i left the wyndford in april 2021 after having living there the better part of three years. in november 2021 i learned of glasgow housing associations plans to demolish the four tower blocks on the wyndford after seeing a post from sam, a friend of mine who is still currently living there.
here his post in full:
"I've been living on the Wyndford for about three years. For most of my twenties I lived in shared housing with private landlords, thinking it was all that I could afford and that social housing meant years-long waiting lists. When our landlord decided to sell up and kick us out I was asking around about options and a friend suggested registering with the Wheatley Group to see if I could find a bedsit. I was sceptical, but within a week I was offered a flat in the high rises on The Wyndford.
"The location was great for me (I work for Deliveroo around the West End and City Centre), I loved the massive balcony and the views, being right next to the river and the canals, and I was basically told it was mine for as long as I wanted it - I could decorate how I wanted and know I wouldn't be kicked out to push up the rents or whatever. They were very keen to stress that they wanted long-term tenants. This was perfect for me, stressed after a decade of insecure housing and having to move more than a dozen times.
"I was shocked when I received the letter last week telling me about plans to demolish the high rises. I was even more shocked by the callous tone of the 'consultation' - asking me what "excites me the most" about being forced to move from what I'd thought was a secure long term tenancy.
"I read and re-read the consultation and accompanying brochure ("A New Dawn for the Wyndford" ) and got more and more angry. The story they are telling us simply doesn't add up.
"Firstly, they emphasise that these flats are 'low-demand'. If that is the case, then they can't be doing a very good job advertising them! Just through speaking with friends in similar situations to me (low wage work, ready to live alone, want to be relatively close to the city centre) four friends have taken flats here. When I tell people about my rent, about being allowed to decorate my flat, about the views, they are often jealous. I know there are empty flats in my block, but it seems they don't come up on listings any more so they stay empty.
"Secondly, they claim that these flats 'aren't fit for modern living', and suggest that the best thing for the environment is to knock them down to build new, green, housing. I honestly don't even know how to respond to this one. As a Deliveroo rider I see a lot of peoples living situations. Our city is full of ancient tenements with high ceilings, rotting stairways. These 60's tower blocks are sci-fi in comparison to much of Glasgow's housing, and I know from experience that my heating bills are lower than I've ever known, partly due to the lower ceilings and the flats being tightly packed together, but also because of the district heating system which is, if anything, ahead of it's time!
"How demolishing 600 perfectly decent flats and building new housing will be less damaging to the environment than just renovating the existing flats is a mystery to me, and I would love to see whatever environmental audits GHA have done to make their case. They even suggest that knocking down the towers will allow for regeneration including bike storage. I'm sure me and the other dozen or more bike couriers living in these flats, carting our bikes up and down the lift multiple times a day, would love some cycle storage now! It's not like there isn't enough space for it nearby.
"Finally, they promise to find alternative suitable housing for all residents displaced by the demolition. I know I'm not alone in scoffing at this. For those of us who don't drive and work around central Glasgow it is really hard to find anywhere, especially a one bed or bedsit, this close to where we work at an affordable rent. There is simply no way that GHA's housing stock can absorb hundreds of relocated tenants, and even if they did it would mean our dispersal across the city.
"I don't want to suggest that everything is perfect here. There is clearly space for refurbishment, and I don't think it's right for a social housing provider to be pushing rents up more than inflation as GHA generally do. I also accept that a little flat in a high rise isn't everybody's cup of tea, and that some of those currently living here want somewhere else. Those people should be supported in finding somewhere suitable to their needs, but, knowing the state of the private rental market, I reckon if they actually renovated the flats and did a better job of advertising them there would be no problems filling them up.
"I don't know what goes on in GHA boardrooms, but the story they've given us doesn't add up. They call themselves 'tenant led' but I think they are just profit led like everyone else, and tenants are treated like sheep to be herded. I think they see the increase in property prices as the West End sprawls up the Kelvin, and these towers look like a drag on property values, an obstacle to them maximising their profits. A family of work-from-home professionals, visiting their office in the centre a day or two a week, can live on this site, and low earning workers such as myself will just have to move further out and commute everyday. It's exactly the kind of market-driven social cleansing that our social housing providers should be protecting us from, not leading."GHA won't get away with this without a fight!"
these blocks should not be demolished. i've compiled a selection of photographs from my time living on the wyndford, taken 2018-2021.
solidarity to all affected.