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Small businesses lose out as plan to revamp George Square is dropped

As a former owner of a design agency in Scotland, I was shocked to hear the well-publicised plans to completely redesign George Square in Glasgow have been abruptly scrapped ("George Square plans axed", The Herald, January 22 & Letters, January 17, 18, 21 and 22).

At a time of austerity and hardship, for small businesses especially, this will come as a shock. How much time and how many resources have been put into the researching, planning, briefing of agencies, numerous meetings in the citadels of power at the City Chambers, not to mention a similar amount of effort and indeed cold, hard cash spent by the design agencies themselves in submitting their detailed proposals, for not a penny in return?

I know from experience that tens of thousands of pounds are invested by design companies (small businesses mostly) in pitching for this type of project, all of which now seems to have been entirely wasted.

It seems now the brief has changed and the city council feels a much simpler, more cost-effective plan is to be drafted. Tell that to the design companies that have wasted their time and money and that, as small businesses, are supposed to be the backbone of our crippled economy.

Neil Stevenson,

250 Mearns Road,

Newton Mearns.

I was very interested to hear of Glasgow City Council's spectacular U-turn with regard to the proposed revamp of the city's George Square.

It is my understanding that many Glaswegians were unhappy with the idea that the statues in the square were to be removed, thus denuding the square of a large part of its heritage. All just to accommodate the highfalutin ideas put forward; the majority, in my opinion, being completely out of character with the surrounding area (shades of the City Gardens project ideas for Union Terrace Gardens in Aberdeen).

I found very little merit in any of the designs but one stood out as being particularly inappropriate. I refer to the design which featured quite an expansive water feature. Now I'm sure Glasgow, in keeping with most cities in Scotland, has a social problem with binge drinking at the weekends. You can just imagine the amount of revellers who would have ended up in the water. Did nobody think this through before submitting such a design?

A more modest makeover is now to be carried out in which many features apart from the unloved "red square" are to be retained. Common sense would appear to have prevailed.

Robert T Smith,

30 Braeside Terrace,

Aberdeen.

What a dispiriting, unambitious and politically impoverished decision to ditch plans to modernise George Square.

Cringeworthy is the only way to describe our council leader running scared of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the city.

The reek of timidity and political cowardice has fast become the hallmark of Glasgow's civic leadership. Wee men with even smaller ideas. As citizens we deserve, and are entitled to, better than this.

Mick Morton,

65 Second Avenue,

Glasgow.

One evening last week, after a day when the weather had been wet and miserable, my wife and I decided to watch one of our holiday videos, from a place where the weather had been glorious.

We chose our first visit to New York, with the thrill of sightseeing and walking through Central Park. Imagine our surprise at the time seeing large statues of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns within 25 metres of each other.

I don't know how long they had been there but the guardians of the park obviously still valued their contribution to society and had no intention of moving them elsewhere to "modernise" the area.

We are delighted that Glasgow's city fathers apparently have had a rethink about the statues in George Square.

Donald A Grant,

14 Tylney Road,

Oldhall, Paisley.

I applaud Gordon Matheson's decision to upgrade George Square, and especially the decision to get rid of the hated red tarmac. Can we go from red to even greener? More trees? More grass?

Perhaps a Friends of George Square group of volunteers could help keep it to a higher standard?

It could become a dear green and well-loved heart of Glasgow yet.

Freda Miller,

5 Swedish Houses,

Ardentinny,

Argyll.

So sorry that there's less money for George Square.

But I'm frae Embra and, frankly, who cares?

Robin Mather,

23f Eskside West,

Musselburgh (Nearly Embra).

Well done Glasgow in attracting the Elite Men's and Women's National Road Race Championships to the city in June this year.

Just make sure the participants are aware of the pot holes (or will they have mysteriously disappeared before then?)

Jack Hood,

4 Murray Road,

Law.

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