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U-turn: Red Road flats won't be demolished during Games opening ceremony

Controversial plans to blow up Glasgow's Red Road flats as part of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony have been cancelled.

David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014 issued a statement today saying the demolition would not feature in the ceremony.

The move represents a victory for the 14,000+ who signed a petition objecting to the idea.

Campaigners felt the flats should be brought down with "dignity" and not as part of an entertainment spectacle.

However, Mr Grevemberg says it is safety considerations that have led him to reverse the plan.

Mr Grevemberg said: "The decision to feature the live demolition of five Red Road blocks within the Opening Ceremony was planned both as commemoration of a part of Glasgow's social history as well as a statement of the city's regeneration.

"We made it clear from the outset the absolute priority was safety and that this event would only happen during the Opening Ceremony if it was safe to do so.

"Over the past few days it has become clear that opinions have been expressed which change the safety and security context. Glasgow 2014, Games Partners and key stakeholders, including Police Scotland and Glasgow Housing Association, are not prepared to allow what was proposed to be a positive act of commemoration to create risk for all concerned, including the communities of north east Glasgow.

"The demolition of Red Road will now not feature as part of the Opening Ceremony.

"The demolition of the Red Road blocks is a matter for Glasgow Housing Association and will take place under a full safety regime as part of their on-going regeneration programme.

"However, it remains our intention to dedicate an element within the Ceremony to telling the story of Glasgow's social history and regeneration.

"Tomorrowmarks 100 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

"We will unveil the Glasgow 2014 medals, the greatest prize for athletes of the Commonwealth.

"This is a day of excitement and anticipation for each one of the 4,500 athletes of the Commonwealth who will come to Glasgow in just 12 weeks' time to compete for Gold and glory.

"We hope the people of Glasgow and Scotland will come together to warmly welcome them as we look forward to delivering a Games that these athletes, spectators as well as communities across Scotland and the Commonwealth can all feel proud."

 Responding to the 2014 Organising Committee's (OC's) decision to remove the Red Road element from the opening ceremony a Glasgow City Council spokesman said:

"We support the OC's decision. Public safety must always be paramount on these occasions.

"We will be working with the OC to ensure the city's ongoing regeneration is reflected in the opening ceremony." 

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