Attended by: Tam Coyle (Chair), Ward Councillors Eva Bolander and Angus Millar, PCs Rob Wilson and Sean McFadden, Gary Atkinson, Peter Hayman, Niall McColl, Eileen Mills, Scott Thornton, Ros Wardley-Smith, TD, BG, MG, CMcK, GM, IO, GS
Attended by video link: Ward Councillor Baillie Christy Mearns, EM, GM, GS
1. WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
Apologies received from Ward Councillor Philip Braat, Carla Arrighi, David Cowan, AL
Tam welcomed attendees to MCTCC’s first meeting of 2023.
2. POLICE REPORT
PC Wilson said there had been very successful police crackdowns on drug dealers, with assistance from embedded officers in housing associations.
Community police had been liaising with parking enforcement officers on problems with pavement parking on Candleriggs and in surrounding areas. Enforcement officers were unable to do some work after 6 pm because of health and safety issues and had to be accompanied by a uniformed officer. They would be providing details to police of repeat offenders, which streets were affected and dates and times of contraventions. Street furniture may need to be moved.
Tam said drivers were often using Candleriggs as a ’rat run’, ignoring ‘No entry’ signs. Double parking and parking on pavements were widespread. Cars were double parked on Miller Street on Saturday night.
PC Wilson said extra funding had been provided under the City Centre Regeneration scheme for police to spend additional hours in February and March on parking and other issues such as anti-social behaviour, especially on the riverfront, from St Enoch south and Merchant City.
PC Wilson agreed with BG that the NCP car park in Glassford Street was a known drug dealing hotspot.
Replying to a query from AG about Virginia Street of Ingram Street Eva said this was under regular police surveillance.
TD complained about poor lighting on traffic signage and food delivery cyclists riding without lights after dark. PC Wilson said attempts to correct this had encountered a language barrier but the issue would be reviewed.
In answer to a question from Scott, PC Wilson said whether riding a cycle without lights after dark was illegal depended on the circumstances.
CMcK raised again the issue of over-amplified noise from buskers outside the Debenhams entrance, with groups using it as a shelter-cum-stage. Buskers often moved on to another location and it was difficult to track them down. PC Wilson said it was illegal to use an amplifier after 9 pm. A couple of formal warnings had been given to buskers on Buchanan Street.
Scott said that at a previous MCTCC meeting he had been told anyone who wished to complain about noisy buskers should lodge this through the Police Scotland Website. He had done so on 20 December but not received a response. PC Wilson said he would look into this.
MD said there was no cohesive inter-agency effort to stop late night noise from licensed premises and mentioned an example of breach of licence. He had called 101 many times and was told this was not a police matter. He believed it was up to Glasgow City Council to stamp this out. PC Wilson said officers researched information daily from their central command database and used information from GCC and the Community Council.
Tam said he would take up the specific issue of Delmonica’s with PC Wilson.
Tam said five people had been arrested on one night in Connollys. PC Wilson replied he could not comment as this case was before the courts.
3. PRESENTATION ON DISTRICT REGENERATION FRAMEWORK (DRF)
Ian Elder (IE) from Glasgow City Council explained the DRF proposals and urged residents to take part in a public consultation which will remain open until 3 March (See https://mctcc.scot/2023/01/22/public-consultation-district-regeneration-frameworks/). One of the districts being looked at is Merchant City.
Proposals in documents showed GCC’s commitment to sustainability through the circular economy, creation of a network of open spaces and active travel networks, and re-purposing of properties. GCC wanted to enhance the greening of Merchant City. Some funding was available but the DRF was not fully funded. It was unlikely to provide park space within Merchant City.
A focal point was the upgrade of the High Street station and surrounds and its connections with other parts of the overall scheme. There may be uses for the Union rail line but this was owned by Network Rail.
Tam said Council planners’ recommendation to approve the felling of 21 mature trees, the last such in Merchant City, in order to build 109 apartments on the NCP car park site in Ingram street was economic vandalism. A meeting of GCC’s Planning Applications Committee on 7 February was the most important event in the past 20 years of MCTCC. It was extremely disappointing that only four of the 143 objectors were being allowed a mere three minutes each to address the committee.
He said there was a perception that cars would be barred from Miller Street which would be pedestrianised, with a cycle lane. Eva said there had never been any intention to totally pedestrianise it.
In answer to a question from MD, IE said it was highly unlikely that Wilson Street
would be considered as a future ‘Avenue’. He promised to follow-up comments made at this meeting.
Mandy asked if traffic in Ingram Street would become even busier as a result of the changes. Angus said traffic restrictions around George Square were already in place.
4. MINUTES OF LAST MEETING ON 29 NOVEMBER
Adoption proposed by Niall, seconded by Tam. Approved.
5. TREASURER’S REPORT
In Carla’s absence Niall said MCTCC had £9,972 in the bank following donations from film companies who had used Merchant City.
Scott said a sub-group of MCTCC (the two Vice-Chairs and Niall) was meeting on 13 February to set criteria for grant giving and asked anyone with suggestions for projects to send them to MCTCC by that date if possible.
6. ELECTED MEMBERS’ REPORTS
Eva said she would report back about the High Street redevelopment.
Complaints had been received about late night work on the Saltmarket bridge. Network Rail had tried to mitigate the disruption. The line was still being used during the day, hence the requirement for late night work. Scott said the Chair of Calton Community Council, in whose area the work was currently being undertaken, had told him it had received no complaints.
Eva said there were examples around the world of good use of disused rail lines.
Suggestions were invited for spending some of the £100,000 allocated for greening the city centre. These would have to take account of what utilities lay under the proposed street locations.
Scott asked if GCC had considered licensing buskers. Eva said she was not aware of this and did not know if GCC had the facility to do so.
Angus reported that the City Centre Transport Plan had been approved at the beginning of December, involving wider changes to the public realm and aimed at reducing through traffic in the city centre. There was potential for further reduction of traffic in Merchant City and the time might be right to engage again with the Community Council on this.
Work was continuing on the post-pandemic city centre recovery plan, taking into account changes in the retail sector and re-purposing of vacant properties, liaising with relevant agencies.
Christy (on video link) said she was discussing installation of traffic cameras or zebra crossings in Merchant City to make it safer for pedestrian to cross side roads. This was being costed.
There was more work to be done on easing problems with parking on pavements.The population was growing hence a forecast increase in the number of vehicles.
Three businesses in Candleriggs (Spitfire, FA’s? and Bar 91 had been told to remove exterior seating from pavements (She later reported none had complied and legal action against them was being considered).
MD asked Angus if he had been correctly quoted in the press that pubs may be allowed to stay open to 1 am rather than midnight. Angus said this was correct but he had been speaking in his role as Chair of the City Centre Task Force and believed this could be a way of revitalising the night time economy.
Hospitality businesses were struggling, he added. This would allow greater flexibility and not all premises would be able to take advantage. He was aware of the possible noise impact and it would be a matter for GCC’s Licensing Committee.
MD said such a move would not boost the economy and merely redistribute wealth by diverting cash to bigger pubs and night clubs.
Scott said even if such a move went ahead it should not include amplified music to be played until 1 am.
Niall said there was a real risk that residents living near licensed premises would suffer even more from early morning noise. They might move out and what good would that do to the local economy?
MD complained about raised kerbs at bus stops, including Glassford Street. There were no warning signs and alighting passengers risked injury.
Scott said there would be a litter pick in the MCTCC area on 15 April. Details would be posted on the Website and volunteers were welcome.