THE LAST of Glasgow’s Red Road Flats will be blown up this autumn – 10 years after it was revealed the ‘cities in the sky’ would be demolished.
The six remaining high rises in the north east of the city will be gone by the end of 2015, with the site taking a further two years to clear-up.
Once the tallest housing blocks in Europe, the imposing buildings will be brought down together using explosives.
The event will be a more low key affair than previously planned.
Commonwealth Games organisers had wanted the demolition to be part of the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony.
But public outcry about the stunt – described as insensitive – and fears over safety, saw the plans scrapped.
The Red Road flats development consisted of eight huge towers, and was once home to 5,000 people.
Built between 1964 and 1969 they were seen as a key to tackling Glasgow’s post-war housing crisis.
The first residents welcomed the move to the tower blocks but by the 1970s the estate became notorious for crime, antisocial behaviour and alcohol and drug problems.
In 2005 it was announced the tallest of the blocks would be brought down, with the others to follow suit. The first block was demolished in June 2012 and the second a year later.
The last Red Road flat residents, housed there by an asylum-seeker-housing provider, only moved out in February this year.
David Fletcher, director of regeneration at Glasgow Housing Association, insisted: “The project to demolish all eight Red Road flats and clear the site was always planned to take until 2017 and we are well on track.
“We completely understand that, for people living nearby, this project is taking a long time and we would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation.”
He continued: “It was initially anticipated the blowdown of the blocks would be done on a phased basis with several separate blowdown operations over a number of years.
“However, we have listened carefully to the community and, as a result, have been very keen to do everything we can to minimise disruption to people.
“The single blowdown in autumn this year will greatly reduce the inconvenience to surrounding residents and businesses while allowing us to meet our original timescale of demolishing and clearing the site by 2017.”
He added: “The demolition of Red Road, which will pave the way for future regeneration, is a huge and complex project which has involved rehousing more than 1,300 people and carrying out very specialised preparation work to the blocks so they can be demolished safely.”
However, some believe the demolition should have been completed long before now.
Phil Greene, the SNP councillor for the area, said: “They should have been down years ago.
“They could have all come down in a oner about five years ago.
“They are an eyesore and the dust and grit that blows off them is horrific. But this is a very big project and it really is going to take a long time to clear up afterwards, which will bring trucks of dirt going through our streets.”