in the immediate future.

Council business advisors and social workers are also based in the Dental Hospital on Sauchiehall Street to offer face-to-face advice to businesses and residents affected by the fire. They will be available in the hospital from 10am-4pm weekdays.

Parking

Some residents may have been displaced from where they usually park. To help, your resident permit will be valid in Glasgow City Centre, Park, Woodlands and Woodside.

New traffic arrangements for the Sauchiehall St and Garnethill area have been announced following the devastating fire at Glasgow School of Art and 02 ABC.

The cordoned-off block around the badly damaged buildings has now been substantially reduced since Scottish Fire and Rescue Service passed on responsibility for the site to Glasgow City Council's Building Control service on Tuesday evening.

Several road closures remain in place but local access to a number of streets around the site will now be possible with a new one way street created in Garnethill to allow traffic to flow around the area.

The new arrangements means restricted access to local and service vehicles is now provided to Renfrew Street and Sauchiehall Street up to the east and west sides of the cordon at Dalhousie Street and Scott Street respectively

Both Scott Street and Dalhousie Street are fully closed from just south of Sauchiehall Street until the unnamed lane that runs between the Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art building and St Aloysius College. Local access to Holland Street, Pitt Street, Douglas Street, Rose Street and Sauchiehall Lane is now in place.

As part of the new arrangements, the one way street on Buccleuch Street has been reversed, which will enable traffic to move around Garnethill again and exit the area on to West Graham Street. Residents in the Garnethill area can now access parking places that were previously blocked off by the wider cordon.

The diversion for motorists travelling east on Sauchiehall Street remains in place. This takes drivers via Elmbank Street, St Vincent St, Pitt Street and West George Street before turning north into Hope Street.

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22 June

UPDATE – 1pm, 22 June

The current exclusion zone around the scene of a major fire at The Glasgow School of Art and Sauchiehall Street remains unchanged.

The fenced-off area, which sits between Renfrew Street and Sauchiehall Street and Dalhousie Street and a point just beyond Scott Street, replaced a wider cordon after council Building Standards officers took responsibility for the site from the emergency services.

A spokesman said: “The situation is extremely challenging. We have been able to carry out initial surveys of the Mackintosh building, which have raised significant concerns about the West and East elevations.

“However, we are still working with The Glasgow School of Art and Historic Environment Scotland to devise a methodology to allow us to safely examine the building at closer quarters – which we hope will give us more clarity about its condition and any threat to public safety.

“Realistically, it will be at least the early part of next week before we are able to do this, so we do not currently anticipate the exclusion zone being altered in the short-term.

“We understand this will be unwelcome news for residents and businesses with no access to their property, but their safety and that of the wider public must remain our priority.”

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Experts have urged people to stay away from the scene of a major fire at The Glasgow School of Art and Sauchiehall Street.

Council building control officers say it is essential that people observe an exclusion zone, which remains in place to protect public safety.

Glasgow City Council's Head of Building Control Raymond Barlow said: "We have had reports of people breaching the cordon, and we have many requests from displaced residents to access their properties.

"I fully understand people's desire to get back into their property and if we could safely do anything to facilitate that then we would.

 "However surveys in recent days have shown us that the West and East elevations remain of significant concern

"This means that there is a risk that parts of the building might fall into Scott Street or Dalhousie Street. This could happen without warning.

"Our number one priority is public safety and It is therefore simply too dangerous to allow anyone to access the site.

New traffic arrangements.

 

PICTURE: Copyright Ordnance Survey

New traffic arrangements for the Sauchiehall St and Garnethill area have been announced following the devastating fire at Glasgow School of Art and 02 ABC.

The cordoned-off block around the badly damaged buildings has now been substantially reduced since Scottish Fire and Rescue Service passed on responsibility for the site to Glasgow City Council's Building Control service on Tuesday evening.

Several road closures remain in place but local access to a number of streets around the site will now be possible with a new one way street created in Garnethill to allow traffic to flow around the area.

The new arrangements means restricted access to local and service vehicles is now provided to Renfrew Street and Sauchiehall Street up to the east and west sides of the cordon at Dalhousie Street and Scott Street respectively

Both Scott Street and Dalhousie Street are fully closed from just south of Sauchiehall Street until the unnamed lane that runs between the Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art building and St Aloysius College. Local access to Holland Street, Pitt Street, Douglas Street, Rose Street and Sauchiehall Lane is now in place.

As part of the new arrangements, the one way street on Buccleuch Street has been reversed, which will enable traffic to move around Garnethill again and exit the area on to West Graham Street. Residents in the Garnethill area can now access parking places that were previously blocked off by the wider cordon.

The diversion for motorists travelling east on Sauchiehall Street remains in place. This takes drivers via Elmbank Street, St Vincent St, Pitt Street and West George Street before turning north into Hope Street.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Susan Aitken, welcomed the new measures following the extensive disruption caused by blaze.

Councillor Aitken said: "It's a positive step that the cordon around the O2 Academy and the Art School has been scaled back and access for local residents and businesses is opening up. The buildings affected by the fire remain at risk and measures must remain in place at this time to protect public safety.

"We have working extremely hard to get Sauchiehall Street and Garnethill moving again and this is the first step along that path. We will continue to review these arrangements on a street by street basis to ensure we are responding as far as we possibly can to the needs of residents and businesses in the area."

A single information line is now in place for anyone within the exclusion zone and requiring assistance - including help with temporary accommodation and support for businesses. A recorded message on this line will give the latest available information on the status of the exclusion zone - although this is not expected to change in the immediate future.

INFORMATION LINE: 0141 287 0416.

Council business advisors and social workers are also based in the Dental Hospital on Sauchiehall Street to offer face-to-face advice to businesses and residents affected by the fire. They will be available in the hospital from 10am-4pm weekdays.

 

 

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