Clyde Gateway’s policy of partnership and cooperation has been a springboard for change in the city and beyond

Anyone who thinks that the laudable aims of urban regeneration can be achieved merely by a bit of pleasing landscaping and some attractive industrial and office units should think again. Martin McKay, executive director of regeneration at Clyde Gateway points to the need for remediation, house building, job creation in the office and industrial sector and the creation of a greener, more sustainable environment in which to live and work.

“We are taking an integrated approach at Clyde Gateway, one that is very much aware of the climate emergency that will be highlighted at Cop26, and how a regeneration company fits into that,” he says. “It’s a policy of thinking globally and acting locally.”

He believes that the conference of world leaders will be a significant inflection point for the city, in a similar fashion to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. “These events are important for Glasgow and represent real spring- boards for change, including for us in the east end. It will be another step on the journey, allowing us to underpin the work that we’re doing, first in a local context, then a city and finally a global one,” says McKay.

Clyde Gateway is Scotland’s biggest-ever regeneration scheme and was established to carry out the regeneration of 840 hectares across the east end of Glasgow and South Lanarkshire, working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government.

McKay is aware that regeneration by its nature involves construction which in its turn has the potential to be carbon intensive. “But we are committed to achieving the economic and social improvements that we want for this area.

“To deliver that activity we have developed a strategic approach that has taken us through a series of steps that include the remediation of brownfield land, flood management, surface water management, green spaces and biodiversity – plus sustainable transport. So we are dealing with these issues before addressing the construction itself and the efficient heating and cooling of premises.”

The work Clyde Gateway has been doing over the past years, he adds, has involved master planning around energy and carbon since the outset. “We’ve tackled all these things in parallel and the collective efforts that we can bring together help on our journey towards net zero.”

This focus on ever-greater levels of sustainability, combined with a growing emphasis on health and wellbeing at all its facilities and efforts to improve active travel through walking and cycling as well as encouraging the use of public transport, has seen Clyde Gateway designated as Scotland’s
first Green Regeneration Innovation District (GRID).

It is working with partners Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enterprise as well as the British Geological Survey, SP Energy Networks, SSE, Scottish Water

Horizons, NatureScot, Sustrans and European partners to create a district that will lever green recovery with job creation and sustainable economic growth – while also addressing social inequalities.

“The projects that we include within our GRID proposition include large green spaces such as Malls Mire, 16 hectares of derelict land at Toryglen being developed as a mixed-use community park with play areas, a wetland area and a network of paths for walkers and cyclists.

“These are great examples of the transformational regeneration areas we’ve been able to augment with green space and then introduce walking and cycling. And critically, we’ve been able to do that with the enthusiastic support of the local community,” says McKay.

Within the Grid, the D2Grids project is an exciting bid to develop 5th- generation urban heating and cooling networks in Europe and involves five demonstrators in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Glasgow and Nottingham in the UK. The partners, McKay says, are joining Clyde Gateway during Cop26.

District heating is central to Clyde Gateway’s plans, with Dalmarnock identified as the site now home to one of the country’s most innovative and sustainable heating systems helping to reduce fuel poverty in the area following £2.1m funding from the Green Economy Fund. The system will provide an instant supply of heat and hot water using a metered system. It will, he says, be considerably more efficient than conventional heating and will reduce energy bills for residents and businesses.

It will also ensure that Clyde Gateway moves forward as a truly mixed-use environment. “Yes we have a business park that is predominantly office space – but we have seen more than 3,000 new homes built with another 1,500 in the pipeline,” says McKay.

“These developments are within walking distance to both a train station and green spaces, creating mixed-use neighbourhoods and giving people the ability to live, travel and work in a more sustainable way.”

Bridge that lights the way to better quality of life

Cuningar loop Woodland Park opened to the public in august 2015 on an area of vacant and derelict scrubland on the banks of the Clyde less than a mile from rutherglen town centre and directly across from the athletes’ Village.

Clyde Gateway has received £2.3m of Scottish Government funding through the Clyde Mission Fund to create phase two, which will extend the park by a further 8.53 hectares in partnership with NatureScot.

This will see the transformation of previously derelict and inaccessible land into a new green space designed to enable community engagement, health, wellbeing, and lifelong learning as part of the local response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“What we are aiming to do is integrate walking and cycling routes and we have been planning these routes since the inception of Clyde Gateway,” says Martin Mckay, who points to the Clyde Smartbridge that connects Shawfield to Dalmarnock, carrying a pedestrian walkway and cycle path across the Clyde with a range of power, telecoms and IT connections over the river to nearby business parks.

“The bridge aims to regenerate the areas of Shawfield and rutherglen by halving the walking time from these areas and Magenta Business Park to Dalmarnock station, aiding in the regeneration of both banks of the river,” he says.

“The aim is to create key areas in which people can live and work; that both reduces car dependency and enhances their quality of life.”

Cuningar loop will shortly be home to a new artwork, the Hope Sculpture by Steuart Padwick. “We are very pleased to be welcoming the Hope Sculpture,” says Mckay.

“This is a major public art installation showcasing how we can approach construction in the lowest carbon way.”