GLASGOW arts venue SWG3 has revealed the first phase in plans to transform a huge stretch of derelict land into a new community garden will be completed this week.

Situated behind SWG3’s main warehouse building, 3,200m² of wasteland has been redesigned in consultation with neighbours, resident artists, staff and the wider local community as the SWG3 complex prepares for one of their most significant developments yet - a green space.

After being registered by the city’s council as being derelict for over two decades, the land has been remodelled to create a shared space for the community to grow, plant, play and create.

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The garden’s development has been led by horticultural and design expert Jeremy Needham. The first sign of life has been a significant one. Since The New York Times’ Climate Hub, hosted at the venue during COP26, Mr Needham has been tending a miniature forest of indigenous plants and trees, donated by the global institution following a powerful installation in SWG3’s Galvanizers space by artist Es Devlin.

The Herald: SWG3 reveals community garden plansSWG3 reveals community garden plans

A spacious outdoor terrace stretching out beneath the warehouse windows has also been built featuring a sculpture designed by award-winning Scottish artist Jaqueline Donachie. Titled STEP, the artwork will be installed on the terrace as modular platforms. Initially created for Glasgow International 2021 it explores the relationship between built environments and the different types of bodies accessing them.

With the SWG3 summer programme starting shortly; access times to The garden will be published on the SWG3 website and from next Spring the garden will be open daily, all year round.

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It is described as green oasis in the heart of the city and a space where everybody from local residents to tourists and artists with their touring parties can relax, socialise and connect with nature.

The Herald: SWG3 hope the garden will be open all year roundSWG3 hope the garden will be open all year round

Andrew Fleming-Brown, managing director of SWG3, said: “We’re delighted to be able to reveal our plans for the garden. It’s an integral part of our vision in creating a truly world class cultural and circular campus, as well as an exciting way for SWG3 to become even more involved with our local community. As a project, the garden holds so much potential to collaborate, learn and create and we can’t wait to welcome visitors later in the year.”

Working with sustainable food collective Propagate, SWG3 have held an intensive consultation process. Through surveys, canvassing, workshops and a garden party held in the grounds, an incredible amount of information and ideas have been garnered on everything from bees to biodiversity, walkways to wildfires. 

The Herald: Transformation of the derelict site is underwayTransformation of the derelict site is underway

As well as addressing a known demand for public greenspace and growing space in the area, the garden is a key part in SWG3’s vision for the future, which includes the site going completely net-zero. 

Across the rest of the year work will begin on bringing to life the plans for the rest of the space, including bespoke seating, growing and food production beds, a sheltered gathering space, sensory planting area and a woodland walkway. 

Funding of more than £500,000, from a combination of funders including the Vacant and Derelict Land Fund, the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund and the VKR Foundation, have made the garden possible.

The Herald: SWG3 music and arts venueSWG3 music and arts venue

Richard Williams, Business Development Manager at VELUX, said: “It’s a privilege for VELUX to be part of this project, which will provide the local community with much needed green space and somewhere to come together. Myself and fifteen colleagues from our regional office, are looking forward to getting stuck in and planting some trees and helping this worthy initiative.” 

While John McGuire, International Sales Director at Altaterra, said it was a project close to his herat, and added: "I am delighted the foundation could support this tremendous initiative which will be beneficial both to the people of Glasgow and the local environment. We are all extremely proud that we could play a part in the funding but also ‘getting our hands dirty’ in the development of the garden.”