PLANS to transform a row of rundown Glasgow railway arches for commercial use have been drawn up by Network Rail.
The proposal involves 16 spaces underneath the City Union line in the Laurieston/Gorbals area and would be carried out in two phases.
Network Rail initially want permission for seven arches, at Cleland Lane, near the Citizen’s Theatre, to be available for a variety of uses — retail, food/drink, office and business. Another of the arches would be turned into a through pedestrian route.
A statement submitted by Network Rail explains: “The proposal is a refurbishment project which seeks to bring new uses into the area and visually enhance the arches and its surroundings.
“It will contribute towards the wider transformation of the Laurieston area which has seen a mix of new housing tenures and types in recent years, and bring services and small-scale employment opportunities to the area.
“In addition, the opening up of arch seven to form a new pedestrian route [connecting Cleland Lane and Laurieston Road] will make the railway structure more permeable and reduce walking distances for local residents travelling in an east-west direction.”
The statement continues: “At this stage in the project it is not clear what the mix of uses are likely to be. Each arch is relatively small and likely to be attractive to small, independent businesses.
“It is important to have a good mix of uses which is why a flexible consent for different uses…is sought. It is acknowledged that the Council would be concerned about a proliferation of hot food takeaways but it is considered that this type of use is appropriate in one or two units given its location away from residential properties and the availability of parking.”
Network Rail add: “The works are part of a phased approach to bring new uses into the area which will, in the longer term, include units nine to 16. The type of uses for units one to eight will be partly market-driven and there is a need for flexibility in the planning consent as Network Rail have not yet identified suitable tenants.
“Network Rail recognises that the first tenancies that we allow will set the tone for others to follow and that it is important to get the mix and tenancy right.”
The arches have been used in the past for small-scale and/or temporary functions and are currently gated on the west side (Cleland Lane) and bricked up on the east side (Laurieston Road).
Parking would be increased to 10 spaces by using some of the open ground beside Cleland Lane
Network Rail state: “The loss of land to extend the car park will not have an adverse impact on the function of the open space. In addition, the proposal will enhance its immediate setting through street furniture/hardscaping, provide an additional opportunity for local residents to get to the open space (via arch seven) and a reason to stop i.e. shops/businesses.”
The application is pending consideration by Glasgow City planners.
How the arches would look from Laurieston Road