In March 1978, there was one man in Blantyre who predicted and gave a dire warning for what was about to happen with the Glasgow Road Redevelopment.
Mr Jim Botterill (senior), a leading trader asked for further time to be consider the development saying there was still time, before it started to “stop the inevitable commercial overkill” that one massive superstore would bring to Blantyre and the surrounding area.
Jim claimed that the arrival of such a store would kill off many businesses nearby even as far as Burnbank and into Hamilton. He voiced concerns that such a large store would have a detrimental effect on Blantyre and when it closed each evening after 6pm, would end up with large swathes of the area being deserted like a ghost town, perhaps inviting crime.
Jim proposed that instead of a 60,000 square foot store, it should only be a third of the size at 20,000 square feet, with a dozen or so smaller shops. Other small blocks of shops could then be built at High Blantyre, Springwells or Priory Bridge.
Jim, being vocal on this important subject had his objection recorded but had added he did not want to step in the way of progress and would rather Asda arrived in Blantyre than not. Traders knew however, by that late stage they were unlikely in getting plans changed.
The traders also wanted to protect against vandalism by seeing houses built on the upper storey of Clydeview Shopping Centre, rather than offices or stores. It meant the area would be lived in, a nod to the same configuration that the old tenements had, shops downstairs, living space upstairs. They argued that the homes could be sold privately to assist funding the construction overall and that each would have a nice view of the newly landscaped park, perhaps being very desirable across from a proposed leisure centre.
Of course all this WAS too late to change in any plans, but it forms an interesting idea of what “could have been.”
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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