AMBITIOUS £8.1 million plans could transform a "jewel" in the north of the city into a thriving community asset.

Today we can give a first look at designs to restore the historic Springburn Winter Gardens into a spectacular venue for performances and events with a woodland kindergarten, meeting and office spaces, and a cafe bar.

The Springburn Winter Gardens Trust held an extensive design process to produce a scheme for the restoration of the A-listed structure at the heart of Springburn Park.

It has lain derelict since 1983 but locals are determined to rescue it for the good of the community with fresh urgency to save the building following the sudden demolition of the historic Springburn Public Halls in 2012.

Paul Sweeney was a founding member of the Trust, later becoming the Labour MP for the area in 2017.

Currently serving as the Trust’s Secretary, said he is excited by the transformational effect the project could have on a part of Glasgow that is all too often overlooked.

He said: "The trustees have worked long and hard with the community in their spare time to reach this important milestone of finally being able to visualise what a restored Winter Gardens could look like.

"It is a powerful statement of intent for Springburn’s desire to restore its rightful place as a key part of Glasgow’s economic and cultural life again.

"In a post-Covid Glasgow, this is exactly the sort of ambitious project that is essential to building a more vibrant and sustainable community in the north of the city.

"I can already see it in my mind’s eye and the impact it will have here is hard to overstate.

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"As well as providing a fantastic community asset for the area to be proud of again, it will give the rest of Glasgow and beyond a reason to come to Springburn again too."

After an extensive community consultation and workshops led by the Winter Gardens Trust and Collective Architecture, the proposed restoration scheme is centred around the repurposing of the main hall of the building, the largest single span glasshouse in Scotland, as a venue for performances and events.

Plans also include a new café/bar and kitchen with outdoor courtyard.

Included in the scheme is a heritage exhibition space celebrating Springburn’s industrial and social history, using artefacts from the former Springburn Museum that was closed in 2001.

There will be a new-build woodland kindergarten childcare centre, as well as flexible studio, meeting and office pod spaces that can support artistic and community tenants, all creating a sustainable revenue base upon which to operate the complex on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of the community.

Planned capacities range from 1800 people standing for a concert, 1000 seated for a theatre performance, to more than 500 for a catered event like a wedding reception or conference.

The 860 sq. m main glazed hall of the Winter Gardens is a huge open plan space that lends itself to flexible use as an events and performance venue that would be of city-wide and even national significance.

Collective Architects have drawn on inspiration from similar sized venues such as The Briggait, SWG3, The Glue Factory, Old Fruitmarket and BAaD in Glasgow and Edinburgh’s Drill Hall in formulating their concept of how the revitalised structure might operate.

Ross Aitchison, Project Architect for Collective Architecture, said: "We know that preserving Springburn Winter Gardens as one of the few reminders of Springburn’s illustrious industrial and social history is more important than ever.

"As a practice we are working extensively in North Glasgow and are witnessing first-hand the immense changes the area is going through in repairing the architectural damage this important area of the city has undergone.

"Restoration of the Winter Gardens would play an important part in the cultural, social and community regeneration of Springburn and North Glasgow.

"We were delighted to develop these proposals with the Winter Garden’s Trust and the area's flourishing community groups.

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"We see these proposals for a multi-generational community hub as a viable, and deliverable, opportunity to bring a much loved and missed jewel back into active use by the local community.

"The Springburn Winter Gardens are a critical heritage asset to both Glasgow and Scotland and every effort should be made to restore and bring new life to them."

The Trust’s quantity surveyor has estimated the total capital cost of delivering the project to be £8.1 million.

This includes the restoration of the listed Winter Gardens structure itself costing £3.9m.

The building is currently still in the ownership of Glasgow City Council, but the Springburn Winter Gardens Trust hopes to undertake a community asset transfer of the building prior to restoration works starting.

The new design has also formed the centrepiece of Springburn Winter Gardens Trust’s initial funding bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Trust said feedback has been encouraging.

Paul said the Trust now aims to continue engagement with critical funders in the hope of progressing the project plan, which is envisaged to take two years to complete once the required funding, asset transfer agreement and planning permission is all in place.

Paul added: "The Springburn Winter Gardens has been a skeletal structure for as long as I have been alive.

"I remember being fascinated by this mighty ruin as a child when visiting the park.

"The loss of the Springburn Halls in 2012 was also traumatic for me personally and reinforced a feeling of long-term neglect of these fantastic architectural assets, which are of national importance.

"Springburn saw 85% of its buildings demolished, 40% of its population leave and an expressway built through the area in the 1970s and 80s.

"Restoring Springburn Winter Gardens is a critical part of healing the damage caused by the misguided thinking of that era, in concert with the wider regeneration masterplan that is being developed for the area for the coming decade."

In 2013 the Trust was formed by concerned residents as a last ditch effort to save the Winter Gardens, which had been decaying since 1983.

One of five Victorian glasshouses in the city, Springburn's structure is not alone in facing an uncertain future.

Glasgow City Council recently began work to dismantle the dome of Queen's Park's 115-year-old glasshouse as its structural integrit

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y had been damaged.

In 2018 it was announced the famous Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green would close indefinitely as around £7 million would be needed to repair it.

Springburn Glass House was originally built in 1900 after a donation by Sir Hugh Reid, owner of the nearby Hyde Park Locomotive Works on Flemington Street, and prominent local resident.

In 2017 the Trust saved the structure from imminent collapse by securing emergency funding from the council and Glasgow City Heritage Trust to prevent the roof from falling in and reinforcing the steelwork.

Paul said the group is excited about the future of the building.

He added: "We are about to bring in new Trustees from across the community at our forthcoming AGM.

"The aim is to build a powerful alliance with residents, schools, churches, housing associations, the council, other community groups, and arts organisations.

"There is palpable enthusiasm to see the project delivered for the benefit of everyone in the local community, and indeed the city at large."