Regeneration

Byres Road needs YOU! … street ‘activity’ champions wanted as part of £9m revamp

By Ian Marland at

A call is going out for volunteers to be part of plans to revitalise Byres Road.

People with drive and vision are being sought to create a long-term strategy for community-based activity along the West End’s premier street.

The plan is to form a group who will come up with a programme of events for the street ahead of a £9m upgrade.

Dance: Vinicombe Street played host to a mini-mela event last summer.

Dance: Vinicombe Street played host to a mini-mela event last summer.

Their work will help inform planners how best to create suitable public spaces along the street – from top to bottom.

Exactly what kind of events has not been decided – and that’s why volunteers from the community are being asked to get involved.

Last year Byres Road hosted music events, dancing and mini-mela thanks to the creation of a new public space at Vinicombe Street.

But a wider programme of activities may take any form from an area for art displays, a speaker’s corner, pop-up stalls, buskers – and even just seating for socialising away from the cafes.

Upgrade: Work to transform the public realm of Byres Road is due to start next year.

Upgrade: Work to transform the public realm of Byres Road is due to start next year.

Ann Laird is with the Byres Road Improvement Group (BRIG).

She told Glasgow West End Today about the call for volunteers ahead of a public meeting this week where the wider plans will be launched publicly.

Ann said: “We’re looking for volunteers from anywhere in the West End to work on Byres Road developing home-grown ‘community-based activities’ in the long term.

“People should come along to the Partick Burgh Hall Launch event on February 23, which is about the council’s entire upgrade project for Byres Road.

“As a small but key part of that, BRIG envision a new group to create a long-term and whole-street strategy for community-based activity.”

Steps: Tango dancers take to the streets as part of cultural events on Byres Road last year.

Steps: Tango dancers take to the streets as part of cultural events on Byres Road last year.

Ann said the council’s recent upgrade of Vinicombe Street had a different origin – being community-led by BRIG.

It successfully created a great new space in an underused cul-de-sac that was crying out for improvement.

Lessons learned there can now be translated onto the bigger scale for the whole of Byres Road, she said.

Ann said: “The huge £9m Byres Road Upgrade project offers a unique opportunity to think about ‘designing in’ new usable space for community-based activities – all the way from small to large – in any part of Byres Road, while suitable for the unique residential community that’s such an essential feature of the street.”

Improvements to the street’s so-called public realm were announced under the Glasgow City Region Deal funding last month.

Venue?: Byres Road upgrade could make better use of Ashton Lane car park.

Venue?: Byres Road upgrade could make better use of Ashton Lane car park.

Detailed plans are still to be drawn up, and the public is being given every chance to be part of the process.

The public meeting at Partick Burgh Hall this coming Thursday starts at 7pm.

At the meeting, presentations will be given by key figures about what kind of things may take shape over Byres Road.

Ann, who will be among those addressing the meeting, said: “Glasgow City Council’s Byres Road major agenda is around three things – Glasgow University’s future expansion, making new connections between Partick and Govan, and, of course revitalising our much-loved and famous street in the process.

Switch: Partick Burgh Halls will now host public event on February 23.

Launch: Partick Burgh Halls will host the public event on February 23.

“So now we have this one-off chance to build in desirable features.”

The Byres Road Improvement Group was formed in 2014 and includes the University, the Byres Road & Lanes Business Improvement District, Hillhead Library, the West End Festival and the Western Baths Club.

It exists under the aegis of the Friends of Glasgow West, who aim to promote the history, architecture, green environment and general amenity of Glasgow’s outstanding West End.