Full of eastern promise
The scale of this project will take your breath away. Exit Easterhouse railway station, cross the M8 and suddenly a vast view opens up – a view undergoing change on a huge scale. This is Blairtummock and what were once deserted streets, old blaze pitches and the site of a demolished primary school is alive with activity. And this is only one part of the project!
Blairtummock Park is for the moment the preserve of diggers, lorries and heavy machinery. Yellow vests are much in evidence as a workforce carefully coaxes the area back to life. In time there will be active travel routes criss-crossing the site, and perhaps, just perhaps, the yellow vests will be replaced by yellow jerseyed cyclists. For now hustle and bustle are the name of the game.
It is a huge task by any standards. Greater Easterhouse is a sprawling area, comprised of lot of smaller housing estates, and change is going to take time. Consider the numbers for a moment. 29 hectares of land – an area equivalent to 30 Hampden Parks, a focal point for an area which houses around 40,000 people within 300m of the three sites.
Some elements will survive and those with an architectural interest will be delighted to know that Blairtummock House is safe. Sitting at one end of a lovely tree lined avenue, this house which once housed the family of the man who set up Glasgow Vet School. It’s worth taking a look at the 1912 Bartholomew’s map to see just how Easterhouse today bear no resemblance to Easterhouse in the past. Yet the site at Blairtummock will be closer how it was pre 1950s than ever. Blairtummock House will be the one constant.
One feature could stand out in the new development. With climate change a constant concern at the moment it is heartening that the design here always included the daylighting of Whamflet burn and creation of wetland storage areas, which will increase drainage capacity and improve flood storage options.
Three miles along the Edinburgh Road dual-carriageway lie Cranhill Park and in Ruchazie the superbly named Croftcroighn Park. The latter is a hive of industry just now, mirroring the major works at Blairtummock. A swathe of huge pipes are being installed to better drain the site and paths will be rerouted, but a clutch of sizable mature trees will remain. At the end of this short-term inconvenience will come a vastly improved multi-functional greenspace.
The redevelopment of this park will seek to improve link northwards into Hogganfield Park and add to the network of existing core paths. By improving those paths and offering much improved access to greenspaces from existing and future residential development sites the site can help transform the lives of local residents.
And that’s a goal that the original citizens of Blairtummock House would surely have applauded. There’s a lot happening out east.