• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Anger of Red Road architect's son

THE son of the architect who designed Glasgow's Red Road flats has spoken of the disgust of his family at the decision to screen their demolition at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

worker: Len Bunton was a surveyor on his father's project in the late 60s.
worker: Len Bunton was a surveyor on his father's project in the late 60s.

Len Bunton, who worked as a quantity surveyor on his father's project in the late 1960s, has written to Alex Salmond and Glasgow City Council's leader, Gordon Matheson, in an attempt to get the "appalling" move reversed.

He is also seeking a meeting with the chair of the 2014 Games Committee.

The decision to make the ­demolition of five of the six remaining tower blocks a live feature of July 23's opening ceremony at Celtic Park has attracted controversy but also support.

Alexander Stoddart, sculptor to the Queen in Scotland, described demolition as entertainment as the "hallmark of barbarism".

Officials have defended the plan, saying the flats' role in Glasgow's history is too great to ignore.

The blocks were designed by noted architect Sam Bunton, who died in 1974. His son said to celebrate their demolition and show it to the world is the "worst piece of political judgment imaginable".

He said: "It's ­inevitable that the Red Road project will have to be demolished at some point in time. But it is absolutely awful the demolition is being used as a celebration as part of the opening ceremony.

"The flats have an unbelievable history. It was the largest housing project in Europe of its time. It pioneered construction techniques and its construction employed thousands of people.

"It was designed under the instructions of Glasgow Corporation to satisfy a chronic housing need. My father had to fit large numbers of people into a very small site, and that was achieved."

Organisers said the ­demolition, brainchild of ­creative teams within the ­organising committee, will be a statement of how Glasgow is "confidently embracing the future and changing for the better".

But Mr Bunton wants the flats demolished "quietly and efficiently".

He said: "The decision almost speaks of a contemptuous attitude of: 'We hate this place, let's rip it down.' In my view, if this is the sort of decision-making this country is going to have, then it is two fingers being put up to independence.

"If people are making decisions like this, they are not fit to govern this country. You might think this is over-stating the matter, but this is what I, and a lot of other people, genuinely feel.

"The decision needs to be reversed. What I find appalling is there are hundreds of thousands of people who moved into the flats as they had been living in terrible conditions. The project has an empathy with the people of Glasgow and is part of the city's history.

"We've seen the demise of ­shipbuilding and other elements of Glasgow's fantastic history. To glorify the demolition is appalling. The more I think about it, the angrier I become."

Eileen Gallagher, chairwoman of Glasgow 2014's Ceremonies, Culture and Queen's Baton Relay Committee, said last week the demolition is about making the most of a scheduled demolition and "taking the opportunity to showcase Glasgow's regeneration and housing revolution."

A petition on the change.org website, launched by former MSP Carolyn Leckie, calling on Sports Minister Shona Robison to halt the screening of the demolition on July 23 had attracted 4130 supporters yesterday.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

224773