IT was where Glasgow’s Royal Maternity Hospital sat for more than 140 years until it was bought over by the University of Strathclyde in 2001, and remains one of the city’s most recognisable areas, now converted to serene gardens enjoyed by many.

Now the former Rottenrow site is included in plans submitted to Glasgow City Council requesting permission to makeover the gardens and surrounding streets, pedestrianising the area and re-landscaping the area.

The university’s proposals for the Heart Of The Campus project include a new covered walkway, seating and performance space, extensive planting, bike parking and electric vehicle charging points.

Rottenrow, Richmond Street, North Portland Street and small sections of the pedestrian footway in Montrose Street are currently adopted by Glasgow City Council, but the University of Strathclyde wants to own the entire site, which would remain accessible to the public.

The project would involve the “pedestrian prioritisation” of the surrounding streets.

A planning report, submitted on behalf of the university, states: “As a leading technological university, the proposed development is driven by a strategic ambition to provide an outstanding student experience supported by the transformation of the campus.

“The Heart Of The Campus Project will continue this and will specifically improve the visual appeal and biodiversity of the university’s surroundings and create an engaging campus where students will want to stay.”

The university hopes to revitalise the gardens and surrounding area by “creating a vibrant, green, climate resilient, inclusive and inspirational city centre space”.

It believes the stopping up of Rottenrow, North Portland Street and Richmond Street will “reduce conflicts between people walking and cycling and motorised vehicles and allow significantly more space to walk and cycle without vehicle dominance”.

The project will also consider Montrose Street but work on that road is expected to be delivered separately through a scheme funded by Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity.

Rottenrow Gardens were landscaped after the former Rottenrow Maternity Hospital was demolished in 2001.

But the plans say the water feature is no longer working and some areas 
“are perceived to be less safe” due to poor CCTV coverage, inconsistent lighting and areas where shrubs reduce visibility.

“As a consequence, the Gardens are currently underutilised and would benefit from improved accessibility,” the report adds.

There will continue “to be an arrangement in place for disabled access. This will be a combination of ramped access routes where possible and alternative routes in 
other locations.”

The report adds: “The Heart Of The Campus aims to bring together staff and students in one central location, a hub of activity outside, adjacent to the hub of activity inside – the new learning and teaching building.

“In line with the pedestrian-first ethos and focus on active travel, the HOC should include well equipped, sustainably designed cycle hubs to provide suitable secure and dry 
storage for bikes.

“Additionally, to fit in with the themes of shared space that fosters university community these cycle hubs should be equipped to facilitate maintenance workshops, water refilling, cycle-related events and potentially e-bike charging.”

The ambitious plans are part of the university’s £1 billion campus transformation that has already seen the refurbishment and development of buildings in the city centre.

A £60 million learning and teaching hub is set to be constructed, designed by students and staff that will provide a new home for student support services and the Students’ Union.

Under the plans, the existing Wolfson Building will get £15.5m to expand its teaching and research capacity.

In keeping with its sustainability plans, the university completed the installation of a state-of-the-art combined heating and power system earlier this year, as well as several electric vehicle charging points.

The heating system allows Strathclyde to generate up to 50 per cent of its electricity on campus and use the resultant heat produced to heat campus buildings.