The case of North Kelvin Meadows and The Glasgow Effect


North Kelvin Meadows

Think about it. Is there another campaign at present in the city that has used its assets, common sense, media, resources and everything else to the best of their ability? Can you think of another campaign that has as good a prospect of winning, if given the right support? A project that has helped to delineate the council bosses, position clearly, of profit over people? This campaign if successful would set an example for others to follow in the de-privatisation of public land. The campaign is well run and seems to do all the right things in many ways. It would be a very important model and win if successful and as well to the encouragement of other incipient campaigns and growing spaces in the community. But remember, It could also have the complete opposite effect if it fails. It would set greening spaces back years. The city council bosses also know this, (and the Scottish government) as well as having the added incentive for development opportunities and of stocking the council coffers with the moneys involved, by the selling of this commons and many others like it, that will inevitably come into the future sights of developers .trigger more text

The Meadows, would be just the kind of win to boost campaigns of this nature all over the city. Do people in growing spaces realise how important this campaign is to the sustainability of growing and green space? I hope they do and start to come up with some ideas in supporting the campaign, learning from it and using the inspired imagination in building solidarity for the next round in defending this space and others. There is a need to keep up momentum and it should not be left only to the people directly involved at the meadows. (Or other places.) The city council, or/and the Government, will decide the fate of this space. But it will need a collective “City Peoples Council” to make sure they make the right decision and set a precedent for future community development.

Whats this to do with “The Glasgow Effect”?

Quoting from the article links below: ‘A recent report finds that radical attempts to solve Glasgow’s housing problems in the 1960s and 1970s left the city vulnerable when government policy steered investment away from housing and towards retail and other industries in subsequent decades. Walsh added: “The Scottish Office embarked on a series of policies that effectively wrote off the city – they designated it a ‘declining city’ and their plans focused on economic growth elsewhere.”
“This was a policy that went on for decades despite an awareness that this was having a massively negative impact in socio-economic terms and therefore on health.”’

Basically they are saying in the early 80s, the city stopped investing in its people and social housing and shifted its interests to business investment. Which is a big part of the reason for the so called “Glasgow Effect”.  Why the poverty levels in Glasgow, were 30% higher than other cities, such as Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, that deindustrialise at the same time as Glasgow.  You can read about this below. But it also needs to be remembered, importantly. At the same time (early 80s), as the government were de-investing in people, a group of folk in Reidvale, Dennistoun, were investing in themselves. (As the corporation were ripping down tenements and communities with them and packing families of to the schemes and tower blocks, as the corporation, geographically blighted the city space for the use of motorways and commerce.) Many of the people in Reidvale Dennison, during these clearances, said No! We want to stay in our community. Fix our houses we are not moving! And they did stay in their houses, in their community. The rest is history as the people of Reidvale, created a model for Community Based Housing Associations, that is used, not only in Glasgow, but all over Britain.

We have now suffered 30-40 years of de-investment in people. Now the car loving motorway builders are proclaiming “People make Glasgow”  If people make Glasgow, it is going to need more than a branding exercise, that has more to do with selling produce than investing in people. If people make Glasgow, it will be about making council bosses do what they are told and forcing them to invest in our kids, our vulnerable and those trapped in poverty. We need basically to make them eat their own words.

Ideas for looking forward

There is no reason “The Glasgow Effect” should not be made into something wonderful, something unique and meaningful to the people of Glasgow. Turned on its head from something that is done to the city’s people, to something that they do for themselves.

The council did not listen to the people in the community of Reidvale at that time , they were made to listen. And in the case of Kelvin meadows and other such like projects, (the city administration should really be boasting about, the achievements of its citizens, rather than taking the credit), they didn’t listen to any of them either. They were made to listen, Govanhill baths, Kelvingrove bandstand,  Kinningpark Complex, to name a few. As Glaswegian’s, we may have a few attitude problems and don’t think positively enough, as Carol Craig, et al, will remind us. But most, commonly ignore, or underestimate the states role in all of this. The systematic draining of money, resources and assets that took place during the 80s (and continues to this day) that had and is still having a massive effect on the poorest in our city. This was no news to the many who, experienced, have reported and written about it throughout. They were also ignored, and still are.

People “do” make Glasgow. If only more of them realised this simple fact.

The Meadows should become a collective meeting grounds as part of helping to create a “Dear Green Place” benchmark – for those with any interest in freeing the soil of this city in perpetuity for our kids and future generations – until the developers are completely cast off this bit of public land. Winning could be easier than we think and the effect could spread to awaken the public conscience to more ideas for looking forward. And perish the thought, there is a lot of fun to be had to.

It is not rocket science, when we look around us, to understand where the money is being spent, invested and where it is not. Do we really need reports that take years to write to tell us this? It is right in front of our eyes. Like everything else, we have just gotten used to it. So much of our attention is being diverted by, the positive thinking industry, or the  “But this is the real world” theory. So much energy put into ideas, concepts, explanations, excuses of why things are happening to us. We are all just getting used to all of it, learned to live with it and to shield ourselves from dealing with it. There was an old 60s saying that is fitting when the glut of rhetoric outweighed the practicalities. “Move you arse and your brain will follow.” Not poetic, but It has never been more apt advice, than it is at present. People make Glasgow, sure, but which people, you? Me? What are the ideas for doing it together? Because it’s not going to happen otherwise.

The secret History of our Streets

Half of it is about showing up. Frida Berrigan


Recent videos – Radical Imagination Project

Film crew

Norman Armstrong Free Wheel North
Radical Imagination Project. Discussions with folk who have worked and committed much of their time to community activism. Norman Armstrong
Norman, a tenacious community worker, who “gets things done” but unlike many fly-by-night “social entrepreneurs” is rooted in his community and has the philosophy and principals to match.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

May Day picnic Glasgow Green 2016
A small may Day event on the Glasgow green at Free Wheel North. Part of an effort to have the Glasgow’s May Day event in the open. More information for next year to follow.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

John Cooper on the spirit of revolt and the Castlemilk connection
John Cooper, a name synonymous with Castlemilk and community struggle over the last 40 years or so. The evening took us through the adventures and campaigns of himself and his Castlemilk comrades, from the miners strike to the present. A social history. Find more on the “Spirit of Revolt” website at. Film in two bits Talk and after discussion.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

John Cooper – After talk discussion (Castlemilk Against Austerity) Castlemilk, experience and its relevance to the youth who take up the mantle today of community organising.
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

The Downtrodden Tenant
Bad housing exists not because the housing system is not working but because it is the way it works. Peter Morton has taught me more about technology in the last few months than I knew before. His boundless energy to educate, given the fact he is in a wheelchair and on strong medication through bad health is an inspiration. We are working on a pile of projects around the Radical Imagination and opening the “Open Source” to the people who need it most. This film denotes Peters struggle with Renfrew Council, their lack of duty of care and how the use of his technological skills were used to collect empirical data to back up a case against their failure to uphold their own housing policy. Downtrodden Tenant Blog
(Filmed by Radical imagination film group)
View on VIMEO

Self Determination Power Event Common Sense and Freedom 1990
A wee blast from the past. The Self-Determination and Power event was organised by a loose alliance of the Free University of Glasgow, the Edinburgh Review, then under the editorship of James Kelman advocate Peter Kravitz, and Scottish Child magazine, edited by Rosemary Milne. Also involved were Variant, then a glossy magazine containing provocations from Stewart Home, Pete Horobin’s Dundee-based Data Attic and others; West Coast literary magazine, Here and Now magazine, the radical-based Clydeside Press, and the Scotia bar, then a hub for free-thinking dissent down by the river just across from the Gorbals.
(Produced by Street Level)
View on VIMEO

Videos can also be viewed on Youtube

Ian McHarg 1920-2001 Scottish landscape architect Design with nature

Ian McHarg died this day in 2001 (NY Times obituary). He was a Scottish landscape architect who made his name in the University of Pennsylvania where he founded the world famous Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning in1955.

He was born in Clydebank in 1920 and (for those with an interest in the history of mountaineering in Scotland), was one of the Craigallian Fire men.trigger more text

Arguably his most famous legacy is his 1969 book, Design with Nature. One of his pupils and collaborators in the project was the Scottish landscape architect, Mark Turnbull, who is still practising in Scotland today. His book sat on the shelves of my Dad’s study when I was growing up. He was an architect and, as a student, I thought it would make an interesting contribution to the forestry course I was doing at Aberdeen University. However, so dismal was the outlook of the staff there (there were a few honourable exceptions), that the notion of even reading such a book was regarded as too radical. I read it though and recommend it to anyone with an interest in environmental and spatial planning (McHarg invented the sieve mapping technique now standard in GIS – the European Geosciences Union awards a medal in his honour).

His vision of how to understand ecosystems and undertake regional planning was so advanced that, as this blog notes, he predicted the areas unsuitable for urbanisation on Staten Island (dark shading on right). He was ignored and those areas match almost exactly the evacuation zones (in yellow left) at the time of Hurricane Sandy (see below).

But my favourite story about Ian McHarg relates to his involvement in the scoping work for Scotland’s third new town. McHarg worked in the Scottish Home and Health Department between 1950 and 1954 and in his 1996 autobiography, A Quest for Life, he writes,

One day I was summoned by the chief of the new towns section, an architect named Alex Wylie. East Kilbride and Glenrothes new towns were underway. There was considerable interest in yet another; both the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh thought that a site near Cumbernauld, between these cities, should be investigated. However, it was likely that this new town would be a satellite of Glasgow and administered by her. Would I undertake the study?

I immediately visited Cumbernauld. It had the virtue of proximity to the major highway connecting Edinburgh and Glasgow. As at East Kilbride several years before, the wind howled, the rain drove horizontally, the whole site was awash. Morevoer, the farms were few and scattered. Anthropologists long ago had learned that sparse human settlement bespeaks adverse environments and impoverished resources. I spoke to several farmers whose opinions were united. It was a miserable place, wetter than most, with intractable mud, poor soil, a high water table, few trees, and those wind-pruned.


The ideal site, in classical and Renaissance times, was a southeast-facing slope. That could not be found on the Glasgow-Edinburgh road nor on the south of the Clyde, but north of it were admirable classical sites, south and southeast-facing, at elevations above fog with beautiful views to the Firth of Clyde and, south, across the Clyde, to the Renfrewshire Hills. On the day I went there, the sun was shining; protected from the wind I lay in heather and exulted in the views. There was Dumbarton Rock, a volcanic cone with a ruined castle atop, ancient capital of Scotland, the gleaming Clyde, and , far out beyond the estuary, the Paps of Jura.

There was one problem; the site was steep. Now this had halted neither Rome, Siena, Frascati; nor San Francisco. This constraint must be transformed into an opportunity; we are not building for popes or cardinals. I recalled a project in Zurich, the Neubuhl, by Haeflie and Moser, where housing stepped down a steep slope and the flat roof of the lower house became terrace, balcony, and garden of the upper house. This would be the answer. Hanging gardens, stepped housing, each one having the merits of an attached single-family house, each with as much outdoor and indoor space, and the gardens entirely private. If the block was to be composed of four houses in depth, then the occupants at worst would walk down three flights or up one. In city where the commonest house form was a four-storey walk-up tenement, this was not a serious objection. So house plans developed, simple rectangles, L-shapes and T-shapes with different dimensions. They were all modular and could be fitted in various permutations, but all had uninterrupted views to south and east and all had private entrances and gardens. Open space equalled the building area. On the skyline, out of every view but overlooking the whole, were towers and slabs for older people, single households, and couples without children. The towers provided views of a landscape of gardens.

McHarg goes on to describe the detailed design, “extraordinary economies in construction costs” and the energy efficiency.

I submitted the plans to Alex Wylie, chief architect for new towns, who then arranged for me to present the material to the permanent undersecretary, Mr McGuiness, an Irishman with a Scottish accent. Wylie introduced the idea and gave his endorsment. I was asked to add my remarks. I spoke glowingly of the hanging gardens, the morning-golden windows, the beautiful views, access to workplaces on the Clyde, proximity to Glasgow, the beautiful landscape setting and, above all, of the greater economy of this scheme as compared with conventional bulding. There was a long silence.

“Well.” McGuiness said, “It is certainly revolutionary. There’s no doubt about that, and I am impressed by the arguments about its economy, but we can’t build this in Scotland. Why, they haven’t even built it in England yet.”

“Sir,” I said. “If the Scots have to wait for the bloody English to build something before we can, this is not the country for me. Good day, sir.”

That night, McHarg wrote to Dean Perkins of the University of Pennsylvania, and asked “Do you know of any opportunities which I might pursue in the United States? I find the professional life here is far from gratifying.”

He was immediately offered a position as an assistant professor to set up the Department of Landscape Architecture and the rest is history.

McHarg writes,

A small ceremony was held before my departure, at which time I was presented with a handsome briefcase. Kind words were said. I decided that this was not the occasion for criticism, thanked my colleagues, wished them well, and left.

PS McHarg’s Wikipedea entry is very good account of his life.


Boggs Educational Center Detroit

Re-Imagining Education. Children who attend the Boggs Educational Center walk to school each morning. Some walk with their parents, some with their siblings. This is easy to do; their school is located in their neighborhood.They play on the way, meet up with friends. They say hello to the adults they have come to know while walking this route since kindergarten. They pass gardens that they help senior citizens tend. They may stop to pick a weed or to filch a ripe cherry tomato. They pass art installations that double as functional play equipment and swing or jump or climb. They know all the tricks; they have helped design and build them.From the kids who have attended this school since its inception to the very new arrivals, everyone feels safe. They are surrounded by people who love them and who will look out for them and they know this to be true. They have risen to the high level of academic and social expectations asked of them at their school. The community has also risen to the level of support they need to be whole, healthy, and strong.

Their school does not open at 7am and close at 3pm. Instead there is activity all day and all year round. The school is known for its beauty. Flowers, murals and sculptures decorate the grounds. It is also known for developing the potential of both the children and the adults involved. It has helped to stabilize the neighborhood. Jobs at the school have drawn carpenters, electricians, and artists–who in turn, have wanted their own children to attend. Because of the school, families seek to stay in the neighborhood, passing along news of apartments with decent rents. Once vacant houses are being renovated as community projects to improve the safety and viability of the neighborhood. And there are after-school and summer apprenticeships for older students to participate in its revitalization. The school has improved the quality of life in Detroit.

Math and science concepts are learned from activities that serve the community, from the pond designed and built by the biology classes to the baseball diamond designed in geometry and built by the students. The community is the classroom and the classroom serves the community: trucks from restaurants come to pick up produce the children have grown in the working farm next to the school; peer tutoring sessions are being conducted in the outside classroom built by the students; local teenagers run a day care program so that parents can attend a resume workshop and look for jobs online in the parent resource room. Some kids are getting haircuts at the neighborhood barbershop that was started by a former high school dropout who took entrepreneurial classes at the school. Students and their teachers are finishing up a mural designed by the art class. This mural decorates the playground that was built by members of the community over a series of weekends. Bikes are being repaired in the neighborhood bike exchange garage. Older students teach classes in bike-ethics and safety. Students petition the city for bike lanes and safety curbs on major streets near the school. In the auditorium, kids are rehearsing for the school play. Outside, music is blaring as dancers prepare a routine for a morning assembly.

All around are examples of real-world learning and student engagement, laughter and camaraderie. When there is conflict, the kids are not just told not to fight; they are taught how to work through their emotions and solve conflicts peacefully. The school honors voices, from the youngest student to the oldest, and seeks their input in all decisions that affect the school.

Our students have the academic and emotional tools to create meaningful lives. We graduate young men and women who feel successful whether they attend elite universities or begin self-run businesses in their neighborhood. They view their careers not as a means toward building individual wealth, but as a way of actively creating a just and equitable society.

The school’s students and graduates feel successful because they believe that their existence alone entitles them to be respected; they learn their lives have meaning. Student’s lives reflect an education that respects their unique contribution to building our society. They are not seeking an education as a means to get out of Detroit; they see their education as a means to make Detroit a wonderful place to live.
Place-Based Education

To fulfill our goals, we have selected to implement a Place-Based Education (PBE) program. PBE is a nationally renowned and research-based model that has facilitated high student achievement in areas like Oakland, Louisville, Boston, Portland, and New York City. BEC will pioneer PBE for low-income students in Detroit. PBE immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum. PBE emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the school and local community.
Place-Based Education

The following are the principles of the Place-Based Education model:

Learning takes place on-site, in the schoolyard, and in the local community and environment.
Learning focuses on local themes, systems, and content.
Learning is personally relevant to each learner.
Learning experiences contribute to the community’s vitality and environmental quality and support the community’s role in fostering global environmental quality.
Learning is supported by strong and varied partnerships with local residents, organizations, businesses, and government.
Learning is interdisciplinary.
Learning experiences are tailored to the local audience.
Learning is grounded in and supports the development of a love for one’s place.
Local learning serves as the foundation for understanding and participating in regional and global issues.

Back to Education page




How to untie the knot

The need for appropriate ownership and access regimes Toby Lloyd Land & Liberty Autumn/Winter 2002/3

Breaking the multinationals’ stranglehold on natural resources is vital if everyone is to benefit, but Toby Lloyd believes what is really needed are appropriate ownership and access regimes. Too often, this debate has been presented as a straight choice between private and shared property.

In 1968 the academic and author Garrett Hardin described ‘the tragedy of the commons’ like this: if everyone has a right to graze cattle on a village common it will inevitably suffer over-grazing, because it is in each individual’s interest to extract as much as possible from it, knowing the effects of overuse will be shared by everyone.

This argument has since been deployed to demonstrate private property’s merits and to justify the privatisation of socially held assets. With diminishing resources left under social ownership, attention has shifted to various ‘unowned’ resources. The atmosphere, oceans and genome are commons – assets in which we all have a notional shared ownership – and therefore, we are told, are susceptible to Hardin’s ‘tragedy’. The only solution, according to the new market fundamentalism, is to enclose the commons, creating private assets and incentives for owners to preserve them. In this way, it is argued, the ‘tragedy’ will be averted.

India’s neem tree offers a striking example of bio-piracy in action where marauding multinational corporations seek to plunder the knowledge of the global South. To market fundamentalists, the knowledge of neem’s uses is a common that should be privatised, allowing most efficient use. The flaw in the argument is that it fails to differentiate between open-access and what are often called common property systems.

Hardin’s hypothetical grazing land was an open-access system: no rules govern by whom or how much it is used. In reality, most pastures are types of shared property, owned by members of a limited group with the right to exclude non-members from using it.

No fences doesn’t mean no owners or no rules.

Complex shared property systems have evolved everywhere, governing the use of water, grazing lands, fish stocks and knowledge. Open access, common, limited shared and private property are different types of property regime – rules that govern rights of access, use, exchange and so on, and their corresponding obligations.

There are many different types of property regime and some are more suitable in certain circumstances. Open-access regimes are best for say public health information. National parks are a recognition of common property in national heritage. Shoes are best owned by individuals. More complex resources may need more sophisticated ownership regimes.

Perhaps in neem’s case common ownership combined with resource rental is best. Or perhaps a true open-access system nobody could privatise would ensure its benefits were spread as widely as possible. Yet efficient and extensive exploitation, whether privately or in common, is not the fundamental criterion. The regime must ensure the re-creation of the resource. For the products of labour, private property rewards creation. For fish in the ocean, or rain forests, that which sustains their re-creation, brings abundance.

We have to recognise common ownership as both real and valid, and resist the efforts of the bio-pirates.

Tchai-ovna Tea Room under threat


With the support of: local celebrities from: Franz Ferdinand, Belle and Sebastian and Phil Kay, Councilor Niall Walker, MSP Patrick Harvey and MSP Tommy Sheridan


For more information please contact Martin Fell tel: 07976932432 /0141 3574524 1.

In light of the unprecedented demonstration that took place on 22nd June George Square against the building of a large luxury block of flats on the Kelvin attended by over 70 demonstrators, including such celebrities as Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastien and Phil Kay and councilors. The confrontation has begun at Tchai-Ovna between members of the community and the large corporate developers who’s planning application was passed. Volunteers are now encamped and starting to blockade the development with the support of the above mentioned celebrities and local councilors and politicians.

2. A large corporation of developers, CPD Ltd. is working to build a block of luxury flats on the ruins of the site 2-12 Gibson St. that in style, green, white and glass completely contrasts with the red-stone buildings of the area on a site where there is a long history of subsidence. The building is proposed as solving the accommodation crisis of the West end, whereas it is rather to provide more unnecessary luxury accommodation, unaffordable for the normal resident of the area.

3. The community is unanimously against it, dozens of residents and local business owners have written to the council to complain. Over 500 people signed a petition opposing the development. A large representative demonstration took place on the day the planning committee were officially meant to consider the matter. Characteristically the council gave the go ahead in favour of the large corporation. There is no right of appeal.

4. Such a development, which would take up to a year, will disrupt a vibrant community which has been developing a unique character in Glasgow over the last decade. Though they were not granted permission to use Otago Lane as access they have already been doing so. The tea garden, which directly neighbours the proposed building site would quickly revert back to the stagnant waste ground from which it was painstakingly transformed. Local businesses would also be seriously affected and some, like Tchai-Ovna may be even forced to close causing the loss of jobs [see ‘Further information’ for more on Tchai-Ovna].

It is a typical case of big business and money making objectives rolling over important, unique small communities and small businesses.

Further Information Tchai-Ovna house of tea has been working for 4 years to establish and beautify the riverside environment in which it is situated. This continuous work that has been carried out under our own initiative and resources, both monetarily and in terms of time and energy, is now under serious threat due to the planned development of luxury flats on the bank of the Kelvin River. Since the last property fell into the river the sites of 8-14 Gibson St and number 16 were used as illegal dumping grounds, essentially left as wasteland. There was a large rat infestation due to the dumping of waste material, like used cooking oil, household waste and old furniture – piles measuring up to 2 metres high in places. One of the first tasks Tchai-Ovna undertook was to remove the debris in order to create a beautiful tea garden that is sensitive to the surrounding environment. The tea house has been also making a lot of effort to help and promote local artists which has attracted attention from the BBC and newspapers, including the Herald, List and Metro. This is under threat if the business is forced to close The period of disuse lead to the growth of a number of mature trees which we looked after and are important as a green corridor as well as providing a natural defense against flooding and thus subsidence. The building would have a devastating effect once it falls into the river, possibly in 50 years time. This is not only a threat to the bio-diversity of the site that has been developing since the last property fell into the river (around 25 years ago) but also overshadow and stifle the small independent businesses on the street, for which Tchai-Ovna has been of great economic benefit. It also destroys a focal point of the community. It is a typical case of the large corporate business sweeping aside grass roots development and the human necessity of cultural diversity. If left in the hands of the many commited people who have invested their energies, under the co-ordination of Tchai-Ovna, the garden would continue to flourish and evolve into a peaceful woodland sanctuary. As a safe place for the community where families could bring their children it would also provide a venue for outside cultural events.

Parks Public Insulation Document

The public have been consulted,
So everything can go ahead as planned

Scotsman article in full:

“City parks to invite private companies to join in shake-up”


The questionnaire in question, copy

Quotes from Scotsman article:

“GLASGOW’S reputation as the “dear green place” is to be reinforced with a multi-million pound plan to breathe new life into its parks and open spaces.”

We are not talking wildlife here, all be it predatory

“The council is expected to approve a master plan for the city’s 74 parks which will allow private companies to provide a range of facilities. ”

Says the Scotsman newspaper. So when was this master plan thought out you may ask – last week. After the public consultation period. Not before surely. The city council who hold our parks in trust, have allowed private companies into our parks through only the views of 670 members of the public !!!

“Golf driving ranges, garden centres, cafes and restaurants will all be considered for inclusion in city parks and open spaces.

Funny thing is, this article makes the parks consultation document look like a statement rather than a questionnaire.
“The review followed an extensive public consultation. More than 3,000 children responded with their views on the parks and open spaces and 670 members of the public and organisations contributed.”

It would be interesting to find out how the council managed to get 3,000 children to respond to their tendentious consultation document.

Q. would you like a new skateboard park.
A. Yes please.

Q. How would you like a cafe in the park selling sweets hamburgers and ice cream.
A. yes please.

Q. Would you like more amusements that you could harass your parents to get money for.
A. O’ yes please.

Q. You don’t like that boring old green stuff do you. If we made nice houses facilities on these bits. you would have a lot more parking space tarmac to play on with your bikes. Oh and more cafes, yes of course. Would you like some more sweets.
A. Yes please.

I don’t think the park is noisy enough do you. What about more pop bands. But remember it will use up more of that green stuff at the weekends.
A. Yes please.

Maybe you children should go out to play and let me fill in the rest of this boring form. OK
A. Yes please.
“Key issues of concern included safety and security, dog fouling, insufficient toilets and the lack of a visual presence of park attendants and rangers.”


There for we will need new partners to facilitate these shortcomings. The public in this day and age can’t expect the parks department to think of everything. Toilets and parkies, indeed. This will cost.

“The latest poll we did shows the parks are still highly regarded by the public.

“This isn’t a service which is sick, but we can work with others to make the service better before there is any dip in use.”

So therefore we need to do something about this “high regard”. We can’t have people being happy with our parks the way they are. But just in case by some miracle, people stop going to the park on sunny days, or for a quiet walk in the winter, we shall take the precaution of having a few companies in to check the place out for commercial outlets. Just in case the park gets sick, or there is a dip in usability, or something.

“Glasgow’s parks currently attract up to 20 million visitors a year. ”

– So we will really have to be careful with this dip in usability – as a possibility.

“However, Mr Booth said he was keen to see the management of the parks overhauled, so that decisions on their future are taken at a local level, with managers empowered to implement change.”

And of course

“Local communities will also be encouraged to put forward their own plans.

Mr Booth admitted that during the review, the possibility of the parks being run by an external organisation was considered. However, the option was dismissed amid fears that private contractors may charge for some of the facilities which are currently free. ”

Of course decisions taken at a “local level” can also mean making it easier to privatise when they are out-with the central structure. Divide and rule, nice one.

“the parks being run by an external organisation was considered” By whom!!! The parks are in trust to the council to be looked after for the public – who own them. I do not remember anything in the Public Consultation Document about external organisations running our parks. Auto-suggesstion. OK.

“She added: “We’re kicking off the debate about our parks and what we want to use our public spaces for.

I believe the city council are kicking off a non debate because they know exactly what they want to use our public space for

“My gut reaction is that the people of Glasgow will say it’s not before time.”

My gut reaction is the people of Glasgow will wonder what the writer is on about. But no doubt The people of Glasgow, will find out soon enough when the bulldozers start rolling and our parks become extensions of the commercial enterprise that Glasgow City Council hold so dear to their heart – no matter what the public think.

I would strongly advise anyone concerned about their local park and how the councils “master plan” will affect it, to use the box below and make their views heard. Just in the off-chance that this is the first time that they have heard that there was a debate going on .


Victoria park campaign History

Thoughts on two newspaper articles concerning Glasgow parks – Victoria and Ruchill

Beware the statement "We have a unique opportunity" That's how the idea, to turn Victoria Park pitches, into a car park was framed.
Here we are again, it's part of the old one two. What do you want in your parks - Well heres what your going to get.
People don't grudge young folk having a good time enjoying bands and stuff. It's where it happens that is the problem - who makes the profit and - who pays for the maintenance of the aftermath. Oh and lets not forget the residents who's park events are held in.

Well did anyone ask the residents around Victoria park.

So the pitches that couldn’t be turned into a car park – can be out of service for a month while they are “put back to normal”. Not counting the time they were out of bounds to residents when the actual festival was on and the preparation. Where does £5,000 go these days for a months maintenance work and the inconvenience of park users. In the other article we are asked to “Call for views on park future” concerning Ruchill Park. Ruchhill is an amazing piece of green land that needs a few toilets, a couple of parkies here and there and then to let people get on with enjoying the open space. Ask them and thats what they will tell you!

What does this mean
“Ruchill Park is a great local resource. I’m sure the public will have their own opinion of the kind of facilities they would like to see in the park. It certainly has the potential to become an even bigger asset to the community by providing something everyone can enjoy,”

I am sure that the public do have an opinion, but will it be listened to, “kind of facilities” That doesn’t mean toilets and swings. “bigger asset to the community” usually means “bigger asset to the business community” That means putting on festivals that take up your park space, and give nothing to the local community as the food and drink are all served behind the fence. Or worse Turning toilets (which are needed that have been closed for years) into bistros and poverty pimping “Fair Trade” outlets.

Festival leaves pitches muddy mess (West End Mail)

Broomhill Community Sports Club has been left with nowhere to train after football pitches at Victoria Park were damaged following the Indian Summer music festival. 5000 revellers turned the pitches, which are used by three girls football teams, seven West End school football teams, four boys youth teams and a running club, into a muddy mess. Club Secretary, Stephen Prince, said: “Victoria Park is vital to the well being of the sports club and its members. These pitches are used by range of young people for football matches on Saturdays and Sundays, including Girls Football, School Football and young people with disabilities. “It’s also used by ordinary Glaswegians who want to have the run of a bit of grass. What’s happened here is vandalism.

“The organisers and the City Council must have known what an event of this size would do to a fragile grass surface. “My concern is we have been told unofficially that the grass will need reseeded and that this will put the pitches out of action for the entire season. I would guess the organisers will have left some money to cover the repair of the land. However this money will not cover the true cost of literally hundreds of children being denied their right to participate in sport in their local park. “Whoever agreed to the concert taking place did not consider the impact on ordinary citizens.” Stephen’s view was shared by Jordanhill resident Cathy Steed, who lives near Victoria Park. “I have no problem with the Indian Summer festival but organisers should have left the park the way they found it. It looks a mess. They have left lots of children disappointed.” However another local resident John McArthur disagreed. “The festival had to be held somewhere and everyone who attended had a good time. It is a shame about the mess but I’m sure the pitches will be ready to use soon.”

Glasgow City Council confirmed festival organisers left £5000 to aid the repair of the football pitches and said that they should not be out of action for any longer than one month. “With every major event in city parks, it is anticipated remedial work may be necessary and event organisers contribute to the costs involved,” said a council spokesman. “As with events on Glasgow Green or other parks, we move quickly to carry out such work with minimal disruption to the public.”

Call for views on park future (West End Mail)

GLASGOW City Council's Land Services department are currently carrying out a community consultation exercise to find out what local people would like to see happen within Ruchill park. The survey asks what they think is good and bad about the park, what could be done to encourage people to visit Ruchill more regularly, and what changes would make the park more enjoyable. Councillor Aileen Colleran, Executive Member for Parks and Facilities believes residents and community groups will be eager to have a say on the parks future develop-ment.

“Ruchill Park is a great local resource. I’m sure the public will have their own opinion of the kind of facilities they would like to see in the park. It certainly has the potential to become an even bigger asset to the community by providing something everyone can enjoy,” she said. The findings of the consultation exercise will form part of Land Services’ ongoing parks development plans. Kenny Boyle, the Council’s Head of Parks, says it’s essential that local people and park users opinions are made known. “The more people who get involved and tell us what they want from their park the clearer the picture we’ll have of how we can improve it,” he said.

“We have a unique opportunity to look at how Ruchill Park can be developed to meet community needs over the forthcoming years. This exercise is a means of finding out what these needs are.” The survey can be completed online at or by calling 287 3907 or 946 3269. Copies of the survey are also available at the park depot entrance.

13 sep 06


Victory for Friends over car park farce.

No Cars For The Park!
Re: The rejection of the idea to build a big stupid car park in a public park, which at the public consultation was described by the councillor as a "a win win situation".
Letter from Councillor Jean McFadden CBE JP

Dear Resident
This letter is addressed to all those who lodged objections to the proposed redevelopment of Scotstoun Leisure Centre. I am trying to cover all the issues raised, so you may find that some matters are covered which you did not personally raise.
I have had a series of meetings with the Directors of Cultural & Leisure Services (CLS) and Land Services (LS) and the councillors from the neighbouring wards and the latest position is as follows:1. CLS officials have reason to believe that the Scottish Rugby Union have exaggerated the number of spectators who attend Rugby matches. After doing some research, they have concluded that the average number is more likely to be around 1500 rather than 3500. If this is the case, the number of parking places required could be reduced. They propose that a new Traffic Impact Assessment should be carried out on this basis They believe that the redeveiopment could cope with a reduction in the number of proposed additional parking places. By extending parking westward within the stadium, they can accommodate an additional 290 vehicles. In addition, they propose that the car park at St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School can be used to accommodate additional vehicles and match officials and possibly teams can be directed to use these spaces.

Thus there should be no need to provide parking places on a regular basis in Victoria Park and plans to develop the blaes pitch for parting will be dropped.

2. To protect the amenity of residents in the avenues near the Leisure Centre, the Director of Land Services proposes to promote an Occasional Traffic Regulation Order – but only if residents are in favour This would mean that on the days/evenings when major spectator events are on at the stadium, parking in the avenues wouid be restricted to residents only. Residents would be issued with permits, free of charge, and the parking restrictions will be enforced by parking attendants

A Traffic Regulation Order requires consultation to be carried out, but in advance of the statutory consultation, I will arrange for an informal consultation to be carried out by way of a public meeting and/or a postal survey.

3.I have asked CLS to investigate the possibility of having CCTV installed at the entrance to the Leisure Centre to try to reduce disorder and vandalism in the Centre and the surrounding avenues.

4. We will investigate the possibility of First Bus routing a bus into the stadium

5. The height of the stadium will be reduced to lessen overshadowing the allotments

6. We will continue to pressurise SPTE to develop a new railway station at Jordanhill

The likely timetable of events is:

1. Carry out a new Traffic Impact Assessment. This should take 2 to 3 months.

2. Carry out voluntary consultation on the proposed Occasional Traffic Regulation Order

3. Advertise and promote the Traffic Regulation Order.

4. Investigate installation of CCTV at Leisure Centre.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have further concern, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully


Councillor Jean McFadden CBE JP
Convener: Strathclyde Joint Police Board and Chair: Labour Group
Phone 0141 287 4054
Fax 0141 287 4173
24 May 2006

Bob, 1:05 AM


Would be a real shame to lose a prime piece of parkland in the city. The park there seems to be used for so much these days, football, frisbee, and I see even Australian football is played there as well now. We need to support this type of vibrancy in the city and ensure parkland is available for recreation.

New campaign group vows to win U-turn on car park plans

PROTESTERS fighting plans for a massive car park on a green space in Glasgow's west end have launched an official campaign group. Scotstoun residents Dorothy Parker, 48, and Nicola Mathews, 32, have joined forces to form Friends of Victoria Park.Tonight they will hold the first in a series of public meetings which council representatives will also attend.

The campaigners, who live in Victoria Park Drive North with their homes looking on to the park, were among hundreds of people furious to learn a car park with up to 625 spaces was being proposed.

Glasgow City Council wants to site two new football pitches on blaes areas, and 200 permanent parking spaces.

During events at nearby Scotstoun Stadium, which is to be upgraded, 400 temporary spaces will be made available by allowing parking on new grass pitches.

Now Friends of Victoria Park will take on the council in a bid to force a U-turn on the plan.

The group has already attracted 25 members but expects many more to sign up. Already 400 people have lodged objections with the council.

BBC worker Dorothy said: “This is a way of bringing together lots of people and having a stronger lobbying voice.

“We hope to get detailed answers from the council’s representatives and to persuade the council to change its mind about the plans.

“I would ask anyone concerned about these proposals to come along to the public meeting and register their interest in the campaign.”

Objections have been flooding in since the second phase of a consultation on the proposed new 6000-seater Scotstoun Stadium – and associated plans for Victoria Park – was launched.

More than 700 residents have been leafleted by Scotstoun Conservation Area Residents Association over the issue.

The association has compiled an objection document and is urging local people to sign up.

It claims event parking in Victoria Park “will fail as it fails us now due to the lack of proper traffic management”.

Neil Brown of the association, said: “The council is missing the key issues. Will 600 cars ever even use the car park in Victoria Park when they can park elsewhere closer to the stadium?

“Tarmacing an area of the park will not stop our avenues being used as a car park.”

The closing date for objectors to make their views known on the issue is March 10.

A city council spokeswoman confirmed today that officials from the cultural and leisure services, and land services departments, and Councillor Irene Graham will be attending the meeting of the new campaign group.

l Tonight’s public meeting will be held at 7pm in Scotstoun and Whiteinch Church on Earlbank Avenue.


Councillor hits back at campaign to stop plan for car park

February 14 2006
A leading councillor has hit back at the campaign to stop a car park being built in one of Glasgow's most historic parks.Aileen Colleran, Glasgow City Council's parks convener, said proposals to replace disused football pitches and trees with a car park at Victoria Park were being distorted by a campaign based on misconceptions.Ms Colleran, councillor for the Partick ward, said the council was determined to preserve green space, while upgrading facilities "to a twenty-first century standard". She denounced what she claimed were unwarranted accusations that Glasgow's playing fields were under increasing jeopardy from developers. She said: "You would think from some of the abuse the council is poised to send bulldozers into Victoria Park and turn a beautiful green space into a sea of ugly grey concrete.
“Two very poor quality red blaes pitches are going to be removed. In reality, they are derelict and used for little more than dog walking. “In their place, we will build two new grass pitches, fully available for recreational use by local residents and clubs. “Yes, it is true there will be a hard-surfaced area next to the new pitches and the grassed area will also be used on a limited number of occasions by motorists when major sporting events are being held at the Scotstoun stadium, with most of these on Friday evenings. “Believe me, there is no way we would be putting forward this proposal if we didn’t believe it was leading to an improvement in the existing sports and recreational space in Victoria Park.” David Moyes, Everton’s manager, recently joined campaigners in the battle to save the Victoria Park football pitches. Glasgow-born Moyes played his first football game on the threatened Victoria Park red blaes pitches. Glasgow City Council wants to build the park on disused pitches, fell about 20 trees and build a new access road and driveway through the park. Steve Prince is a local resident who helps run Broomhill Sports Club which organises classes for hundreds of children.

He said his club would welcome the provision of new facilities in Victoria Park but added: “The real issue here is that the council want to park over 600 cars in our park about 20 times per year. What condition will the grass be in the morning after? Would the Glasgow rugby people like to give up two grass pitches at Scotstoun for an overflow car park? Probably not as it would ruin their playing surface. “However, it’s meant to be a good enough arrangement for our children to play the national game on. We have been attempting to do develop our park while the council wants to rush through some ill-conceived plan to park cars there.

This is not good governance.” In a separate development, the council are expected to approve more than £20m towards the development of Toryglen regional sports centre and Scotstoun Stadium. The council’s policy and resources committee is today expected to set aside £10.5m for Toryglen and £7.9m for Scotstoun with a further £2.2m for a central contingency fund. Glasgow Herald