Meeting Minutes, 28 July 2020


Community Councillors: Dr Duncan MacLaren (Chair), Tam Coyle (V/C), David Cowan (Secretary), Peter Hayman, Niall McColl (Social Media Manager) Eileen Mills, Gerald Hirst (Treasurer) and Daniel O’Malley.

Residents: EM, AC, SM, MG

Elected Representatives: Sandra White MSP

1. Welcome by the Chair

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting, in particular: Sandra White MSP.

2. Apologies

Chris Murphy (Community Councillor CC)

3. Minutes of the last meeting (30th June 2020)

Eileen Mills requested a change to a sentence for Item 6, Page 3, 5th Para, 2nd sentence should read: “At a previous webinar a list of areas which were already earmarked for commercial development within the Merchant City was shown, but the Ingram Street Car Park site was not on the list.”

Action Points update from last meeting: 1, 2 and 3. Sandra White sent on an email to NM regarding short term lets. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has announced an amendment to the Bill going through the Scottish Parliament for local authorities to legislate to have powers to restrict this. Cllr Eva Bolander was copied into this correspondence. 4. Tam will discuss later the DRF contributions to the consultation. 5. Sandra White advertised this consultation on website and social media. 6& 7 MCTCC has been in touch with Veronica Low of Townhead CC. Duncan will contact her about giving a talk about Greyfriars Gdns at next meeting. 8 & 9. Details in Police Report. 10. Lord Provost Philip Braat responded to the issue of Static Demonstration. 11. Sandra White will send updated information on the building cladding issue to MCTCC to allow for information to be passed on to concerned residents.. 12. Awaiting plans for the King St development before giving a presentation. 13. Email addresses of elected officials are now posted on the MCTCC website

4. Matters Arising not in the Minutes

Sandra White has more information regarding the issue of building cladding if requested.

5. Report from the Treasurer

Gerald Hirst reported the balance of the MCTCC bank account was £1371.93 as of the 26th of July 2020. There are plans for any immediate expenditure.

6. Presentation by King St carpark developer

  • The Chair, Peter and Tam contributed to this consultation.
  • The Chair does not want to see the plans outline to be a towering height and the addition of greenspace within the development, it was also confirmed that the site would not contain students accommodation.
  • Peter summarised his concerns in a letter to the principle architects of what was discussed at the mid-monthly, he has no response. It specified his belief that the development should not be a copy, or very similar to the Candleriggs design. It should have an ambitious design brief, Gerald Hirst agreed with this. Sandra White requested a copy of this response.
  • Tam noted that the project was still at too early a stage as to warrant a presentation at a full MCTCC meeting as no design plans have as yet been submitted. In his response he specified his wish to see space set aside for a doctors surgery.
  • The Chair reminded everyone they have until Friday 31st of July to contribute. The more people who engage with this, the better chance of a good outcome:
  • SM would like to see more social housing being developed as, it is believed, only the site at Bridgeton will cater for this sector, the rest all being private. Social housing is required for many reasons, in particular because the homeless people, who are in temporary hostels, will soon be homeless again. They have found, it is alleged, they cannot even become registered for housing due to being to being told to go back-and-forth between the Hamish Allan Centre to the Housing Offices. This causing them to ‘give-up’ and remain homeless. Shelter, via a crowdfunding campaign, have taken GCC to court over evicting people.!_shelter_scotland_begins_legal_action_against_glasgow_city_council
  • The Chair noted MCTCC have asked there there be provision for social housing within two big developments on the horizon in our area, Candleriggs and King Street.
  • It is understood that Strathclyde University are going to build on the piece of land at Greyfriars gardens. Peter Hayman noted that GCC have in one of their reports to double of the number of residents in the city centre.
  • Eileen Mills agreed with SM, and VL at the last meeting, in expressing their wish to see more of Glasgow’s classically designed buildings being refurbished rather than torn down.

7. Report on those issues forwarded to the police

Tam forwarded the email regarding the complaint from a resident regarding drug taking at the carpark behind the Corinthian on Millar Street. PC Grant Boyd and PC Hannah Millar have attended the area several times however have seen no activity. They are aware of situation and continue to monitor the carpark.

New Candleriggs Bar Garden The newly opened beer garden in Candleriggs Square received seven planning Licence objections. Tam will be MCTCC advocate for any issues found with it’s business operation. Daniel O’Malley was unhappy at the poor quality press coverage (local and national), which he found to be misleading, prior to the opening of the bar. The owner has been seen to be keen to alleviate any concerns raised. Eileen Mills noted that it was granted five consecutive 14-day licences, meaning it has a 70 day licence. MCTCC has since written to the four Cllrs and the City Centre Manager asking why this was done. This would seem to against the spirit of what a ‘temporary licence’ means, Sandra White agreed. Gillian McNaught, Senior Solicitor for GCC Licencing and Democratic Services, replied this was an appropriate licence to issue. Tam will continue to look into this matter.

8. Merchant City Park (MCP) update

  • Peter Hayman reported the group is raising it’s profile through social media to gather support with assistance of Megan Rooney. QR codes have been posted in the local area to allow people to read and sign the MCP petition which currently has 526 signatures. The project are still trying to gain some kind of interaction with GCC.
  • A letter has been sent to Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction, to explain how there is a need for more greenspace post-Covid. It also requests representation to GCC by MCP.
  • The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) responded to Eileen Mills complaint saying they would not take the matter further. However, MCP believes they did not interpret the concerns it has raised properly.
  • Amongst the reasons to deny the complaint, SPSO said they were ‘surprised’ the first email to Shaw Anderson did not detail accurately that it was a ‘request’ for an Asset Transfer of the land on Ingram Street, not just an ‘inquiry’. However Shaw Anderson did not ask for any further information at the time to allow for MCP’s request to be processed further.
  • Eileen Mills has therefore appealed this decision by sending a 10 page document today requesting a review of the decision to dismiss their complaint. It case is now understood to be under the auspices of Ombudsman Executive Case Worker.

9. MSP Report

Sandra White MSP gave a her report as there were no Councillors present and no Apologies submitted by them.

  • She commended MCTCC work and for being aware of what is going on the area.
  • The Police will increase patrols around the Trongate area following a ‘Resume Meeting’ (after lockdown) which was reported in the June Minutes. Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that several businesses will not reopen such as shops, bars and hotels. This will lead to approximately two or three hundred redundancies.
  • There has been a dramatic increase in crime in the city centre, as previously reported and discussed. Three people were reported dead at the Alexander Thompson hotel today, they were not linked. The crime wave has extended along Argyle St, Union St and the surrounding area. The Police are having to work other agencies to in an attempt to reduce the number of offences they are dealing with each day.
  • Sandra White MSP has attended the Scottish Parliament on through virtual meetings and in person on the 9th of July. She has been looking into the issue of lack of safety certificates for building cladding. She has been responding to emails on a range of issues, including clarifying the fine details following the First Minister daily briefings.
  • SM has noticed the lack of social distancing of people queuing for the Kindness charity food distribution in George Square each day. Sandra White will ask the Police about this matter.
  • David Cowan raised the matter of a water leak one side of tenement building in Parnie Street. He will email Sandra with the details and she would be happy to contact Glasgow Housing Association (GHA). The gas works at the junction of Argyle St and Queen St is a Covid risk area due to the public being ‘bunched’ together due to the street being dug-up. This issue was acknowledged and she had followed-up with the point made at the last meeting by emailing to recommend a deep clean of the paving on the city centre main streets.

10. Planning Applications

There is a planning for Cochrane Street which Tam will look into in more detail next week.

11. Licensing Applications

Gracie’s Bar has applied for a 3am licence. Candleriggs have also applied for a 3am licence. It is anticipated that MCTCC will issue objections to both of these.

12. MCTCC Website Progress Report

Niall McColl reported that the new website currently has about 80-90 people visiting it each week. He posts new content on there as it becomes available. Facebook receives around 70-80 engagements for each new post such the waste recycling centre opening up.

13. Report on Community Councillor input to the DRF Consultation

Peter Hayman reported how there has been little happening regarding this.There has been some emails from Ian Elder which has been forwarded.

14. AOCB

SM asked what the orange bollards, it was explained these are part if GCC project to increase social distancing space in Glasgow’s streets. Sandra White has written to the relevant departments to ask if Impact Assessments have been carried-out before this large scale project was implemented. This could easily have adverse affects on traffic flows and reduce in air quality. It was noted the pollution from diesel buses has returned.SM enquired if there were going to be more charging points for electric cars. Anna Richardson is the person to ask about what the plans are about this. The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

Date of next meeting:

Tuesday 25th August, 2020 at 7pm

A Zoom link will be circulated for registration.