Meeting Minutes, 27 October 2020

Online Conference through Zoom Tuesday 27thOctober, 2020, at 7pm


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) Daniel O’Malley, Megan Rooney and Chris Murphy.

Residents: EM, NW

Elected Representatives: Councillor Eva Bolander and Cllr Angus Millar.

1. Welcome by the Chair

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2. Apologies

Sandra White MSP, Bailie Christy Mearns, Robin Jones and Hugh Brown.

3. Minutes of the last meeting (29th September 2020)

The minutes were accepted as a correct record of the previous meeting. Proposed by Tam Coyle, and seconded by Gerald Hirst.

Action Points update from last meeting

  1. Send infringement of short term lets to Eva Bolander – Closed
  2. Cllr Eva Bolander to be copied into emails to the Police – Closed
  3. Issues of disregarding social distancing, including within licenced premises, to be forwarded to Provost Philip Braat – Closed
  4. Issues relating to Merchant City Square to be passed to Tam – Closed
  5. CC’s discuss the River Report and Sustainable Transport – Peter
  6. Email distribution to be discussed between David Cowan and Niall McColl –Closed
  7. Design of MCTCC posters – Megan spoke with a graphic designer who requested a brief of what kind of design we are looking for, and to include any images we wished to use. Duncan and Niall
  8. Eileen Mills noted that Cllr Bolander would check to see if the correct kind of hand sanitiser had been included in the Covid prevention measures for public places – Cllr Bolander
  9. Pedestrianisation of Candleriggs, see Item 14, as are Items 1,2, and 10 from the October Minutes final action points.
  10. Issue of developers leaving buildings unfinished – Cllr Bolander and Cllr Millar

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 £1,163.94.

Registration with the Information Commissioner was the only expense at £40.

6. Report on those issues forwarded to the Police

Tam read out an email from Sgt. Showell on matters forwarded to the police after the September meeting. GOMA has been monitored for issues of lack of social distancing by teenagers congregating there. Advice has been issue and there has been one arrest.

There have been several arrests at the carpark area in Albion Street along with the police being in dialogue with concerned residents. An ‘impact statement’ is being considered for release to the public. There have been changes to the fiscal process due to Covid leading to fewer detentions for minor offences.

Trongate Lane remains a problem area, drug use debris has been found there. The Police have engaged with residents and the public are urged to provide any intelligence of drug misuse in this area, to assist in making arrests. The ‘safe use van’ for intravenous drug taking is using the end of Parnie St next to the New Wynd Lane location. The owner was charged by police on Friday 24th October for operating this service. (Councillor Millar will write to the Chair with more details of this.)

There have been no recent reports of drug use at Virginia St carpark. Tam reported that the area has been cleaned-up (somewhat) and there is filled skip of waste left there. A drug user has been seen at the top end of Brunswick Street; this was a previous issue, and will be reported to the police.

The Fred Perry shop at the corner of Ingram St and Millar St had an attempted break-in at 2am on the 26th of October. The noise from trying to break the large plate-glass windows awoke residents and the police were notified.

The Chair thanked Sgt. Showell for providing this information.

7. Merchant City Park (MCP) update

Eileen Mills received a response from the ‘case-handling’ emails; however, it did not answer any of her questions, nor did it provide any new information. She also received a response from the Queen’s & Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) providing information that the land owned by the Crown Office, on the proposed MCP site on Ingram St, was sold for £400,000.

Peter Hayman received an email from someone at Strathclyde University informing us that architectural students would be interested in studying this project.

8. Councillors’ Reports

Councillor Angus Millar

He, and Cllr Bolander, have a meeting tomorrow (28th October) with the cleansing service of Land and Environmental Services (LES). They will take forward issues reported to them at this meeting. There has been a Public Conversation on Transportconsultation which ends on Friday, looking at the broad issues which can feed into supplementary transport plans to be published next year.

Councillor Millar will write to Strathclyde University regarding the lack of progress on public access to the Ramshorn Graveyard. The Chair considered this was necessary action. The second stage of consultation on the new regulatory regime for the proposed Scottish Government licencing of short term lets had been passed.

Jocelyn Square developers have lodged an appeal to the Scottish Government due to there being do decision, as yet, by Glasgow City Council. Councillor Millar will give us feedback as to the grounds upon which the developer has lodged his appeal.

Councillor Eva Bolander

The administration of resident parking permits has been upset due to Covid restrictions. As such, she has received some complaints; if anyone has had similar problems, they may contact her. In relation to Jocelyn Square, the supplementary guidance for the City Plan, which will soon be at the final consultation stage later this year, wherein there will be a specific section for student accommodation developments. Cllr Bolander will look into the regulatory standards for hand sanitisers for next month.

Cleansing Issues

Niall McColl requested more recycling facilities in the Merchant City. The only facility is at the edge of the area in Parsonage Square whereby the few bins there soon become full to overflowing. It was discussed that due to lockdown many people are purchasing from online retailers whose goods arrive with abundant cardboard packaging. This causes the area to be constantly untidy. Worse still is the danger that unemptied food bins pose a public health risk due to rodents. This has been reported through the MyGlasgow app. The Chair had been to Parsonage Square that day to use the recycling facilities and agreed the area was unsightly, unhygienic and a potential health hazard.

Cllr Millar understands there are gaps in the areas where recycling services have been located. Cllr Bolander is aware of a new waste strategy due to be published by GCC next year. Many city residents do not have private transport to use for disposal of recyclables in bulk, nor do they wish to walk a long distance to recycle. Other areas of the city have better provision, especially properties with gardens who have their own individual recycling bins as well as on-street recycling facilities available.

Peter Hayman would like to see more glass recycling in the area and also enquired if the GCC is collecting food waste, Cllr Bolander confirmed that it was being collected.

David Cowan requested the paving at the bus stops, at Trongate and Stockwell St, be cleaned thoroughly. The Chair agreed that bus stop areas in the city centre should have additional cleaning since they are often neglected.

9. Planning Applications

Candleriggs Development

Peter Hayman thanked Niall McColl for the notification of the update from Candleriggs development. Notably this has reduced the number of rented flats from 597 to 346. The new closing date for objections is the 24th November. There are 154 documents in the application at this time.

Peter Hayman noted that the development has had full planning permission granted on the 5th May, but this does not stop MCTCC commenting on its progress. Niall McColl noted that only now are we seeing the details of the application, after the consultation had closed.

Peter distributed an email after the September meeting about the demolition of the building on Trongate. NW reported building movement, at the bottom end of Brunswick Street, during the previous set of demolition works.

Other Planning Applications

a.) Granite House, located offices above the SpecSavers shop, internal works.
b.) 83 Argyle St, the Barclays Bank, internal works. c.) 34 Queen Street,,’change of use’ from the defunct William Hill betting shop to an amusement arcade. There was discussed briefly, no decision to object was made.

Lisa Scott has sent an email on the 29th of September offering a meeting about Custom House Quay but so far has not responded to Peter Hayman’s acceptance.

10. Licencing Applications

There were no licencing applications

11. Glasgow City Food Plan

An update is expected by the November meeting.

12. MCTCC Website Progress Report

Social Media Manager Niall McColl is transferring our mailing list management. In the near future. Our email distribution will be carried out through online services of a company called Sendinblue, which is based in the EU. Once complete we will have the ability to send relevant information to a larger group of MCTCC contacts.

As part of this transfer contacts will have to ‘opt in’ to receive emails from MCTCC. the webform for this has already been set up and tested.

Documentation for Secretary David Cowan to inform our members about the transfer should be available by the mid-monthly meeting.

The Chair enquired about the monitoring of the email.
Niall McColl currently checks the incoming emails on a weekly basis. The Chair, Secretary and Social Media Manager have access to this email address.

13. Report on Begging Strategy

The Chair wrote and distributed a summary of the GCC consultation on the Begging Strategy 2020-25 document.

14. Addressing Local Issues

Suggestion – Pedestrianisation of Candleriggs

Peter Hayman has written a set of reasons why the top side of Candleriggs, i.e. between Bell St and Ingram St, be made ‘car-free’. Chris Murphy supported this Report however noted that people living in the flats there have cars, it was noted they can enter from, and exit, from Ingram St. Niall McColl enquired if we could survey the Candleriggs residents, this would be better done by a the GCC department beforehand.

Tam noted that the bottom end of Candleriggs, between Bell St and Trongate, has had car and parking restrictions which have been ignored for years. The majority of people, two thirds for the last event, who attend events in the Fruitmarket Concert Hall, choose to collect their tickets from the box office. They would expect direct access to the ‘front doors’ where the box office is located. The Fruitmarket does have doors adjacent on Albion St, but these do not allow access to the box office.

Gerald Hirst speculated if a barrier could be installed, to allow road access at certain times, may be a more workable solution. This will be discussed further at the next mid-monthly meeting in November.

Cllr Eva Bolander noted that the comparison with Ashton Lane, however this is pedestrianised. Delivery vans have access to the front of the public houses there for the necessary deliveries of goods. Cllr Bolander supported the canvassing of residents in the early stages if this initiative was taken forward.

15. AOCB

Peter will provide a MCTCC feedback on the aforementioned transport strategy, Megan Rooney would like to see that the capping of train fares to be included. Commuting costs from Glasgow to Edinburgh for an Anytime Return is £27 per day.

Tam represented our group at the CCDS last Saturday in which local transport companies gave presentations. He will forward the minutes of this meeting when Steven Dowling’s office makes them available, and forward to all four Councillors.

Eileen Mills reported that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that the best way to combat Covid19 is to use hand sanitisers with, no less than, 60% alcohol strength. Measures such as masks and social distancing will have a very limited effect in preventing an increase in cases if the hand sanitiser measure is not adopted fully. The importance of this has not been given sufficient publicity.

Eileen Mills would like to see more residents attend MCTCC meetings. The Chair agreed and will look into this matter further. The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

Date of next meeting

Tuesday 24th November, 2020 at 7pm A Zoom link will be circulated for registration.

Action Points

  1. Write to the MCTCC Chair regarding the arrest of the ‘safe use van’ owner in Parnie Street. (Cllr Millar)
  2. The following issues re cleansing in the Merchant City and Trongate to be raised with the appropriate officials: the unhygienic mess around the bins at Parsonage Square (not in the MCTCC patch but used by many residents because of the lack of facilities in the MCTCC area); the need for regular cleaning of the bus stop at the corner of Trongate and Stockwell Street (and, in fact, all bus stops in the area);
  3. The general lack of recycling facilities in the MCTCC area, especially with the bins in the Ramshorn Graveyard being unusable because Strathclyde University does not open the gates (Cllrs Bolander and Millar)
  4. Contact Strathclyde University over the lack of action of opening the gates to the Ramshorn Graveyard (Cllr Angus Millar)
  5. Find out the grounds for the appeal by the would-be developer of the Jocelyn Square development (Cllr Angus Millar)
  6. Checking the use of a hand sanitiser having at least a 60% alcohol content as per the WHO guidelines (Cllr Eva Bolander)
  7. Proposal for the pedestrianisation of Candleriggs to be discussed at the November mid-monthly meeting (all community councillors)
  8. Investigating how to attract more residents to the MCTCC meetings and social media (all community councillors).