Hutchesontown Area E was possibly the greatest planning disaster in Glasgow's history. Located in the Hutchesontown/Gorbals area of the city, it consisted of twelve 7 storey deck access blocks and two 24 storey point blocks. The deck access blocks were extremely problematic and poorly built. They were torn down in 1987. The point blocks survived until July 2013, when they were demolished.
Timeline of EventsEdit
- 1967, Glasgow City Council admit they are looking into the possibility of building deck access flats at a number of locations accross the city as the traditional 4 storey tenement cannot house the vast numbers still to be rehoused in the city limits. These areas are Summerston in the north west, Fernhill in the north, Darnley in the south and Hutchesontown Area E in Gorbals.
- 1969, all three schemes are approved and construction begins.
- 1972, the first flats are opened by Queen Elizabeth in Pine Street. She hands over the keys to a young couple. The scheme consists of two 24 storey tower blocks at Sandiefield Road and 759 flats and maisonettes in mid-rise deck-access blocks. 4 months later, the first complaints of damp are made as new furniture, carpets and wallpaper are attacked by a creeping black mould. the flats earn the nickname "The Dampies" as water penetration and condensation rot the new buildings.
- 1974, the scheme is completed as the Gorbals masterplan is finished. It relinquishes its status of a comprehensive development area for the first time since 1957.
- 1975, damp has now reached an over powering level. Black mould is prevalent on the upper floors and black and green mould on the lower floors. Tint beetles infest the complex as they feed off the fungi. Possessions like clothes smell, food not in the fridge goes off and residents are deeply unhappy. 400 protest about the flats and are outraged when the newly formed Glasgow District Council claim it is down to heavy breathing and condensation, as opposed to damp. In the end, they admit the buildings are at fault and propose a £2m overhaul of the heating system. This is slammed by experts who say that this will not make the flats habitable.
- 1980, after a prolonged rent-strike, residents are rehoused. Water runs down the walls, the carpets breed maggots and the mould has long term afftects on health. Willie Roxburn of Norfolk Court in Laurieston is voted leader of the Scottish Consumer Council for his tireless campaigning to get Area E residents rehoused.
- 1981, "This is the most modern and expensive ghost town in the world, we havent even worked out the cost to remedy the dampness. Even to knock the houses down would probably run into millions" says a GDC spokesman.
- 1982, Barratt offer to purchase the dwellings on the 2 miles squared site for £1000 each. The handful of residents remaining move out a few weeks short of Area E's 10th anniversary and the vacant complex is raided by squatters, drug fiends and youths.
- 1985, After a 5 hour meeting, the GDC opt to demolish the flats to be replaced by a mixture of private and social housing and a supermarket.
- 1986, the plans for a supermarket are rejected as it is deemed "too big"
- 1987, the flats are demolished by Burnthills of Johnstone leaving 2 square miles of wasteland cutting off Gorbals from the rest of the south side.
- 1988, Frank Lafferty's building empire goes bankrupt. The company was a major partner in the proposed building of private housing on the Area E site. This leaves the GDC to deal with the wasteland on its own.
- 1989, locals want the "eyesore" to be cleared up but not with "yuppie flats."
- 1990, An ambitoius organisation is formed and called the Crown Street Regeneration Project, named after the bustling hub of 'Old Gorbals'. It plans to rebuild the urban fabric that has been lost in the midst of the Area E demolition. Project leader, Mike Galloway says, "The only project on this scale was undertaken in Berlin". He is given £80m to achieve what appears to be the impossible.
- 1994, Wimpey, Miller and Redrow all get involved in the Crown Street Regeneration. The street plan is to be reverted back to how it was in 'Old Gorbals' and streets are renamed after the old streets.
- 1996, phase 1 is completed and Tay Homes are granted £5m to work on the second phase after Miller partnerships are pulled up on defective properties that flooded three times in the stage 1 part of the new development.
- 2007, work is still ongoing but Stage 3 is nearing completion. This will link up with the Queen Elizabeth Square and Laurieston redevlopments and a refurbishment of properties in Hutchesontown Areas A, B and D to create a new start for the Gorbals.
- 2013, the two remaining towers at 170 and 200 Sandiefield Road are demolished by controlled explosion, thus removing the last elements of the Area E estate.