By 1984, the north side of Glasgow Road had changed completely. The Sports Centre had opened up and in the background Devlin Grove also had been built. The opposing view over to the Clydeview Shopping Centre and ASDA was most different too. It would have all seemed very different for anybody who had been away from Blantyre for a couple of years!
Some thought did go into the development of Stonefield Public Park. New trellises and seating areas were constructed, though not quite the central point for people to use and enjoy as first thought. A new network of paths, trees planted and seating areas were all later abandoned in favour of the current hard landscaping, centred around the steel monument (which surely would have been more fitting in Motherwell!).
By this time, the top of John Street had been re-aligned. The sports centre was being well used with affordable rates for facilities including functions. The centre even had a bar at that time! The pool was especially an instant hit.
The sports centre, now ‘Blantyre Leisure Centre’ is 38 years old and unfortunately is struggling somewhat though. Outdated plant and equipment, the pool needing renovated, larger gyms needed and better facilities that can run concurrently are just some of the problems cited. There is discussion for a long term plan to demolish this building and rebuilding a sports centre fit for purpose further down into the park area. Whilst this is only being ‘mooted’ by authorities at this time, it wont be happening anytime soon. I can’t help but feel the void it leaves at the top of John Street (if this does happen) would be PERFECT for creating a town square. One can dream of small retail units with low rents for small businesses, an off Glasgow Road car park with an open “town square” adorned with hanging baskets and seats for Blantyre residents to enjoy.
I can dream.
Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:
John Cornfield No more building in the public park please!
Linda Rae That would be lovely Paul a town square I like that idea
Karen McGowan Remember looking out my window in John Street at xmas time and there would be a tree up every year on top of the sports centre roof.
Tricia Allan-Martin Before this what to go to East Kilbride (John Wrights, I think) to play badminton. Two buses. A right palaver! Brilliant Blantyre Sports Centre, same today. Amazing classes and facilities.