David Walker, Scottish Daily Express, July 13, 2022
The local authority is currently consulting on plans to redesign the historic site as they look to make it a more popular area of the city.
Features in their proposals include a large lawn, an open space with seating and cafe and restaurant areas under tree canopies.
They released sketches of what the new George Square would look like, but in them only seven statues could be seen, including one of Sir Walter Scott. There are currently 12 monuments there.
In the plans, the council add: “The majority of existing monuments or statues to be retained or relocated within the square.” However, they told the Scottish Daily Express earlier this year that any claims that they were going to axe statues were “nonsense.”
A spokesman said: “This is nonsense. The current engagement asks for comment on the design of George Square and the surrounding streets. The response to this engagement will help shape the future design of the Square – there is no pre-determined plan to remove any of the statues there.”
Concerns were originally raised by campaigner Robert Poll, the founder of Save Our Statues who accused the local authority of using the consultation as a back-handed way of getting rid of “offensive” monuments which had been cancelled by their slavery review.
These included the ones of Robert Peel, John Moore, William Gladstone, James Oswald, Thomas Campbell and James Watt. All were said to have links to slavery in the council’s “hatchet job” deep-dive into the city’s links to slavery.
Speaking to the Scottish Daily Express, Mr Poll highlighted the fact that the council had previously denied any such plans to move the statues.
He said: “It was always obvious that Glasgow Council would use this redesign as an excuse to offload ‘problematic’ statues. The only complaints have come from a handful of noisy activists, including the hatchet job slavery report commissioned by the Council to coincide with this redesign.
“The cleverly worded consultation puts ‘repositioning’ in the same category as removing from the square altogether. But if asked directly, the people of Glasgow would tell them in no uncertain terms to keep their hands off their historical statues.”
George Square is being revamped as part of the Glasgow’s £115m city centre project, with the surrounding streets also set to be redesigned. The historic square will be revamped as part of Glasgow’s £115m city centre project, with the entire area due to be completed by 2028.
According to them, 67 per cent of survey respondents were in favour of exploring design options that might involved relocating statues to new locations within the Square, or elsewhere in the city.
Glasgow City Council were approached for comment.