Monday 12 November 2007

Planning for Glasgow's Future

I was amused to read an article in The Herald today which frets that "erratic planning decisions ‘may drive away city investors’". The article goes on to warn that personal taste shouldn't come into decisions made by the planning committee of Glasgow City Council. Initially, I was curious about who exactly the "senior Council source" quoted is - perhaps someone who was upset at having a decision rejected at an earlier Planning Committee? I'm not on the Planning Committee, so I would hesitate to guess who...

It made me think though - while the City Plan sets out various planning guidelines and principles, surely aesthetic values must have some place. Everyone has their own personal tastes - and that's a good thing. I'd decorate a room one way, my neighbour will choose something entirely different. So why should the influence of personal taste stop completely at the doors of the committee room? Otherwise, what kind of city will we end up with? If it's a city where buildings are juxtaposed entirely inappropriately, will that not also "drive away city investors"? If some Councillors recognise something is ghastly, hideous or tacky, surely citizens of Glasgow and visitors to our city might just think the same? Much discussion is had on message boards like Hidden Glasgow over the merits of developments in the city, and many good points are raised. Important decisions on the future shape of Glasgow should also be allowed to be made both with the head and with the heart.

This issue also throws up a pet peeve of mine - that the Council is fast becoming (I'll be generous and say it isn't yet!) a rubber stamp for developers and the Evening Times. Decisions should be made because they're correct, not because they're convenient!

1 comment:

RfS said...

I agree that personal taste should make some kind of contribution. And that it should be within the framework of the plan (after all, if someone has really, really bad taste they could approve all sorts of horrible stuff).

Coming to work every morning I can see fantastic developments sitting alongside some empty brutal '60's crap. I can appreciate the rush to replace some of these eyesores but we have to be mindful of history - that in the '60's there was a rush to replace other eyesores that resulted in some really crap buildings.

My dad pounded the beat in the City for 30 years and when they are back over in April he is really looking forward to wandering round the city centre again as I have been telling him stories of stuff being knocked down and rebuilt. This is a good thing but the planning committee needs to always remember that what they approve will be with us for at least 50 years.