Glasgow City Council approves funding to prevent permanent closure of People’s Palace

People's Palace, Glasgow (Stephane Loustalot)
People's Palace, Glasgow (Stephane Loustalot)

GLASGOW’S famous People’s Palace has had a funding plan approved, halting its planned closure.

Thousands of people had backed a petition to save the iconic attraction after it was announced that public safety concerns would see it have to close its doors to visitors for good.

But following a feasibility and costing exercise, £350,000 of funding has been agreed by members of the council’s City Administration Committee to allow a series of proposed adaptations to the building to take place.

The work will ensure the People’s Palace meets fire safety standards and can remain open.

The concerns had been raised due to structural issues with the adjoining Winter Gardens glasshouse, which provides fire escape routes for the highly popular social history museum.

The Winter Gardens will permanently close on January 1, 2019 due to health and safety issues, and the council say it is likely that the People’s Palace will also be temporarily shut while work is carried out.

It is expected to take eight to twelve weeks.

Winter Gardens

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “There was strong, emotional reaction to the possible closure of the People’s Palace, which shows exactly what it means to the people of Glasgow. In the circumstances, it is right that we have pursued a plan that will allow it to remain open independently of the Winter Gardens.

“The Winter Gardens is also much-loved part of the city’s heritage, but given its ornate and detailed design, it will always require a substantial and expensive programme of repairs. At this point, it is also right that we take stock and look for sustainable options for both the Winter Gardens and the People’s Palace.

“This has to be part of a wider look at all our glasshouses and other built heritage. It is not enough to keep pouring money into our historic buildings and hoping for a different outcome, both physically and financially.

“We need to think creatively about how we use our built heritage so that the architecture that everyone in the city enjoys does have a sustainable future. This will be no easy task, but developing a heritage strategy will help us to determine what we need to do protect these buildings for generations to come.”

The estimated cost of renovating the Winter Gardens, a glasshouse with sealant in need of wholesale replacement, is around £5-7.5m.

A pane of glass had fallen into the public area in 2016, and the building has closed in strong winds or heavy snow since then.

A further report will be submitted to the City Administration Committee on the feasibility study which will explore options for the People’s Palace, Winter Gardens and other historic glasshouse structures in the city.