Tuesday 24th November, 2020, at 7pm
These minutes were approved at the MCTCC meeting on 26 January 2021.
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 and Chris Murphy.
EM, TD, AC
Sandra White MSP, Councillor Eva Bolander.
Ian Elder (GCC DRF Project Manager), Graham Ross, Fraser Docherty, Rowan Carmichael (Austin Smith: Lord), Peter McCaughey (Artist: Wave Particle).
1. Welcome by the Chair
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and said that the first item would be the presentation so that the presenters could then leave.
Councillor Angus Millar, Bailie Christy Mearns and community councillors Robin Jones and Megan Rooney.
3. Presentation by Ian Elder (GCC) on the latest DRF developments
Ian Elder introduced the presentation and handed over to Graham Ross, Chief Executive at Austin Smith: Lord, who was pleased to give an update since he last attended in June 2020. It is the end of the ‘baseline phase’ of consultations, and, to mark this, a new document has been prepared: (Y)our City Centre DRF Briefing Note 02. Mr Ross read out the comprehensive factors that had come to light.
More information on the whole DRF project is available at: https://www.glasgowcitycentrestrategy.com/
Online consultations are continuing and he would welcome MCTCC’s input. The Merchant City Zone area coverage is larger than CC boundaries which includes Duke St down to the River Clyde and from George Square to the Barrowlands. Other Zones in the project are The Learning Quarter (extends to Dennistoun), Townhead and Cowcaddens.
This 10-year project aims to bring vision and ambition for the four Zones which will be included in the Regeneration Handbook. This will have detailed short, medium and long-term goals. Recently the Strategic Development Framework (SDF) was passed by GCC. The Place Commission has started its own research.
Across the four areas there is a diverse range of issues; for example, access to health and social care services, poor housing standards and a lack of green space. It is apparent that the city centre residents are not well served with municipal services more readily available in the outskirts.
Mr Ross and his team have carried-out over one hundred meetings. The Common Place website has received many submissions from the public and businesses within the area. People have sharing their experiences of the city centre in the past which they would like to see in the future designs. Austin Smith: Lord have used data analysis for the many opinions and insights with which people have provided them. This will continue through the online platforms and the telephone message system (with a call back option). More information is available at: https://yourcitycentre.commonplace.is/ .
Peter Hayman enquired, in relation to Merchant City Park, how the data collected can be used to influence GCC policies if there is no communication. Mr Elder noted the similarities in aims of the DRF project outcomes, however the first set of outcomes are not scheduled for completion until June 2022. Hence the project is investigating issues that will be resolved for around then, whilst looking ahead to a 10-year timeline, to tackle these and to attract investment to help do so.
Unfortunately, this process (the presentation) is not able to address this specific concern. However, he would try to get some information from City Property or Planning. Mr Hayman thanked him for this. Mr Ross noted the DRF was looking at other ways to add more green spaces to Glasgow. Secondly, Mr Hayman asked for views on the forthcoming King Street development in relation to a possible lack of ambition in the designs seen to date. Mr Elder would take this under advisement for the future. Mr Ross noted there is a consultation process about this development, and there is also future DRF input sessions.
Mr Peter McCaughey, a local artist based at The Briggait, has undertaken 15 Zoom interviews discussing, with notable residents and business people, their view on the history, culture, music and art of what makes the Merchant City unique. Amongst the many topics mentioned were the numerous events and what details made them have a lasting impression, e.g. colourful awnings.
Normally he would work randomly by meeting people in the street, however due to the current restrictions he is somewhat limited to interviewing notable figures in the community. He is looking forward to interviewing Tam Coyle from our group.
He would like to see this becoming an ongoing process as people have a deep connection to this area as well as visitors who happen to stop for a moment and look around. His work will be a holistic representation of the many experiences of his interviewees. This will connect the ideas of different stories and look at the viability, even if abstract, and consider how they may be installed. He has posted six hours of his interviews on the website above.
The Chair expressed his appreciation at being given these in-depth updates on the DRF programme. MCTCC would be kept informed by the Vice-Chair, Tam Coyle, as he is the elected representative on the advisory panel.
4. Minutes of the last meeting (27th October)
The minutes were accepted as a correct record of the previous meeting. Proposed by Niall McColl, and seconded by Gerald Hirst, and unanimously accepted.
Action Points update from last meeting See Reports below.
5. Matters Arising not in the Minutes
There were no matters arising.
6. Report from the Treasurer
Gerald Hirst reported the balance of the MCTCC bank account was £1,163.94.
On the issue of local distribution of an MCTCC newsletter, he is most in favour of using a private company, and has asked for a quote. Daniel O’Malley agreed.
7. Report on those issues forwarded to the Police
Tam had received an email from Sgt. Philip Showell of Police Scotland. In this, he updated us on how they were monitoring social distancing in the city centre. On the issue of misuse of carparks for drug taking and rough sleeping, the situation has improved; however, he is aware the problem may return. On Virginia Street, a company has taken over a building there to convert it into a hotel, the work activity has helped improve the area as has the clearing of the site of excess vegetation and rubbish. Tier 4 restrictions are impacting on Police services but they are using contingency plans to provide protection to the public.
Sandra White MSP requested the police to start carrying out regular police beats in the area when he replies to Sgt. Showell. The Glasgow Museum of Modern Art (GOMA) is an area now popular for skateboarding; she is aware that there was conflict between two groups there which the police attended to.
Daniel O’Malley witnessed an anti-Covid protest group in George Square. The police were monitoring the group. What is the police view on such groups? David Cowan would like to see preventative steps to keep Argyle St a safe place now there is a new lockdown.
8. Merchant City Park (MCP) update
Eileen Mills has received an email from City Property about the purchase bid for Ingram St carpark site which MCP hoped to open as a park. It informed her that a preferred bidder is being processed and the details remain commercially confidential at this time. An email was received from the SPSO, earlier this month, explaining her complaint would be decided upon by 1st of December.
Peter Hayman noted that Cllr Anna Richardson climate emergency response, items 18 and 19, are complimentary to the aims of MCP. He will respond in due course.
9. Councillors’ Reports
Councillor Eva Bolander
With reference to the King Street carpark, she previously had a meeting with the developer. The plans included a mix of commercial and residential properties and it was emphasised that they are prioritising new public spaces for social activity which would be positive improvement. She advised that now is the time to submit opinions to the developer whilst the site designs are still being drawn up.
The police project to curb boy racers, who have been a a nuisance in the city centre, has been successful on one area; however, other areas have been experiencing the same problem, such as in Garnethill. In relation to anti-Covid demonstrations in George Square, such demonstrations do not have to receive permission unless they bring audio equipment. George Square is classed similar to a park.
The Area Partnership, of which Cllr Bolander is Chair, is restarting its online meetings on Thursday, the 3rd of December, when dates for meetings in 2021 will be agreed upon. There are several grant applications to discuss, and there will more opportunities to apply for funding in February 2021 for eligible good causes.
Submissions are open for the early consultation of the new City Plan to which all of the GCC priorities outlined. If a development appears to be ‘at odds’ with the City Plan then this is deemed a cause to object upon. It would appear that the new Short-Term Lets Bill going through the Scottish Parliament will include those flats that are letting out one room of a flat. It is believed by some that they should not require to comply with all the terms of the new legislation which is due to come into force soon. Airbnb have introduced a ban, at this time, on letting out ‘party flats’ on their website.
A working group is being setup on the provision of recycling facilities; perhaps they will consider a minimum travel time to recycle which is not the case at present. On the issue of hand sanitisers, she has shared with Eileen Mills, a magazine article which summarises the various types of hand sanitizers available and what they are best used for.
Gerald Hirst asked if refuse collections are sticking to the dates advertised on the GCC website, Cllr Bolander is of the understanding this is the case. It was good that Land and Environmental Services (LES), and other departments, have worked hard to restart their work after the first lockdown.
On the issue of homelessness, they have all offered accommodation through both lockdown periods, indeed some have now been offered new housing lets. This is through the Housing First initiative which does not require them to meet all the preconditions previously in place (e.g. lifestyle choices). There is a very small group who have refused accommodation and remain sleeping rough.
This brought the Chair to mention the MCTCC response to their recently published GCC Begging Strategy. This outlined four areas as a way forward: – Alternative Giving – providing a cash alternative system to give by providing ‘goods’ Financial and Digital Inclusion – to improve uptake of benefit system and services, Environment Strategy – greener areas in hope of less anti-social behaviour Public Perceptions – raise awareness of what is being done to help those begging
He asked how the Alternative Giving part is working? Cllr Bolander said she has not heard any new update. She recommended that information might be available from GCC street worker team, who are in contact with the less fortunate. She is aware of one payment point, at Glasgow Central Station, where a Alternative Giving paypoints is located.
Sandra White MSP
The Scottish Parliament passed the Periods Products Scotland Bill which will provide free sanitary goods to woman. This is the first legislation to do this in any part of the world. It was introduced by Monica Lennon, Labour MSP, and taken forward by Aileen Campbell, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government.
Sandra White MSP will be working from home for the next three weeks due to the Tier 4 lockdown restrictions. This will mean many online meetings throughout this time. She is part of the Health Committee and is charged with considering many issues, not least those relating to Brexit and on food issues. The four nations are going to be called ‘Great Britain’ rather than the ‘UK’ she understands.
Our area has the largest number of small businesses, however many are facing closure. In additions, it is understood that at least one call centre is going to move it’s operations to India. She will request financial, and supplementary, help for those affected by these blows in the Chamber to Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister Questions on Thursday.
She raised the issue of Drug Consumption Van in the Parliament and wrote to Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, who replied.
Eileen Mills enquired what is the Scottish Government’s policy is on hand sanitizers for non-governmental premises such as shops and such like. What is the procedure to report failures if these are found? Sandra White recommended contacting GCC Environmental Officers who should attend and explain and ensure that the correct.
Eileen Mills has noted that It does not appear to be clear in the SG literature what percentage is required (60% plus alcohol). As hand sanitisers are one the most important preventative step from catching Covid19, this should be a priority, but the awareness of this is being lost. Due to lockdown, public toilets, and those in shops, are now closed. This means there is not the option to go and wash our hands whilst outside. Sandra White will raise this with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who, hopefully, will re-emphasise this during one of her daily Covid briefings.
10. Planning Applications
Peter Hayman and the Chair had a meeting, through MyTeams, with Lisa Scott and a colleague regarding the Custom House Quay development. Nothing has been decided yet. The City Deal money has to be used by 2025 for which they are developing plans.
There are no designs for the high towers that became a concern to residents of Carrick Quay. The River Clyde Wall is in need of maintenance and so a second wall is planned. The Chair made the point that residential building, both social and private, is preferable. Views to The Briggait, St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral and the end of Buchanan Street will have to be preserved.
Regarding King Street, a letter was sent to the developer, on behalf of MCTCC, but no response was received. This was also the case with a letter to the GCC Roads Department for our proposal to pedestrianise Candleriggs. However, Bailie Christy Mearns did respond encouraging this. For the Jocelyn Square development, Chris Murphy received a letter, dated 9th November, that a Reporter (viz. Lorna McCallum) has been appointed to adjudicate its stalled planning application.
Tam Coyle noted that MCTCC have until Monday 30th of November to put any objections for the Candleriggs project. Peter Hayman was not sure on what grounds we could complain at this time. Gerald Hirst noted that the developers already have planning permission (in principle, but not ‘full planning permission’).
EM had been informed by his factors that in Phase II of Candleriggs the Bell St facing building, although it will be set back from the road, is planned to be 13 storeys high. This would obscure views of, among other things, of the Merchant City Tower. EM will liaise with Tam regarding this.
11. Licensing Applications
There were no licensing applications.
12. MCTCC Social Media
Niall McColl had an online meeting with David Cowan regarding the processes to update the website with monthly agendas and minutes. A brief overview of how to use the Sendinblue online mailing system was also given.
13. Report on Begging Strategy
The Chair wrote and distributed a summary of the GCC consultation on the Begging Strategy 2020-25 document. This was discussed above.
##14. Addressing Local Issues Local Issues will be discussed at the Mid Monthly Meeting.
There was no AOCB
The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
Date of next meeting:
Tuesday 26th January, 2021 at 7pm A Zoom link will be circulated for registration.
- Contact Planning or City Property in regards to Mr Hayman and MCP (Ian Elder of GCC)
- DRF Artist, Peter McCaughey, to interview Tam Coyle for the DRF (Peter McCaughey)
- Individuals to submit opinions to the development at King Street (all)
- Raise question with the First Minister of the amount of alcohol which hand sanitiser in public places should contain (Sandra White MSP)
- Liaise with Tam Coyle re the 13-storey building to be built on the corner of Candleriggs and Bell Street (EM).