Friday, 23 October 2009
Ferry Village and Renfrew Riverside
One of the sparkling jewels in the crown of Glasgow's Clyde Waterfront regeneration is Renfrew Riverside. You can see in the wee photo above that it's like a scene from Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica. Braehead Shopping Centre and the Xscape look like UFOs that have landed in a car park - or perhaps they were shot down by one of the Royal Navy's finest destroyers in the course of refitting at BAE Systems across the river in Scotstoun! Either way, Welcome to the Clyde aliens!
I don't need to say much about Braehead that hasn't been said already - really, one of Scotland's top shopping centres and warm congratulations to the team from Glasgow City Council for promoting this golden nugget of retail heaven which includes Ikea, Comet, PC World and even Halfords.
Now this time, retail isn't the whole story. There is a small park designed by Ian White Associates - famously the landscape architects for the SECC just up river and what a splendid job they made of laying out the tarmac around that memorable work of architectural brilliance. Ian is a big favourite of property developers who want a simple low cost solution that doesn't get in the way of the buildings or car parks - he really bends over the drawing board to accommodate the biggest developers and is very much sought after.
But one of the star attractions for me is Ferry Village. The beautiful hand rendered drawing above by genius architects Young and Gault tells the whole story of untrampled loveliness envisioned for the future. This is an area around the Renfrew Ferry which once had a collection of derelict huts, ugly sheds and the like that used to be home to many small businesses and craftsman industries involved in repairing and storing boats. Doubtless there were also many scroungers and vagrants from Yoker - stowaways on the Renfrew Ferry - who had settled there in cardboard boxes, potentially spoiling the view from luxury flats.
Now with amazing foresight, the developers realised that this was undesirable in a waterfront regeneration scheme and got Clydeport (the dynamic team responsible for so much that is new and good on the Clyde) to kick them out, paving the way for some very attractive flats that will instantly appeal to the buy-to-rent market, divorced women and other people on social security. Called the Anchorage, this is a place of singular beauty and luxury - even though someone in the office said the interior looked like a bordello. The landscaping is simple and delightful as you can see below - eat your heart out Capability Brown!
It seems obvious to me that small businesses have no place on waterfronts of World Renown and it's ridiculous for people to kick up a fuss over their eviction. But the real twist in the tail is that having got rid of one second rate boatyard, there are now plans to have a proper marina nearby that will be exclusive and posh. That is lateral thinking and Edward de Bono himself would be proud of all the guys behind this incredibly clever and beautiful development. Isn't Scottish town planning truly magnificent?