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Red Road demolition opponents to confront 2014 team

ORGANISERS of the Commonwealth Games are to meet campaigners opposed to the demolition of derelict high-rise flats as the row over the opening ceremony shows no sign of abating.

SEEING RED: Plans to demolish the Red Road flats at the opening ceremony have caused anger.
SEEING RED: Plans to demolish the Red Road flats at the opening ceremony have caused anger.

Glasgow 2014 board member Bridget McConnell will hold a meeting with former Scottish Socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie, as well as the son of the architect of the Red Road flats.

Ms Leckie has secured more than 12,000 signatures from around the globe to a petition opposing the move and denies the campaign is politically motivated.

She also admitted there were many in the north of Glasgow who supported the demolition as part of the Games ceremony but said the ramifications of the plans were international.

The meeting comes as it emerges the cost of both the opening and closing ceremonies has soared by 50% in several months.

Yesterday it was revealed the latest costs have risen to £21 million, up from £14m.

Glasgow 2014 has also shed more light on the spend, confirming it comes from existing budgets and had been agreed last month.

It also restated that the demolition of the flats would be paid for by Glasgow Housing Association and was not a factor in the hike.

Ms Leckie said: "Along with Len Bunton, son of Sam Bunton, I'm meeting Bridget McConnell and we'll put forward a positive case for changing the decision.

"Some local people believe the plans are a good thing, but there's also the national dimension to this and how Scotland will be perceived internationally. This isn't a political campaign or an attempt to attack the city council. Concerns have also been addressed to the Scottish Government who are as responsible for this. Furthermore, in the context of the independence referendum our campaign has support from both sides.

"This is solely about the ceremonial plans. That's all."

Mr Bunton, whose father designed the flats, described it as "absolutely awful" that the demolition is "being used as a celebration as part of the opening ceremony". He said it was the "worst piece of political judgment imaginable".

A spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014, said: "A wide range of opinions have been expressed about this element of the Opening Ceremony. We welcome the opportunity to discuss our plans with Ms Leckie and the meeting will take place next week. At the meeting we will share more about the context and importance of Red Road's role within the ceremony. We want the story of Glasgow and Scotland to be real and authentic and reflecting the lives and history of communities such as Red Road, especially at such an important point in their regeneration."

Glasgow 2014 also said that while it was keen to keep specific details of the ceremonies' content under wraps, the additional money would be spent on creating a larger cast for the event.

It said there were significant costs associated with a large cast including rehearsals, auditions, welfare facilities, transport and costumes. Others costs were attributed to more ambitious scenic design in Celtic Park and taking the ceremonies to communities.

Money would also be spent on "enhanced broadcast and presentation technology".

The spokeswoman added: "We are confident that both the opening ceremony in Celtic Park and the closing ceremony in Hampden Park will delight and surprise as well as create positive experiences for thousands of people in communities across the country who will be involved in developing these global moments for Glasgow and Scotland."

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