George Square has reopened after the first phase of its face lift was completed at the cost of £500,000. The early autumn sun shone down on the restored city square after the perimeter barriers were removed. The controversial red tarmac has been lifted and a temporary surface has been laid using epoxy resin giving a grey hard wearing coating suitable for icy weather. Two new large grassy areas have been installed with more plants and different lighting. The grassy areas have been created so that they can be covered up to allow large scale events to be held in the square like Remembrance Day and Christmas festivities.
Although the revamp seems to have been warmly accepted I have to say I was somewhat underwhelmed. The square may look a bit more spacious but as I work in an office overlooking it and see it all the time I don’t see much changed. The statutes have been cleaned, there are more benches and the trees have been removed from around the Cenotaph so that the City Chambers is in full view. It is tidier but not much different.
Last year Glasgow City Council announced it would spend £15 million redesigning the historic square and six designs were put before the public to look at. At the end of the day the council did a complete U turn and decided to go ahead with a much more modest project. This was generally accepted by the public in the interest of purse strings but I would definitely have expected something a little more dramatic. There is absolutely no wow factor to the square. For me it is disappointing and looks like a make do and mend job.