Friends of Kelvingrove Park – the Bandstand’s true heroes

Kids fun day 2 (1995) copy

Opening ceremony 2014 – Kids Fun Day 1995

Following from westendreport.com

A shout of frustration, not protest, rang out at today’s re-opening ceremony for the Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, writes Ginny Clark. Continue reading

The official unveiling of this much-loved and now beautifully refurbished Bandstand was marked by grand speeches and some fantastic music from community jazz band Brass, Aye and local schools Hillhead High and Sgoil Ghaidlig Ghlaschu. It was a great moment for all those involved in the £2.1million project – read more about the history, background and details here and here.

Amid the speeches, there was a mention for the Friends of Kelvingrove Park in the ‘thank-yous’ list from Glasgow Buildings Preservation Trust (GBPT) chair Pat Chalmers.

But when it came to handing out souvenir pictures to all of the project partners’ proud – and rightly so – representatives, a question rang out from the back of the amphitheatre: ‘Where’s the picture for Friends of Kelvingrove Park’? From the stage, there was an off-script reply that GBPT would get a picture sorted out for the organisation ‘later’.

But to many local onlookers, in this high-profile and highly successful city project, it seemed the efforts of the Friends of Kelvingrove Park had perhaps not been given the recognition they deserved.

This group began to raise concerns about the Bandstand throughout the 1990s, a driving force that became a fully-fledged campaign to restore the building and retain it as a valuable community asset of great historical value. In 2002 the Friends of Kelvingrove Park carried out the feasibility study into a possible restoration project – and one year later Glasgow City Council had approved the plan in principal.

Yet it took another seven years of hard lobbying by the Friends of Kelvingrove Park – backed by a strong grassroots support – to secure the city council’s commitment and initial funding to at last progress the restoration. As plans for this year’s Commonwealth Games gathered force, so too did the prospect of securing the Bandstand as part of its legacy. By 2010,  the project was rolling – and today’s ceremony marked the culmination of a classy restoration job by Glasgow City Council, GBPT and Glasgow Life.

However, what this community knows for sure is that without the tireless efforts of Friends of Kelvingrove Park, the B-listed Bandstand and Amphitheatre would not be a unique and shining outdoor venue – but still lie decaying, a derelict shell.

See more about Friends of Kelvingrove Park here

Intercept?

By Michael Albert
Source Z Communications

Greenwald is as quick, succinct, and clear in conversation as he appears in videos. He stuck me as likeable and certainly not the harsh fellow he is often made out to be. But some of his interview answers were troubling.

Greenwald understands the coercive possibilities of capitalist owners or the state curtailing adversarial journalism from above. That is the danger Greenwald believes will not overtake First Look/Intercept because he feels the owner, Pierre Omidyar, is sincerely committed to never imposing restrictions and, more positively, to actively establishing a journalism-friendly workplace.
Keep reading article INTERCEPT?

The Future of ZCommunications

znetZ’s Future

Times are hard for all media, and particularly for alternative media. This is due to a combination of factors including but not limited to a growing audience disinclination to pay for information. If you couple that with alternative media being unable, in many cases, to get foundation or large donor funding, and with its commitment to not selling its audience to advertisers, which would likely yield little revenue in any event, the situation becomes dire.

In the face of such trends, only a few avenues, other than surrender and dissolution, exist.

  • A project can seek to generate new income from new channels, to pay its bills.
  • A project can severely reduce its costs.
  • A project can convince its audiences that support is desirable and worth their attention.

Z is following all these paths.
Keep Reading article The Future of ZCommunications

Casting Out

Casting Out

Dear Colleagues,

An invitation to mark a sad occasion in the life of Govan’s Graving Docks… Continue reading

On Monday the 24th of March, the Coach House Trust are moving in to the docks to clear away the pioneering ecology that has found its home here. This clearance marks the first stage of the site’s regeneration – a project led by the developer and landowner New City Vision who plan to make a high-end housing and commercial complex of this site. The dock’s Green Mantle has become host to a fascinating array of birds, invertebrate and mammals, and has also served as a place of solace and inspiration to many people.

On the eve of this clearance, a small lit vessel made of the site’s biomass will be released into the river and carried out to sea by the receding tide. This event has been made possible by the knowledge and skills contributed very kindly by the GalGael.

This will be a sad occassion, but I hope it will provide an opportunity to honour this landscape which has become important to so many. We will be gathering on Clydebrae Street next to the garage at 3pm on Sunday 30th March, before walking to the launching point together. Please do arrive at this time so there is opportunity to hear the health and safety briefing. RSVP on r.olden.1@research.gla.ac.uk     

 Many thanks,Ruth Olden

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govangravingdocks.wordpress.com

Studio 7

Clydebrae Street

Govan

G51 2AJ

 School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
University Avenue
University of Glasgow
East Quadrangle R 301
Glasgow
G12 8QQ

Atos ‘not fit’ to sponsor Commonwealth Games

18 March 2014 Last updated at 12:11 Help

Petitioner Sean Clerkin told MSPs he believed Atos were “contract killers” who were “not fit” to sponsor the 2014 Commonwealth Games, on 18 March 2014. Mr Clerkin’s petition calls for the Scottish Parliament to urge the 2014 Commonwealth Games’ organising committee to drop IT company Atos as a sponsor. Continue reading

He told the Public Petitions Committee the company, who assess whether benefits claimants are fit to work, were a “toxic brand”.

Last month Atos confirmed it was seeking to end its government contract.

Staff carrying out work capability assessments for Atos have received death threats online and in person, according to the Financial Times.

Disability campaigners have described the work tests as “ridiculously harsh and extremely unfair”.

Mr Clerkin said it was disappointing no MSPs, apart from the convener David Stewart, asked any questions about the petition.

Iain MacInnes from Glasgow against Atos also gave evidence.

The committee agreed to continue the petition and write to a number of organisations including the Department of Work and Pensions, Atos and the Scottish government.

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.

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).
Keep reading article Ian McHarg 1920-2001 Scottish landscape architect Design with nature

Extending Solidarity to the Ecosystem

What would it mean to extend solidarity to the eco-system? That’s the question at the heart of this conversation with union activist and environmentalist, Sean Sweeney. The conservative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that fifty years will be more than sufficient to witness the worst impacts of climate change and if past is prologue, poor and working class communities will be hit doubly hard. Climate change is a class issue, and yet the trade union movement continues to drag its feet. In the US today, while trade unions that aggressively back dirty-energy projects are in a minority, big labor is not exactly in the leadership of the movement for a sustainable, fair, energy future. The US is lagging, says Sweeney, “In Germany now, there are seven hundred renewable energy cooperatives. Up to 25% of its power generation is renewable. It has installed as much solar energy last year as the entire installed capacity of solar in the United States.”

What would it take to make change? First things first: “For unions to get away from playing defense onto offense, they first of all have to tell the truth; they have to be aware of the urgency and seize the opportunities,” says Sweeney. In a word, “They need to extend solidarity to the ecosystem itself.”

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill Consultation

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill Consultation

  1. Transparency of Common Good Land

Common good land belongs to local authorities and only occurs in former burghs. Accordingly this theme is only relevant to groups either currently using or with ambitions to use Council land within a historic burgh. Establishing whether or not a given parcel of land or building is common good land is very difficult. If an area of land or a building is a common good asset, there are two practical consequences. The first is that in administering it, the Council must have regard to the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the common good related. The second is that in some cases there may be barriers to the Council selling or leasing the land on a long term lease. These are factors which may be relevant where a community group is already on, or has its sights on, such an area of land.

Continue reading

It is proposed that local authorities should be required to create public registers of the common good land in their areas. These may highlight areas that are suitable for community gardening use, but also highlight that there are special considerations to take into account when negotiating with the Council. It is also proposed that there should be greater involvement of the community where a local authority proposes to dispose of such land. See consultation document paragraphs 41 to 47 and question 14.

 MORE EXAMPLE TOPICS:

On 6/11/2013 Scottish Government issued a consultation on the proposed Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. A “Bill” is a draft Act of Parliament. The Scottish Government’s intention is that, following this consultation, the Bill will be introduced into and debated by the Scottish Parliament. If the Parliament enact (pass) it, it will become statute law. The consultation is open for responses until 24 January 2014 and can be accessed here – http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/5740

The consultation document covers 11 separate major themes and poses 71 consultation questions. Details of how to respond are given below. Of those themes, 5 are likely to be significant to Federation members. These 5, and the relevant paragraphs of the consultation document and consultation questions, are as follows –

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  1. Community Asset Transfer Request

It is proposed that community bodies be given a right to request that public bodies, such as local authorities, transfer assets (such as land or buildings) to them. The public body would then be required to assess the request on the basis of best public benefit; if they agree with the request this would trigger a process for transfer of the asset to the community body. Draft Bill clauses have been provided for comment (sections 1 to 10 of the draft Bill annexed to the consultation document.)

The main issues are likely to be

(a) is the definition of community body too restrictive? The draft Bill currently requires that it be a company limited by guarantee with specific lock provisions in its articles of association. Should SCIOs, Industrial and Provident Societies, CICs limited by shares and unincorporated voluntary organisations also have this right?

(b) Is the list of public bodies too restricted – note that it doesn’t include any public landowners whose roles are out with the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament, for example the Crown or Network Rail.

(c) Is the proposed process realistic in terms of timescales for a community body raising the purchase price?

See consultation document paragraphs 25 to 30 and questions 1, 2 and 3

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  1. Extended Pre-Emptive Community Right to Buy

Since 2004 rural communities with populations of less than 10,000 have been able to apply for a “pre-emptive” right to buy land and buildings relevant to their community. This means a right to be the purchaser, at market value, whenever in future the landowner decides to sell the land, not an immediate right to buy at a time that suits the community. The application for the right to buy is made to Scottish Government and needs to present a case for community ownership. Where Government Ministers are satisfied that community ownership would be in the public interest, they will give the community group the pre-emptive right to buy.

It is suggested that this right could be extended to all communities in Scotland, including urban communities. The overall discussion of this topic occupies consultation document paragraphs 54 to 70 and 74 to 133 and consultation questions 18 and 21 to 51 inclusive. However some of the detailed discussion and questions are likely to be quite confusing for readers who have not had any involvement in a rural community buy-out under the existing law.

Important issues for consideration include

(a) should the right be extended to all parts of Scotland (paragraphs 66 and 67 and question 17);

(b) how is a community defined in an urban context (paragraphs 68 and 95 to 97 and questions 32 and 33);

(c) what types of structure should eligible community bodies be permitted to have (paragraphs 98 to 101 and questions 34 to 36);

(d) how fair is the process for valuing the land (paragraphs 110 and 111 and question 39);

(e) how would such community buy-outs be funded – the existing rural buy-outs have mainly been funded by the Scottish Land Fund (touched on in paragraph 11 but not further discussed); and

(f) If community bodies require to raise some or all of their own funding, are the suggested timescales realistic, and would a longer timescale be fair to the landowner? (paragraphs 86 to 88 and question 29).

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  1. Absolute Right to Buy Neglected and Abandoned Land

The Scottish Government is also seeking views on the proposal that communities might be given an absolute right to buy neglected or abandoned land. How the concept of abandoned or neglected land would be defined is a major issue, as are the implications for the landowner’s human rights. See consultation document paragraphs 71 to 73 and questions 19 and 20.

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  1. Allotments

A number of changes to allotment law are suggested. The proposals seem generally sensible, but it is important that plot holders and allotment associations look at them and respond to the consultation questions. A new statutory definition of an allotment plot is proposed with size limits – current holders of very large or very small plots should respond to this. Sensible proposals are made to force local authorities to create new allotment sites in response to public demand. A proposal for a local authority regulation-making power appears sensible but insofar as it relates to huts and polytunnels might benefit from being tied into permitted development for planning purposes. It is proposed that sale of surplus produce would be allowed for the first time, with the proceeds going to the community. The application of some of the proposals to private allotments warrants consideration.

See consultation document paragraphs 168 to 181 and consultation questions 61 to 69.

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  1. Transparency of Common Good Land

Common good land belongs to local authorities and only occurs in former burghs. Accordingly this theme is only relevant to groups either currently using or with ambitions to use Council land within a historic burgh. Establishing whether or not a given parcel of land or building is common good land is very difficult. If an area of land or a building is a common good asset, there are two practical consequences. The first is that in administering it, the Council must have regard to the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the common good related. The second is that in some cases there may be barriers to the Council selling or leasing the land on a long term lease. These are factors which may be relevant where a community group is already on, or has its sights on, such an area of land.

It is proposed that local authorities should be required to create public registers of the common good land in their areas. These may highlight areas that are suitable for community gardening use, but also highlight that there are special considerations to take into account when negotiating with the Council. It is also proposed that there should be greater involvement of the community where a local authority proposes to dispose of such land. See consultation document paragraphs 41 to 47 and question 14.

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Other topics in the consultation document

The six further topics which are of lesser relevance are (a) a proposed community right to participate in processes to improve outcomes in public sector service delivery; (b) better powers for local authorities to recover money spent on dangerous buildings; (c) strengthening community planning; (d) discussion about non-domestic rates and water charges (which are not being consulted upon in this exercise); (e) a proposal to put the Scottish Government’s strategic outcomes onto a statutory footing and (f) a very general final consultation question about subsidiarity and local democracy.

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Responding to the consultation

Responses to the consultation can be made online at

https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/community-empowerment-unit/cerb/consultation

Alternatively, the three-part consultation questionnaire and associated respondent information form can be down loaded on the link below and then submitted by either email or post

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/11/5740/downloads

The closing date for responses is 24 January 2014.