Network Rail lodges plans to open up Glasgow railway arches for business use

Some of Glasgow’s derelict railway arches could soon be transformed for commercial use under plans drawn up by Network Rail.

View south from Cleland Street

Designed by IDP Architects, the proposals would see 16 spaces underneath the City Union line in the Laurieston/Gorbals area renovated to welcome a variety of businesses opportunities, including fast food outlets, retail and office space. 

If approved, Arch 7 would be opened up to create a walkway connecting Cleland Lane and Laurieston Road.

View north on Laurieston Road

In their submission, Network Rail wrote: “The proposal is a refurbishment project which seeks to bring new uses into the area and visually enhance the arches and its surroundings.

 “It will contribute towards the wider transformation of the Laurieston area which has seen a mix of new housing tenures and types in recent years, and bring services and small-scale employment opportunities to the area.

“In addition, the opening up of arch seven to form a new pedestrian route (connecting Cleland Lane and Laurieston Road) will make the railway structure more permeable and reduce walking distances for local residents travelling in an east-west direction.”

View south on Cleland Lane

Network Rail added: “At this stage in the project it is not clear what the mix of uses are likely to be.

“Each arch is relatively small and likely to be attractive to small, independent businesses.

“It is important to have a good mix of uses which is why a flexible consent for different uses is sought.

“It is acknowledged that the council would be concerned about a proliferation of hot food takeaways but it is considered that this type of use is appropriate in one or two units given its location away from residential properties and the availability of parking.

“The works are part of a phased approach to bring new uses into the area which will, in the longer term, include units nine to 16. 

Evening view of Cleland Lane underpass

“The type of uses for units one to eight will be partly market-driven and there is a need for flexibility in the planning consent as Network Rail have not yet identified suitable tenants.

“Network Rail recognises that the first tenancies that we allow will set the tone for others to follow and that it is important to get the mix and tenancy right.

“The loss of land to extend the car park will not have an adverse impact on the function of the open space.

“In addition, the proposal will enhance its immediate setting through street furniture/hardscaping, provide an additional opportunity for local residents to get to the open space (via arch seven) and a reason to stop i.e. shops/businesses.”

Images courtesy of Network Rail and IDP Architects

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