RESIDENTS near the Red Road flats in Glasgow could be given financial compensation to persuade them to temporarily leave their homes during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony demolition.
Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) officials admitted yesterday they will have to find “solutions” for each resident surrounding the tower blocks after some insisted they would refuse to move out while the neighbouring buildings are blown up.
An exclusive party, with free food and drink, as well as a big screen view of the main event at Celtic Park will be offered to the 887 households who have been told to leave their homes during the opening night Games celebrations on 23 July.
Other “sweeteners” include free transport to the homes of friends or relatives during the demolition, while housing association staff would also arrange for family pets to be put into kennels and catteries.
Plans for the demolition in the Games’ opening ceremony has provoked outrage from critics, who have branded the move “crass” and “insensitive”. More than 16,000 people have signed petitions protesting against the display, which would see five of the six remaining 30-storey Red Road blocks destroyed.
Images of the explosions will be beamed to billions of viewers around the world.
“We had to act to stop this demolition,” said Michelle Ronald, who lives near the flats. “Blowing up the city for ‘entertainment’ at the opening ceremony is inappropriate.
“Blowing up five at once will leave us with tons of rubble and a giant dust cloud. These are people’s memories which are being destroyed and it has nothing to do with the Games.”
Officials from GHA told Scotland on Sunday that the date for the demolition was “set in stone”, despite an ongoing consultation with local residents.
It is understood that police could be called to remove any neighbours who refuse to leave, on the grounds of protecting their health during the demolition.
A spokesman for GHA said staff would speak to all the residents to come up with a solution which would encourage them to agree to leave their homes for the evening.
“Consultation with people in the community about arrangements for the day has just started,” he said. “We’ll be speaking with every household individually to work out their requirements and will do everything we can to minimise inconvenience.
“We’re also working with our partners to make sure everyone in the exclusion zone has the opportunity to join in the Commonwealth Games celebrations in whatever way suits them best.”
GHA said it was “confident” that it would come to an agreement with every household, but admitted it could not rule out giving cash handouts to encourage residents to leave.
It is understood that last year, during the demolition of parts of the Red Road development, some householders were given payments of up to £100.
Residents were due to hold a meeting this weekend to gather support for a boycott of the demolition.