Meeting Minutes, 29 September 2020

Online Conference through Zoom Tuesday 29thSeptember, 2020, at 7pm


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

Residents: EM and CA.

Elected Representatives: Councillor Eva Bolander, Lord Provost Philip Braat.

1. Welcome by the Chair

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2. Apologies

Sandra White MSP, Cllr Angus Millar, Robin Jones & John Campbell – GCC Needle Exchange Programme.

3. Minutes of the last meeting (28th July 2020)

The minutes were accepted as a correct record of the previous meeting. Proposed by Gerald Hirst and seconded by Eileen Mills.

Action Points update from last meeting:

  1. There has been no contact with Veronica Low as she is awaiting the outcome of a meeting by the Greyfriars Gardeners.
  2. Tam has been isolating therefore has had no contact with Denise Hamilton about the lack of regulations required for Static Demonstrations.
  3. Chris Murphy contacted the Kindness Group about the lack of social distancing int hose who queue for their services in George Square in the evening.
  4. Peter Hayman has contacted Cllr Eva Bolander regarding Spaces for People.
  5. Tam will report on Virginia St carpark issue in the Police Report.
  6. Likewise re. Anti-social behaviour on Argyle St.
  7. Daniel contacted Cllr Eva Bolander re. Airbnb noise issue.
  8. Duncan received a reply, via Cllr Bolander, about car-charging points saying there was sufficient provision of points within the city at the moment. Cllr Bolander advised private car parking areas can apply for funding for charge point installation.
  9. Cllr Millar will report in future re. Strathclyde University and Ramshorn Graveyard.
  10. No contact with Denise re. Grace’s Bar and illegal parking on Candleriggs.

4. Matters Arising not in the Minutes

There were no matters arising.

5. Report from the Treasurer

Gerald Hirst reported the balance of the MCTCC bank account was £1,203.94. There were two expenditures: the hosting of the website and cleaning of the noticeboards.

6. Report on those issues forwarded to the police**

Tam has been in dialogue, via email, with Sgt. Showell regarding the Virginia St carpark, behind the Mercure Hotel and the Corinthian. It is believed to still being used for drug taking. The police are aware of this problem which has also been reported at the Albion St carpark. It is understood PC Hannah Mitchell had left our area. On the issue of the lack of social distancing outside the Gallery of Modern Art, technically this is just outside our area; however, Tam will mention it to the police in the near future. Daniel O’Malley had reported the people in question also partying on the spare ground opposite him in Albion Street. Peter Hayman noted also he loud noise from cars and motorcycles.

7. Merchant City Park (MCP) update

Peter Hayman has received unconfirmed news that the site at 69-97 Ingram St site had been sold, with one source mentioning there were 15 offers for the site.

Eileen Mills confirmed no response had been received to the second letter to the First Minister. A ‘final’ (only) response was received from case handling from Malcolm Cowie on 11 September 2020. An email was sent on 14 September to the Office of the First Minister enquiring why we had received no response to the primary request in our letters of 13 and 19 August 2020, and, also, if it was appropriate that the same person who had had difficulty in communicating with us in August/September 2019, or substantiating comments he himself had made to us regarding designation of City Property Glasgow (Investments) LLP, should be the person responding to the case. The only response to the email was the generation of another case on 16 September with To date there has been no follow up on this second case.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman had previously confirmed that they would respond to our review request by 01 December 2020, but update us on a monthly basis. The monthly update in a letter on 25 September stated no more than “our aim is to fully respond to you within 90 working days” (i.e. 01 December 2020).

8. Councillors’ Reports

Councillor Eva Bolander had a meeting last week with GCC staff responsible for the River Clyde Quay walls which require repair and maintenance. As such they are seeking to design a business plan as a means to fund this. They have had a meeting with a development company concerned with the upgrade of the Broomielaw; however, some land would be left free from building due to it not able to build upon due to there being railway and subway tunnels underneath.

They would be designated ‘Active Spaces’ as they could be used for events and for the public to enjoy. There will be consultation before anything happens. Ideally, the closer you are to the river, the lower height the buildings should be to improve views and also to allow for better sunlight coverage. The Chair read out a report from Cllr Millar about the Custom House Project and encouraged the need for community engagement for any future developments.

Some information did come back about Airbnb, but Cllr Bolander needs specific details to follow up on individual complaints. The Scottish Government website has a consultation underway for new legislation about licensing of short term lets. There will be a meeting this week about how Glasgow may put this into practice. There is also a GCC Transport Consultation now available for contributions. She asked Tam to copy her email into communications with the Police which was agreed to.

Other Community Councils, such as Broomielaw, have complained about the noise from ‘car enthusiasts’ and motorbikes. A Temporary Traffic Order (TRO) has been considered, and the police have deployed resources to stop this nuisance. Cllr Bolander has emailed Police Inspector Ross Kelly regarding this.

As Chair of Merchant City Festival, Cllr Bolander reported that it had been difficult to even consider any events due to the necessary Covid restrictions. The Glasgow Begging Strategy is now out for final consultation amongst Councillors and has been sent out by email to CCs.

Lord Provost Philip Braat has been contacted regarding the Airbnb issues and is looking forward to see how the new legislation will be implemented. Regarding the skateboarders who gather outside GOMA and the vehicle noise, he will mention these matters when next in contact with the police and is working with Cllr Eva Bolander towards finding an acceptable way forward.

Unfortunately, the Christmas events will not be taking place this year to avoid mass gatherings in the city. However, the festive lights will still be put up around George Square. He asked MCTCC if there had been issues of disregard of social distancing, of at least the 1 metre rule, outside off-licences and the like.

Megan Rooney has noticed that people are not keeping numbers to a minimum of 6 on the street and inside public houses. Provost Braat advised that when such breaches should be forwarded to Licensing Officers to investigate. Tam has a meeting with the person who ran the Candleriggs Square beer garden. If there are any issues of concern regarding this enterprise, to forward to him.

Eileen Mills was concerned that hand sanitisers against Covid-19 should contain at least 60% alcohol. It has been noted that some premises are providing non-alcohol hand sanitiser. It is understood that schools, businesses and other premises should be providing at least 60% alcohol strength hand sanitiser. Councillors Braat and Bolander would check Scottish Government regulations and advise to whom to report, if appropriate.

9. Planning Applications

Pavement lighting in Ingram St at a new shop. Clyde St advertising notice, to the west of the Custom House Quay (CHQ). 196 Howard St conversion of vacant retail space into office space. New gate installation at 50 Queen St. King St pre-application notice. There was nothing controversial.

River Clyde Development Corridor SDF

Peter Hayman emailed CCs regarding a new development at Clyde St and Dixon St. CHQ ‘stepped back’ from the pavement, however the new development at Dixon St is not and appears to be 21 storeys high. Documents for 4-8 Dixon Street have a Desktop Microclimate Study in which the conclusions state that street level conditions were less than comfortable for sitting, standing or even walking, at least at a brisk pace due to the height of the building. He noted that an email from Lisa Scott, 7th June 2019 says:- ”The recently released ‘artists impressions’ visualise the potential of the site, expressing an urban response which is sensitive to existing historic landmarks and their river-view. Such as Custom House and St Andrews RC Cathedral. And overall respectful to the scale of the existing urban blocks along the length of Clyde Street. Design development will continue to undertake townscape analysis; to determine an appropriate height and massing for the development, to ensure a proposal that enhances the quality and function of the urban area.”

It has had full planning permission for 3 years (from 11 Nov 2019) subject to conditions. Advisory Note 11 says Listed Building Consent / Conservation Area Consent is required before any work can done. Cllr Bolander noted when the planning conditions come up for renewal it can be looked in more detail, particularly if goes against the City Plans.

Peter Hayman responded to River Clyde Strategy Development Framework and the Transport Sustrans consultations which were distributed to CCs recently. A draft MCTCC joint report will be considered at the mid-monthly meeting (MMM). A proposal from Peter Hayman suggesting MCTCC support for the pedestrianisation of Candleriggs to alleviate the parking issues raised by Chris Murphy would be discussed at the next MMM.

10. Licensing Applications

More restaurants are now asking for an off-sales facility, presumably due to the current situation. There were no controversial applications. Duncan noted that, given Scotland’s problems with drink, this was a backward step though deemed necessary in lockdowns.

11. MCTCC Website Progress Report

Niall McColl reported that the transfer of the new website hosting service is now complete and is working smoothly. Content posted on the website is being linked to the MCTCC Facebook and Twitter accounts. Niall intends to create a MCTCC Instagram account. An email distribution online service account has been set up to allow for our mailing list to accessed in a more efficient manner than it has been to date. He will consult with the Secretary, David Cowan. This process will also revalidate that we are, and continue to be, compliant with GDPR. The Chair would like to see updated designs for our publications on noticeboards and the like. This will add to the refreshed online media presence. The Chair has requested the assistance of Megan Rooney’s contact, from whom she is awaiting a response.

12. Addressing Local Issues

Ramshorn Graveyard is still closed, and there has been no contact with Strathclyde University since they conceded to open the public space for one day. The intention to set up a ‘Friends of Ramshorn Graveyard’ group is awaiting the easing of lockdown conditions.

Cllr Bolander, on the broken paving stones due to illegal parking on Candleriggs, reminded MCTCC of the Scottish Transport Bill 2019 for which Sandra White MSP was the ‘member in charge’. It includes a ban on parking on pavements and free from damage by vehicles.

The building between Fox St, has an entry/exit to the car park, has been blocked by their equipment left in the road. The developers have stopped working there for over a year. Duncan asked if developers were not obliged to inform the Council if work ceased on their developments. Provost Braat commented that when developers are given planning permission, they must start work in three years. He is not sure if there is a time limit to finish the projects. Cllr Bolander will look into this matter. Peter Hayman noted that there is now a pro-forma for builders who must give a timeline to complete each stage of the work. This may be a new condition.

13. AOCB

There was no AOCB.

The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

Date of next meeting: Tuesday 27thOctober, 2020 at 7pm A Zoom link will be circulated for registration.

Action Points

  1. Report on the negotiations between Strathclyde University and the Council re Ramshorn Graveyard being opened to the public (Cllr Angus Millar)
  2. Follow up on youth gatherings outside GOMA and land on Albion Street in large numbers (Tam)
  3. Send specific, individual details of infringements of short-term lets to Cllr Eva Bolander (all)
  4. Copy Cllr Bolander into communications with the police (Tam)
  5. Cllr Bolander to respond if the right type of hand sanitisers are being used in public buildings (Eileen)
  6. Issues of disregarding social distancing to be reported to Cllr Philip Braat for forwarding to licensing officials in the Council (all)
  7. Issues re Merchant City Square to be passed on to Tam before his meeting with the manager of the Square (all)
  8. MCTCC community councillors will discuss the River Report and the Sustrans transport survey at the next mid-monthly meeting to judge whether a joint report is feasible (Duncan)
  9. The Secretary, David Cowan, is to be consulted re an email distribution online service account (Niall)
  10. Report on possible design of MCTCC posters (Megan)
  11. Issue of pedestrianising Candleriggs to be discussed at mid-monthly meeting of the community councillors (Duncan)
  12. The issue of developers leaving their building unfinished for lengthy periods and the particular issue of equipment of one developer partially blocking entry and exit to the car park of the Pacific Apartments on Fox Street to be followed up (Cllr Bolander – and Cllr Millar who has investigated this in the past).