A MAKEOVER costing millions of pounds is planned for a historic part of Glasgow that once housed the notorious Paddy's Market.
The final six traders are to be evicted from railway arches near the Merchant City in the coming weeks ahead of a blueprint to transform the area.
The site at Shipbank Lane and Bridgegate could be transformed into a market or mini retail hub by rail maintenance company Network Rail, which owns the arches.
It sold the leases to Glasgow City Council for £100,000 in 2009 to enable officials to shut Paddy's Market following claims it had become crime-ridden. The market had operated for almost 140 years. The leases end in May and there had been speculation they would be extended.
But Network Rail said no approach was ever made by council bosses. The company has now decided to opt for vacant possession ahead of a planned revamp that is likely to cost millions of pounds and result in Network Rail actively seeking commercial partners.
City Property, a standalone organisation set up by the council, has held talks with tenants. Each has been offered the choice of 50 alternative premises, while Network Rail has offered vacant units at 10 railway arches elsewhere in the city.
Talks with the six affected traders are continuing, with a City Property spokesman confirming the leases will end on May 14.
He said: "We are aware of the inconvenience and distress this announcement has caused to each of the tenants and will work tirelessly with each of those affected to identify any support they require, as well as offering a range of alternative premises."
Local councillor Nina Baker said: "I am anxious to meet Network Rail officials to discuss their plans for the area. I would also hope they and City Property give as much help and financial support as possible to the affected tenants."
A Network Rail spokesman said: "We would be happy to meet Councillor Baker.
"The commercial property market in Glasgow has changed considerably in the five years since the council assumed the lease and we want to develop a fresh plan for the site."