This comes after an estimated £7.5 million repair bill
Glasgow City Council has announced that the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens will close indefinitely by the end of the year. The decision to close the venue was taken due to safety concerns regarding the structural integrity of the Winter Gardens. According to the Council, the 120 year old glasshouse currently presents a danger to the public and requires extensive repair work. Engineers have estimated that the work necessary to make the glasshouse safe could cost as much as £7.5 million to carry out.
The People’s Palace houses a free museum dedicated to the social history of Glasgow and is attached to the Winter Gardens. As a result, the People’s Palace reportedly may also have to close until the repair work is carried out. According to the Council, they are exploring options that could allow the museum to remain open during the repair work but no decisions have yet been made and it is still unclear as to what measures could feasibly allow this to happen.
Councillor Robert Connelly commented on the closure of the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, stating: “The closure will have a massive impact on tourism in the area. People come to the area especially to visit both sites and I know locals regularly use it as well.”
The closure’s impact on staff working in the Winter Gardens is expected to be mitigated. As employees of the council, they are expected to be deployed to work in other council run facilities for the duration of the closure. It is unclear, however, what measures will be taken to protect the jobs of those employed in the People’s Palace. Workers in the People’s Palace are not employed directly by the Council but by Glasgow Life. Glasgow Life is controlled by the Council but acts as an external organisation.
It is still not certain how long both the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens will remain closed. A spokesman for Glasgow City Council gave the following statement in regards to the closure: “At this stage, we do not know how long the Winter Gardens will remain closed. However, we estimate that investment of between £5m and £7.5m will be required to make it safe for public use.
“The aim is to secure a sustainable, long-term future for an iconic building in one of the city’s most loved spaces. A full report of the plans will be submitted to elected members and the relevant committee in due course.”
According to the Council, neither structure poses an immediate threat to public safety. As such, the public will be able to visit both the Winter Gardens and People’s Palace until the end of the year. It is yet unclear whether exhibits in the People’s Palace will be rehoused during the closure.