New rented homes plan near High Street has ‘killed off Crossrail link for Glasgow’

By Stewart Paterson

Political Correspondent

New rented homes plan near High Street has ‘killed off Crossrail link for Glasgow’

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THE decision to allow a development of more than 700 flats for rent has effectively killed of any hope of a Crossrail scheme for Glasgow, a city MP has said.

Crossrail would link the rail networks to the north and south and remove the need for many passengers having to change and walk between Central and Queen Street stations.

It required the development of the High Street curve linking the Union line near Glasgow Cross and Queen Street low level routes.

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However, the development by Get Living for more than 700 rented flats and 99 student flats on the site close to High Street, which was approved by the council this week, builds on the land where the lines would be linked.

Glasgow North East Labour MP Paul Sweeney objected to the development on the grounds it would “obliterate” the possibility of Crossrail being completed.

Mr Sweeney said the development could have been built in a way that “future-proofed” Crossrail and would still have allowed work on the railway.

Instead he said it was “short-termism” disregarding a transport ambition that would benefit passengers in the city.

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Mr Sweeney, said: “The decision has prioritised a rapacious private developer over a strategic transport site.

“There is no big plan for public transport in Glasgow.”

He also said it was contrary to the Glasgow City Centre Transport Strategy from 2014 to 2024.

The strategy seeks to “support enhancements to the rail network” including “The Glasgow City Union scheme which could enable direct travel from Ayrshire and Renfrewshire to Lanarkshire and West Lothian.

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“It could also complement airport rail services and enable direct services from Glasgow Airport to the north Glasgow suburban network.”

Glasgow City Council said Crossrail is still possible via another route.

A council spokesman said: “Objections and messages of support are given due consideration when examining any planning application that comes to us.

“In this case and with specific regard to that point, it is important to note that Crossrail can still be delivered using the City Union line.”

The Union line which travels north south at Glasgow Cross and Saltmarket is currently only used for freight trains.