As a member of NTS I am writing to urge you to stand firm in your objection to the proposed Go Ape development in Pollok Park. This objection was made by NTS to Glasgow City Council on 9th January 2008 (C Cassels, Countryside and Islands Group Manager).
It is clear from the 1939 Conservation Agreement the NTS can, if it wishes; withhold consent for any new buildings associated with recreational development. I understand that Glasgow City Council proposes the use of an existing building (Knowehead Lodge), partly to avoid the need for NTS consent.
However there are two other reasons that consent may be withheld under the 1939 Agreement:
1.the felling of trees
2.If a development would “injure, prejudice, affect or destroy the present aspect or condition of the land” (for example zip wires through the woods or across the Glade)
I understand that Glasgow City Council has written to the NTS asking for its views. Given the sensitivity of and widespread opposition to the development (5000 signatures, many from NTS members) I am of the view that the NTS response should be subject to wide consultation before it goes to Glasgow City Council.
Given the above, please respond to the following questions:
Please inform me when the management’s recommendation will be presented to the Board and Pollok Advisory Committee?
When will it also be taken to the NTS Council for consideration and what other measures do you propose to ensure that the response reflects the view of NTS members?
For example you could place a small advert in the newspapers or (at no cost) on the NTS website asking for views of members
One of the main reasons why NTS members and users of the park have been so upset is the disregard by Glasgow City Council for proper consultation procedures. The NTS has itself objected on these grounds. One would hope that the NTS will take a different approach.
You will be aware that, as a public body and charity your procedures may be subject to judicial review if members are dissatisfied with the transparency of any decision. Such a step could be avoided if NTS sets out clearly how any proposed decision on this matter would meet its obligations under the conservation agreement.