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 .


Can we rekindle a people’s vision for our parks?

Thoughts on – Plans to build a school and Music Therapy Centre, in Ruchill park.

First off, I doubt whether it was an idea dreamt up by the school or the care centre to situate their institutions in a public park. It is more likely that these ideas are being pushed by Glasgow Parks Department and Glasgow City Council, as part of the ongoing plan to privatise public green space. If this is not the case how come most of what they are doing in our parks fits a business strategy rather than a public one? The fact that council park developments are moving towards more publicly acceptable installations such as schools, only exacerbates the problem of public understanding of the longer term impact of losing green space to concrete.

Other things we need to remember before we start. One is the flagrant disregard for public opinion and the arrogance of Glasgow city council pushing these deals mentioned below through. The city council work for us. We employ and entrust them to conduct proper stewardship of public assets. The scale of abuse of these powers of control, particularly over the last 6 years is incredible. If certain councilors were punters from Govan, they would be in jail for some of the things they are up to. Why does it seem as if they get our blessing for robbing folk in Govan, Maryhill, Ruchill, Dalmarnock and every other place of their Common Good land, schools, community centre’s, services and proper jobs, to casualisation? Local people are finding out about many these building plans, not from the community council or any kind of proper consultation, but from the newspapers. Glasgow City Council consult newspapers more than they do the public. They do not need to find consensus in the public anymore, they just have to make the biggest noise so no one else can be heard – till it is to late. Building in our parks is all about money and land – not about what is being built at present, that can be a school or a anything else – this is not the point.

The important point is – Once the dangerous animal “developer” is let loose in our park lands it will be very difficult, if not impossible to get it back out again. Schools in the park will be the least of our problems. When prime public land is up for grabs, the same developer feeding frenzy as is happening all over the city will be allowed in the doors of our parks.

We need to keep this in mind when we ask. Is a Glasgow park the best place to put buildings of any description – particularly in those parks that are surrounded by an abundance of derelict land begging for community development? Should it not be the duty of Glasgow City Council to protect the most valuable and treasured land in our city (parks) for the benefit of “all” of of our citizens? I think most councilors who take the time to look are aware of the long term impact of the councils “commercial business project” for our parks. For whatever reasons good or bad apart from a few committed councilors, there is hardly a murmur of dissent coming from the city chambers about the fate of our parks or our cities Common Good, or Common heritage – as these public assets move speedily towards the control of business interests.

But. We shouldn’t waste much time trying to convince the master planners at GCC that putting specialised buildings, or any other kind, in our parks doesn’t serve the best public interest? – They already know this. It is the public who are kept in the dark and left out of the debate for very good reasons, and it is the public who need to be informed. (See: The New Bohemia)

No truer words from Bridget
After an eloquent speech on the merits of transferring the control of Glasgow’s Common Good into the hands of “Culture and Sport”. I questioned Bridget MacConnell on squaring this idea with plans to build nightclubs, private business projects and such like in our parks. She answered my question with a very useful and truthful piece of information. She said “I cant do anything about that – that’s up to activists. My job is to balance the budget.” (A line used to screen a multitude of sins)

“That’s up to activists”. Activist, meaning those who exercise their democratic rights – that’s you and me and everybody else – ordinary people with an opinion on how they want to live their lives. We activists will still be here long after council chiefs and their budget balancing ideas come and go. We need to be in it for our communities long term, because we can’t up and run when our budgets don’t balance – we need to live with the consequences of these decisions – it is therefore important that we become part of the decision making process and become aware of the long term impact of these building proposals being planned for our “public” space.

Therapy is an apt topic when we speak about parks. The therapy centre proposed for Ruchill park has a reputation of doing great work – “Through music, the charity transforms the lives of children and adults affected by illness, disability, trauma or isolation.” – and they should be commended for this.

But the same could be said about our famous Glasgow parks. The park is one of the original therapy centre’s where young and old can escape from the trauma of city life. The park offers an autonomous space where we are allowed to let our imagination run free, unimpeded by noisy city life, the car and the isolation created by the over dependence of television. If we are concerned with the holistic health of our communities we need to work in partnership with each other in order to create as diverse a choice and use of the facilities available to us. Our ideas also need to be guided by a long term vision in order that we do not make mistakes that are difficult or near impossible to rectify.

We would be hard pushed to find folk who would think it a bad idea to build a Ruchill Music Therapy, Play & Respite Care centre. But that is not really the issue. The issue here is: In a public park? To understand why this is not a good idea it has to be put in the context of Glasgow City Councils vision for our parks – which given the evidence over the last five years is to privatise them, or at least make them available for business enterprises. This is not controversial – it is policy. A few recent ideas that were council driven. Go Ape – The idea to build an £45 a time adventure playground in Pollock Park. Stopped (Common Good). Another idea to build a nightclub in the Botanic Gardens was stopped (Common Good). And another a while back to turn football pitches in Victoria park into 600 + car-park spaces – Described by the council as a “win win situation”? This was also stopped by community pressure (Zero tolerance. No cars in our park). Privately run cafe’s have been given leases to use what were once park toilets to trade from (Kelvingrove) and there are many more of these kind of ideas in the pipe-line. Those at the city chambers pushing for the commercialisation of our parks know fine well, it is more difficult to fight a campaign against a school than it is a nightclub in the park. These installations are being used to pave (literally) the way for more – less benign commercial business projects for our parks.

The therapeutic service our parks present to us, is a “preventive therapy” – that is a treatment that is intended to prevent a medical condition from occurring in the first place. In their history, Glasgow parks have created respite from the ravages of the industrial revolution and today serve the same purpose in creating respite from the ravages of motorways, traffic, gentrification of local green space, consumerism, school, (kids may think) and many other ills bought on by business encroaching on every part of our public space.

Our government tell us – In the coming years we will be expected to pay even more taxes and suffer loss of employment, loss of public assets, cuts to services for the folly’s and rash business deals – seemingly carried out for the public benefit? Glasgow parks are the jewel in our crown and their autonomous nature, sense of ownership and pride represent a social, cultural, mental and physical safety net, we lose at our peril – especially in these days where we seem to be losing so much of the public estate and our resources to finance bad debt that was not of the public’s making.

But you were consulted?
Around 6 years ago. “seemingly” the public were consulted about the idea of business being allowed to profit of of our parks. Only the obsessed would have found the consultation document, so don’t blame yourself if you didn’t see it. Do you ever remember being consulted in such a major shift of council policy, concerning our parks and our Common Good? Here is a snippet of what is happening – There is a link below to the consultation document.

The results of the consultation were interpreted like this:
“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. ” Scotsman Sept 21, 2004.

And from the same article: “Aileen Colleran, the convener of the parks and facilities committee, gave an assurance that none of the city’s parks and open spaces would be sold off to private companies such as housing developers.”

But an example of what is happened is this:
In 2010. “Richmond Park (a city park) is being transformed as part of a multi-million pound regeneration scheme for neighbouring Oatlands. A total of 1318 homes will be built as part of a £160m plan for the formerly rundown community.” And also. “A high quality family pub/restaurant is proposed overlooking the model boat pond in Richmond Park.” Houses, pubs in the park? So in six years following from the above assurances, about a fifth of Richmond park has had houses built on it. The plans for licensed premises overlooking the boat pond – will be built on the spot the boat club takes up. The club, a well loved feature of the “boat pond” will be moved some place else?

In protecting our parks we need to separate the business from the Common Good and Common heritage – and the ideas from the emotional blackmail. We need to think of schools, therapy centre’s, in our parks the same way we would think of private run bars, restaurants, 600 place car-parks, night-clubs, £45 a time adventure playgrounds, renting park-space for exclusive £50 a head new year parties next to residential housing (Kelvingrove stopped) and all the other exclusive and strange ideas Glasgow City Council have come up with for our city parks. They are purely to make money. (Glasgow parks department employ business managers for this very purpose.) To do what? – Spend profits on social inclusion? To put back into the Common Good fund? I don’t think so. One thing that is never talked about are profits and where they end up.

Why do we need to keep this in mind before we let the Glasgow City Council do what they want in our parks?

Our parks actually work – and for hundreds of years. We do not need to make them dysfunctional by placing in them things that go against the very nature of a park and what they were put here for in the first place and who they should serve – namely the poorest in the city.

It is conveniently forgotten that Glasgow has some of the worst areas of poverty in the whole of Europe. Our parks become important places to the poorest in our communities, which makes it important that they do not become the new cafe scene that most of us can’t afford, nor places of exclusive interests, formal education included.
“The World Health Organization published a report in 2008, revealing that the difference in life expectancy between a child born in the wealthier south or west of Glasgow, and one born in a poor area in the east, was 28 years. The report found that some areas of Glasgow had the lowest life expectancy in Europe: 54 for men and 75 for women. Its recommendations included universal access to clean water, food, housing, healthcare and energy; also improvements in education, lifestyle, town planning and working conditions. It should have caused a storm, but it hardly caused a ripple.” See: Glasgow’s Two Nations

Our parks have become a battleground between business interests and the Common Good (two nations). Our present administration, given the evidence, seems to be on the side of business.

It is a lot easier to muster sympathy in stopping the idea of a night club in a park. (not easy just easier) but touchy feely ideas like schools, therapy centre’s, cafe’s placed in our parks are more difficult ideas to attack – because we like them.

If building schools in parks are for the benefit of our children and the councils theme of closing and selling local schools then relocating them in the local park is allowed to continue. What happens next? Can all of our kids have a school in the park?

Is it not strange – choosing a park to build an industrial building in an area (Ruchill) with the biggest amount of derelict land in the whole of Glasgow? Would it not be a better ideas to redevelop some of the derelict land and create even more green space around a new school that would fit seemingly one of the city councils remits of creating green space – rather than taking it away? Or is the school in the park to attract clients for the luxury flats that the derelict land and the old hospital will be used for?

What happens when the school in the park needs to expand when the surrounding area is developed? Who decides how big a school should be in a park, how many cars should it accommodate – What about the impact of cars and pollution on the park? Has this been even thought of? Why is there no public money available to pay independent public representation of the impact these schemes will have on the community infrastructure. Why do the developers have all the lawyers and those representing the public’s opinion non?

There appears to be no long term vision of what should happen in our parks. (apart from business exploitation.) We are constantly dealing with council representatives who work on four year time scale projects for the duration that they are in power. Then the public need to restart the battle with “the next intake” who will most probably, sell and allocate more space to more developers before leaving office.

Does anyone remember voting for a councilor on the remit that the Common Good would be removed from council control? Or that money from sales and rent from Common Good assets should go into council coffers, not back into the Common Good fund for the benefit of the public?
We need to ask. Why do Glasgow city council persistently deny us of a proper assessment of our common good? (which parks are a big part) Why are people kept in ignorance that these assets even exist. Could it be because – Common Good knowledge, stopped Go Ape, in Pollok Park? and the planned nightclub in the Botanic gardens? – and the same knowledge is helping communities around the country to reclaim their Common Good assets?

The Common Good fund is 500 years old in Scotland – has assets worth millions of pounds There is laws to protect the funds assets, to ensure that they are used for the benefit of the public – Why do those who wish to lead us, not want to talk about the Common Good. Is it because the Common Good is democratic and has structures in place that could help folk decide what they want in their communities and parks, not just what the council decide we need?

So who is deciding? The same council led ideas that tried to put 600 + car park spaces onto Victoria Park football pitches and pushed for a nightclub in the Botanic Gardens, is part of the same council led idea vying to put schools in our parks (Administrations change but the same ideas remain). Putting schools in parks is not for the benefit of children being educated in a nice environment. (although it may be for some children for a period of time.) Will we have “private schools” in the park to? Will fences be erected around park facilities for the use of schools? (Kelvingrove) It is also worth remembering the running of schools is moving closer towards a privatised model – just like our parks. But where does the public stop and the private begin? This is not being made clear in any of these parks “business initiatives” nor in any vision for our schools for that matter – we only hear after the decisions are made.

As far as our parks go, schools in parks are technically just another lever to open more avenues of business interests taking control of parkland. A wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Some of these projects are deemed justifiable because certain parks are “not used enough”?

Parks even for those who do not go into them often – offer peace of mind by the fact that they are there. Looking at a park and admiring the vistas even for the elderly who can’t run around in them brings piece of mind. As soon as concrete is formed in a park it is inevitably followed by tarmac and then by the car. Once the “car” takes hold in our green space it will not be controlled it will make the use of legs redundant and proliferate like hog weed on the Kelvin. A park is about the only open air car-less place our kids can run free. It is the countryside in the city and the retinal experience (looking) of the park is as important as any other, especially for those without the ability to make physical use of them.

I do not have any ax to grind concerning schools or therapy centre’s but only to make it clear that these projects in our parks are detrimental to the wider value the park has to offer in the future. A future when the city is jammed with traffic housing and shopping complexes and none of us can get to the countryside due to the gridlock conditions expansive motorways bring. (the math has already been done) We can’t wait till then to realise the only thing we should put in our parks is people. The folk who are pushing for the commercialisation of our parks are doing it undemocratically, have no interest in the long term vision of the parks for ordinary peoples use – but only in the duration of their short term administration period and sharp denial of our Common Good and Common heritage. Our parks are much to valuable for this and their value will increase incrementally with the spiraling mental health problems we are seeing in our communities as their assets are squeezed out of existence along with their jobs to pay off debt that is the fault of banks and business. Our attitude to development (buildings) in our parks should be zero tolerance for the benefit of the Common Good and Common heritage. But remember Bridget’s words, their job is to balance the budget – our job and ours only, is to make sure it balances in our favour not the rich business partners out to make big bucks selling our parks back to us – the same way they did our housing.

Maybe a useful thing could be to liberate a part of the abundance of derelict land in Ruchill to open a centre dealing with “political behavioural therapy” which could help to teach folk in the so called “depressed” areas about the real socioeconomic origins – of their despair. Or maybe we don’t need to build anything – just expand the use of the present community centre’s and schools that the council are over keen to close down in their rush to sell off buildings, land and local schools, and at the same time turning our dear green space into developing lots for gentrifiers – to the detriment of the car-less and those who need our parks most – ordinary people.

Rekindling the peoples vision for our parks?
What we need in the city is a coalition or association of groups representing Glasgow parks – to discuss the history of how the parks got here – what is there function – and how they can be best run to suit the public, as they are “public parks”. We also need a consultation process that is “visible” to the public and in a language that cannot be construed to mean the opposite of what it says and a proper accountability process that is also open and visible to the public. If we do not demand these kind of things – a vision will be created for us and it will be one where our wallet will need to be in our pocket any time we venture towards the park with the kids.

To conclude
We employ councilors to manage our parks for the health and well being of the population of the city not to turn them into real-estate. The so called consultations, when the exist, for park “developments” consist of bullies from the council and parks department telling the public what they are getting – in the pretense of listening to what the public want. The utter disregard for sensible discussion for what communities need for their local parks and the lack of imagination in the thoughtless generic structures that seem to be the councils answer for every problem encountered. A complaint about needing a few wardens in the park and some dog-dirt control is met by another (council) ‘opportunity” to – Build, ring fence, CCTV, contract out, cut down, take away, redevelop. All to keep a variety of out-sourced – partners, consultants, architects, builders and service suppliers in profit. Sure it creates jobs, but undermines park employees jobs and takes away labour and money that would be better suited and more needed in other parts of the community – like the above mentioned brown field sites?

As for councilors who do not do what they are told to do, or say they will do, we can get rid of them – we have done it many times in the past (without a pay-off) and it is easy enough to do again. Just keep remembering Bridget’s words – It is up to us.

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

Regeneration of Oatlands

3 Poverty, Philanthropy and Charity – Glasgow’s Two Nations

Common Good Awareness Project

Common Good Watch

Nordoff Robbins – Ruchill Music Therapy Centre

The New Bohemia


Gifts – Glasgow Parks Public Consultation – April 2004

Glasgow City Council Land Services

Strategic Review of Parks and Open Spaces

Public Consultation – April 2004

Response Paper


Glasgow’s parks and open spaces have provided opportunities for active and passive recreation, relaxation, play, peace and tranquillity for generations of Glaswegians. As the pressures of the modern world increase, it is vital that these opportunities are still available for all and it is therefore very important that the Council works to ensure the parks and open spaces service develops to reflect the changing needs of the city and its people.

Sustainable development – meeting our needs today, without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, is a significant challenge to councils, individuals, communities and businesses. Our parks and open spaces make a crucial contribution to the sustainability of the city and this public consultation document is intended to provide opportunities for everyone to help the Council ensure that the city’s parks and open spaces achieve their true potential.

Glasgow’s future will be increasingly based on tourism, finance, the media, technology and other services. Our parks and open spaces can play a key role in supporting this future by ensuring Glasgow remains a “dear green place”.


Councillor Aileen Colleran
Parks and Facilities Committee


Purpose of the Consultation

Glasgow City Council is presently undertaking a review of its parks and open spaces service. This consultation document sets out the main elements for consideration by all groups, agencies and members of the public who wish to express preferences for the way they would like to see the service managed and developed in the future.

You are invited to comment on a range of issues through a series of questions, which have been gathered from an initial analysis of the service.

It is important to the success of the review that the views and opinions of the public are actively sought and considered as part of the review process. This gives you an opportunity to help shape the parks and open spaces service to better meet your needs and preferences.

This consultation document contains a range of issues facing parks and open spaces which require your consideration. We would like to hear your views on the following:

• Have we addressed the right issues?
• What do you think we should do about them?
• Are there other issues that we need to look at?

Following this public consultation process a strategy document will be produced which will demonstrate how Glasgow’s parks and open spaces can be developed and improved to fully support the regeneration of Glasgow for both residents and visitors.

Please feed back your views to us by filling in this document, if you need more space, please continue on a separate sheet and include this with the document. When you are finished, please return to;

Parks Review
Glasgow City Council
G2 7BR

Alternatively, you can respond online at

The consultation period will close on Friday 9 July 2004.

All responses received by this date will be entered into a free prize draw for one of the following;

One Glasgow City Council Golf Season Ticket for unlimited play at all 5 courses for 1 year

One Block of 5 Horse riding lessons at Linn Equestrian Centre

3 pairs of Tickets for Live n’ Loud at Glasgow Green

5 Family tickets for the Glasgow Show at Victoria Park

A bouquet of Flowers delivered to your home from Glasgow Flowers (5)

**** To be eligible for the draw, please complete the section at the end of this document

All the comments and views we have received by 9 July will be considered and used to develop the new parks and open spaces strategy. The final strategy document will be published in autumn 2004.


1. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces provide a variety of different services and form a
fundamental part of the urban environment.
Parks and open spaces have:-
An environmental role.
An educational role
A role in providing for the recreation and leisure needs of the community.
A role in providing opportunities for passive leisure.
An ecological role
An economic role
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?

2. Community involvement is one of the keys to success in the regeneration of our parks. This fosters ownership by the community and encourages people to respect and use their parks.
How could Land Services improve the level of community involvement in relation to parks and open space improvements?

Community involvement in relation to parks

3. As the Council develops the city, regenerating and renewing neighbourhoods, sometimes areas of parkland or open spaces can become isolated from local communities, no longer serving the purpose for which it was intended.
Should the Council remove some areas of greenspace if these areas could be replaced with alternative sites that would be more accessible to local people?

4. Land Services together with other partners promote and deliver a wide range of events and activities that are well supported by local communities and many draw a considerable number of visitors to the city. This is an important role as attracting more visitors and tourists has an impact on the economic health of the city and helps to consolidate Glasgow as a stylish destination for tourists
What could the Council do to encourage more community involvement in events and activities in parks?

5. The Display Houses at Queens Park, Tollcross, Botanic Gardens and Glasgow Green Winter Gardens offer visitors the opportunity of viewing extensive collections of tropical and subtropical plants, displayed within a glasshouse setting.
Do you think that plant display houses currently offer enough interest for visitors. If not, how could they be improved?

6. There are a number of children’s play areas sited within parks. These usually consist of fixed equipment such as swings, chutes and climbing frames.
What types of children’s play facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

7. Outwith the provision of formal traditional play areas, there is a need to provide suitable youth facilities in parks. The provision of facilities for skateboarding, BMX bikes and in-line skating have been provided in response to local demand. There are facilities at Queens Park Recreation Ground, Barrachnie Park, Orchard Park and Darnley with additional skate parks to be provided at Nethercraigs and Kelvingrove Park.
What types of youth facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

8. A major issue in maintaining play areas to a high quality is the problem of misuse and vandalism. This can often lead to items of equipment having to be removed or closed for safety reasons.
What measures do you think should be taken to combat problems of vandalism to play equipment?

9. Municipal golf is available at 5 courses in Glasgow on a pay and play basis and in recent years usage figures have been declining. The clubhouse facilities are in need of upgrading and considerable investment is required to improve comfort and facilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote golf as a recreational activity?

10. Horse riding is available at Linn Equestrian Centre and caters for all ages and abilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote horse riding as a recreational activity?

11. Outdoor activities that are currently provided within Glasgow parks during the summer are, pitch and putt, tennis and bowling. In general, usage figures have declined in recent years.
What other recreational activities would you like to see provided in parks?

12. Various surveys indicate that the public feel there is a lack of general amenities such as toilets and catering facilities in parks.
Would you support the Council entering into arrangements with commercial operators to provide; you support the Council entering into arrangements with
An enhanced golf service?
Expanded horse riding services?
Pony trekking?
Five-a-side football?
Café/Restaurant facilities?

13. The parks service also maintains farm and livestock operations in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow Green and Tollcross Park. These are popular visitor attractions but are only available in a small number of parks.
Do you think that there should be more animal and bird display areas within parks?

14. Recent surveys of both adults and children reveal that personal safety in parks is a concern. It is intended that the review will address this issue by developing local strategies to improve the feeling of personal safety in our parks and open spaces. The basic opening hours for our parks are traditionally from dawn till dusk, at the height of winter this can be from 09:00 till 16:00.
Do you agree that, where possible, parks that have gates should have them locked at night?

What measures do you think the Council could take to improve your personal safety in parks and open spaces?

15. Litter and broken glass is a problem in parks and open spaces and the Council spend considerable sums of money each year clearing litter from parks.
Can you suggest any ways in which the Council could enlist the help of local communities in assisting with the problem of litter in parks and open spaces?

16. Just over half of the people who took part in The Citizen’s Panel survey in autumn 2003 said that dog fouling was the poorest aspect of Glasgow’s parks. This is a difficult issue for the Council to deal with as it depends largely on the willingness of dog owners to be responsible and remove it themselves. There are already waste bins, dog exercise areas and enforcement initiatives undertaken in selected parks.
What measures do you think the Council should take to combat the problems of dog control and dog fouling in parks and open spaces?

17. Thinking about all aspects of Glasgow’s Parks
If there was one single change or improvement to be made to the Parks Service what would you propose?

18 . Roadside verges central reservations and roundabouts are considered an integral part of the greenspace network across the City. Many road verges throughout the city are in disrepair due to inappropriate parking practice by local car owners and as a result of damage done by vehicles.
Should the Council adopt a policy of replacing areas of grass verges and soft landscaping damaged by parked cars with hard standing areas?

19. A Play Area Improvement Programme is underway to identify old, derelict or poor quality play areas in need of upgrading or replacement to meet safety standards and to improve levels of provision in line with the City Plan standards. Until now, replacement and improvement programmes have been based on the provision of specially designed and constructed play equipment. There is an opportunity to consider other approaches such as home zones, where informal play facilities are designed into local streets, or to adopt an approach based on play landscapes rather than play equipment.
What should the priorities be for the improvement of children’s play provision?

20. Glasgow has a range of woodland areas consisting of trees in parks, trees in streets, new woodland plantings and older wooded areas. The Council is developing a City Woodland Initiative to address the woodlands and their management as a single resource.
Do you agree that the Council should work in partnership with other agencies to extend and develop woodlands in the city for environmental and leisure purposes?

21. Allotments are recreational facilities provided by the Council that enable residents to participate in gardening activities. The Council is working to develop partnerships with local allotment associations aimed at improving the management, quality and layout of allotment holdings. Horticultural advice is available from Land Services to plot holders and allotment associations.
How can the Council best support the development of allotments in the City?

22. Thinking about all aspects of parks and open spaces.
Are there any other aspects of parks & open space maintenance that you would like to see changed or improved?

23. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces contain a rich variety of landscapes ranging from designed parks such as Kelvingrove and Queens Park to the natural landscapes of Dawsholm and Pollok Country Park. Within these environments there is a vast range of habitats and species in woodlands, ponds, rivers, wetlands and meadows.

Land Services works in partnership with Education Services and a number of other agencies to develop various environmental education and awareness programmes.
There is also an Environmental Centre in Tollcross Park that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting education to residents and visitors.
Should the Council continue to extend the range of environmental interpretation and information services that it provides throughout the city?

24. Signage and environmental interpretation is important to assist visitors understand the purpose and rationale behind providing wildlife conservation sites. Good interpretation leads to a better visitor experience and raises people’s awareness, which increases their enjoyment and ensures that heritage is passed on to future generations.
How could signage and interpretation of wildlife and conservation sites be improved?

25. There are currently two designated Local Nature reserves in Glasgow, Hogganfield Park and Bishop Loch. Through Land Services involvement with wildlife conservation areas, there has been a notable increase in several plant and animal species. Previous surveys have highlighted the general public’s desire for further wildlife conservation sites in the city and its parks.
Can you suggest ways in which local communities could become more involved in the management and development of identified nature conservation sites?

Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s ecology and environment that you would like to see changed or improved?


26. Within Glasgow there are 32 burial locations for which the Council have maintenance responsibility. However currently there are only 5 locations with the potential to accommodate new burial lairs.

Many memorial stones in the city’s graveyards have been vandalised or otherwise damaged. Whilst Glasgow City Council has overall responsibility for the safety of the cemetery, the Council do not own the headstones. The owners of the memorial are normally the family of the deceased. In many cases there may not be an identifiable owner to deal with any damage.

There have been complaints from the public regarding the poor quality and variety of memorials available from the council. This has led to an increase in unauthorised memorabilia throughout the cemeteries which creates problems for access, ground maintenance and health & safety.
Do you believe that the Council should be stricter in allowing only particular kinds of memorials and headstones to be placed on or around graves?

Would you support the Council removing non-permanent memorials from graves, after a specified period of time, where they have become unsightly?

27 .One of the major problems facing cemeteries is vandalism, this includes toppled headstones, flower beds being destroyed, graffiti and stolen or burned out cars.
Would you support the Council in using powers under the restorative justice scheme to make good any damage caused by vandalism?

28. There have been regular requests from members of the public who have been unable to tend family graves, for the Council to introduce a grave tending service. The type of service that could be made available would involve headstone cleaning, planting out, and tending to plants.
Would you support the introduction of a grave tending service for which a charge would be made?

29. Due to a lack of lair space, consideration has to be given to alternatives. One such alternative could be woodland burials where only one interment takes place and a tree is planted to mark the area. This is a new concept in burial management.
Should the Council consider developing facilities for woodland burials within Glasgow?

30. The environmental and visual value of cemeteries to the local community can be important. There can be environmental benefits in turning old burial areas into wildlife reserves, increasing bird and other wildlife population, creating a valuable resource, which enhances leisure and educational possibilities for the community. This process does not impact on graves visited by mourners.
Should the Council develop cemetery and burial grounds as habitats for nature conservation as well as their primary purpose?

31. Land Services are responsible for Linn Crematorium in the south west of the city and Daldowie Crematorium in the east of the city.

The time that is allowed for cremation services is an issue often raised by relatives of the deceased, particularly where there are several cremations booked in succession. A time of 30 minutes is allocated per service but a range of factors contribute to this sometimes being insufficient. These factors include the custom to meet and greet prior to, or after the service, the funeral cortège not arriving on time and comprehensive religious services being carried out at the crematorium rather than at the church.
Do you support the idea of extending the length of time for cremation services even if this were to increase the cost?


Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s burial and cremation service that you would like to see changed or improved?


Are there any other comments you would like to make about the Review of Glasgow’s Parks and Open Spaces?



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If you are interested in taking part in further research and consultation in relation to Glasgow’s Parks and Open Spaces Service, please delete as appropriate. YES / NO
Land Services

Glasgow City Council, Richmond Exchange, 20 Cadogan Street, Glasgow G2 7AD
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If you would like additional copies of the Response Paper, please contact Glasgow City Council at
Freephone 0800 027 7362. Large print versions can also be provided on request.

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Common Sense

apemanCommon sense, comes from the idea that if enough of us believes something through mass experience – that is, when the vast majority of folk “agree” about something that’s what we term “common sense”.
It would seem a reasonable criterion to base a few ideas on anyway.

We can often accept what we are told about different things, without question, sometimes, even with all of our accumulated common sense, that “it’s only human nature”. Everything from minor infringements, to human carnage, can simply be put down to, human nature.

Even in the planets most intelligent animals, common sense, wanes in so many instances – from day-to-day life, scenarios, to ones that threaten our very existence.

Human beings sure are are capable of the most heinous of crimes and the most beautiful acts imaginable, mostly due to our circumstances. So maybe what we need to do, through using common sense, is create the circumstances that will produce the latter and prevent the former. Is that, not human nature to?

In the following we want to look at some of the barriers that prevent us from using our common sense, to think through what we need and how we relate these needs to to each other. All can be learned and shared if we have some vision and common goals to guide us. This project is a nail to hang some ideas on towards these ends.

We can lose a lot of common sense, through 20 years of schooling, through indoctrination and propaganda, The logic of common sense, is diffused by all sorts of things, censorship, entertainment, myth, technology, emotion, dogma, symbols, language, politics history, and mostly fear.

People have lost a lot of faith in their ability to use their common sense. Not because we are stupid, but because the vast machine of power is constantly driving against us in order to stop us exercising common sense. This is testimony to ordinary peoples intelligence, that such extreme measures are needed to distract them from thinking for themselves.

A big problem is than most of our day to day issues are framed in value systems that favour the already rich and powerful. What we need to do is frame the issues within our own understanding and systems of value, for instance ones that reward the people who do the work, not those who manipulate the workers for profit.

Our education system is the same one invented 100 years ago to cater for industrial growth and manning the factories to cater for the wealth of industrial leaders, with the promise of crumbs for the compliant worker. These days are gone, we need to re educate ourselves for the new society, that will be about stemming the destruction, our compliance has allowed. This is not expected to be easy, there will be hardships and sacrifices to be made. But what is the alternative?

A society built on development rather than growth will reconnect our human needs and creativity. A big part of the process towards this is making the community connections, the political connections geographical connections and the historical connections that will create the solidarity and movement building, that will be needed to draw us back from the brink. We can do this through understanding, connecting, learning, participating, in order to formulate and implement new ideas towards a more civilised society.

We live in a country steeped in the traditions of common good and common sense, the former instituted long before parliaments. The Scottish Enlightenment, a philosophy rooted in common sense. We have much in our history that can be used to invoke confidence in building institutions that not only serve our people, but that can be used as templates for others to use, in the struggle to reclaim our planet back from the most backward elements of society.

Work in progress.

I have remained steadfast to his teaching that the clearest way to see through a culture is to attend to its tools for conversation” Neil Postman on Marshall Mcluhan






Cartoon is a mockup of a French cartoonist of the 70s


The Common Sense of the Common Good

Glasgow City Council faced the age old problem as both Aristotle and George Bush did. Regarding the public’s affairs, there are two ways of dealing with public accountability and the public’s happiness.

One is reducing poverty. The other is reducing democracy.

The former, Aristotle would have picked, the latter the choice of Bush. Glasgow City Council, concerning Glasgow’s Common Good, also chose the second option.

But what if they had chosen the other?

In the corporate speak of Glasgow City Council “An opportunity had been recognised” Namely the Common Good. Not as a shining accolade of democratic pride and accomplishment that it represents, or a tool that could be used to bolster public participation, particularly in the depressed areas of our city.

Unfortunately no. – The opportunity recognised was privatisation.

But other opportunities could have been recognised. One could have been to enhance the accountability to the job of public servant. A city council that is serious about social inclusion, is one that should be using the status of our common ownership, to encourage responsibility, pride and hope, in it’s citizens?

Why cant the facilities and profits of our Common Good, not be “recognised” as a window of opportunity to actually start encouraging our citizens especially our young, whose future these thing will affect most – to start taking some responsibility, to start taking an interest and getting involved in deciding how they want to live there lives? The Common Good, could produce a format for these real ideas, that young people could benefit and learn from and in the process, create “real” jobs that go with the responsibility?

Council workers once took pride of place in Glasgow, where, folk with a job in the Corporation, felt an achievement about what they were doing.

The resource’s of the Common Good, used in this way would not have to rely so heavily on loans, business and banks, whose only concern is to create profit margins for shareholders. (not the public shareholders)

If our city is to survive when the development bubble bursts. What will we be left with; luxury flats, shopping malls? Citizens do not gain much in the expansion of business profits. Our roll is to pay for the failures of business. When the corporate sponge leaves town taking our money and jobs with it. The rent or the mortgage does not get cheaper. When this happens (and it will sure as night follows day.) The Common Good is one of the few safety nets we have left for such times, where folk no matter how poor, can feel that they are at least part of something.

The privatising of the Common Good is both patronising as well as alienating. Patronising in the idea that we need a small elite of business people who know everything about profit and very little about our culture and who will control our city’s asset through secret meetings. This implies that we [the public] are not capable through our own council and representatives, of running our own affairs, in our own interests.

We have in our communities a talent pool that is being ignored, of people who are quite capable in deciding what is needed in the places they inhabit. And if an expert is also needed to help out, why cant folk chose there own experts?

It is a myth that we need to deal with multinationals to do our public works. Nor do we need to import endless unneeded commodities which only makes the suppliers rich and the domestic wages poor. Our Common Good assets should be working for the Common Good and avoiding where possible the debt of banks and illegitimate trusts.

lessons from Guernsey
‘…In the early 19th century the little British Channel island of Guernsey faced a smaller but similar problem. Its sea walls were crumbling. Its roads were to narrow, and it was already heavily in debt. There was little employment, and people were leaving for elsewhere.

Instead of going still further into debt the island government simply issued 4’000 pounds in state notes to start repairs on the sea walls as well as for other needed public works. More issues followed and twenty years latter the island had printed nearly 50,000 pounds. Guernsey had more than doubled its money supply without inflation. A report for the islands States Office in June 1946 notes that island leaders frequently commented that these public works could not have been carried out without the issues, that they had been accomplished without interest costs, and that as a result

“the influx of visitors was increased, commerce was stimulated and the prosperity of the island vastly improved.”…

…About the same time that Guernsey started to fix its sea walls the city of Glasgow, Scotland borrowed 60,000 pounds to build a fruit market. The guernsey seawalls were repaid in 10 years; the fruit market loan took 139. In the first part of the 20th century Glasgow paid over a quarter of a million pounds in interest alone on this ancient project. How did Guernsey avoid the fiscal disaster that conventional economics provided for it? First and foremost that understanding that when you build roads or seawalls or colleges or houses, you are not reducing your societies wealth. In fact, if you do it right, you are creating something that will add to its wealth. The money that was created was simply backed by public works rather than gold or “full faith and credit.”‘[Smith]

So is there nothing to learn from history in a town renowned for spiraling budgets?

“A council spokesman said land and property worth “hundreds of millions of pounds” was available for sale, but he could not identify specific sites for commercial reasons.” [Evening Times]

The above is typical of the quotes that our City Council is giving out daily in the sell off of our public estate. This one is concerned with funding the Commonwealth Games, The operative words being “could not identify specific sites for commercial reasons” translating as. It’s none of the publics business what we do.

I think if the public really want to try out the candidates for the next election, one of the first questions we should be asking is. “What’s your take on the privatisation of public property?”

Should our Common Good be in the hands of a private business?
Should our Common Good be the responsibility of those we voted that responsibility to?

It may not seem the most pressing question you have at the moment. But if the City council leaders can give away our wealth so easily do you really think they will stop there.

On the other hand this issue is starting to throw some light on what we do actually hold in common. In a time of disintegrating communities, debt, despair, increasing mental health problems, violence and financial disparity – The Common Good may be the very symbolic and creative tool we could use and need, to alleviate some of these problems. The refocusing on the Common Good, could create some hope in the idea that there is – such a thing as society – and that members of the general public have a responsibility and a role to play in it – and our city council have a duty to seek our opinions when dealing with such important matters.
Debt ridden britain:
Chomsky on Common Good
Sam Smith’s Great American Political Repair Manual P99