Thursday, 31 December 2020

The vital role of Woodside Health and Care Centre

This month, Woodside Health and Care Centre received the Glasgow Institute of Architects Design Award for Healthcare. This is in recognition of the quality of the building design. The new local facilities opened to patients on 1st July 2019.

External artwork at the Woodside Health and Care Centre

Please note that Pharmacy Services are continuing to operate from the old Woodside Health Centre on a temporary basis.

View of the old Woodside Health Centre.

In 2020, the dedication and hard work of everyone in involved in health and social care services has been vital. The investment in local facilities is very much appreciated.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

Visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

I have been able to book a free visit to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in line with the Covid19 government guidelines. There are a wide range of objects and displays to enjoy using a one way system throughout the building.

It is possible to access the bike hire scheme for a visit and make use of Next Bike Hire Station nearby.

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Overprovision of purpose built student accommodation

For most of this year, a new student accommodation tower block has been under construction on New City Road. It is dominating the local skyline due to its size and scale.

View of the new block on New City Road, next to M8 and St. Georges Cross

View of the student accommodation from Garscube Road Footbridge

View of the new student block overshadowing neighbouring flats and primary school.

The new development has significantly disrupted the views of local heritage across the west end including the local church spires and University Tower. It is out of place alongside the nearby 4-storey flats and primary school. 

In the consultation on the new City Development Plan which closed on 11th December, I have highlighted that there should be no further development of any other purpose built student accommodation in the Hillhead Ward. The scale of these buildings is harmful to the residential amenity, and their designs are architecturally damaging to the local heritage.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

New primary school on Queen Margaret Drive

There is a new primary school under construction by City Building. This school is located adjacent to Belhaven Nursery.

The construction work and fitting out of the building will not be completed until March 2022. The P1 class for the new school will start in August 2021.  They will be based within St. Charles Primary in preparation for the move to the new school. 

Improving water quality in the River Kelvin

The programme of work to improve water quality in the River Kelvin is continuing at the Flint Mill until April 2021. There is access for the public along the Kelvin Walkway whilst the works are undertaken.

                                                    View of the works at the Flint Mill
Temporary dam at the Flint Mill

There is significant investment being completed to install an underground chamber with a mechanical screen to filter out and prevent items flushed down the toilet e.g. wet wipes overflowing in to the river.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Support for Belgrave Community Garden

During the Covid19 pandemic, the role of greenspaces such as community gardens, has developed as part of residents' efforts to get outdoors and to stay locally for daily exercise.

View of Belgrave Community Garden

Belgrave Community Garden has become established as a meeting space for residents over the last 10 years. Planning consent has been granted for this community garden with trees and more residents have become involved in activities to preserve this greenspace, this year. The site has never been built upon. It is an ideal space for young families to access the outdoors safely in the Hillhead area.

Repairs to the wall at Kelvinside Terrace South

This week, repairs have been completed to the wall between Kelvinside Terrace South and Queen Margaret Road, in North Kelvin. This maintenance work was identified and requested during a walkabout with residents in 2019. Further to discussions with council officials, the repairs were agreed as part of planned work during 2020. 

View of repaired wall 

This highlights the importance of walkabouts with residents to ensure that repairs and maintenance work is carried out by the Council. The input from residents is vital to ensure that there is an improvement in the upkeep of local streets. 

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Restoration work at Woodside Library

This week, more scaffolding has been installed at the front of Woodside Library. Currently, there is major restoration work being carried out on this listed building and this includes the replacement of the central glass dome.

View of the external scaffolding at Woodside Library

Over the next few months, repair work is continuing to the external fabric including roof and stonework. This project is undertaken with thanks to staff from Glasgow Life and City Building. 

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Garscube Bridge to Claypits Nature Reserve

This week, the new footbridges to access the Claypits Nature Reserve were opened up to the public. This is a major investment in supporting people's access to nature and promotes outdoor learning to the local communities.

View of new footbridges at Claypits Nature Reserve

The opening of the Garscube Bridge link improves access for people on foot and bike getting around the nature reserve from the towpath of the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Storm Alex flooding in Kelvingrove Park

Earlier this month, pathways within Kelvingrove Park were blocked by heavy rainfall over a three day period. 

Paths blocked by flooding

The park is providing open spaces and green infrastructure that forms part of critical flood risk management. 

Pop up cycle lane on Kelvin Way

This week, I found the pop up cycle lane on Kelvin Way which is a Space for People project. Since 29th September, the entrance from Sauchiehall Street providing access to Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery has a one way system for vehicles alongside the cycle lane.

View of the pop up cycle lane and one way system on Kelvin Way.

The remainder of Kelvin Way remains car-free for the use of walkers, cyclists and people exercising. This is providing much appreciated space for residents to enjoy being outdoors.

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Increased food growing activity

Over the Summer months, various gap sites have been used for raised beds to grow vegetables in the area. I have noticed some new raised beds within North Kelvin.

At Melrose Gardens

At Wilton Street

I am interested in working with residents to increase the land available for food growing. Local residents' groups can access tools, equipment and advice via the Glasgow Community Food Network.

Support School Car Free Zone at Hillhead Primary

This month, I have asked council officials for the School Car Free Zone at Hillhead Primary to become permanent. The current temporary traffic regulation order runs out in December 2020 after an 18 month pilot project. The time is right to issue a new traffic regulation order to ensure that this school car free zone is made permanent.

Signage at Hillhead Primary.
Based on the success of the pilot project, I will continue to push for the required traffic regulation order to be issued for the school car free zone during October 2020.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Noise and vibration from construction of flats at Fergus Drive

This week, residents experienced severe distress caused by the noise and vibration from high impact sheet piling at 127 Fergus Drive.  On behalf of residents, I contacted council officials to seek assistance to investigate the work taking place. Thankfully, this work has been halted as a consequence of concerns raised by residents.

Views of the site showing the piling work and entrance from Fergus Drive.

This site is surrounded by an historic landscape and significant listed buildings, within the Glasgow West Conservation Area. To ensure that the heritage of the area is safeguarded, I am concerned to ensure that this situation does not arise again during this construction work.

Pedestrian Access on University Avenue

 Yesterday, I noticed progress with completion of the new footway along University Avenue.

                    Views of new paving on University Avenue
                          Views of new paving on University Avenue
                     View of works underway in University Place.
Access to the University Campus from University Avenue at University Place.

There are clearly marked routes for pedestrians to access the campus. Traffic management issues need to be monitored as part of the construction work on an ongoing basis.

Stay Safe, Support Local Businesses

Yesterday, I wandered along Byres Road and Queen Margaret Drive to buy some household items. It was busy with shoppers as well as people looking to spend time in the many bars and cafes in the area.

Visitors welcomed back to the West End 
with a banner on the railings of the Botanic Gardens. 

View of Byres Road, from the junction of Great Western Road.

The businesses are wanting to ensure that residents support their local high street and help the economic recovery from the Covid19 pandemic.

Marketing activities are supported by Visit West End - the Byres Road 
and Lanes Business Improvement District and the Scottish Towns Partnership.

Variation to housing plan for Otago Lane

On 30th July, I submitted to an objection to a variation of Planning Application Reference number of 19/01763/FUL referring to the site at  65-77 Otago Street, Glasgow. This proposal involves the erection of residential development (49 units) and associated works. 

Following a meeting on 22nd May 2020 of representatives of the developer and planning officials, the revised relevant architectural planning drawings which detail the following proposal have been provided;

1.     Block D has been deleted

2.     Block C has been repositioned to sit 18m away from the rear elevation of the existing building at 65-77 Otago Street

3.     Block B has been repositioned to sit 18m away from the rear elevation of the existing building at 65-77 Otago Street.

4.     Block A has been adjusted to provide 2 dwellings per floor over 6 storeys

5.     Refuse and cycle storage for Blocks B & C have been relocated to stores located within each respective block.

6.     Refuse storage for the existing building at 65-77 Otago Street has been provided within a dedicated external storage area.

7.     Amenity area has been increased and natural children’s play incorporated.

Due to number of changes to the size, scale and layout of the residential units made to the original plans by this proposal, it is in the public interest that it is withdrawn and a new planning application with all the relevant drawings and documentation is submitted.  The letter detailing the proposed changes can be deemed as resulting in a substantial variation of the original application and therefore, necessitating another planning application. It is my understanding that this is required under ‘Variation of Applications’ (Section 32A)’, on page 33 of the Scottish Government’s Planning Circular 3/2013 Development Management, paragraph 4.63 states:

“Applications for planning permission (including planning permission in principle) can be varied after submission with the agreement of the planning authority. It is for the planning authority to decide what notice they give to other parties regarding any such variation. However, if the planning authority consider the variation would result in a substantial change in the description of the development, they are not to agree to it. Another application would be required for such a variation.”

Also, I objected to this variation for the following reasons;

1)    Contrary to planning policy of Natural Environment.

The variation would result in the removal of one of four blocks, for all three that are left to move to new positions, redesign these blocks, increasing the height of block A on Otago Lane from 4 to 6 storeys. This would lead to the further loss of biodiversity and a significant reduction in the area of Wildlife Corridor remaining after the developer’s extensive unauthorised removal of trees in the first three months of 2020.

There is a major ecological impact from the loss of trees that has to be recognised. This landscape of this site has been made adversely affected by the felling of trees in anticipation of consent being granted under the present application 19/00592/FUL.

The removal of trees in first three months 2020 has already had “a significant adverse impact on the special character or qualities of a local landscape”, and the installation of multi-storey blocks rising to 7 storeys would also have a further significant adverse impact on the special character or landscape qualities of the site. This proposal should not be supported by the Council, according to paragraph 7.3 of the adopted Supplementary Guidance 7, Natural Environment.

It is not possible to accept the Design and Access Statement detailing, beneath the first diagram under paragraph 3.2: “The design looks to strengthen and enhance this important landscape feature” referring to the Wildlife Corridor. The proposal will actually result in moving blocks slightly further east and therefore, this variation represents more damage to the Wildlife Corridor than was proposed in the original version of the application. It should be acknowledged that in paragraph 3.7 of the Design and Access Statement submitted in February 2019, 1133 m2 Wildlife Area is proposed,  whereas the same paragraph of the statement submitted in May 2020 proposes a reduction of this figure to 950 m2. Please refer to the ‘Area Calculations’ drawings for the original application and the proposed variation confirm these figures.

In Paragraph 5.1 National/Local Guidance of the Design and Access Statement makes repeatedly reference to “Full regard was taken of these guidelines in preparing this design statement.” However, analysis of the information in the documentation does lead to questioning of this statement.

              View of the River Kelvin and Wildlife Corridor at Otago Lane 

2)    Contrary to placemaking principle

The developer is proposing to build one block (A) to a height of 6 storeys and two blocks (B and C) at 7 storeys high on a historic back lane with mews buildings. This proposal is in contravenation of the overarching Place Making Principle of CDP1.

With reference to the paragraph 2.60 e) of the adopted Supplementary Guidance 1, The Placemaking Principle (Part 2), Residential Development in Lanes and Gardens: “the scale and massing should be in the style of mews housing, up to a maximum height of 2-storeys, or 1 and a half-storeys with dormers in lanes with no existing mews properties;”

The built history of the site has also been described correctly in the proposal’s Design and Access Statement. Otago Lane is part of the Glasgow West Conservation Area and there is no historic precedent for multi-storey buildings of this scale and massing.

With reference to the “adjacent diagram” which “has been prepared as a useful guide” to paragraph 2.8 Storey Heights of the Design and Access Statement, 5 storey buildings in Otago Street are shown, but these are not part of Otago Lane. It is clear that there is no validity to statement that: “the limitation of storey heights to planning policy for lane conditions would be inappropriate”.

In considering this proposal, the storey height of previous industrial developments is not a valid pretext for the height of modern residential developments in lanes, and the previous industrial building on the site were limited to 3-storey. The photograph showing the towering bakery building on the second last page of paragraph 2.12 Site History, in the Design and Access Statement is misleading. It should be noted that the bakery had its lowest storey beneath the ground level of Otago Lane.

3)    Negative impact on the historic environment

The proposal will result in significant views being altered by tree removal, contrary to paragraph 2.16 of the adopted Supplementary Guidance 9, Historic Environment, which states:

“All proposals for new development in, or affecting the setting of Conservation Areas, must:

a) preserve and enhance the special character and appearance of the area and respect its historic context;

b) be of a high standard of design, respecting the local architectural and historic context and use materials appropriate to the historic environment;

c) protect significant views into, and out of, the area;

d) retain all existing open space, whether public or private, which contributes positively to the historic character of the area; and

e) retain trees which contribute positively to the historic character of the area.”

It is major ecological impact from the loss of trees has to be recognised. This situation has been made worse by the felling of trees in anticipation of consent being granted under the present application 19/00592/FUL.

4) Negative impact on the area’s economic development

There is a lack of acknowledgement of the interests of established sustainable businesses in Otago Lane. This proposal is jeopardising their ability to continue trading and putting at risk some 30 local jobs. This would be contrary to paragraph 2.14 of the adopted Supplementary Guidance 4, Network of Centres, which aims to “Support the protection of Existing Local Shopping Facilities”. It can be noted that, although not listed in Appendix 1, Otago Lane is recognised as part of an existing Local Shopping Facility within Hillhead.

I understand that all the existing objections to the previous version of the plans should be counted as objections to this variation.

In conclusion, I am seeking for the Council to ensure that such a substantial variation of an existing application is withdrawn and there is requirement for another planning application to be submitted.

Also, the proposal is not in accordance with relevant policies of the development plan and there are no material considerations which outweigh the policies of the development plan. I urge for planning permission for the varied application to be refused.


Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Update on my surgeries from 1st August 2020

Please note that I can hold surgeries using MS Teams or as a phone call to my mobile number.
To make an appointment, you can email myself at or phone or text on 07900 057 712.
I am available at the following days and times:
1st Wednesday of the month, from 7-8pm
1st Friday of the month, from 2-3pm
3rd Wednesday of the month., from 7-8pm
3rd Friday of the month, from 2-3pm.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Improvements to planters in Woodlands

Over the last few months, I have been impressed by the activities of volunteers involved in painting the planters in Woodlands. This has benefited the appearance of the area's streetscape and enhanced the local environment whilst many people have been staying at home due to the Covid19 Lockdown.

Junction of West Princes Street and Park Road
Junction of Montague Street and West Princes Street
On West Princes Street
At junction of West End Park Street and West Princes Street

The planters have been given a lease of new life with introduction of new plants. Many thanks to everyone involved in supporting this project from Woodlands Community Development Trust.

Plans for 20 metre monopole at St. Georges Cross

There are plans for St. Georges Cross which involve the installation of a 20m monopole, associated cabinets and ancillary works. 

I have objected on the basis that this proposal is  Contrary to Placemaking Principle – CDP1. The City Development Plan expects new proposals to be designed to protect the City’s heritage. The site is a small public space at the intersection of Maryhill Road, St. Georges Place, and St. Georges Road. It is of cultural significance with a statue of St. George and the dragon, saved from the Co-operative Wholesale Society at the cross when it was demolished.

View of the statue and surrounding trees at St. Georges Cross

There has been engagement with a variety of stakeholders to develop plans for the site opposite 274 St. Georges Road as part of the Glasgow City Region Deal’s Avenues Project. in the past 2 years, this has involved local consultation and community engagement to gather views on ways to improve the public realm, and support active travel. During this public consultation, there was no suggestion that the installation of 20m monopole, associated cabinets and ancillary works was planned. This installation is not appropriate for a public space with a unique statue and well known historic landmark within the city’s architectural heritage.The civic amenity of the site has to be preserved and enhanced as part of the place-making process. The contribution of this site to local people’s civic pride will not be supported by the installation of a mobile phone pole. The mobile phone pole will detract from the beauty and character of the statue, as well as surrounding trees and wider public realm at this site. It will have a negative impact on the appearance, attractiveness and perception of this public space. The height and shape of the monopole would be an eyesore alongside the statue of St. George and the dragon located a few metres away.The aims of the Avenues Project for the site would not be achieved by installing the 20m monopole, associated cabinets and ancillary works. It will not support regeneration of public realm as part of The Underline: the section of road that links Great Western Road with the city centre and includes New City Road and Cambridge Street. The 20m monopole would create an eyesore and spoil the existing designs planned to enhance the attractiveness of the area for local residents as well as visitors to the area.

Also the proposal is contrary to Planning Policy CPD9 - Protecting and Enhancing the City's Historic Environment. Within the City Plan, with reference to CPD9, there is a presumption in favour of protecting historic landmarks from inappropriate new development. The proposal has an adverse impact on the streetscape and skyline of a unique statue and is detrimental to the visual amenity of a public area.The proposal will negatively affecting the views of the statue of St. George and The Dragon from surrounding streets including Maryhill Road, St. Georges Road, St. Georges Place, and New City Road.The statue of St. George and the Dragon is featured in the Woodside Heritage Trail. 

The plans will damage the appearance of a site of special historic importance to the Woodside area and city’s history in general.  It is an established open space used by the public for recreational benefits including a Christmas tree lights switch on.It is listed as Application Reference Number: 20/01471/PNT and the closing date is 31st July 2020.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Accessibility to Kelvingrove Park

I spent the afternoon enjoying the sunshine in Kelvingrove Park. During my visit, I observed that the locking of some of the gates is causing problems for residents as they make their way in and out of the park.

Firstly, the closure of the gate next to the An Clachan Cafe at Clifton Road is resulting in people using a narrow pavement to go to the next entrance. This is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs. 

Secondly, the closure of series of gates along Kelvin Way is causing inconvenience for parents with buggies, individual walkers and people who are cycling as they move around  the park to / from their home. 

Kelvin Way has been closed to traffic with support from the "Space for People" programme and this is encouraging people to get on their bikes. The closure of these gates does not make sense if Glasgow is aiming to be taken seriously as a bike friendly city. 

Closure of a gate at Kelvin Way

A cyclist putting their bike over the closed gate and then, jumping over.

Closure of another gate at Kelvin Way next to the bandstand and toilets.

One of the gates has been opened, at end nearest to University Avenue, to enable access from Kelvin Way. This is a very busy access point to the park.

I am saddened by the closure of many of the gates of Kelvingrove Park. My suggestions to address the anti-social behaviour in the park have involved the provision of staffing at all gates on hot, sunny days to curb the amount of alcohol taken in to the park. I have also pushed for youth workers to be involved in engaging with young people who use the park. To enhance their health and wellbeing as lockdown eases, there has to be a focus on developing safe spaces in our parks for young people to meet. 

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Viewpoint at Hamilton Drive

Today, I visited the community garden and viewpoint on Hamilton Drive. It was wonderful to find the wide range of flowers, rhubarb and fruit bushes being tended by local residents.

Pink Roses
Rhubarb and raspberry bushes
Seating area and planters of wildflowers
Compost heap and food waste area.

This is a much needed open space where residents can get involved in gardening and give support to pollinators including bees and butterflies. It is a quiet area for reading, writing and outdoor learning. During the Covid-19 pandemic, access to this community garden has been essential to promote the mental health and general wellbeing of residents staying at home as well as key workers.