Meeting Minutes, 28 April 2020

28 April 2020 at 7pm via Zoom


Community Councillors:

Dr Duncan MacLaren (Chair), Tam Coyle (V/C), David Cowan, Peter Hayman, Niall McColl, Eileen Mills, Chris Murphy, Gerald Hirst and Daniel O’Malley.



Elected Representatives:

Cllr Eva Bolander and Cllr Angus Millar.

1. Welcome by the Chair

The Chair welcomed everyone to our second online meeting.

2. Apologies:

The Police issued an apology that they could not attend.

3. Minutes of the last meeting (31st March 2020)

The Chair read through the action points and updates where given:-
a) Sgt Philip Showell passed the complaints about stickers at the community garden and of trespassers to buildings in, and around, 103 Hutchinson St. on to PC Grant Boyd. He replied confirming he would monitor the situation. The grass land between Albion and Shuttle St is owned by Scottish Enterprise. Niall McColl noted the land had been given planning permission to build in December 2018 but no designs have been submitted.

b) CCTV on Parnie Street: David Cowan to email Cllr Bolander

c) Peter Hayman showed a picture, from The Herald business magazine, of building developments on an extension of the quayside along Custom House Quay. This looked to go against the St Enoch DRS (District Regeneration Strategy) report. Peter also showed plans for several high-rise blocks along Clyde street which had full planning permission and already exceeded criteria in the DRS. A meeting offered by Lisa Scott senior planner for Custom House Quay development with Duncan MacLaren and Peter Hayman had to be cancelled due to the lock down. Peter said he would contact Lisa about arranging a Zoom meeting. Cllr Bolander, and others, could not find this article on their website, and reiterated it was possibly what developers could envisage the riverfront possibly becoming.

d) Fewer planning notifications: Cllr Bolander noted that there are simply fewer applications due to the pandemic and the planning staff have less access to their IT systems due to working remotely. There has been no update as yet from the Scottish Government about delaying planning deadlines. She still pressed for no controversial decisions to be taken without the proper consultation.

There were no other changes to the March minutes.

4. Matters Arising not in the Minutes

There were none.

5. Report from the Treasurer

The balance of is £1,549.72. The annual subscription to Zoom has been paid.

6. Report of Police Correspondence

This was discussed in 3a.

7. Merchant City Park

The Chair congratulated MCP on completion of their business plan.
An update from the campaign was given which included the intention to engage further with the Community Land Team about the Community Right to Buy (CRtB) process.

MCP were considering a late Community Right to Buy application which, if granted, would give MCP an opportunity to acquire the land before it was let or sold on the Closing Date. A Press release was being prepared to gain support. (No public meeting was planned).

Peter Hayman was of the understanding the Scottish Government wished to see community groups having a direct involvement for sustainability.

David Cowan had provided draft Articles of Association for MCP. David Hughes noted that how the ‘community’ is defined in the document is significant because this will determine the work required for our petition plan to prove support for the park concept.

Eileen Mills had emailed Pauline Barclay, Managing Director of City Property, to confirm our Registration of Interest in the land at 69-97 Ingram St was still valid. The closing date for the sale would not be rescinded, although it may have to be extended. She also recommended the relevant webpage for this lease/sale should be monitored for any news. Daniel O’Malley apologised for not being more involved with MCP due to his preparation for the Annual Progress Review of his doctorate.

8. Councillors’ Reports

Councillor Eva Bolander

She contacted the Police about the issue of rough sleepers and of drug vendor advertising. As yet, she has had no responses with any specific solutions. GCC is still in lockdown so everyday business is still very limited. Bins are still being uplifted including the blue bins. Perhaps bulk uplifts will start again soon, we will just have to wait and see.

As part of her role as the Chairperson of the North West Area Partnership she engages with councillors and members on many issues. An overview of the latest funding applications, which should be decided upon this week, was given, including:-

  • An application for a charity to provide food in the Calton, Trongate and Townhead areas to those who cannot afford to buy food during lockdown.
  • A group in Yorkhill have applied for almost £3000 for the summer gala day. As this annual event is likely to be rescheduled, under NW Partnership rules, the money will be held safely for a similar event in the future, or repaid back.
  • Townhead Community Centre: applied for £1750 to provide elderly people with a lunch and social event. The finance criteria apply as with the previous application.

Cllr Angus Millar

He began his report by confirming that during the lockdown there had been little official GCC business; however, everyone is busy creating contingency plans to find new ways to carry on safely.

There has been some consideration of how we get back to a sense of normality. There is concern about shop trading in the City Centre when the lockdown is eased off, which will be staggered, if not reduced longer term. To address this, and similar concerns, GCC and Glasgow University have announced an “At Force Group” to look at improving recovery from the economic depression we are hearing about on the news every day. There is much speculation as to how people’s habits will be changed in the medium to long term such as a change in retail trends.

In terms of the environment, today the Scottish Government has announced social distancing measures for *’Active Travel’*for public transport passengers, walkers and cyclists. Although there are fewer people on buses, there are more walkers and cyclists now. GCC are looking into how to sustain the improvement in air quality.

The GCC Street Cafe Policy was approved just after the lockdown, making it easier for businesses wanting outdoor seating with the right processes and with safeguards. In relation to planning for the carpark site, Cllr Millar has received an email from the agent delaying the public consultation. If an online consultation goes ahead, then he will let us know.

There was an approval in February for food recycling in tenements and there will be a new way of dealing with food waste.

  • Questions to Councillors Peter Hayman was encouraged by the forward thinking towards the City Centre economic recovery and enquired if MCTCC can contribute. Cllr Millar thanked him saying the group was only announced ten days ago. He would like to see communities having a positive input and so will notify our group if there is a possible role.

DH considered if GCC financial projections would be altered due to the effects of the lockdown and what effect would this have on the large debt repayments incurred by the equal pay settlement paid out last year. Cllr Millar responded it was not his field to know the details of this. Possibly, these payouts came from the City Property portfolio which may have taken out second mortgages on its assets, e.g. the Emirates Stadium. These may have been underwritten by the GCC, which are in turn might be underwritten by the government. Such discussions would will have to take place after the lockdown.

Daniel O’Malley enquired what form of help might be given to shops, businesses and the large entertainment sector in the City Centre. Could they be offered reduced rates. Cllr Millar believed the advisory group will focus on different sectors of the Glasgow economy.

Gerald Hirst asked if the City Deal money had been ring-fenced, or, will the projects that were supposed to be funded by this, now be abandoned. Cllr Millar believed there might well be new priorities after lockdown. It could be that existing projects will be re-assessed to consider if they are still viable or may face a second vote before one of the various GCC committees.

The Chair enquired if bulk uplift of furniture will restart soon, as people are having spring cleaning and putting out furniture which can block access to the various bins. Cllr Bolander updated us on the situation: the blue and green bins are the only ones being uplifted regularly now. The food bins uplift may not be restarted. Bulk uplifts are likely to be charged to the client when they begin.

The Chair asked Cllr Millar asked if there was any news on Fox Street. The workers have gone off-site some time ago, before the lockdown, and have left a substantial amount of equipment in the narrow street, making it difficult for residents in the Pacific Apartments to exit from their underground carpark. Cllr Millar would see if the equipment could be moved inside the development.

Peter Hayman quoted the head of the AA that spending on road repairs should be diverted to maintaining internet connections. Chris Murphy passed on thanks to Cllr Bolander, who reassured a local retailer, who had received a malicious call, that their claims were bogus and so had set minds at ease.

9. Planning Applications

Jocelyn Square Development Update

Cllr Millar, in his role as Chair of the Planning Committee, continues to monitor this application and the arguments for and against. Eileen Lowe had enquired about the deadline for objections to be extended; however, this was at the time of the start of the lockdown. Cllr Bolander has submitted a detailed objection to the Jocelyn Square development.

Gerald’s and Chris’s objections were listed on the Planning Dept. website, but there should be at least seven which at present are listed. Chris noted that his first objection did not appear, but he followed it up and the second objection appeared after three weeks.

The Chair was contacted by Susan Connelly, Senior Planner for Development Management Dept. at GCC. She replied to Duncan giving the reason for the MCTCC objection and others not appearing on the website is because her department is working in difficult circumstances: there is a limited workload which can be processed each day and there is a backlog of work to contend with. She did confirm that if our objections were received within the set timescales, they should be listed in the near future but, in any event, they would be considered. Some objections would have to be redacted due to the GDPR. Tam had written to her three times and has not received any reply.MCTCC estimates there are enough objections that will require this application be passed back to the Planning Dept. Cllr Millar confirmed that the planning system has a large workload to contend even in normal working conditions, but commends MCTCC for engaging in the proper processes.

The Chair was contacted by Carla Jones, a journalist for the Glasgow Evening Times daily newspaper. He supplied to her request for a quote about Jocelyn Square which appeared on the 24th April. The quote was based on the agreed MCTCC objection by a majority of community councillors.

Eileen Mills has identified that the neighbourhood notification for 20/00539/FUL (Roof Terrace) was only to 44 properties, whilst for 20/00822/FUL (main development) it was to 66 properties. The 44 properties listed with regard to the roof terrace were exactly the same as those contacted in 2016 for the original application (16/02539/DC). Has the incorrect list of properties been used by the Applicant, potentially using incorrect tenant and owner names, as well as omitting circulation to 22 other properties. Does this constitute an error requiring the application process to be repeated, in order that the 20/00539/FUL application be sent to all 66 properties and with present day tenant and owner names being used?Councillor Bolander quoted the 20 metre radius rule where people must be notified, and agreed to look into this matter.10. Licensing Applications

There were no licensing applications.

11. Website Progress Report

Niall McColl has built a new MCTCC website. He displayed his work with a picture on our screens and was pleased to announce it was almost ready to be ‘go live’. A virtual tour was given. The main tab headings are: Community Council, News & Events, Planning, Campaigns, About Us and Contact.

The website also includes: pages to download previous agendas and minutes (with names taken out) and dates of forthcoming meetings. Under the Campaigns tab are listings for Merchant City Park, Greyfriars Graveyard and Defibrillators. There is also a news page with a ‘live link’ to items on the GCC website. There are Facebook and Twitter accounts associated with the website.

Niall is compiling a directory with details of local organisations and services. He has added new photographs and invited others to provide some of their own. It is scheduled to go live in the next month. Cllr Bolander suggested some information about the Area Partnership as this is also part of the MCTCC work.

DH asked about how the website would be maintained to which Niall replied there is an App which should make this easier. Gerald suggested the webcam feed from George Square could be added.
Gerald acclaimed all the work that Niall has done for our group, and this was agreed by all attending. In recognition of this he suggested that he we create a new Office Bearer post. Gerald proposed, and Tam seconded this. The Chair congratulated him on his new role within MCTCC.

12. AOCB

  • Journalists Attending MCTCC Meetings The Chair contacted Steven Dowling regarding his thoughts and advice about journalists attending our meetings. He replied that as the Community Council are public meetings, anyone can attend, including journalists if they so wish. He acknowledged that MCTCC should only provide minutes that have been approved at main meetings, as they become available. If minutes are requested then they can be provided, but with the agreement of the majority of the MCTCC members. Quotations should also be provided with the agreement of the majority of our office bearers.

Tam believed it should be considered on a case by case basis. DH made the point that journalists can just report what they hear at meetings and not require a quote. Cllr Bolander confirmed that was correct. Tam noted that people can attend, but are not allowed to talk, unless the Chair allows them, nor can they take part in decisions. Community Council meetings are principally for residents, not for businesses, and anyone is free to attend.

Cllr Bolander advised the Chair that journalists can be asked not to take personal notes for publication. They can go to many other sources for information, and believed they would only attend if there was a big campaign about things. The recordings of the meetings are deleted directly after the minutes are published to comply with GDPR.

MCTCC have been running a campaign to obtain additional defibrillators within our areas. Hence it was not good to hear that the only public defibrillator in our area, installed on the wall near to AXM nightclub in Glassford St, was vandalised and thrown to the ground. This, at a time when all establishments are closed, is especially displeasing.

Date of next meeting:

Tuesday 26th of May, 2020 at 7pm A Zoom link will be circulated for registration.

Action Points

  1. Email Cllr Bolander regarding details of the CCTV in Parnie Street (David Cowan)
  2. To contact MCTCC if there is a place for comment by the members on the post-coronavirus economic recovery plan (Cllr Millar)
  3. To contact the developers of the site on Fox Street to remove their equipment which is hindering the free movement of traffic from the underground carpark of Pacific Apartments (Cllr Millar)
  4. To look into the provision of notice to all residents about the Jocelyn Square site (Cllr Bolander)
  5. To include information on the website about the Area Partnership (Niall McColl)