Glasgow & West Scotland

Protest over Glasgow Royal Concert hall steps demolition

steps protest

About 100 people have protested against plans to demolish the steps outside Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall.

Earlier this week the city council approved proposals for a £390m extension of Buchannan Galleries.

The steps are to be replaced by a new atrium which will provide access to both the concert hall and shopping centre.

An online petition to save the steps has attracted more than 14,000 signatures.

Since the concert hall opened in 1990 the steps have become popular for demonstrations, performances and for workers and passers-by to sit down on.

Work on the new extension is due to begin this summer.

Council leader Gordon Matheson said the move would generate 1,500 new jobs and help to maintain Glasgow's reputation as the UK's second shopping destination after London.

Image copyright Glasgow City Council
Image caption The new atrium will replace the steps

The demonstration was organised by the grassroots Save Our Steps group.

Campaigners chanted "save our steps" and "GCC shame on you" as they held up banners and signs reading "hands off public spaces" and "leave Donald alone", in reference to the statue of Scotland's inaugural first minister Donald Dewar, which is to be moved from its current position at the foot of the steps.

Some campaigners who back Scottish independence also held up political messages, targeting the Labour-controlled council.

One of the organisers, Michael Skribbles, said the campaign group had already handed a 14,000 signature petition into the council, which was "totally ignored".

He said the group has launched a new petition and plans to occupy the steps every Saturday until the council "takes notice".

"You only have to go a few streets away to find dozens and dozens of empty shops, so one thing we don't need is more shops," he said.

"There are so many empty units in Glasgow, money could be spent renovating the streets that those units are on."

He insisted the protest was mainly "cultural" rather than political, adding: "For many people who are here today, they are not even 'Yes' voters, they are people who use this (the steps) for their lunch everyday or to meet people.

"These steps have been here for decades and Glasgow City Council is doing all it can to take them away."

Campaigner Terence Christy, from Milngavie, said: "Over the past couple of years the steps have become a great meeting point for all sorts of political events.

"I am not from Glasgow myself, but I come into Glasgow a lot and it's a great focal point.

"We don't need any more shops here. Regeneration is not needed here and it is not essential."

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