The Future of Shawlands


People are stirring things up — and I really do wonder why. What is the agenda — is there some secret conspiracy, a few people with vested interests? Hmmm.

The rhetoric of the poster suggests that things are getting worse, that Shawlands has seen better days, that it would be a good idea to have a Town Centre Action Plan and a Business Association. See for yourself; the Notices state:


Do you feel Shawlands has seen better days?
This is your opportunity to have your say on
what you think needs to be done. the council,
local Councillors and MSP Nicola Sturgeon will
all be there to hear what you have to say.
Does Shawlands need a Town Centre Action
Plan to further develop and improve our area?
What is happening with Shawlands Arcade?
Would a Shawlands Business Association help
businesses in Shawlands develop?

Things are getting worse in Shawlands because things are getting worse in Glasgow — and in Scotland — and in the UK. For example, the new policy of putting household rubbish and shop wheelie bins on the pavement at the front of the property is not exclusive to Shawlands, neither is fly-tipping, dumping, litter, swollen hedges nor even Dog fouling.

Time and time again on this blog, we show that things are getting worse because of red tape, committees and interfering old busy bodies.

You cannot legislate for freedom, happiness and co-operation nor attempts to encourage understanding and respect for people, forgiveness, politeness or common decency.

  • We do NOT need more red tape, more committees, more opinions, or more “say”.
  • We do need less restrictions, less control, less red tape, we do need more freedoms, more quality, more personal responsibility.

The result of the last lot of stirring up was the addition of ugly double yellow lines at corners where people could not park anyway because of fences and bollards! (See New Restrictions in Shawlands) — what a waste of time and our council taxes! It has not stopped cars parking on pavements (which seems to be a bother for a few very vocal residents) — a problem that would simply be solved by adjusting the height of kerbs instead!

On this blog we often highlight the nonsense produced by town planners and traffic managers, (for example, The Wrong Way, The Daftest Bin, The Daftest Bus Stop, Traffic Lights Suck! and the so-called Traffic Calming schemes). We also show the lowering standards in design — such as the mess of the Clyde Arc Bridge, and our amazement in how poor quality building designs get planning consent and building warrants — such as The Most Horrible Building in Glasgow, The Bad & The Ugly, Ugly New Flats, and More Ugly New Flats, as well as Holy Balcony, and Waterfront Apartments Are Not Posh!

This is what council activity, red tape and public consultations gets you!

My opinion of Shawlands is worth at least a little consideration; I am very, very old, and have a long memory that still works pretty well. I can, for example, remember the queue at the Elephant Cinema for a Beatles film being so large it stopped traffic on Kilmarnock Road. I can remember the buzz of shopping on the world-famous Victoria Road with it’s fabulous Christmas lights — especially Pearson’s with that famous parrot! I can remember the trams, the chimney sweeps, the coal deliveries, and I reckon the last time I saw and heard the rag-n-bone man coming along Tantallon Road with his flat-bed truck pulled by a massive grey Clydesdale was in the early 1980s.

I would honestly say that Shawlands is roughly the same today as it was back then, no better and no worse relative to the bigger picture. What is true in my opinion is that things in general and in particular ways are getting worse, and we would do better to try to address the bigger picture than consider something like Shawlands in isolation. I say that we ought to fix the traffic calming, fix the problems with factors, and fix the rubbish uplifts — then the improvement to Shawlands would be incredible!

I can recall when Shawlands was cobbley, dirty and black with soot and grime. It was frequently foggy in winter and very, very smelly in summer. The trams disappeared along with the cinemas and the new shopping arcade and skyscrapers in Pollokshaws heralded good times, where the place was buzzing with boutiques and German Beir Kellers.

Later they got rid of the central parking, removed all the zebra crossings and started to block off all the side roads near Victoria Road. This killed off the Victoria road shopping area supposedly in favour of out of town shopping, but this just put pressure on the West End and Shawlands. There was a lot of demolition of slum tenements across the city, and a lot of out-of-town developments for offices, factories, shops and council estates.

However, despite these two areas being major shopping districts, property values in the West End increased much better than the south side because Shawlands had a serious subsidence problem due to the tenements being built on tin mines.

During the property price boom of the mid to late 1980s, there was a lot of power cuts, and a lot of problems with the cart flooding too. Shawlands began to fill the tin mines and shore up the tenements. At this time, the whole of Glasgow was regenerating with lots of grants — and it was all about stone cleaning, reroofing, new windows, rewiring and removing lead piping and old attic tanks.

Today, Glasgow is facing the next round of issues — the roofs are now over 20 years old, the wiring is needing redone, the windows too — the tenement stock is in need of attention once again. People bought their council houses back then, so there is a demand for public housing. There is also a serious need for new affordable housing for first time buyers, so they are building a lot of new (ugly) flats at Eglinton Toll and elsewhere. There is a re-appraisal of the high-rise skyscrapers Glasgow was once so fond of — many are marked for demolition (but which cannot be exploded due to the asbestos dust problem).

Shawlands MUST be taken in consideration of the greater city-wide picture — for example, the nearest hospital will be the Southern General as the new Ambulance and Diagnosis Centre will replace the ancient Victoria infirmary. The new motorway links, the expansion of the subway system, the Commonwealth Games and the city redevelopment and regeneration all will affect Shawlands just as much as has Braehead and, more recently, Silverburn.

I would suggest that the people of Shawlands fight for the removal of traffic lights, speed humps and parking restrictions to encourage shoppers and house buyers and to free up congestion. They should fight to have the rubbish put back in the lanes and back courts for uplift — out of sight of the street, they should fight for cleaner pavements, for more regular cleaning, better litter bins, more public toilets and so forth. Everyone should be demanding better — better flood defences, better telephone and television reception, better quality homes, better property management, better conveyancing, better customer services, better interest rates and better looking, better designs.

It’s common sense, improvement is all about better, and for things to get better they have to first stop getting worse. Shawlands cannot be improved in its own!


14 Responses to “The Future of Shawlands”

  1. Andrew Montgomery Says:

    Hi there, just to say that there isn’t a conspiracy on the go. The public meeting is to encourage people, like you, to say what you think needs to be done to improve Shawlands. Just walking round Shawlands on Saturday I found the place to be pretty dirty. The quality and space on pavements is terrible, the pavements can be narrow and also have large black wheelie bins making them even narrower. I hope that you will come along to the public meeting because you seem willing to voice your opinion.

  2. shawlander Says:

    Thanks, but no thanks. It will be a grand waste of time or else it will lead to red tape, associations, committees and the usual hobby-horsey crowd of curtain-twitching busybodies!

    If you read my post through you would see that I am ranting about toothless groups like yours. The problems you have identified are obvious to everyone — and we beat you to them anyway; just look through the archives for this blog for dirty streets narrowed by shop wheelie bins.

    I will state it AGAIN, these are problems that cannot be addressed in Shawlands or in isolation; to get real changes you would need to have a change in law and policy at Holyrood and Westminster.

    You ought to wake up and smell the coffee because Shawlands is a small part of a big wild world of speed cameras, cctv, speed humps, bollards, fences, double yellow lines, and inaccessible railway stations.

    If you have the power to change things then I will certainly come along to your gathering and you will certainly get my vote!

  3. Liam Says:

    Well said! Did you know that Shawlands & Strathbungo Community Council doesn’t cover most of Shawlands? I went to their website (thanks for the link) and saw the map and just couldn’t believe my eyes! Skirving Street (according to them) is not in Shawlands! Neither is Deanston Drive, Tantallon Road, and most of the pubs, clubs and shops, for instance, Bella Napoli, Urban Grill, and a load of banks and churches are not included in this community council. You are right, things ARE getting worse especially when Shawlands Community Council doesn’t cover Shawlands!!!!

  4. Andrew Montgomery Says:

    Dear Shawlander – I hope that we can change things but the only thing I am sure of is that if we sit back and do nothing then I have no chance of success. We’ll try our best and see how we get along. We managed to get a Christmas tree and some lights on the trees at Langside Halls.

    Dear Liam, one of the things mentioned at the meeting last night was the boundary. Unfortunately it is completely outwith our control because Glasgow City Council control that. I couldn’t agree more that it is stupid that they call it Shawlands Community Council and it doesn’t cover half of Shawlands. The reason that I created the map was because there was no digital map available anywhere and I thought it was important that people could see at a glance the area we cover.

  5. shawlander Says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Look you seem like a nice well-meaning guy, so we have no beef with you. You probably wouldn’t believe the comments we have to “moderate” (delete), so we reckon we can figure the wheat from the chaff by now. We always give people the benefit of the doubt (me particularly as I am biased toward NLP), so I tend to believe that there is a positive motivation behind things. I think that people essentially mean well and want things to get better. I also feel that things are getting worse as a result, however unintended and inadvertent, and I hope that by showing the effects as bluntly as possible, key people will realise the mistake and set to fixin’ it. I would guess you feel the same, it’s just that you think a forward and direct approach is the best way, and I think it isn’t and that it is counter-productive at times. To be really clear — the problems of Shawlands are the effects of nationwide policy, so you cannot do anything for Shawlands on its own, and you cannot do anything if you confine yourself to a defined map with a set boundary (especially one that is so contentious). You have to forget Shawlands and talk city- national- or UK-wide policy to have the effects you desire locally. Seriously, the best you will get is a groundswell of dissent with no focus and no outlet. You are therefore in danger of raising false hopes or making things worse by proving redundancy. Think on.

  6. ‘The future of Shawlands’ public meeting Says:

    […] of a loss as to what the next steps will be, and/or who will be involved. I’m largely with shawlander, who argues that we don’t really need more ineffectualy bureaucracy or groups, so hope somebody will take a solid and active role in driving it forward over the next few months. […]

  7. Elspeth Says:

    As well as the council officials, there was the MSP, folk from Glasgow South East Regeneration Agency and from the city council’s Development and Regeneration Services department.

    Nobody has a clue about the plans for Shawlands Arcade, not even about who owns it.

    The Shed nightclub was singled out for regular burst sewers and problems for resident car parking.

    Rubbish was a big concern. Litter, fly-tipping and recycling were raised and everyone agreed that “something ought to be done”.

    A daft wummin asked for council tax money to be set aside to form residents’ associations to build community social events and to after street safety!

    A shopkeeper said Silverburn had a big impact and called for a reduction in Rates.

    GSERA said if enough local businesses contacted them, they would consider assisting in the creation of a “Shawlands and Strathbungo” business association (whatever good that would do).

    Everyone said they would “look into” everything, and at the end, the authorities warned that it “will take a number of years to deliver”.

    No one thought to ask what it was that was going to be delivered all those years in the future.

    What a relief that it is all sorted and the authorities are “on the case”!

  8. See-Eye-Eh? Says:

    There is a conspiracy to make Shawlands vanish. Yell already removes it, as does Google. You dont get bigger than them. Now the community council named Shawlands and Strathbungo is in dispute because Shawlands is set to vanish. The M77 bypasses it and the new M74 will finish us off. Silverburn and Braehead will kill the shops and the arcade will be knocked down for flats with shops below on Kilmarnock road just like along at Pollokshaws East Tesco and Carphone warehouse, keeping the old flats at the back for a few years yet.

  9. Andrew Montgomery Says:

    Shawlander, I agree that things generally are getting worse. I suppose I’m just a busy body who likes hitting his head against the odd brick wall!

  10. rtone Says:

    Democracy! Whoa! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

  11. D.O Says:

    I know this blog is a few months old now but I would still like to mention that there are people within Shawlands who are willing to make a difference. I work for Destiny Church based on Pollokshields Rd. The church is passionate about making a serious difference within the community and working towards meeting practical needs. If anyone would like to meet to discuss practical steps we could take to improve the area and standard of life there-in please come in and I would be happy to talk, face-to-face. Already the church has a great youth facility taking many of those who would otherwise be drinking on a Friday night off the streets. It also carries out litter-picking everyday along Polloksheilds Rd and would be willing to expand this if there is a need elsewhere. So if you want to help make a practical difference in the area – come and meet. No strings attached!

  12. Getting Worse-- "Inconsiderate Car Parking" Says:

    […] Cross Ref […]

  13. emmar Says:

    Agree with what you say shawlander, groups do nothing, look at all the quangos in this city and it’s still a tip. Less talk and more action is needed.

    D.O it’s Pollokshaws Road you are on. Nothing against your church, but we need more than bibles in Shawlands! Practical needs – can you make some money and buy the arcade, flatten it and bring some community spirit back to the area? Can you scrub the chewing gun off the streets and maybe clean that pile of dog S***t that GCC have ignored next to the old polish shop?

  14. Reginald Says:

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