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.

Glasgow's Housing Strategy

This month, I submitted comments on the Council's Housing Strategy giving my support for fuel poverty, energy efficiency and climate change to be a strategic priority in the new housing strategy. In addition, I gave my endorsement to the development of more stand alone and jointly funded district heating schemes. A mix of renewable energy sources can be developed including solar, wind, biomass and hydro.

Also, the need to Prevent and Address Homelessness as a priority gained my support. In my comments, I highlighted the support required to improve outcomes for Multiply Excluded Homeless Service Users, including people who are homeless, destitute and living with HIV. According to the Equality Act 2010, they should be provided with basic essentials such as appropriate accommodation and financial support. Local authorities should recognise the impact of poor housing on the health of homeless people living with HIV.

In my submission, I mentioned the need for the establishment of a Scottish Destitution Fund, similar to the provision as developed by the British Red Cross in Northern Ireland, with support of the Northern Ireland Executive. Details are available at:

There is a Free Standing Inquiry in to providers of accommodation for asylum seekers being carried out by the UK Home Affairs Committee in Autumn 2016. This Inquiry's final report should be useful to inform the development of the Council's Housing Strategy.

Useful link:

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Access to housing for people who are HIV+

This month, I met up with staff from Waverley Care to discuss the housing needs of homeless people who are HIV positive and who are seeking asylum. 

Without provision of a roof over their head, asylum seekers with HIV are sleeping rough, suffering hunger, and experiencing spiralling health issues. There is a need to establish pathways to enable housing providers to prioritise access to homeless accommodation for asylum seekers who are HIV positive due to their specific vulnerability. This is a public health issue.

 Meeting with staff at Waverley Care.

I was informed about research, "They Call Me You Are Aids" which details the stories of asylum seekers who are HIV positive. It provides key recommendations and a copy is available at:

Useful link: Waverley Care Glasgow -