Two of Glasgow’s most popular and well-known public buildings are to close indefinitely at the end of the year over fears for public safety, the council has announced.
The Winter Gardens and the adjoining People’s Palace in Glasgow Green will both close after structural engineers said the Victorian glasshouse needed extensive conservation work.
The much-loved building, which dates back to 1898, is facing a repair bill of up to £7.5 million to make it safe for public use, with all bookings for the venue suspended until further notice.
The problems mainly involve the Winter Gardens, but as the fire escape from the People’s Palace requires access to the glasshouse it will also have to close.
Glasgow City Council said it was “working on options” to allow the People’s Palace, which houses a museum containing historic artefacts and paintings, to remain open while the repairs take place.
The authority said it was unable to put an end date on the work.
However, it said all existing bookings for the Winter Gardens between now and the end of the year will be honoured.
The glasshouse is a popular venue for weddings and other events such as awards ceremonies and corporate dinners. It has also been used as a VIP area during the TRNSMT music festival. Although the building is not thought to pose a current risk to the public, the need for repairs is becoming more urgent.
David McDonald, the depute leader of Glasgow City Council, described the closure of the buildings as a “devastating blow”, but stressed “massive investment” was required.
A council spokeswoman added: “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. With that in mind, we are currently examining how we use both the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens.
“The aim is to secure a sustainable, long-term future for an iconic building in one of the city’s most-loved spaces.”
Politicians who represent Glasgow responded with dismay to the announcement, warning it could have a severe impact on the city’s economy.
“The closure will have a massive impact on tourism in the area,” Scottish Conservative councillor Robert Connelly said. “People come to the area especially to visit both sites and I know locals regularly use it as well.”
Labour MSP Anas Sarwar said the closure of the “iconic” building should prompt councillors to introduce a “tourist tax”, allowing them to raise money to invest in such “treasured facilities”.
Residents of Glasgow took to social media to express their regret about the closure of the two attractions.
One person wrote it was “terrible news for the city”, with another calling the decision “heartbreaking”.
Angela Brodie posted: “My wedding venue!!! Get it saved toot sweet. GCC, spend some of the money you get for hiring out the green and also parking to save this beautiful historic building.”
A number of Glaswegians urged the city council to take action to save the buildings so they could be enjoyed by future generations.