Sunday, 18 September 2016

Residents concerned about Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction

On Wednesday, I received a copy of a report outlining the Community Case Against Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction. A Broad Alliance of communities has produced research to show the case that Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction is incompatible with the Scottish Government's Climate Change reduction targets.

With members of the Broad Alliance receiving 
their report at the City Chambers.

This research will inform further discussion about Unconventional Oil and Gas Extraction with council officials and other councillors. 

Copy of the report is available at:

Friday, 9 September 2016

Carnegie Libraries across Glasgow.

Yesterday,  a motion in support of Carnegie Library buildings across Glasgow was agreed by councillors. Andrew Carnegie, American businessman and philantropist is quoted as saying;

“A library out ranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

In  my role as a councillor for the Hillhead Ward, I have been working to support the restoration of Woodside Library, one of the council libraries run by Glasgow Life.  During discussions about the history of this building, it came to my attention that it is the largest of the Carnegie libraries of Glasgow. Its importance has been recognised as part of the Woodside Heritage Trail and the building is featured as part of Glasgow’s Doors Open Day Programme.

I think that it is essential to put on record that 13 council libraries were built with grant support from Andrew Carnegie and that there are seven of these building still operating as libraries today. These Council libraries managed by Glasgow Life are Maryhill, Parkhead, Govanhill, Woodside, Dennistoun and Langside. The former Bridgeton Library is now the home for the Glasgow’s Women’s Library.

Three Carnegie libraries have been demolished – these are Anderston, Townhead and Kinning Park. Anderston Library opened on 21 December 1904. The building in MacIntyre Street was the first of Glasgow's Carnegie libraries to disappear when it was demolished along with most of Anderston to make way for the M8 motorway in 1969. A new Anderston branch library opened in 1984 in Berkeley Street, in the Mitchell Library building.Townhead Library was officially opened on 4th July, 1907. After lying in a state of neglect and dereliction in the shadow of the M8 motorway for many years, it was finally demolished in 1998. Kinning Park Library was officially opened on 25th October, 1904. The library closed in 1967 and was used as a store by the Council's Social Work Department until its demolition in 1978.

Former library buildings which have found a new use are Kingston, Springburn and Hutchesontown. Kingston Library was officially opened on 8th September, 1904. The library building finally closed in 1981 after the population had moved away and has been for some years been occupied as facilities provided by the Talbot Association for Glasgow's homeless population. Springburn Library was officially opened on 1st May, 1906. In recent years, it has been used as an Enterprise, Learning and Conference Centre. Hutchesontown Library, Gorbals opened in February 1907. It closed on 31st July, 1964 and was partially occupied as a day nursery before being occupied as offices. The offices are currently available for rent from City Property.

Carnegie Libraries are a significant part of the network of Public libraries which have been at the heart of Glasgow’s communities. They are founded on a powerful sense of equity and justice.  These libraries should be acknowledged as key resources to delivery “A Vision for Glasgow Libraries” Strategy. They are helping to support people across the city to access knowledge and learning to help make a better life.

In addition, these building are significant architectural landmarks and cultural assets within local communities across the city. They should be acknowledged as sources of inspiration and catalysts for regeneration and economic development within our local high streets. 

There is a project planned to celebrate this legacy of Andrew Carnegie, and support a partnership with heritage groups, and community councils to ensure they are promoted as part of National Libraries Day on 16th February 2017. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Walking around Gartnavel Hospital's open spaces

There are walking trails within the grounds of Gartnavel Hospital which provide access to a beautiful walled garden, wooded area and the wildlife haven of Bingham's Pond. This offers opportunities to relax and observe nature.

Walled cottage garden at the hospital

There is a hill within the grounds where you can get a view over Glasgow and the railway line. There are designated paths which are suitable for walking and jogging.

Open space for events

Over the last three years, there has been significant support for the development of outdoor facilities at Gartnavel Hospital. There is an specific area for gardening with beds for growing vegetables and flowers which is supported by the NHS, Forestry Commission and Scottish Government. 

Regular weekly 30-minute walk to take part in.

Health walks are a good way to get more active. There is further information on health walks across Glasgow at: www.goodmovesglasgow,com/walking.

Crowds gather at Hyndland Gala

Yesterday, I went along to the Hyndland Gala held at Old Station Park and Lauderdale Park.

View of gala at Old Station Park

There were a wide range range of activities to enjoy including gardening, archery, face painting, soft play, pony rides, home baking and tombola. 

Within Old Station Park, there is a wildflower meadow developed by volunteers with support from RSPB Glasgow. Further work is plan to extend the planting of wildlfower seeds.

Wildflower area in Old Station Park.

Volunteers are needed to help with gardening projects at Old Station Park and plan for the next Gala Day.

Support for Fishmonger on Byres Road

Yesterday, I dropped in to the new fishmonger on Byres Road to give my support. It is a relief to find this new businesses, "Fish Plaice", opening up and ensuring that there is a fishmonger in the street.

Further information about "Fish Plaice" is available on their website at:

Friday, 26 August 2016

Office and studio facilities on Napiershall St

There is ongoing support being provided to promote the development, repair and maintenance of the Napiershall Street Centre, in Woodside. There is a focus on bringing together local groups and residents to encourage more people to access the facilities that are available. The building has an outdoor learning space and community garden, where people can meet up and take part in food growing activities.

Napiershall Street Community Garden

Currently, it is the base for services provided by the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council with news and project information available at:

The Chinese Community Development Centre has its office, here. It has links to Chinese arts organisations and Chinese performers in Glasgow. They also organise the annual Chinese New Year celebration and a published quarterly newspaper ‘Chinese Community News’. Further details are available at:

This is a former school building managed by City Property and provides office or studio spaces for rent. The details are available from Graham and Sibbald, the agents for the building via their website at:

View of the Napiershall St Centre

Regular meetings of tenants and residents are planned to help develop a heritage project and provide an opportunity for local people to share their memories of the building when it was a primary school. 

Coffee shops on Byres Road

In the last few weeks, I have been considering the merits of a proposal to transform the empty bank at 266 Byres Road in to a cafe. This plan does seem to be contrary to the policy which offers Protection and Promotion Of Local Shopping Centres and Local Shops. Using these premises for a coffee shop will result in the loss of a shop unit at Class 2 to create a Class 3 cafe.

The premises at 266 Byres Road are in an attractive, prominent location within the Byres Road/Dumbarton Road Town Centre. This is located next to the entrance of Hillhead Subway and at the junction with Great George Street where there is a significant level of footfall. 

Within this locality, there are several children's shops selling clothing and toys. I think that it would be appropriate for the premises at 266 Byres Road to be developed as a retail outlet for children's goods and services. This focus on a retail strategy linked to the needs of children and young people could support existing traders and build up the area as a retail destination for families. 

These plans for another cafe does not support the development of retail space within Byres Road or increase provision of high street shopping opportunities. It will extend the over provision of cafes/coffee shops on Byres Road. This does not delivery a mixed of retailers in the area. It only leads to reduction in the range of goods and services available within Byres Road.

A recent survey identified the shortfall in Class 1 retail and in Class 1 shops selling things other than prepared food and drink. Over the last ten year period, there has been a significant reduction in the number of Class 1 retail units. The impact on the Byres Road Principle Retail Area is that non-Class 1 uses are 35% of all units, which is well above the target of 20% within the local development plan. 

It would appear that this proposal will result in too many cafes at the Great George Street/Byres Road junction next to the Hillhead Subway. There is already a good choice of places to go for a coffee at this location including Starbucks, Tinderbox and Smug Coffee Shop. There is clearly no qualitative or quantitative shortfall in class 3 or sui generis premises in this prime retail area.

In addition, this proposal will result in a loss of residential amenity within the Byres Road and Great George Street area. Refuse collection related the proposal development will result in numerous commercial bins and waste disposal facilities. This area is a hotspot for flytipping and street littering. This proposal will increase the problems with littering in the street and have a negative impact on the quality of life for residents living in tenements within the locality.