Tam Coyle (Chair), Niall McColl, Eileen Mills, Scott Thornton, MD, TD, IG, EL, TMcK, CMcK, GM, GW; Police: PCs Sean McFadden and Ian Macdougall; Ward Councillors Eva Bolander, Angus Millar and Philip Braat.
Attended by video: David Cowan, EM, JR
1. Welcome and apologies
Chair Tam Coyle welcomed attendees to the final meeting of the Community Council of 2022 and outlined the agenda.
Apologies: Gary Atkinson, Peter Hayman, Ros Wardley-Smith, Depute Provost Christy Mearns
2. Police Report
PC McFadden (SMcF) noted that sporadic parking problems in Candleriggs had been raised at the October meeting. There are few loading bays so vehicles had been parking on pavements or double parking. Police had been encouraging drivers to use on-street parking.
Scott said several cars were often parked on pavements in Ropeworks Lane.
Re Connollys Bar SMcF had spoken to colleagues in licensing enforcement about reported issues, especially on football match days.bThere had been 35 licensed premises inspections by police, mostly for noise complaints and anti-social behaviour, since the start of the year and no key management issues had been identified.
Tam said the situation had not improved in 18 months. Residents remained unhappy about noise and customers urinating on their doorsteps. Benches outside the premises had been removed to alleviate the problem of noisy congregations in the street.
Philip said 35 police visits so far this year seemed fairly high. PC McFadden replied it was not uncommon for one venue to be visited several times on a weekend night.
EL said that during TRNSMT festival goers had kicked in a panel on her close door and urinated in the stairwell. She had been told by the factor she had to pay around £200 as her share of the clean-up cost although police officers had assured her this was vandalism and she would not need to pay. She added that the cost should be met by concert organisers. SMcF said it was impossible to pursue the culprits since they had not been identified. Eva said she would follow this up. Tam said he’d spoken to DF Concerts who had promised stewarding around Mart Square/Jocelyn Square next year.
SMcF gave an update on the Polo Lounge/Revolver/Delmonica’s/Riding Room premises. These have shared exits and residents had complained about customers leaving noisily outwith licensed hours. A meeting had been held with representatives of the Scotsman Group (G1).
MD said this was not a police matter but a licensing one. He had received no response from the Licensing department and wondered why these premises were apparently being given special treatment. The Council’s noise control department was understaffed and its response was poor yet police were having to rely on its reports. He had been told the cost of identifying calls to the noise control line was too high. Tam and Angus said they were meeting Paul Stewart of Licensing soon and would raise this.
Re excessive noise from buskers SMcF reiterated the procedure that buskers making excessive noise were given a warning; subsequent transgression could result in confiscation of sound equipment. Complaints should be reported to 101 or via the Contact Us section of Police Scotland’s Website. Eva pointed out there is a Code of Conduct for buskers but the time may have come to move beyond that. Eileen said the problem had arisen every month at MCTCC meetings. In response to a question from Scott SMcF said a total of two community officers were responsible for the MCTCC area.
3. Presentation from Mosaic Architecture and Design re proposed development of student accommodation on corner of Hutcheson St/Trongate
Stephen Mallon from Mosaic said he had made a presentation to MCTCC on the same site three years in connection with an hotel, retail and a pub. He and his colleague Ian Gallagher of Iceni Projects explained the background, the developer’s credentials, context and details of the application. A further public consultation would take place in the New Year. There would be 173 bedrooms, an increase from the application for an hotel.
Tam said that in principle the Community Council opposed student accommodation. MCTCC had recently been given presentations on several similar projects. Students were transient, don’t pay Council Tax and contributed little to the city long term. There should be a greater emphasis on social housing. Mosaic said students spent in the city during their time there.
MD said several buildings of architectural significance had been on the site before. The presenters said they were merely changing the use of the site, not its footprint.
Scott asked if there had been an assessment of the medium to long term requirement for more student accommodation. He quoted an article in The Herald in which a Glasgow University professor stated that plans for city living were being driven by developers and not by Glasgow City Council.
Eva said there may be an overdue concentration of student accommodation in the city centre. Higher demand may be being driven by new tighter legislation on short term lets.
Scott noted another application for student flats was pending for Osborne Street. Tam said a further application for student flats was pending for the former Archaos night club building in Queen Street, opposite the MCTCC area. Community Council representation is being led by Broomielaw CC.
4. Minutes of meeting of previous meeting of 25 October
Adoption proposed by Tam, seconded by Eileen.
5. Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer not present.
6. Upcoming Planning Application Committee re proposed development at 65-97 Ingram Street car park
Eva (a member of the Committee) reported a public hearing as well as a site visit would take place on Tuesday 10 January.
Procedures for this were discussed, with several Community Councillors including Tam, Eileen and Scott expressing disappointment at the short time objectors (a total of 143 objections have been lodged) would be allowed to speak (Clarifications of the procedures were provided in subsequent exchanges with Ward Councillors and GCC).
7. Elected members’ reports
Angus reported on plans to regenerate the city centre and the ‘Golden Z’ area project (Sauchiehall/Buchanan/Argyle Streets). This involves re-purposing of properties, most of which GCC did not own, and filling vacant properties. New powers provided by the Scottish Government could help as could Compulsory Purchase Orders, funding and tax changes. Retail would not have the same footprint as previously. GCC wants to become more pro-active to vary the mix of retail, hospitality and residential.
The increased need for student accommodation had been driven by a decline in the private rental sector and perhaps an under-assessment by universities of student numbers following Covid. There may be areas outwith the city centre which were more suitable.
The City Transport Transport Plan was due to be approved shortly.
GCC was trying to improve the licensing system for outdoor seating of hospitality outlets with a single point of contact for businesses, code of conduct for good neighbourliness, and a system for residents to report issues. Candleriggs was a priority.
Eva said work was underway to create a more permanent refuse bin store in Virginia Place.
Philip said he continued to have concerns about arrangements for spaces in streets outside cafes. The 2 metre distancing rule needed better enforcement.
He congratulated MCTCC on achieving a public hearing and site visit re Ingram Street. Tam said there was a risk that noise complaints from residents of the new apartments would cause the closure of the adjacent City Halls and Fruitmarket entertainment venues.
Tam said the Christmas lights switch-on in George Square had impacted residents on Miller Street. Several local residents said they had not received notification about the switch-on nor received the tickets they used to be allocated. Philip said he had understood the central lights switch on would be replaced by smaller local events.
JR asked who should she speak to about cladding issues and the government grant scheme since she was concerned about the safety of her home and surroundings buildings in Bell Street. Angus asked her to email Ward Councillors. The local MSP might also need to be involved.
Tam reported on licensing that there had been an application from Merchant Square for Hogmanay from 6 pm to 1 am. There were no objections.
He said the first meeting of Friends of Ramshorn had been held and good progress had been made on the constitution.