George Square revamp to begin next year as final designs confirmed

Work to revamp George Square will include a water feature, raised lawn, sheltered seating and feature lighting.

Glasgow George Square revamp to begin next year as final designs confirmed Getty Images

Work to revamp George Square is set to begin in January next year, as the final design has been confirmed.

Once the Christmas 2024 decorations are removed, hoardings will be erected around the civic square and 11 statues removed to storage for restoration.

A contractor is set to be awarded the main redesign contract by February — and construction at George Square is expected to be completed by August 2026.

Work on surrounding streets should be finished by April 2027.

The project will include a water feature, a raised lawn, sheltered seating and feature lighting. There is also set to be “informal ‘play’ areas for children”.

Final George Square designsLDRS

A further raised lawn green area will be created in front of the Cenotaph. The council has said the designs for the eastern part of the square respond to “its institutional character and the formality of the city chambers and the Cenotaph”.

At the western end of the square, there will be an area for cafes to spill out and paved space for events.

Statues are expected to be returned to new locations on the finished square from July 2027 onwards. Designs show the Sir Walter Scott monument and the Cenotaph remaining in their current places.

Officials have reported the final design “respects the central east west axis in the square (city chambers, Cenotaph, Sir Walter Scott monument)” and “responds to the non-institutional character of the western area of the square”.

John McAslan and Partners were awarded the design contract for George Square and surrounding streets.

These include John Street, St Vincent Street and Place, West George Street, George Street, Hanover and Miller Street, North Hanover Street, Dundas Street and Dundas Lane and Cochrane Street.

Feature lighting has been considered as part of the design, which proposes “the use of gobo projects which are capable of projecting images on the floor of the square and also on the façade of the city chambers”.

“The projectors have multiple projecting images built into them along with the functionality to change the light colours, lighting styles and angles remotely,” officials have reported.

The next phase for the project is for tender documents to be prepared ahead of contracts being awarded. The final cost will be determined during the procurement process.

Funding is being provided through the City Deal programme, a £1bn infrastructure scheme funded by both the UK and Scottish governments.

Last month, a notice for statue experts to restore the landmarks, several of which are A-listed, was issued. It will be followed by the council recruiting contractors to carry out the restoration work.

At the time, council leader Susan Aitken said: “This is very niche, highly specialised and painstaking work, so we need to ensure we’ve the right level of expertise on board from the get-go.

“To get that level of expertise, it’s clear we need specialists to help us find the right contractors for the job. These are A and B-listed monuments and for many people are a key part of the experience of visiting Glasgow’s main public space. It’s critical we get this right.

“But it’s genuinely exciting to be reaching the point where we’re now on our way to the quality civic space Glaswegians have long asked for.”

There are currently 13 listed monuments in the Square and a condition survey in 2014 found nine were in a “poor state of repair” while four were “considered as medium state of repair”.

The 11 statues set to be removed, restored and then returned to the Square are: Prince Albert, Robert Peel, Queen Victoria, Thomas Campbell, Sir John Moore, James Watt, Robert Burns, James Oswald, William Ewart Gladstone, Thomas Graham and Field Marshall Lord Clyde.

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