A Sail Cargo Hub for Govan?

Govan graving dry docks, Glasgow, Scotland, sail cargo, maritime park
Govan Graving Docks – what can you imagine?

There are several projects around the world that offer inspiration for what’s possible at Govan Graving Docks as a sail cargo hub.

Modern sail cargo is not just about nostalgia for the past. Most importantly it is a proven means of tackling climate change by reducing CO2 emissions from shipping. It is tried and tested the world over so why not on the Clyde – the river that once built a fifth of the world’s ships?

Sail cargo is about the FUTURE!

Sail cargo presents a business and economic case for dry dock restoration.

It’s about creating sustainable, long-term skilled jobs for the people of Govan and Glasgow for decades to come. Some examples:

  • Traditional skills preservation, shipbuilding techniques, carpentry, etc – with modern adaptations
  • Modern sailing ship construction – e.g. using composite materials – as well as building wooden ships
  • Shipbuilding, repair/restoration and other technical skills
  • Sail makers
  • Experience for shipbuilding apprentices
  • Sailing skills training

These are just a fraction of the jobs that a maritime park could create. Most importantly they would last much longer than the time it takes to build some flats.

In Govan we have the ideal site to both operate a sail cargo facility and showcase it as an integral part of a major maritime park attraction. Govan offers a central location to create this – close to the heart of Glasgow. It would enable the wider emerging sail cargo industry to be exhibited in an accessible way not just as a concept idea but a practical, working commercial operation. It would also be a way to create a connection between the past and the future by having this in what was once the most important shipbuilding location in the world. It is a much more suitable location to raise the profile than other sites further down the Clyde that could be suitable but are less accessible to visitors.

If one of the dry docks was restored to working order it could be used to build and repair sail cargo ships – returning civilian shipbuilding to Govan for the first time in decades. It could also be used for restoration projects on historic vessels, bringing part of the site back to it’s original use.

Part of the site could also be used to load/offload goods from small sailing ships – creating even more activity and interest.

It would create a living museum – with activity that still serves a practical business and economic purpose – not just preserving the history in aspic.

You can see some examples of the sail cargo concept at http://sailingdog.org/sail-freight-projects-around-the-world/

Social Media Blitz: Please Help Us Spread the Word

This week CDPI published a detailed report on the planning history of Govan Graving Docks which demonstrates clearly that a major housing development at the historic dry dock site is neither feasible nor desirable.

https://clydedocks.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/report-on-the-planning-history-of-govan-graving-docks/

We also want to produce a documentary film about Govan Graving Docks and have launched a fundraising campaign on Crowdfunder.co.uk. However we need to raise £6,500 for this in the crowdfunder by 29th December 2016 or we won’t get a penny!

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/govan-graving-docks-documentary

From today and over the weekend we are asking you to help us out with a massive social media blitz – to spread the word about the planning history report and the crowdfunding campaign – far and wide to as many people as possible. Also to get more signatures on the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/glasgow-city-council-restore-govan-graving-docks-in-glasgow-to-create-a-shipbuilding-heritage-park-savegovandocks

We have the developers on the ropes now and it’s time for a huge push to deliver the final Coup de Grace for private housing proposals and ensure Govan Graving Docks is protected as a maritime asset for future generations and the benefit of the community.

We’re only five months away from the local government elections. Huge pressure needs to be put on politicians in Glasgow and at Holyrood to acknowledge the state of Govan Graving Docks and how long the site has been derelict.

Report on the Planning History of Govan Graving Docks

A 20 page detailed report into the planning history of Govan Graving Docks that demonstrates redevelopment of the site for housing is not viable on a number of grounds.

The report also questions the historic role of public sector agencies and aims to identify lessons that can be learned from past experiences.


Executive Summary

The report will look in some detail, at the history of planning and development proposals for Govan Graving Docks, since the closure of the site as a working dock facility.

The core of our thesis is that an extensive redevelopment of Govan Graving Docks for residential and commercial use is not feasible on grounds of desirability/popularity, financial viability, technical viability, industrial/maritime heritage concerns and the A-listed status of the site. The information we have researched and collated in this report will serve unequivocally to prove that.

On the basis of research conducted in preparing this report; we have concluded that in order for a housing development at Govan Graving Docks to be financially viable, meet the exceptionally high infrastructure / site preparation costs and provide any return on investment for shareholders and investors – it would need to be an exclusive luxury development with property prices well above the average for the local area. Given the site is bounded by primarily social housing it is questionable whether this could be achieved.

The site has continued to lie derelict for 28 years despite several proposals for housing redevelopment having been put forward and later shelved for various reasons. We have concluded that housing/commercial proposals for such a prominent site as Govan Graving Docks would have gone ahead already had they any real viability and prospect of success.

The report also aims to raise questions of whether a private sector property developer is the most appropriate type of organisation to be entrusted with the stewardship of one of the most unique and significant maritime heritage assets in Europe.

We aim to demonstrate that Local Government strategy in dealing with Govan Graving Docks has in the past lacked objectivity, coherence and consistency in the time that the site has been derelict. Further that this has not aligned with stated policy objectives aimed at encouraging regeneration of the River Clyde corridor. Additionally the approach of the Scottish Government (formerly the Scottish Executive) and previously the Scottish Office prior to devolution has largely been passive. This report is not intended to level criticism at public bodies or officials but simply to identify lessons that can be learned from past experiences.

Clear opportunity to create a major maritime heritage centre at Govan Graving Docks was twice presented during the 1990s however there is no evidence that these proposals received the requisite municipal or political support beyond the granting of planning consent. This is an oversight that was particularly surprising given that Glasgow (once referred to as the “Second City of the Empire”) was once synonymous with maritime and shipbuilding industry. Yet the city does very little to preserve and promote its heritage.

The work of artists such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh is widely celebrated as part of Glasgow’s cultural heritage and rightly so. But what too of the legacy of the shipbuilding pioneers and the graft of thousands of shipyard and dock workers?

Proposals to create a major maritime centre (along with a social enterprise hub) at Govan Graving Docks, that would draw visitors/tourists and contribute immensely to the local economy in the long-term, have emerged once again alongside a campaign that has drawn wide support. This has been coupled with a strategy to create social enterprise and micro business franchise opportunities for young and unemployed people from the Glasgow area, alongside proposed nature reserve areas, studio/workshop space, stalls and a facility for historic ship repair, replica build projects and skills preservation. The proposals are about much more than just maritime heritage and would transform Govan Graving Docks into a cultural hub and centre of community.

The greatest potential threat to the emerging opportunity to create a maritime park is the time needed for detailed proposals to be carefully formed and thus the potential for attempts to streamline the planning process and fast track the plans of housing developers – a scenario that could see Govan Graving Docks lost as an historic site permanently.

The full report and summary of key points are available at http://cdpi.org.uk/case_studies.htm

Press Release: Govan Docks Maritime Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Glasgow, Scotland 30 September 2016

Govan Docks Maritime Park

The Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative (CDPI) are pleased to announce the successful registration of Govan Docks Maritime Park (Scottish registered charity no. SC046875) as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) with the charity regulator OSCR.

This represents a significant step forward in our bid to secure the future of Govan Graving Docks as a maritime heritage asset for future generations and for the benefit of the community in Govan and Glasgow.

The aim is for Govan Docks Maritime Park as an independent, dedicated charity, to eventually secure ownership of the A-listed historic site and raise funds for its restoration.

This will guarantee the long-term protection and stewardship of the only remaining significant dockland site in Glasgow that has not been lost to redevelopment and the only opportunity to create a major maritime heritage centre that befits the significance of our great city’s shipbuilding past. It will also ensure that benefit to the local community, the City of Glasgow, the Clyde region and the West of Scotland’s visitor, tourism and maritime potential is put before commercial gain and speculative property development.

The exact formation of the maritime park will be influenced by ongoing consultation. It is likely it will include a diverse range of attractions, activities, social enterprises, educational facilities, nature reserve, etc that will operate different aspects rather than the entire park being run as a single corporate entity.

The intention is to create independent/cooperative social enterprise franchise opportunities with a particular focus on young and unemployed people from the local areas and to engage a range of relevant third-party support agencies to assist them in the process of setting them up. We expect that major chains – e.g. fast-food outlets, etc will be excluded entirely.

It will be an evolutionary process that will enable the franchise tenants and the community to shape the development of the maritime park through the types of micro-businesses they choose to set up.

We have previously estimated that capacity for up to 250 or more permanent jobs and micro-business / social enterprise opportunities could potentially be created.

However before any of that can happen major restorative work will be required. This will take several years to complete and require millions of pounds in funding (on top of acquisition costs) which the charity aims to raise via heritage/conservation grants and other sources.

Restricting the addition of permanent buildings to the edge along Govan Road will ensure the rest of the quay space (including the cobbled surfaces) is kept intact. Use of the space will be able to change and adapt over time by use of only free-standing structures on the quays and floating installations in the dock basins. We would also like to see restored ships berthed in the docks and aim to provide a facility for at least part of the Cutty Sark 2 replica build.

CDPI aims to continue to provide project management and administrative services to the Govan Docks Maritime Park SCIO and we have just appointed a management consultant with a background in civil engineering to our board of directors.

We wish to thank OSCR for their guidance and efficient processing of the application and of course everyone else who has assisted with the process so far.

www.oscr.org.uk/charities/search-scottish-charity-register/charity-details?number=SC046875

Govan Graving Docks EIA Screening Application

As we reported earlier this month (Govan Needs You, It’s Time To Mobilise!) environmental consultants presumably working for the developers had lodged an application for an EIA Screening Opinion under the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations.

The application had essentially requested that the council rule there is no requirement to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment and include an Environmental Statement of it with any pending or future application for planning consent to develop the site.

Glasgow City Council have now decided that an Environmental Statement will be required as part of the planning process. Not the answer the developers wanted.

This is a welcome decision – a clear indication that the council are acting with the highest integrity, have the best interests of the historic A-listed docks (and their impact on the surrounding environment) at heart and are not going to give the developers an easy ride.

https://publicaccess.glasgow.gov.uk/…/applicationDetails.do…

This demonstrates very clearly that the publicity and pressure being applied by the campaign (which all 8,081 petition supporters and counting have contributed to the strength of) is having effect and this is clearly a positive step forward for us in what was always going to be a war of attrition.

This means a precedent has now been set that any future proposed development of the site is going to need an Environmental Impact Assessment. Of course that will apply to a maritime heritage park as well but an EIA is something we have from the outset felt should be carried out whether mandatory or voluntary. The health and safety of all site users and neighbours (now and in the future) must be top priority.

If you’ve not yet signed the petition you can do so at http://chn.ge/1L3F1T1

A Nature Park Next to Govan Graving Docks? #SaveGovanDocks

The wet basin to the West of Govan Graving Docks was at one time the fitting out basin for the Harland and Wolff shipyard – most of which once stood at what is now Govan Riverside and a housing estate. Only the basin and the adjacent engine shed now remain.

Wet Basin at Govan graving Docks - the former harland and Wolff fitting out basin

It was only later on that this was incorporated into the Govan Dry Dock complex, which was operated by Clydedock Engineering Ltd until it closed down in 1988.

Since the docks closed down the wooden quay around the basin has rotted and crumbled away while the land around it gradually became overgrown with trees and other vegetation until it was cleared in 2014. It has become home to nesting birds and cormorants, swans and a seal are regular visitors to the basin.

What could we do to bring the basin and the adjoining land back into use?

Perhaps it could be a nature park area with dug out ponds, fenced paths or wooden boardwalks around it and leading down to jetties on the bank.

Could the basin be partially silted to create a tidal lagoon with bird islands and a habitat for the wildlife?

There are many successful examples of urban and post-industrial nature parks in Europe and around the world.

Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park in London was created on a former dockland site:
http://www.tcv.org.uk/greenwichpeninsula

 

A park like this on the waterfront close to the centre of Glasgow would attract visitors and would be of huge benefit to the local community in Govan – creating a space for people to relax and for local young people to learn about urban ecology.

There are also very clear health benefits from creating natural environments in urban settings.

Even densely populated Japan manages to address this:

 

Other examples

Camley Street Nature Park, London
Created in a former coal yard between the Regent’s Canal and the railway lines into Kings Cross
http://www.wildlondon.org.uk/reserves/camley-street-natural-park

Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre, Grangemouth
Created on a former wasteland site
http://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserve/jupiter-urban-wildlife-centre/

Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve
Created on former salt marsh within the tidal barrage
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiff_Bay_Wetlands_Reserve

Vacaresti, Bucharest
http://parcnaturalvacaresti.ro/english/

 

Can we put Govan on the map of urban nature locations?

 

Some Relevant Articles and Websites:

 

National Geographic: How Urban Parks Are Bringing Nature Close to Home
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/04/nature-urban-national-parks/

Rotherham Centenary Riverside Urban Nature Park
http://www.wren.org.uk/projects/rotherham-centenary-riverside-urban-nature-park

Urban Nature Parks and Neighborhood Social Health in Portland, Oregon
http://js.sagamorepub.com/jpra/article/view/2714

Sheffield Urban Nature Parks Project
http://www.place-keeping.org/blog/sheffield-urban-nature-parks-project

Scotland’s largest urban nature park given £4m lottery grant
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-36895578

Government of Western Australia: Parks and Wildlife
https://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/off-reserve-conservation/urban-nature

Urban Nature Parks and Individual Health
Oregon State University: Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1008&context=nerr

The health benefits of urban nature: how much do we need?
Fuller Lab
https://www.fullerlab.org/naturedose/

Psychological and mental health benefits from nature and urban greenspace
Ian Douglas / University of Manchester
http://www.ukmaburbanforum.co.uk/docunents/presentations/statins_and_greenspaces/douglas.pdf

 

It’s Not Just About Maritime Heritage

The priority in preserving and restoring Govan Graving Docks is to protect the listed structures as a monument to those who built and repaired hundreds of ships in them. That means restricting the addition of any permanent buildings to the edge along Govan Road and to use maritime and shipbuilding inspired concepts in the architecture.

This will leave quay space available to use temporary free-standing buildings which will still give plenty of scope for innovation and also allow for adaptive use of the site. The dry dock basins can be used to accommodate floating units, restored ships and a working dry dock for historic ship repair, replica construction and skills preservation projects.

The aim is to provide quay space for a wide range of uses as well as small commercial units along Govan Road. The uses for these are limited only by the imagination of the small businesses, local social entrepreneurs and artists who will be engaged to bring the site back to life.

The following list gives only a few examples of what is possible. If you have ideas please add them in the comment section below.

  • Cafes, restaurants, deli shops
  • Artists studios
  • Gift shops
  • Skills preservation workshops
  • Museum displays and interactive media
  • Art and craft stalls
  • Street food stalls
  • Large and small art installations
  • Street performers / outdoor theatre
  • Seasonal festivals, river galas/regattas, community events
  • Park and recreation space
  • Floating holiday accommodation

 

Would you be interested in setting up a micro business or social enterprise franchise at Govan Graving Docks once it has been restored? If so please get in touch! If you know someone who would please tell them.

We’re particularly keen to hear from young and unemployed people from Govan and the wider Glasgow area as well as those who can offer specific skills and training support to help young and unemployed people develop their own cooperative franchises.