People’s Palace reopening promise ‘has not been kept’

Glasgow councillor Cecilia O’Lone said the venue, which is in her ward, has not been opened as planned.

People’s Palace reopening promise ‘has not been kept’ iStock
Glasgow: The People's Palace has reopened.

A People’s Palace reopening promise has not been kept, a Labour councillor has claimed, as toilets are not open to Glasgow Green visitors.

Councillor Cecilia O’Lone said the venue, which is in her ward, has not been opened as planned.

She criticised Glasgow Life bosses for not giving her the “courtesy of a briefing on the changes”.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life, which runs culture and leisure venues for the council, said staff were “working hard” to increase opening hours and visitor numbers had to be managed under Covid guidance.

She added all councillors had been briefed on reopening plans last week.

Cllr O’Lone raised her concerns in a letter to councillor David McDonald, the Glasgow Life chairman and deputy leader of Glasgow City Council.

She claimed he had previously told her the People’s Palace would be open daily “the same as our other open museum buildings”.

It is currently open between 10am and 5pm every Wednesday and Thursday.

Cllr O’Lone also wrote that Glasgow Life chief executive Dr Bridget McConnell had confirmed in May that it would be possible “for others to enter the building without a booking while adhering to Test and Protect guidance, so long as visitor capacity is not exceeded”.

“This will allow the toilet facilities to be accessed by visitors to Glasgow Green.”

But the Labour councillor added: “The reality is none of this has happened and, frustratingly, I have had to read about the extremely limited opening and that people could not get access to toilets through various media sources, but no direct correspondence to myself as an elected member for the Calton ward.

“Considering this is a radical shift away from the reopening process detailed in your letter, I should have at the very least been given the courtesy of a briefing on the changes to the reopening planning process.”

She asked why the opening times had changed and why there was no toilet provision for Glasgow Green visitors.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow Life said: “As is standard practice across the country during the pandemic, you must pre-book a free ticket to visit the People’s Palace.

“Scottish Government guidance on social distancing requires us to manage the number of people in the building at any one time so people can visit safely and maintain the two metres social distancing required.

“The museum initially opened on Wednesdays and Thursdays and we are working hard to increase opening hours as restrictions lessen and will update visitors via our website and social media.

“Councillors were briefed on reopening as part of regular communication with elected representatives last week.”

By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands