Andy Wightman Some Thing Is Missing interview
“Some at the meeting called for a discount on their council tax and questioned why local residents were not offered free tickets for the opening ceremony.” From article in Games Monitor 2014 Angry scenes as residents attack Games disruption (Herald) A connected topic was the opening of the Kelvingrove Bandstand after a twenty five year campaign by local people. It saw very few of them enjoying bacon rolls at the proceedings. The event was all tickets, and held at 9:30 on a Thursday morning? If it wasn’t for the school kids that are used to bulk out these occasions, and the suits, the place would have looked empty. Yet when extra tickets were applied for folk were told that they had run out. The real legacy of the games will start to unfold from now till they are finished. Who has an opening ceremony at 9:30 in the morning? Business folk while everybody else is at work. Whose bandstand is this? We will soon find out as the £40 tickets for the first gigs are sold. How will they stop people listening for free. Raising the fences, so you can’t see, blocking off the streets, banning folk from that end of the park. We shall soon see what happens to a DIY performance space when it is sanitised with corporate fairy dust and renders another opportunity for business in community space. If you think I am being cynical read the Games Monitor2014 the Games Monitor2012 or the history of these mega events, you soon get the picture.
The fight for the bandstand may not be over till we see the councils user policy is for this well respected public space. Can those who made it possible us it? Or afford to use it?
An invitation to mark a sad occasion in the life of Govan’s Graving Docks… Continue reading
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Many thanks,Ruth Olden
School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
University of Glasgow
East Quadrangle R 301
(Avoid seeing what the council want’s you to see)
When defending the public estate – Why we should never engage in discussions about architecture
One of the oldest battle tactics in the book as any old campaigner will tell you is – drawing the enemies fire. This technique is designed to confuse the opponent into spending their ammunition and energy on false targets, such as misleading information and superfluous detail – thus exhausting the voice of dissent. Many of these tricks can be easily adapted to any business – and are the main stay of big business. (In this case the enemy are the general public the technique is known as public relations, formerly known as propaganda)
In practice it could go like this.
When the developer is met by a difficult site, a community grassed area for instance, that is to say they want to build 150 flats (when they are only really after 30 or so). The people protest, the developer bends over backwards reducing the number of demanded flats each month (or year) until the campaigners have fallen off, or are exhausted, by this time the developer begins to look reasonable in his or her pursuit to please everyone, especially with the help of the newspapers (who will eventually help to advertise the flats or property) Result for community – More green space disappears. Campaigners – gain knowledge of building regulations and aesthetics. Developer – 30 flats built – Mission accomplished.
Land control and the parks issue
It becomes easier for the pure profit industry when no one is fighting the core issue, which incidentally is the same across Britain. Land! Control the land and you control everything else. We should not be giving credence to the council by even discussing the details of there plans regarding commercialising parks. Listening to the organ grinders monkey, [Robert Booth] discussing non existent fantasy plans, dreamed up by a developer – will get us nowhere. Mr Booth is only there to absorb the flack while the real business goes on in the background.
We need to remember the issue is “business control of our parks” – not the detail of what the council at the behest of business are deciding – is or isn’t going to be built on them.
One for all
The privatisation of our parks, has been on the cards for a couple of years – since the sham consultation that will put all of our parks in the same situation. The problem is, as in the case of the recent campaigns, folk tend to deal with the problem, only when the dilemma arrives at there own door, Sometimes that’s to late.
“Yes it is NIMBYism” I hear at a protest meeting, which means don’t put it in my back yard, put it in somebody else’s. This is a bad tactic to use for Glasgow parks. Might work if it was a nuclear power station when only a few are doted round the country, But, if what “you” don’t want in your park ends up in the park up the road, (or any other park in the city) it will eventually come back to haunt you in some form. If you fight for one park you might as well fight for them all. They are all of our parks for all of the people, rich or poor. and a harm to one is a harm to all. If we do not know this yet, the King’s and colonisers of this city will be very happy – NIMBYism suits the council.
Key to control
The consultation doc says – >”2. Community involvement is one of the keys to success in the regeneration of our parks.” < “Community involvement” in council-speak, means, as the following passage will illustrate – dividing up parks to make local residents easier to manipulate and control.
We need to keep our parks a city entity
Someone at the Save our Botanic’s meeting, when listening to a comparison with Kelvingrove park, said “What has Kelvingrove go to do with the Botanic’s?” The answer is everything. Take a walk round Kelvingrove. (Glasgow’s most popular park, right next to the Art galleries – well used and full of tourists.) You will find in Kelvingrove park disused and abandoned building in the form of toilets, a derelict bandstand, kids swings that have disappeared, kiddies swings that are rotting and falling apart, paths full of holes, broken fencing, and so on. Why you wonder is one of Glasgow’s most well used and popular parks going to blite? You might well wonder why the same park has a dedicated and caring friends group who have not only protected the park from the onslaught of developers for years, protected the wild life, kept the public well informed about what is happening in their park, and have toiled for years (14) to put the park bandstand back into public use.
The councils biggest worry is real community involvement
Of course, there is a major problem here with the reinstate the bandstand effort in Kelvingrove and it is seriously worrying for the council, because the bandstand project is a public initiative, not a business one. Even the Council admit that this is a great idea and it has been support by most local people, who know about it and within the councils grand scheme of things would cost peanuts. The reason this project is being buried in petty bureaucracy, has nothing to do with cost (or pathetic excuses like riddled with asbestos [Booth] The real reason is – Can you imagine the bad example (for the council) this would create for other parks in Glasgow. Local people having a say and interest about decisions for what they need in there own parks? Can you imagine the Botanic’s campaign having this as a good example of what can be achieved by local people in local parks? – if the idea had happened years ago as it should have done, other park groups such as Save the Botanic’s, could be saying, “look what they did in Kelvingrove, why can’t we do that in our park”
The battle for the bandstand in Kelvingrove, is part of the same battle that every other park in glasgow will eventually be fighting. The reinstatement of Kelvingrove bandstand would send a clear message to the public as well as the council of what we “do” want in our parks – as well as what we don’t want.
The Kings and the councils have endless budgets (a lot of it ours) for spreading propaganda in order to brow beat and cajole the public into believing what they do is wonderful. In comparison, all most campaigns have is there wit, imagination, a photocopier and a few quid if their lucky. We can not fight these people using their tools. We will not win engaging in their terms. The issue in the Botanic’s, Pollok park, as elsewhere is a Common Good issue (in the fullest sense) not architecture and facilities – and should be dealt with the same way that Springfield Park, (Scotstoun) dealt with another wonderful scheme the council came up with – to build 600 odd car parking spaces on the parks football pitches. “No cars in our park period”, was the message the council carried off ringing in their ears.
No private business in any of our parks period. No discussion about architecture and a few low paid jobs – nothing in our parks that cant be removed easily should be our message to the council. (if the lessons of history mean anything)
Our city is being brutalised by public funded administrators whose vision for Glasgow is based on oil and the car, which is a primitive dying technology. While even in American cities, freeways building is in decline, and some are being converted into greenspace – meanwhile our city chiefs are still engaged in carrying out ancient plans (which even they know are moribund) to construct 8 lane motorways. Who will gain? Banks. Think about it council people – If we end up looking like Manchester – tourists will go to Manchester.
We have beautiful, unique, autonomous, uncluttered, uncommercialised, therapeutic open green space called Glasgow Parks. People will come to our city for that, and do. And in a few years time when we can’t move in our grid locked cars. When we can’t just pop into the 4×4 and dash to the country. That’s when we, and our children, will appreciate the effort we took in caring for our open space. It’s the only place we will have in the city to stay sane.
What the city needs now is not NIMBYism but a Glasgow wide campaign to stop the theft of our Common Good. All of our common good. All of our parks. I don’t think we will do this, just because we know the law, or can read an architects drawing, or have time to sit up the University library researching text books. These are very useful tools, but they do not motivate the majority of folk into action and that’s what we need if we want to stop the colonisers taking over our city.
The whole is much greater than the sum of it’s parts. The parks issue which I think is one of the most important public concerns to arise in years and is part of a much wider strategy to monopolise public life into private finance.
In a positive note, I think it could be an opportunity for a show of public solidarity just when all of our communities might need it most, when all parts of the city are being ravished and folks needs are being put to the subservience of banks. To use the words of Glasgow City Council PR machine. “An opportunity has been recognised” – and we would be daft to ignore it.
All of our Parks – for all of our people – Unite the fight for the common good. See what you want to see, not what your told you’ll see.
Sighthill’s Pinkston Drive – What the tenants want
we would like to put in a final request that we be allowed to address the Regeneration Sub-Committee directly. For the past five years we have lived with the threat of demolition hanging over Sighthill. We have fought tirelessly to keep our homes and save services like the concierge. PTA members and others have helped set-up charities and voluntary groups to provide much needed local childcare and social support services; helped refugees to stay here; and raised dozens of tenants’ complaints demanding proper repairs and maintenance. All this with no financial gain to ourselves, only the prospect of keeping our homes and saving the community we’ve fought hard to maintain.
In 2006 the original Save Our Homes campaign took the step of becoming a GHA recognised RTO and have worked closely with GHA Tenant participation officers since. Our reps attended Monday’s RTO Event – making links with some of the other 48 RTOs.
As you know, despite paying relatively high rents, we have had no investment from GHA – recognised for the first time in the rent freeze for 2009/2010. The buildings have inevitably become run down in that time, yet the community still retains its identity and the will to fight to stay together. This is testament to the strength of our community and our belief in it. We have become a melting pot of cultures, one week recently at St Rollox church 21 different countries were represented! An estimated 50 nationalities live side by side in Pinkston Drive – one of Scotland’s most ethnically diverse and social integrated communities.
Pinkston has also become a cause celebre with articles appearing regularly in the local and national media. Regular interviews on real radio, stv news, articles in Scotland on Sunday, The Evening Times, Springburn Herald, and Inside Housing magazine. Our association has organised 17 well attended and representative public meetings over 5 years. As well as support from local Labour MSP Paul Martin we have also been supported on a weekly basis by SNP councillor Phil Greene, and by MSPs Sandra White (SNP) and Patrick Harvie Green Party Co-Convener who took a tour of Sighthill in February and also number Mr Tony Benn amongst our supporters.
In June a month long series of 3 Minute Wonders short films exclusively about Pinkston Drive will be screened on channel 4.
At our last public meeting in March Mr Gerry Creanor (a leading architect from GHA’s regeneration team) and Mr Mick McCabe GHA Director of North East Glasgow Local Shared Services both acknowledged the viability of our flats, revealing what we have said all along: – that our buildings are sound, good for another 40 years life. We were even promised that a show flat could be prepared to change people’s misconceptions about living in Sighthill. These measures would undoubtedly help to raise demand. It would seem that Pinkston Drive could potentially be the jewel in the crown for GHA’s regeneration if gone about in the right way.
Please do not destroy this remarkable street which has already had to cope with the loss of half it’s neighbours in Fountainwell, that alone could have destroyed many communities.
We welcome the BMG results which advocate retaining 32,35 31,34 and 3,5 Pinkston Drive which with investment of around £2million per double block £6million would see 3 blocks reclad, repaired and refurbished with new kitchens and bathrooms within 2-3 years. However we would also strongly urge GHA to look at complete retention of the buildings in Pinkston Drive. As it is now apparent that the cost of renovation and regeneration of the buildings already there are a fraction of what was initially quoted. It would now take a total of £11.08million to reclad, repair and refurbish all 5 blocks and so bring 1,100 homes up to standard. Surely this would be the best way forward for us all?
In making your decision – you may well be told by other voices arguing in favour of demolition, they do not represent tenant’s views. However as PTA officers we have never been welcomed by the Compass LHO Board. Those misguided Sighthill residents on the Board do not have a mandate directly from Pinkston tenants. Out of 1,000 tenants in Drygate, Townhead, Sighthill and Glasgow Cross – only around 100 are actually members of Compass so the vast majority aren’t aware they have no say and cannot vote.
It is to our regret that – with the exception of the ODS Open Day in June 2006 and the February 2009 BMG related Open Day which we co-organised with GHA – Compass LHO Board have never organised any meetings in Sighthill. In contrast we have organised 17 (Seventeen! ) public meetings at St Stephen’s Primary School and have always ensured Compass LHO and/or GHA has been represented at almost every one. In spirit of landlord/tenant partnership our officers have also attended numerous negotiating meetings with GHA officers – who have been very professional. And though not always agreeing with us – they have listened to our concerns.
As a result we jointly commissioned focus groups and an Open Day to discuss the BMG Research findings. These findings were presented, distributed and discussed democratically and in detail with GHA officers and Compass Manager Mr Maguire giving full replies to tenants’ questions. 50 Pinkston tenants present voted unanimously – including those previously favouring total demolition – for the proposal we put to them at the public meeting.
We are now one of the most active, democratic, vibrant and representative RTOs in the city. We invite you to attend the latest meeting on Tuesday May 19th 6.30pm at St Stephen’s School to announce and explain your decision.
We would hope and pray that the right decision is made, the decision the TENANTS want
The New Regeneration Statement, The Royal Bank of Scotland & the Community Voices Network Chik Collins
Introduction: “Ministers felt the need to say something about regeneration”
The language of civil servants can be provocatively obscure. So it was when Alisdair McIntosh, head of regeneration in the Scottish Executive, came to Glasgow University at the beginning of March to speak about the latest “regeneration statement” People and Place.1 He said it had been produced because ministers had “felt the need to say something about regeneration”, and that they had felt this need as early as 2003.
This seemed curious. Firstly, ministers had at that time just made an explicit statement on the matter – in Better Communities in Scotland: Closing the Gap.2 This heralded the move from Social Inclusion Partnerships (SIPs) to Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs), subsequently legislated as part of the 2003 Local Government in Scotland Act. Why the need to say something else so soon?
Secondly, even if ministers had felt the need to say something, then what would make figures who had recently seemed to be on the left of the Labour Party, like Malcolm Chisholm and Johann Lamont, the Minister and Depute Minister for Communities, want to say what this new statement was saying? For McIntosh told us that the central message of People and Place was that “The Scottish Executive is open for business”. So what has been happening? The suggestion here is that there are some significant developments afoot. A concerted effort is being made to intensify the application of the neo-liberal agenda across Scotland. But the strategy adopted means there are particular implications for the poorest communities – thus ministers’ curious “need to say something about regeneration”. People and Place is not more of the ‘same old regeneration partnership stuff’, but a key part of a broader agenda for a step change in opening up Scotland’s communities to private sector penetration. This agenda can do immense damage across Scotland – but with particularly unsavoury implications for the poorest communities in the shorter term.
What follows is not intended as any definitive statement on these processes – which remain very much live. Rather the intention is to focus attention on them, and to make them an object of further critical discussion among those who understand that neo-liberal policies do not help with ‘closing the gap’ or with ‘community regeneration’. The suggestion is that there is a need to grasp this new situation quickly – before the intended pace of events leaves us behind. So, what is happening?
‘Is the manager in?’ Why those ministers felt that need
It will help to begin with the recent Red Paper on Scotland. The chapter by Baird, Foster and Leonard on “Ownership and Control in the Scottish Economy” is of particular importance.3 It critically analyses a report from the Royal Bank of Scotland – Wealth Creation in Scotland.4 This report is crucial to understanding the situation. Wealth Creation is a response to the economic strategy of the Scottish Executive as laid out in 2001 in the first edition of A Smart, Successful Scotland.5 The latter emphasized the importance of entrepreneurs and business start-ups for Scotland’s future. But, for the Royal Bank, this is “not the whole picture”. We need also to be aware that: “Large, globally focussed companies are key components in a successful economy”.6
The report argues that for a small nation Scotland has a relatively high number of such firms. Many of these emerged in the 1980s and early 1990s. But since then we have stopped “growing” them. This is what the Royal Bank would like to have changed. The key, it is suggested, is to refresh the drive towards privatisation and liberalisation that “grew” our global competitors in the earlier period.
“Several of Scotland’s major firms have a strong public sector heritage. Within the top 20 firms, the recent background of 14 could be argued to be significantly influenced by the public sector. This influence has been either directly through a privatisation (e.g. Scottish Power), or indirectly, through the liberalisation of a sector that previously had a strong public sector involvement (e.g. oil, gas and transport). One of the firms, TotalFinaElf (UK), is still partially owned by the French government, while others, (e.g. British Energy, Stagecoach, First Group) continue to receive direct or indirect public subsidy for some of their activities. “Scottish Water, if privatised, would rank high up on the list. Further liberalisation in other sectors (e.g. health, education) could also provide significant growth opportunities for Scottish firms, such as service providers, in the future”.7
So, as is the philosophy in the Royal Bank, the message is very clear. The public sector can influence company growth through privatisation and liberalisation – with health and education high on the list. The aim is to ‘grow’ a Stagecoach or two in these sectors. Public sector failure to positively ‘influence’ this process will undermine the nation’s competitiveness in the global economy.
From a more critical perspective we might say that here we find something very reminiscent of Marx’s condemnation of ‘vampire’ capitalism – increasingly recognisable in the era of ‘globalisation’. We find accumulated, ‘dead labour’ (capital) which can apparently only survive by sucking the ‘life-blood’ of the living – the resources which are vital for community well-being (its oil, its gas, its transport system, its water, its health care, its education system, its social services …). And it is known that nowhere on the planet has such a process ‘closed the gap’ or brought about ‘community regeneration’ – quite the reverse.
The preface to Wealth Creation was provided by Jim Wallace – at that time the Depute First Minister and Minister for Enterprise in the Scottish Executive. It explicitly recognised the need “to increase the number of globally competitive companies”. Thereafter, it seems, ministers “felt the need to say something”, for within six months of its publication a revised edition of A Smart, Successful Scotland had appeared – reflecting precisely this shift in emphasis.8 The other need ministers felt to “say something” about around the same time – ‘regeneration policy’ – seems to have been closely connected.
And what they actually said …
Reading People and Place in this light the connection seems very clear. The second paragraph in Chisholm’s Foreword begins with a sentence which otherwise looks very curious: “Regeneration is a crucial part of growing the economy …”. One might have expected the causality to have been the other way round – economic growth being crucial to regeneration objectives. But we are told that regeneration policy is crucial to achieving the Executive’s economic objectives – which now involve ‘growing’ globally competitive firms. The intention is to target the ‘regeneration’ areas to get this newer ‘firm growing’ agenda moving.
There is an obvious precedent. The New Life for Urban Scotland programme was conceived along somewhat similar lines in the late 1980s – to get Thatcher’s third term ‘public services reform agenda’ moving.9 Now, as then, the argument will be that something ‘radical’ needs to be done finally to tackle the problems of the poor areas – that people need to leave aside ‘ideological’ objections and ‘do whatever is necessary’. In practice this will mean accepting a growing role for the private sector as ‘leading partners’.
However in practice, the private sector has until now never been sufficiently persuaded that it has been worth its while fully to play the role allocated to it. People and Place is at pains to make it clear that the Scottish Executive is now going to ensure that this changes. Henceforth, ‘regeneration’ will be “about creating value”.
“Our approach to regeneration will seek to act as a catalyst, or lay the foundations, for private sector involvement … regeneration is about creating value … This statement … is a statement of intent; and it is a statement of our determination to step up the pace in transforming Scotland …”
“active encouragement of private sector participation … means providing private sector partners with clarity and certainty about the sustained commitment of the public sector … and lifting barriers to private sector involvement”.
“Scotland has one of the longest-established and respected financial and advisory sectors in the world. And we have long experience of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) on which to build potential regeneration solutions for the future. Yet much more needs to be done to ensure that private sector players, such as developers, banks and the construction industry, view Scotland as ‘open for business’ on regeneration; and that they are fully aware of the opportunities available”.
“Above all, it is our job … to ensure that the public sector is alive to both to regeneration opportunities and the needs of the private sector. … we want to talk with and listen to those involved in regeneration – with financial institutions, developers, house-builders and businesses … (we) will ensure that our approach addresses the needs and concerns of those at the sharp end.”10
It could hardly be clearer: “The Scottish Executive is open for business”. The Executive, that is, will ensure that Scotland’s communities – with their many ‘development opportunities’, but also with their health and social services and their education services – are “open for business”, and that their potential to fuel the growth of large “service provider” companies is realised. But how is that to be done in practice?
Implementation: From Better Communities to People and Place
People and Place states the problem very clearly. National agencies – particularly Communities Scotland and Scottish Enterprise – can be given their remits:
“Yet it is first and foremost at the regional, local and neighbourhood level where regeneration initiatives actually happen; where communities, local authorities, Communities Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (and their Local Enterprise Companies) and others lead, plan and deliver programmes, where developers, the construction industry and other businesses make regeneration real; and where the private sector invests and takes risks.”11 The problem, in the ‘new public management’ jargon, is how to ‘join it up’, ‘roll it out’ and ‘deliver’ across Scotland’s localities. People and Place offers some broad indication of how this is to be done.
Broadly the approach is to use the implementation apparatus set out around the 2002 Better Communities statement – in particular the Community Planning Partnerships. The 2003 Local Government in Scotland Act obliges all local authorities to “initiate, facilitate and maintain” CPPs, and requires other public bodies to participate in them. They are intended to have a particular focus on the needs of the poorest 15% of areas as identified by the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).
Better Communities reflected the significantly different economic perspectives of 2002. It also had, again reflecting that period, a stronger emphasis on social justice and ‘closing the gap’. While these aspects have changed, the implementation apparatus associated with it is being retained. This is because the perspective of Better Communities was that previous partnerships – notably the SIPs – exhibited local implementation failure, rather than central policy failure.12 The CPP framework was intended to deal with this – to ensure “a more defined link between national, local and neighbourhood priorities” and to ensure that implementers would provide “clearly articulated rationales for their work which make explicit links between national and local priorities”.13 These “rationales” would then provide the basis for more thorough monitoring and rigorous ‘accountability’ from implementers.
This implementation perspective means that the CPPs retain their functionality. In “bringing together key participants to act as a bridge to link national and local priorities better”, CPPs remain central to the Executive’s refocused attempt to “step up the pace in transforming Scotland”.14
A key role in making this link is played by the Regeneration Outcome Agreements (ROAs) produced by CPPs. These are used in the allocation of funds to CPPs through the recently created Community Regeneration Fund. This process ‘encourages’ CPPs to frame their activity in the terms set by the centre, before submitting them for approval by the centre, receiving funds linked to them, and then being, much more rigorously than hitherto, monitored and held accountable for their overall performance. Thus, the Executive promises to:
“Use the ROAs … now in place in all local authority areas … as the foundation stone for effective joint working on community regeneration by Community Planning Partnerships … ”15
“Political commitment” and Urban Regeneration Companies
All of this, however, will need to be underpinned by “clear political commitment from key players” – otherwise “the technical, financial, economic and legal complexities” posed by the new agenda “may prove insurmountable”. The aim is to draw upon, and extend, existing experience in dealing with such “complexities”. The experience of Public Private Partnerships in “delivering improvements in public services”, and of the Community Ownership Programme in “delivering housing investment”, are highlighted. Both have required, and received, sustained political commitment. Also highlighted are public-private Joint Venture Companies (like the EDI group in Edinburgh), and “other financial instruments for levering private sector investment, such as bond issues, land trusts, and Property Investment Limited Liability Partnerships” which are “already being used in a preliminary way … across Scotland and the rest of the UK”. And there is mention of further movement towards a “mixed economy of investment” and more “dialogue with the private sector on new forms of financial instrument”.16
There is also significant emphasis on the creation of Urban Regeneration Companies (URCs) – in the key areas in which the ‘new ways’ will initially be developed. These are related to the infamous Urban Development Corporations of the 1980s, which, it is euphemistically acknowledged, “did not always fully capture the economic benefits for local communities”. In 2004 three such URCs were established (in Clydebank, Craigmillar in Edinburgh and Raploch in Stirling) as “special purpose vehicles, bringing together the public and private sectors, to drive forward the delivery of complex, tightly focused urban regeneration initiatives”. In these areas it is intended that “clarity of purpose” combined with “efficient use of public funding to kick-start initiatives” will facilitate a “plan to lever over £400m of private sector investment”.17
These URCs were established as “pathfinders”, and People and Place announces a further three that follow. The first is for the “Clyde Gateway” project, along the planned M74 extension. Here the “scale and complexity” of the project requires a URC “to drive the project forward and provide the long-term certainty needed by investors”.18 The others are in Inverclyde – the Riverside Inverclyde URC – and on the Ayrshire coast – the Irvine Bay URC. Together with the Clyde Waterfront Strategic Partnership in west Glasgow (not a URC), these areas provide the “geographic priorities” for People and Place.
Overall there is perhaps more detail on property development in the particular geographic priorities than in relation to other concerns. Yet, as Alisdair McIntosh made clear when he spoke at Glasgow University, this could mislead. These areas will certainly be a principal focus for experimentation and development, but the document is “a statement of intent” and the intent is to disseminate the results as “best practice” across the rest of the country – via the CPPs. Moreover, the ambitions are much wider than just property development. Another key concern is “public sector reform”. One significant passage comments on this that:
“The relationship between regeneration, renewal and public sector reform is a complex but critical one: we will bear it firmly in mind in the context of the forthcoming debate on the future of public services in Scotland.”19
Thus the ‘fit’ between the latest regeneration statement and the economic perspective laid out by the Royal Bank seems quite apparent. ‘Regeneration’ policy in the late 1980s and 1990s was used to establish and disseminate a centrally driven neo-liberal agenda in relation to property development and public services. This is now seen as a time when Scotland was at the ‘cutting edge’ of ‘regeneration’ in the UK – a position it has since lost. People and Place indicates a desire to recapture that ‘dynamism’, and to similar, neoliberal, ends – only now with ends increasingly set by private sector interests, and with specific aspirations the kind of which the Thatcherite ‘bogey men’ of the earlier period (the Ridleys and Forsyths) were only able to dream.
The ‘forces of conservatism’ and the Community Voices Network
This, then, is the broad framework for rendering Scotland’s communities “open for business” – URCs at the ‘cutting edge’ and CPPs as the more general vehicles through which the new (“best”) practices get disseminated (with Communities Scotland’s “Scottish Centre for Regeneration” playing a key role in that dissemination).
Implementation, however, is typically also a political process. On entering the New Labour mindset one must remember the special role accorded to “the forces of conservatism” – those public servants who oppose “modernisation”. It is understood that the latest agenda challenges the interests of many who will be charged with implementing it much more pointedly than hitherto. As one well-connected journalist observed in March, “each layer of government and quangocracy is currently digging its defences”.20
It is in this light that we should see much of what has been going on in the institutional landscape recently – most obviously in relation to local government, Scottish Enterprise, and the future of the health boards. At the moment it looks less likely that this will lead to wholesale reorganisation in the short-term than seemed probable a few months ago. But there has been at least some significant ‘softening up’. This in itself might be sufficient to get the compliance needed to get the agenda moving (results in Glasgow point in this direction21), with more substantial change perhaps coming after the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections. This would not necessarily require the return of a Labour-Liberal coalition. It is clear that within the other main parties, including the SNP, there is equal, if not greater, sympathy for the ‘radical reform’ agenda. Moreover, there is another angle from which the “forces of conservatism” can be attacked. Communities Scotland has been seeking actively to recruit local communities to this task. Under the heading of ‘community engagement’ they have set about creating their own national community organisation across the SIMD areas. It is called the “Community Voices Network”. The organisation had its first conference in Glasgow in March of this year. At the conference it became apparent that the remit of the CVN is not simply to coopt and manage local communities to allow the implementation of the neo-liberal agenda, but to recruit their active participation in the task of bringing it about.
Curiously, communities are now being encouraged to speak in a kind of language of protest – after having being told for twenty years that this was against the spirit of ‘partnership’. The latter means that there is a potentially useful reservoir of frustration and resentment in these communities, waiting to express itself. The Community Voices Network is seeking to gather it up and direct it, in a controlled way, at the ‘forces of conservatism’. Significantly, the Local Authorities and others were actively excluded from attending the founding conference – with the justification being that members should be able to express themselves freely without their (intimidating?) presence. Only the Scottish Executive, Communities Scotland, and the CVN members were allowed in. The underlying assumption in all of this is that the Scottish Executive and Communities Scotland are the friends and allies of the poor communities – and pose no obstacle to their free expression. They, like the poor communities, are fed up and want to see radical change – and don’t want any more to tolerate local bureaucrats who have been doing well for themselves over the years while failing to listen to their concerns and to deliver on their ‘regeneration’ promises.
Thus, in the language of People and Place, the CVN is part of the process of “lifting barriers to private sector involvement”. As if to demonstrate this, the task of running the Network has actually been given to the private sector – a firm called Paul Zealey Associates.
Symptomatically, the term “community engagement” is itself an import from the corporate world. In the words of a prominent business academic, it denotes “one of two broad approaches” corporations can take “to help them steer a safe course” when investing in “difficult political environments”. The “enclave strategy” – ring-fence your investment and pay the local military to provide security – should always be judged against a potentially better alternative. This is the “community engagement” strategy – where companies “go local” by “embedding themselves deeply in the local communities in which they operate”. In “the developing world” this might involve a local company in helping to build schools, hospitals and local infrastructure, so as to become “an indispensable neighbour that has the political support of the whole region in which it operates.” But this is not just a strategy for “the developing world”. It “makes good sense in developed world markets as well”. Here too: “The more that companies can win local community support for their operations, the more politically secure they will be”.22
And here in Scotland companies are to be involved in the provision of education, health, local infrastructure and much more. But in this case they will not so much provide resources for community well-being, as dispossess local communities of the resources won by previous generations of struggle – through privatisation.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is, since its takeover of NatWest in 2000, the 5th biggest bank in the world.23 What we are seeing is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the devolved institutions of ‘the new Scotland’ being pervaded by its perspectives. Its growing confidence in these institutions can be seen in its endorsement of the Liberal Democrats’ Steel Commission on the powers of the parliament – an endorsement which stressed the importance of getting the power to vary corporation tax.24
People and Place bears some of the hallmarks of the approach of The Royal Bank to change – or more specifically that of its recently retired former Chairman, Sir George Mathewson, who led the bank through a “very radical reorganisation” in the early 1990s.25 Firstly, the message of change should be clear – perhaps something like “The Scottish Executive is open for business”. But, secondly, the message should be translated into action quickly. Again the desire to achieve this is very apparent in People and Place. Of course changing Scotland is not the same as changing the Royal Bank, but the intent is clear. Whether the aims are achieved or not, there can be little doubt that their pursuit will do significant damage, particularly to our most vulnerable communities. There is a need to grasp the dangers of this significantly new situation, and to respond quickly – before even greater momentum is established. The experience of previous generations of partnerships was that by the time opponents ‘got up to speed’ it was often already too late. It is important that this is not repeated now that the stakes are higher still. In particular, there is a vital need to connect to, and work with, local communities – so that the frustration and resentment they rightly feel about their experience over twenty years of ‘regeneration partnerships’ is directed at those institutions and ideologies which really have driven their underlying neo-liberal agenda, and which today seek to drive it at a new level of intensity. As in the later 1980s, partnerships hang their legitimacy on ‘community’, and this remains, now as it was then, a great potential weakness – not just for the ‘partnerships’, but for the broader neo-liberal agenda which they seek to develop and promote.
After completing this article the author received news of a recent conference on “Delivering the Scottish Infrastructure Investment Plan through Effective Partnerships”. The Executive’s Infrastructure Investment Plan “sets out detailed investment plans in schools, hospitals, housing and transport projects” for the 2005-2008 period. In order to “grow the economy and provide better public services”, it “provides a longer term vision of the investment plans to enable the private sector to plan ahead and take advantage of the opportunities”.26
The conference, organised by a private firm (of course!),27 was addressed by Minister for Finance and Public Service Reform, Tom McCabe – as well as by a broad swathe of speakers from across the public and private sectors. The audience was largely from the private sector. McCabe spoke of the “need to speed up the pace and widen the scope of reform and change” and of the need for the public sector to improve the timing and processing of “deals” to meet expressed concerns of the private sector.28
Reports on the language of the event are revealing. As well as the above “deal flow”, civil servants spoke of the market’s continuing “hunger” for PFI assets, and of health in particular as providing a “continuing feast”. There was also a clear indication of the focus moving towards service provision. Informally, some from the private sector spoke of the abundance of “low lying fruit”. In ordinary language those would be ‘easy pickings’. Significantly, the minister’s speech stressed the centrality of People and Place to the progress of all of this
Published in Variant 26 Summer 2006
1 People and Place: Regeneration Policy Statement, Scottish
2 Scottish Executive, 2002.
3 S. Baird, J. Foster, and R. Leonard “Ownership and
Control in the Scottish Economy”, in Vince Mills
(ed), The Red Paper on Scotland, Glasgow: Research
Collections @ Glasgow Caledonian University, 2005.
4 Wealth Creation in Scotland: A Study of Scotland’s Top 100
Companies, Edinburgh: Royal Bank of Scotland, 2004.
5 Scottish Executive, 2001.
6 Wealth Creation, p.4.
7 Ibid, p.11.
8 Scottish Executive, 2004; see also Baird, Foster and
Leonard, op. cit.
9 See the articles by Collins and Lister (Vol. 6, No.2, 1996)
and Collins (Vol. 1. No. 2, 2001 & Vol. 14, No. 3, 2004),
in Concept (The Journal of Contemporary Community
Education Practice Theory).
10 People and Place, foreword, ps. 15, 22 & 49.
11 Ibid, p.21.
12 See Cambridge Economic Associates, Developing a
Transition Framework for Social Inclusion Partnerships:
Interim Programme Review, Edinburgh: Research from
Communities Scotland, Report 19, 2003.
13 Communities Scotland, Integrating Social Inclusion
Partnerships and Community Planning Partnerships,
Edinburgh: Communities Scotland, 2003, p.16.
14 People and Place, p.18 & foreword.
15 Ibid, p.25.
16 Ibid, ps. 14, 23, 22 & 18.
17 Ibid, ps 52 & 23.
18 Ibid, p.33.
19 Ibid, p.54.
20 D. Fraser, “The Quest for Joined-Up Government”, The
Herald, 10th March 2006.
21 D. Fraser, “Glasgow to launch £1bn public service
revolution”, The Herald, 7th March 2006.
22 E. Kapstein, (2006) “Avoiding Unrest in a Volatile
Environment”, in Mastering Uncertainty, a four-part
weekly supplement to The Financial Times, Part 1:
“Seeking Shelter from the Storm”, 17th March 2006.
23 Baird, Foster and Leonard, op cit.
24 D. Fraser, “LibDems urge tax powers shift”, The Herald,
7th March 2006.
25 K. Symon, “When George Mathewson took over …”,
Sunday Herald, 30th April 2006. Mathewson has since
been appointed a non-executive director of Stagecoach,
where the finance director of RBofS (Bob Speirs) is
already the chairman (see The Herald, 9th May 2006).
26 See: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2005/02/
27 Called City and Financial – see: http://www.
28 McCabe’s speech is available at: http://www.
Desire Lines of Traffic – 1990, Glasgow
In case people are unaware the authorities are proposing to build a school in Kelvingrove Park. The experts see the idea as a wonderful opportunity, most parents and locals involved see the idea as stupid. I find it difficult to waste time on their reasoning for this school anymore. The basic difference is. One side want there kids to go to a safe, secure, local educational, environment and the other can only think of how to make money from anything, (that’s public) they can get there hands on.
From our own Correspondent: Reporting from the abstract dream world, of the modern day urban coloniser:
Here are my notes from the school meeting – I think they held a separate one for parents only – WHY? – to split the opposition?
Notes from meeting at Hillhead High School 14th June 2007:
I found stuff online about the fight to save Victoria Park which began “Beware the statement ‘ We have a unique opportunity’….”
Then I realised that the opening statement at the School meeting was ” This is an OPPORTUNITY to provide an educational building in a UNIQUE setting. It’s all about childrens’ education.”
Pointing to a map of the depot & the rest of the park, Henry McKeown (spokesperson for the architects) said ” The green bit is the extended park adjacent to the site”……..
“There is a perception that the site is intruding into the park, because it’s called ‘the school in the park’. It is in fact a hole in the ground and a tarmac park depot” – (doesn’t have quite the same romantic ring….. ) -“we reckon putting a little school in it will enhance rather than detract”.
“The site is approx 15mins walk for all the kids from the catchment areas of Dowanhill, Kelvinhaugh, Willowbank & Hillhead. Public transport from all areas.”
There was ‘spirited discussion’ about idealistic v realistic assumptions about how many kids WILL walk or cycle to & from school and how much extra traffic will be generated. It was pointed out that there is no public transport of any kind available to the kids from Kelvinhaugh.The resulting silence & exchange of glances suggested that this might have been news to them.
The layout of the building was shown:
Main entrance for pedestrians (pupils,teachers & visitors) at the “historic upgraded(recycled) gates at Otago St”
Also pedestrian and “drop off point ” at Kelvin Way.
“We intend to use existing historic features upgraded/recycled”.
“Trees will remain, to hide the school building which will remain anonymous”
A photo was shown to illustrate how the building will be completely hidden by the trees. It will be “incredibly sensitive to environmental and ecological considerations”
* (How about ‘the incredibly sensitive & anonymous school’ instead of ‘the school in the park’?)
There will be a playground on the Gibson St side and 4 other play spaces.
At Otago St. there will be a ramp up to the entrance and an art installation on the side of the ramp.
There will be no corridors except an “umbilical”?! to “negotiate the existing house” but they may in time purchase the house for more play space. The classrooms will all be “one-sided around a social space”.
“It will be driven by a whole sustainable agenda – and renewable energy.”
There will be a car park for 23? spaces (access from Westbank Quad.) concealed under the playground.
There will be a big collecting point/play area off Kelvin Way.
The classrooms will have a grass roof which will be “sustainable in terms of run off of rain water”
They have a landscape architect from Berlin “where they’re very avant garde about these things.”
Dr Colin Begg of 5 University Ave. expressed concerns about noise, litter, traffic & parking and the proximity of the 2storey building to the back court of his flat.
“Pupil numbers will start at 490 and will decline to 420 in the near future.” Questioned about that McNab said “Our figures are based on registrar figures.”
Q: Don’t children do better at smaller schools?
A: Is 90 or 98 viable in an urban setting?
More ‘spirited discussion’…..
Parking will “categorically” remain as it is at present on Otago St. There will be no parent parking provided.
There will be zigzag lines outside that entrance.
The 3 existing crossings on Gibson St should be adequate.
They intend to restrict parking at certain times on Kelvin Way to enable parents to drop off kids.
It was pointed out that University people park there from early morning. “They will just have to park elsewhere, in the mornings and move their cars later”.
“Parents will be discouraged from driving children to school – children will be strongly encouraged to walk or cycle or use public transport. Teachers will be strongly encouraged to use public transport.” ( Much heated discussion)
“We will be doing a traffic impact assessment.”
Q: Why has that not been done before reaching this stage?
A: Blank stares.
Q: Where will the depot be located?
Q: What about grass-cutting machines & other vehicles necessary for day to day maintenance of Kelvingrove?
A: There will be a small depot area at the tip of the site (at existing internal park gate. Some vehicles will be brought from other areas of the city.
Q: Doesn’t that defeat the stated objective of cutting down fuel consumption, by discouraging people from using cars?
A: Some vehicles go out just now, but some will come in in future – so there will be a balance…..
Q: Is there any chance of overturning this, or is it a rubber stamp?
A: ( Visible surprise at the question) The Council has asked that a school be put on that site.
Parent: Hillhead is 300 pupils at the moment.
Reply: But it WILL decline I can assure you…
(Argument & disagreement re projected birth rate.)
The school would be capable of taking MAX 630 kids
21 classes at 30 each.
“Extending the site” was mentioned as a possibility at a later date….
Q: What do you mean ‘extend’ the site? Do you mean extend further into the park?
( HESITATION and more glances exchanged)
A: Flexibility within the site to accommodate more children. Extend within the site – up to the 2020s….. (only 13 years,then what?)
School is expected to last for 60 – 70 years at least.
Questions & discussion about why consideration was not given to repairing say 2 of the old schools, instead of building a new one.
Q: What other sites were looked at? (Uneasy shifty glances)
A: Looked at a site near Dowanhill school, but it was a childrens’ play area, so we’d have been removing an existing amenity(Dowanhill Park!).
Also the ‘Park & Ride’ at Kelvinbridge, but it’s still owned by the railway and it sometimes floods, and has a rat problem.
We couldn’t find anywhere else (lamely).
Q: Would you have had to buy other sites and this one’s free?
A: With respect – YOU would have to buy it because Council Tax would be put up to pay for it.
“The football pitch will certainly have a fence round it.
It could have ivy trained through mesh to make it environmentally acceptable.”
Q: The depot is within the boundary of the park. Therefore if the depot is taken away, shouldn’t the area become landscaped parkland?
A (from MacDonald): Is the depot open at night just now for a dauner through?
“We asked people to respond to consultation – it used to be more simple, but since April we now have to go through consultation….”
“We have also consulted with the Executive ‘taste police’, who are positive about it, but still have to respond.”
Comment by 22nd June.
“Comments will be put into part of the report which goes to planning committee to be looked at.
Planners ask what’s been done to satisfy stakeholders.”
Windows & materials not finalised yet.
Heated exchanges about parking,traffic & notification –
Point made that mail sent to ‘Owner/Occupier’ often goes straight into the bin.
Q: Was there a stringent/aggressive attempt to source and notify all the ‘neighbours’?
A: McNab read out the whole list of people & groups informed.
Submission goes in 25th June.
Q: Ask Ruth Smith how this fits in with her vision for Gibson St. – (hadn’t heard her name before – maybe from planning?)
A: She’s actually quite happy about it.
Q: Is she giving you one story and me another?
Q: You mentioned the white house earlier. What’s the position about that?
A: I met the “rather charming lady who lives in the white house. She is concerned at having 500 kids and a school built around her and will go away and think about it.
“The land is owned by the Council, so the Council is the developer.
The architect is a consultant architect.”
Ian McNab: Council
Ian MacDonald: Education
Steve McFadyen: Parks
Mike Hyatt: Landscape
JM Architects:Henry McKeown (main speaker) & two architects (Luke Therman & ? )
Guy Wimble: Ironside Farrar
Alan Booth: Environmental
Walter McNeill: Project Officer
and about 6 members of the public! (and Cllr Martha Wardrop)
8TH JULY PRESS RELEASE BY: TCHAI-OVNA HOUSE OF TEA, FRIENDS OF THE KELVIN, RESIDENTS OF KELVIN BRIDGE AREA, BUSINESSES OF KELVIN BRIDGE AREA, CARNIVAL ARTS.
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
CONFRONTATION BETWEEN A UNIQUE COMMUNITY UNDER THREAT AND BIG CORPORATE DEVELOPERS
For more information please contact Martin Fell tel: 07976932432 /0141 3574524 email@example.com 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.
FLATS DEVELOPMENT GARNETHILL / THE NEED FOR UNITY
Unfortunately I arrived at the consultation meeting concerning the planning application for 5 blocks of flats in Garnethill, near the end of the meeting. (due to the wrong time in the poster) However a summary was given to those who arrived at the latter time, slides, proposal and so on. This is based on that.
The proposed development details, I will not discuss here, suffice to say were the usual deal. Lack of consultation in the community, parking issues, green space disappearing, bad design, use of public land and so on. (I will publish details of development on City Strolls soon.)
The good folk of Garnethill community, who are not backward about going forward, turned up to what was a packed meeting and gave their informed opinion, in what seemed to be a collective rejection of the proposal.
Not only did they reject the scheme was bad for the community, but offered up, ideas, advice, and opinions to the collected officials to what constitutes a good community. A local artist also presented a slide show depicting the history of Garnethill, pre and during the destruction of part of Garnethill, and Charing Cross, by the M8 motorway.
An interesting point was made at the meeting that connects with what I wish to discuss here. The above proposal makes no provision for parking facilities and as someone pointed out, the overspill of cars would start to effect neighboring areas.
This is a very important point concerning development in the city per se. Each callous development no mater whether it is in your area, starts effects the city as a whole. Each forced project that is allowed to go ahead in one community, makes it easier to force another onto the next community.
The need for unity
There have been battles win and lost at the local level with speculating developers. The ingenuity and inventiveness of local citizens in these affairs are often clever and inspiring.
But we are loosing to many of these battles because communities are not learning from other communities experiences. We are each re inventing our own wheel, instead of sharing these experience.
No mater how clever we are and how right our cause, we are up against people who do not give a toss about community, (except the business community) So long as we are disconnected and unaware of what our fellow citizens are up to, they can pick us off like flies. The business community are “highly organized”. Therefore, we need to be to have any effect, at least, organized and to engage as many regular members of the public as possible in community issues.
The following is an excerpt from North South East West an attempt toward this organization. The link to the whole text is below. I am open to input ideas and information as usual
A major part of our problem is,(if and after we find out that there is a problem) we (the public) do not have a big enough loudspeaker to be heard. We are up against a business media force, with sponsorship from our government, using our money, that is deafening and drowning out our voice and therefore our opinions, in matters that are very important to us all.
We can not hope to compete and should not waste our energy trying to compete, with all our small individual loudspeakers, unless we combine them. We have to combine them to create a bigger noise in order take control of the microphone. Business can only hear loud noise.
Phase 1 Combined efforts:
What affects this end of the city will soon or later affect the other end of the city, and vice versa. But does this side of town know what the other side thinks, how it responds or acts in affairs that involves us all. [planning, environment, housing ]
N-S-E-W is an attempt to connect participants from all areas of the city, to give some support and hope to those involved in the above and below issues and to encourage others to join the struggle to make -starting in our communities – our world, a better place to live. The following are some thoughts that might help toward a set of principals which could help consolidate a collective voice, or give encouragement and support to existing groups working toward these ends…
145 Buccieuch st, Flat 2/1,
14 June, 2004
George Galloway MP
Mrs E Brown MBC
Proposed new housing development of 60 flats in GarnethiH. at Hill Street and Buccieuch Street
(overlooking Charing Cross/Woodlands) Ping Appln ref: 04/01764/dc
Dear members of Garenthid community and other Interested parties,
As key members of the Garnethiff community f very much hope you wilf be able to attend the meeting
to discuss the proposed new housing development in Gamethill on
Thursday 24th June 2004, 7.30pm GarnethiU Multicultural Centre.
If you are available, please see the attached agenda. Your support in this would be greatly appreciated
(receiving correspondence on thrs issue)
Letter from F Sinclair to:
Mary McLeod (Letter from F Sinclair to )
Charing Cross Housing Association,
31 Ashley Street,
Dear Ms McLeod,
Ref: Development reference 04/01764/dc .
With reference to the above planned development proposed by Charing Cross Housing Association (CCHA) and Ogilvie Homes, we should like to invite you to a meeting of Garnethii! Community in Garnethili Community Centre, Rose Street, Garnethill on Thursday June 24 2004, at 7.30prn.
The arm of this meeting is to enable an open and transparent consultation process to begin between aEl parties interested in the present and future weH being of Garnethill Community and Glasgow City.
Given that the role of CGHA is viewed as key by the community in understanding better the proposed development and that within Glasgow City Council City Development Pian. community involvement is considered1 essential in securing an environment beneficial to residents and visitors alike, we hope that you or your representative will attend.
Within Garnethill Community there is a feeling that there is not enough information available in order that residents might participate fuHy in the proposed development. We therefore had to lodge our objections Immediately with Glasgow City Council Planning Department.
In order to resolve these issues and in the spirit of collaboration, we wouJd be grateful if you could confirm your attendance. We are also contacting other key parties to the same end and the proposed agenda listed betow refers to those parties whom we consider to be key tn providing us with fuller information:
Approximate timings for proposed agenda:
7.30 – 8.00 Presentation by Ogilvie/CCHA regarding the development plans.
8.00-8.15 Presentation byPlanning Officer regarding how this proposed development fits into the City Council’s
plans for inner city development.
S.15 -&-.3Q Presentation by Planning Officer explaining the planning process, anticipated timeUne and costings.
8-30 -9.00 Question and Answer session
In order Jor you to prepare for the Question and Answer session, we have drafted a Hst of concerns already
rased by members of the community. These are:
Social funding of the scheme
impact of groundworks, piling, etc, particularly with reference to the impact on homes and listed buildings
Flexibility of key parties to incorporate community design suggestions
Air quality and the loss of green spaces
Parking and accident hotspots
Programme for works
Potential for segmentation of the development
Impact of the development on a conservation area
As soon as we receive confirmation of your attendance, we wiit of course inform the Garnethilt Community at large. I have enclosed a stamped addressed envelope for your response, which i would request you return to me within one week of receipt of this letter. We sincerely hope that your representative or yourself wii! be able to attend and believe that many of the concerns currently being voiced wii! be alleviated with a more complete understanding of the proposed development. We look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely ,
Beechgrove Garden Festival
(Alec and Dougal potter about with watering cans, trowels, etc. Centre stage, a floral sheet or cloth covers two more figures. Dougal looks up and addresses the audience.)
Dougal: Oh, Hullo!
Alec: (also taking note of audience) Hullo, there!
Dougal: Hullo and welcome tae the Beechgrove Garden Roadshow. And today, Alec and are in… Where the fuck are we, Alec?
Alec: Well, today we’re in a verra big garden indeed, Dougal.
Dougal: Fuckin’ enormous garden, Alec.
Alec: That’s right, Dougal, because today we’re at the Glasgow Garden Festival. And isn’t it miraculous?
Dougal: Aye, aye. Whit’s miraculous, Alec?
Alec: It’s miraculous tae find a Garden Festival in a major industrial centre sicas Glasgow, Dougal?
Dougal: Aye. For example, Alec, vit’s that over there?
Alec: Well, that’s whit we cry a green belt, Dougal. Parkheid. And it’s right next door tae that lovely red, white and blue display, Brigtonus Masonicus, with that provocative wee splash of UDA over in the corner, look.
Dougal: Lovely, but for me Alec, this is where it all began, here at Queen’s Dock in Govan.
Alec: Aye, well you know what they say, Dougal – flowers are a lot prettier than cranes.
Dougal: Aye, and the great thing about flowers, of course, is that they keep coming back, year after year. But once the cranes and the ships and the jobs have gone, they never seem to come back, do they?
Alec: Verra true, but I’ve got a wee surprise for ye here tae cheer us all up.
Dougal: Vit’s that, Alec?
Alec: Well (Alec whips the sheet off the ‘display’, which consists of a yuppy in a bowler hat, with a briefcase and tennis raquet clutched nervously to his person, and a suspicious worker), it’s this wee growth of Bourgie Obnoxicus, right here in Govan.
Alec: Oh, he doesnae look too happy, Dougal, I’m afraid.
Dougal: We’d better get right down tae work here, Alec, it looks like.
Alec: Aye. On ye go then. (Alec explains while Dougal pokes at the plants). Yesee, the thing aboot yer ‘Wee Yuppy’, as we gardeners affectionately cry him, is that they’re a fragile, delicate sort o’ plantie. They’re never completely happy until they’re entirely surrounded by plants exactly like themselves.
Dougal: So, in order for your ‘Wee Yuppy’ tae flourish in a new area like Govan, we’ve got tae get rid of the hardier, not quite so nice ‘Proletarian Skintibus’, or ‘Scum’, as we gardeners call them. So, first of aw, we pull oot aw the weeds (removes his fag), then (watering him from can), we let the waiter seep intae the living areas, and when they call the cooncil tae dry them oot (drags him to far side of stage) we repot them way, way over here in this dry, arid, desert region we gardeners cry Drumchapel.
(Yuppy, now with more room, gets happier, plays tennis, mixes cocktails, etc)
And if he tries tae come back, he’ll find the area has been completely overrun by yer Bourgie Obnoxicus. This is the process known tae us as Barrelling.
Alec: And tae the Districl Council, ihe area has been Lafferlied.
Dougal: Or fucked up complelely.
Alec: So here’s yer new Glasgow. All Ihe Scum chucked oul on tae the Compost Schemes, and lots of pretty flowers and obnoxious yuppies, every where ye look.
Dougal: Remember, Alec, how in ihe old days we had tae wait for ihe scum tae work themsels tae death before we could gel rid of them.
Alec: That’s the wonders of ihe Scottish Development Agency for ye, Dougal. Cos ye know what they say?
Alex & Dougal: GLASGOW’S MILES BETTER…for yer wee yuppies.
(Yuppie whinnies in agreement, and the worker looks on.)
– END –
Performed by Red Heads: Kate Donnely, Libby MacArthur, Peter Mullan, Peter Arnott.
Workers City “The Real Glasgow Stands Up”
Edited By Farquar McLay Clydeside Press