Friday, 27 December 2013

Maintenance of Cobbled Lanes

Maintenance works funded by Glasgow City Council will be carried out in Ashton Lane and Cresswell Lane in the first two months of 2014.

The work will cover the following:

- Complete re-grout of both Ashton and Cresswell Lanes;

- Lift and relay areas of subsided and rocking setts;

- Extension of setted area to meet the tie in with Byres Road;

- Re-construction (to asphalt) of the damaged granolithic concrete footways at north east end of Ashton Lane (behind Iceland/U Station).

- Lift and relay whin stone kerbs on above footways. Replace length of existing PC Kerbs with reclaimed whin stone kerbs.

- Reconstruction of footway crossing point at entrance to Ashton Lane from Byres Road.

Updated information about the contract works will be available to businesses operating in the lanes.

This investment in the historic back lanes of the Hillhead area is very much welcomed. It will improve the general access for pedestrians and restore the appearance of these distinctive areas for visitors and residents alike.

Call for E-Petitions System

In December, I received enquiries from various people who are concerned about their lack of ability to submit e-petitions to Glasgow City Council. I have been made aware that the City of Edinburgh has implemented an e-petitions system and this is seen as very successful.

Currently, there is a system in Glasgow which requires a paper copy being circulated to collect signatures and this is viewed as a barrier to participation by many. A paper based petitions system is time consuming for residents to organise and viewed as out of date.

I hope that Glasgow City Council can take forward plans for e-petitions, by learning from the experience of Edinburgh, and other E-petitions systems operated by the Scottish Parliament and Westminster Government.

There will be a review of the petitions process by Glasgow City Council in 2014 and I understand that officials will report back to councillors on the how the system in Edinburgh operates and the cost implications.

Congratulations to Sapphire Gymnastics

Congratulations to Catriona Lessani who has won the award of Volunteer of the Year from Sports Scotland. Catriona has been involved in volunteering for over 30 years and commits over 30 hours a week to the Sapphire Gymnastics Club.

In the last week, I have given my support to plans by Sapphire Gymnastics to establish a new base required to accommodate their activities in Maryhill. It is necessary for this club to access new facilities to meet the needs of the local community who want to participate in sports development. These premises will increase the skills and self-confidence as well as generally improve fitness, health and wellbeing of people involved.

New facilities will provide the accommodation required to meet the training needs of gymnasts including access to a 12msq sprung floor, a 25m by 2m tumble track, bars, beam, vault, and changing rooms. This will enable existing gymnasts to develop their talents and also, provide more support for new people to participate in gymnastics.

Useful link:
Sapphire Gymnastics Academy -

Sports Scotland Coaching Officiating and Volunteering Awards 2013 -

Friday, 20 December 2013

Celebrating the life of Sir William Arrol (1839–1913)

This month, a plaque celebrating the life of Sir William Arrol has been placed on the Great Western Bridge by Institution of Civil Engineers.

In the centenary year of his death, it is fitting to acknowledge his significant contribution to the West End. The Great Western Bridge is a dominant feature of every day life for people making their way through Glasgow. It was built in 1890 by Sir William Arrol & Co. and is category A listed.

Sir William Arrol was responsible for numerous bridges including the Forth Rail Bridge, Tay Bridge and London's Tower Bridge.

Support needed for High Street Shopping

This year, there have been ongoing efforts to support the businesses on the main shopping streets in the West End through a campaign to encourage local shopping. The West End values the rich mix of local shops and we want to enhance the area's diversity of local retailers. This relies on people making the decision to go out and shop on the high street not online, and for the encouragement of partnerships between communities, businesses and local authorities to bring about local investment. Key aspects of promoting the High Street are supportive planning and digital initiatives by Glasgow City Council.

In the last six months, there has been a local campaign, "Say No To Tesco",which aims to strengthen policies to halt the expansion of supermarkets in the main shopping streets. This has gathered supporters from communities across Scotland who want to protect the unique local character of their high streets. There has been wide agreement on the need for action and optimism that changes to halt the expansion of supermarkets can foster a renewed sense of community and enterprise.

On 10th December, I joined campaigners for restrictions on the growth of supermarkets outside the new supermarket at 349 Great Western Road. There will be monitoring of the impact of this new store, for example on local retailers or traffic. A new supermarket is likely to encourage the consumption of unhealthy foods, such as heavily processed ready meals high in salt and sugar content.

In the year ahead, I hope that the campaigning to restrict the growth of supermarkets develops momentum and more people try to avoid using supermarkets for their weekly shopping. In the West End, it is still possible to choose from a range of independent grocers and go along to the farmers market in Partick.

Useful link:

Tescopoly Unhealthy Food -

Monday, 9 December 2013

Woodside Pool Refurbishment Update

Today, I was given a tour of the refurbishment at Woodside Pool in Braid Square by staff from Glasgow Life and City Building. Details of the repairs needed to the pool tank and the specialist assistance being provided for the work were described. 

 Views of the pool tank

Members of the Woodside Community Council were also in attendance to hear about the progress of the refurbishment. We observed the staff from City Building undertaking work on the concrete base of the pool tank. It is anticipated that the repairs will be completed in March 2014.

Further information is available from the reception of the Woodside Pool or Glasgow Life's website.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Top neighbourhood award for West End

This evening, I attended an event organised by Friends of Glasgow West in Hillhead Library to celebrate the West End of Glasgow winning the Great Neighbourhood Award at the 2014 Academy of Urbanism Awards. 

This award is a major boost to businesses and residents who are involved in initiatives to enhance and promote the area's culture, facilities and heritage. At the start of the year, there were concerns expressed about the number of vacant shop units on Byres Road and it is heartening to see new shops opening up on the street in time for the festive season. I am continuing my commitment to support the local high street retailers and businesses, giving my backing to the development a business improvement district for Byres Road. 

The cultural events including gigs and art shows taking place in the West End continue to attract a wide range of visitors and maintain the area as a great place to live. Poetry and literature are promoted through the Hillhead library which is a much valued community resource. As part of the award, a poem has been presented to the area by the Academy of Urbanism.

by Ian McMillan, Academy of Urbanism Poet in Residence 2013

When you get to Glasgow, head straight out to the West,
In the Botanic Gardens, the light streams through the glass.
And you may have seen some West Ends - but this one is the best
Down Byres Road and Ashton Lane, the West End people pass.

And the music of the West End plays its rhythm in your ear,
A rhythm built on l
earning, built on thinking, built through time.
If you want food or drink or conversation find it here;
The West End's a location where past and future rhyme.

The West End is a novel with a quickly moving plot,
The West End is a film where each location lifts your heart;
It sometimes feels there's nothing that the West End hasn't got:
It's got sleeping places, strolling places, spaces full of art.

So grasp the West End tightly, please don't sit on the shelf:
Help the West End make an exhibition of itself.

I hope local residents will put pen to paper and come up with their own poems to celebrate the success of the West End.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Appeal for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

This week, the White Paper for Scotland's Future has been published by the Scottish Government. There are proposals for an independent Scottish Asylum Agency, which ensures that immigration and asylum claims are considered separately. This is an approach which has been put forward by the Scottish Refugee Council and would provide more humane decision-making.

Currently, the main concern of charities and campaign groups is provision of ongoing assistance for asylum seekers and refugees who experience hardship. To ensure that there is access to social activities for the festive season and their children are able to enjoy themselves, an appeal for toys has been launched.

Further information is available by contacting the Scottish Refugee Council, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, or Positive Action on Housing.

Useful links: 

News from the Scottish Refugee Council -

Donate to the Scottish Refugee Council -

Positive Action in Housing -

Bridge of Peace

The tragic incident that resulted in the loss of life and serious injuries for many people on Friday evening, at the Clutha Vaults have been in my thoughts this weekend. Yesterday, I attended a gathering to promote women's role in peacemaking organised by the Glasgow Peace Federation. At the beginning of event, there was a minute's silence for the victims, their families and the staff from the emergency services involved in the rescue effort. 

Woman's statue on the cycle route 
next to the flats on the River Clyde, Partick.

Thereafter, I made a contribution by sharing experiences of initiatives which support and enable women to become more involved in peacemaking in the world. There are many barriers to women participating in peacemaking but access to women's groups to build confidence and leadership skills can help overcome obstacles. 

As a student, I gained training and advice from Student Community Action to support my participation in activities to tackle injustice. Later on, it was the trade union movement and training offered at my workplace that made a difference. I encouraged women to seek out support and training through Universities, their workplaces, and trade unions.

Reflecting on world events, I think the Iraq War has had a significant impact on my life and those of many women who struggle for peace. The suffering brought about by the bombing of Iraqi people was shocking and this led to my decision to channel my energies into activism with the Scottish Green Party. Now, I am also involved in efforts to eradicate violence and support peace as part of several campaign groups including Scottish CND. 

The event held by the Glasgow Peace Federation renewed my focus on supporting peace. As part of the programme, I made a pledge to help build a bridge of peace and reconciliation within my family, the community, society and between nations.

At the end of the event, I was presented with a bunch of flowers as a thank you gift. My thoughts went to the people at the site of the Clutha Vaults Tragedy. I made my way there to place my flowers alongside many other floral bouquets, offering my condolences to the people affected.