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Post-It plans: 200 people pack out 'lively' public meeting for £9m Byres Road works

Public scribble out a vision for the street on hundreds of coloured sticky notes.

It was packed, it was lively, it was tetchy in places - but public involvement in the upgrade of Byres Road is under way.

Almost 200 people filed into a community hall to hear more about the £9m upgrade of the West End's premier street.

It was also a moment for the public to meet the consultants behind the scheme, which was announced last month.

The session culminated in the public scribbling their ideas for Byres Road on dozens of sticky notes attached to giant plans of the street.

Suggestions and comments included: 'Remove trade waste bins from residential streets'- 'Make cycling safer' - 'Remember Byres Road is a village where people live' - 'Forget cycle lanes - cyclists never use them' - 'Free parking' - 'Wider pavements along length of street'.

Planning consultant Nick Wright told the audience that they should be under no doubt that the overall improvements would happen.

"People may ask - will it happen? Well, yes it will - because the money is there," he said.

He said no decisions had been taken on the detail of the plans and the public would have a hand in shaping the upgrade.

He said a main driver of the scheme was the huge investment by the University of Glasgow in its Gilmorehill Campus.

But he was clear that his team would work up the public's ideas - and the city council would ultimately be the body that decided on that scheme's approval.

 Noted: Ideas will now be analysed by the planning team.
Noted: Ideas will now be analysed by the planning team.

It was an opportunity for residents and business owners to have their input.

And many comments came back at the planning team during the opening presentation.

There was parking. One resident was worried that car parking places would be lost at Ashton Road.

The planning team said no decision had been taken on that, and on many other matters.

Another resident drew loud applause when she said tackling air pollution must be the top priority for planners.

The planning team noted her comments.

One lady said she hoped there would not be any unnecessary street furniture to create obstacles for people with disabilities.

Nick Wright said he was sure the aim would be to avoid that.

Others were concerned utility companies would just rip up the roads and pavements once the work was done.

Nick said the scheme would be co-ordinated with utility companies over the period of the design and upgrade.

"But there is nothing to stop those companies digging up the roads after the scheme is done - we have no control over that," he said.

One man was dubious about the idea that the driver for the upgrade should be the university.

"Who is this all for? People in the West End or the university?"

One business woman based at the southern end of Byres Road said she was clinging onto her livelihood with her "bare fingers".

She was disillusioned with the record of local business organisations to breathe life into her part of Byres Road.

 Packed: Partick Burgh Hall was filled with 175 people.
Packed: Partick Burgh Hall was filled with 175 people.

A resident of Vinicombe Street said that she and neighbours had not been consulted about public realm works two years ago.

This was denied by Nick Wright who said he'd personally delivered literature to doors in the street.

He said the team would aim to issue further updates on the Byres Road scheme through social media, posters and further events.

Afterwards, Nick Wright told Glasgow West End Today that the event had been a good start - even if the workshop had made slightly less progress than planned because of the sheer number of people who turned up.

"We had more people here than we expected. I think we had 175 people when we were only expecting 100.

"What we hoped to do was to get people talking about how they would like Byres Road to be in five years time.

"From that we could work out how to programme our future consultation over the next year and a half before starting proper design and construction work in about a year a half's time.

"We didn't really get onto as much detail as we hoped because of the number of people.

"But I hope we still had some good conversations with people about the challenges around balancing all the different uses to fit onto a street - about public space, traffic, parking, cycling, walking, events, West End Festival; all these things, how do you fit them all in, that's the challenge?"

The revamp was announced last month. Money for the upgrade is coming from the UK and Scottish governments under the Glasgow Region City Deal.

Under the scheme which will fund capital projects across the region over 10 years, councils can borrow money their share of the funding.

The council appointed Partick-based architects Benton Scott-Simmons to lead the design team.

* The public can follow events on a dedicated Facebook page

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