Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Supporting start-ups

There are small and medium businesses who play a vital role in Hillhead's economy.  Retail and financial services will always be important parts of our economy, but we need an economic strategy with a sustainable industrial core providing good quality jobs. I am supporting start-ups and investment in apprenticeships, colleges and universities.

View of some units to let in Woodlands Road
New businesses are opening on Woodlands Road.

Local streets such as Woodlands Road in the Hillhead area have empty properties, including vacant shopfronts, which could be made more easily available for use as short-term start-up business, community or creative spaces. 

Further details of the Scottish Green Party's Manifesto for Glasgow including support for Glasgow's economy at:

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Support for independent music stores

This afternoon, I dropped in to Mixed Up Records on Otago Lane as part of my support for Record Store Day. I bought several second hand CDs to enjoy.

Promotions for Record Store Day
Special poster on display for RSD17
View of Mixed Up Records.

I believe the independent businesses on Otago Lane are a vital aspect of the West End. They are unique places in Glasgow and well worth exploring.

Better cleansing services for tenements

Today, I visited tenement closes in the Willowbank Crescent area, today. I was very impressed to find a well maintained street, community garden and back lane. This is possible due to the dedication of residents, regular clean ups in the area and ongoing support from Cleaning Staff. 

 Willowbank Street Community Garden
Willowbank Crescent Lane 

A large number of bins have been provided for recycling of food waste, newspapers, cardboard and glass in the back lane. The general refuse is collected in large industrial bins. This has reduced the problems with littering and transformed the backcourts. The community garden is supported by Woodlands Community Development Trust. This can be an inspiration to other people experiencing difficulties with littering in their backcourt.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Support space for cycling

Concerns have been raised by residents concerned about the quality of our streets for cycling. They want better designed streets to encourage people to cycle as this can improve our health and air quality, reduce casualties and create safer, more pleasant local neighbourhoods.

The research from Space for Cycling highlights that 67% of people aren't confident cycling on busy roads.

I feel that it is too dangerous to cycle on Glasgow's road network and generally, I will cycle off road within the Kelvin Walkway and Canal Towpath. I am aware of increased interest from residents who want to cycle and it is time to ensure we create safer space for cycling.

In the Green Councillors Budget proposals, we provided for capital investment in the North Glasgow City Route and the East Glasgow City Cycle Route. Within the regeneration plans for the waterfront and West End, there is support for segregated cycling infrastructure in Byres Road and the wider area. 

I am seeking to ensure that the needs of cyclists are addressed in an effective, integrated approach as part of investment plans for the Hillhead area.

I have supported the call for Space for Cycling at

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Protecting greenspaces

 I am seeking re-election as the Green councillor for the Hillhead ward on 4th May. I have served communities in this area of Glasgow for the last 10 years. Our local greenspaces are precious and need to be looked after. Residents in Hillhead, like many people across Scotland, have organised themselves to protect wildlife sites and safeguard local parks and open spaces. 

Green councillors are supporting green spaces as wildlife habitats but also, for local food production through community gardens, allotments and school growing projects.

We have seen community gardens - such as the site on West Princes Street in Woodlands within the West End of Glasgow – being established as outdoor community centres after landscaping and raised beds installed. Community gardens can be utilised in a variety of ways from social to musical and educational. All of which positively enhance a local area. Green spaces can support a programme of events, workshops and training for local residents in growing your own food, effectively composting household waste and reducing your carbon footprint. Green Councillors are committed to bringing together local residents and businesses to become more energy efficient and involved in looking after our environment. Green spaces make a big difference by creating a social space where people can volunteer, gain practical skills and get to know their neighbours.

Communities are seeking support to develop sustainable solutions to managing flooding and public land in ways that benefit residents and wildlife. There is a need to ensure the planning system works for people and nature. And we shouldn’t stop at protecting our existing green spaces.

Wooded areas are part of the greenspace network within Hillhead

Scottish Greens strive for a planning system that listens to people. It should be transparent, accountable and give residents power to shape their communities, resulting in development that is driven by public interest, not just economic growth. A stronger, more accountable planning system, with local people at its heart, can deliver housing in the right places, whilst creating and connecting new wildlife sites, woodlands, wetlands and other green spaces. This, in turn, will help provide natural flood defences, to help cope with our changing climate.
Open space safeguarded by community action within Hillhead. 

Green councillors want to invest in planning as a public services to empower local groups and individuals to negage, providing meeting spaces, information and dedicated staff. We want to ensure transparency and accountability by pushing to make the voting record for all planning committee votes available promptly online and in offices. Campaigning with our MSPs, we are seeking to balance the rights of communities with those of developers by giving communities an equal right of appeal over planning decisions. At present, only developers have the right of appeal.

Councils can take more action to help promote green spaces within our cities, towns and villages as they add significant value to our lives as well as provide places for wildlife to flourish.

The election of more Green councillors is vital ensure our streets, neighbourhoods and communities are places we can enjoy and be proud to call our home. 

For more details of the Scottish Green Party Manifesto for Glasgow, please go to:

Friday, 7 April 2017

Flowers bloom in backcourts

This Spring, I have been inspired by the transformation of a backcourt in Woodlands. This has been possible with residents supporting bulb planting and ongoing maintenance of the bin area.

View of daffodils in bloom.

To find out about bulb planting, please go to:

People Affected by Motor Neurone Disease

I have been contacted by MND Scotland who highlight that there are many ways, as a councillor, it is possible to help improve the lives of those affected by this devastating disease.

People with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), their carers and families rely on local services such as the provision of social care, information services, and aids and adaptations.

MND is a rapidly progressing terminal illness, which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles.  This may cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink or breathe unaided.  There is currently no cure or effective treatment for MND and the average life expectancy from diagnosis is 14 months.

It is because MND progresses so quickly, people with the illness have to be a priority for local services.  I have pledged my support for MND Scotland Manifesto recommendations as listed at:

Trade Justice

There is a coalition of trade unions, voluntary organisations and local activist groups campaigning against new trade deals that have been, and continue to be, negotiated behind closed doors.

These trade deals include TTIP (the EU-US trade deal), CETA (the EU-Canada trade deal) and TISA (a new global trade deal for services). There is concern about these trade deals as they go well beyond traditional goals of trade agreements and encompass a wide spectrum of public policies, including the harmonisation of regulatory standards and the increased opening of markets in the service sector and public procurement. They also contain a special court system available only to multinational companies allowing them to sue governments for policy decisions that they believe will threaten their profits.

These trade deals represent a real threat to local democracy, affecting the freedom local councils have in decision making when these decisions affect the profits of multi-national companies. Please note that I have signed up to the Trade Justice Scotland Coalition's statement:

"As a candidate for the Scottish local council elections, and given the importance of this issue for Scotland, I’m against TTIP, CETA, TISA and other trade agreements like them, because:
  • A transfer of power on this scale from citizens and democratically elected
    governments to corporations is undemocratic
  • Governments should not fear legal action in secret courts for decisions that they make in the public interest
  • By providing corporations with a separate legal arena they destroy the constitutional principle that we are all equal in the eyes of the law
  • They are a serious threat to public services, potentially leading to further
    privatisation and preventing future governments bringing them back into public hands
  • They threaten to lower hard won regulations and standards on workers’ rights, human rights, health and safety, the environment and food safety
I pledge to oppose TTIP, CETA and other trade agreements like them, if elected."

Children’s Services Planning

I have received information from a coalition of 25 of the leading children’s charities in Scotland, and a request to sign up to a pledge to plan for children. 

I have signed up to the #plan4children campaign and will seek to follow good practice in good children’s services planning, fulfil my new planning duties under the Children and Young People (Scotland Act) 2014. I am aware of the importance of addressing key issues including  barriers to education and the attainment gap, mental health, poverty and neglect. 

I pledge to plan and build high quality services that empower children, young people, their families and communities by:
  • collaborating with children and young people, their families, communities and service providers in service design;
  • providing services that promote prevention and early intervention;
  • connecting the outcomes and ambitions of strategic plans to decisions about investment in services;
  • taking an accountable and transparent approach.
Further details about the #plan4children at:

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Recognise the unpaid carer

In recent weeks, I have been contacted by the Carers Trust Scotland at:
Scotland’s national carer organisations are calling on all candidates in the 2017 Scottish local elections to recognise the unpaid carer vote and ensure that health and social care services across Scotland are well resourced and responsive to carers’ needs.
Across Scotland, there are 759,000 carers and 29,000 young carers who deserve recognition from elected representatives. I appreciate the importance of investing in support for carers so they can continue in their caring role, protecting the health of the people they care for and securing the longevity of our social care system.
I will support work to improve short break provision for unpaid carers, ensure that support is available for carers who want to take up or remain in paid employment, and that the Carers (Scotland) Act is implemented with adequate resources from 2018.

Investment in public transport

To get around Glasgow, I travel using the subway, trains and buses on most week days. The reliability of our public transport is very important for my day to day work activities. I am very supportive of the campaign to invest in public transport.  It is essential that there is funding provided for public transport to help promote better health and connect communities across Glasgow. 

A priority is provision of an integrated transport strategy with a fleet of Glasgow-owned electric buses, as well as new and well maintained cycle and walking routes throughout the city.

Also, Crossrail presents fantastic opportunities for us to develop Glasgow's rail network that residents deserve. Proposals could include investment in new rail stations at West Street, Citizens Theatre in the Gorbals and Glasgow Cross. This is a great opportunity to reduce poverty linked to transportation costs. Less reliance on car travel will improve health for residents as it will reduce stress levels and promote a higher quality of life. We urgently need renewed focus on securing investment in Crossrail from Transport Scotland and Glasgow Region City Deal.

To find out about efforts to provide a fully-integrated and accessible public transport network, please go to: