Meeting Minutes, 27 June 2023

27 June 2023, from 6.30 in City Chambers

Attended by: Tam Coyle (Chair), Carla Arrighi, Gary Atkinson, David Cowan, Mark Dougan, Peter Hayman, Niall McColl, Colin McKay, Eileen Mills, Scott Thornton, Ros Wardley-Smith; Ward Councillors Eva Bolander, Philip Braat and Angus Millar; Police – PCs Sean McFadden and colleagues Stephen DF, DH, TMcK, GM, JR; by video – EM and BZ

1. Welcome and apologies

Apologies received from PC Rob Wilson.

Tam welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2. Minutes of Previous meeting on 30 May 2023


3. Police Report

PC McFadden reported engagements had been undertaken with more than a score of buskers, some of them more than once, and they had been made aware of the Code of Practice.  A further 8 engagements would be undertaken in July and August to help ensure their compliance, with times carefully selected in advance to achieve maximum reach.

Tam reported that he and Scott had met Lise Fisher, John Campbell and Campbell Bern from the street drugs unit along with Judith Bowers from The Panopticon and the needles bin was being moved further down New Wynd at the junction with Parnie Street. This is to limit disruption and risk to Panopticon staff and visitors. The six month pilot scheme is due to end in November.

Scott noted that plans to install gates at either side of the L-shaped lane around the Panopticon could be delayed because the approval of local premises’ owners were needed. Judith had reported several recent overdoses in the vicinity. Although the number of needles left on streets had diminished he doubted whether the overall situation would have improved by the end of the needle bin trial. 

Eileen said MCTCC had not yet received details from Lise Fisher about other areas in which the needle bin trial had been held. Tam will remind Lise.

PC McFadden said there would be a substantial and proportionate police presence at the TRANSMT pop festival (7-9 July), inside and outside Glasgow Green and in the city centre.

Gary said there was a need for crime and offender (such as parking fines) statistics in the MCTCC area. The Community Council had been asking for these for some time. 

Councillor Braat said he had accompanied officers and noticed illegal activities taking place along the Clyde and behind the Cathedral. The busking situation seemed to have improved. 

Mark asked for the criteria for dialling 999 or 101. PC McFadden said 999 should be used if a crime was ongoing, 101 if the matter could be picked up later.

Mark said he had been amazed not to have seen any police on foot when he had an extensive walkabout in a very busy city centre last Saturday. Could we get an idea of police capabilities in that respect? PC McFadden said there was a comprehensive city centre resourcing plan. 

Mark said there was evidence of pairs of cyclists delivering drugs to young people in plain sight in daytime and with impunity from Glassford Street to Wilson and Virginia Streets where there were no CCTC cameras and dealers could spend 5 minutes or more with ‘clients’.  DF said drug pushers could be using hire bikes.

DF said he had seen graffiti indicating that drug ‘cultures’ were communicating to warn others off their ‘patch.’ PC McFadden said if there was any sectarian, racist or homophobic reference in graffiti it should be reported. 

4. Elected Members’ reports

Angus told the meeting Councillors had discussed strengthening GCC’s attitude to buskers using amplification. Edinburgh was planning a survey of residents and Glasgow might do the same with a possibility of introducing a bye-law.

He was going to ask police for statistics on parking fines in and around Miller Street and elsewhere.

There was a resourcing issue with parking attendants’ shift patterns, including those affecting Candleriggs, but additional staff were being recruited. 

Angus said councillors had met potential developers at Maxwell Street to try to save the building facade but no proposal has yet been lodged.

Briefings of arrangements for the world cycling championships next month would include one at the Chamber of Commerce on 13 July between 5-7 pm. Eileen said residents were having to park their cars well away from their homes because of road closures. 

JR asked Angus about the policy for parking on pavements. He had never seen a parking warden for the past 14 days. Angus replied that currently (although the law would change from January 2024) a parked car on a pavement obstructing pedestrians could be prosecuted by police. If half on and half off the pavement there was a grey area. JR said there should be enforcement if parked on a double yellow line. 

He added why a vehicle number registration camera could not placed at Candleriggs to catch offenders driving through a pedestrian zone. Angus said the Council could not issue fines on the basis of CCTV footage. It had to be observed by a parking attendant or other relevant officer.

In answer to a query from Eileen Angus said Councillors were awaiting word from officials about repairs to a damaged wall on the corner of Trongate/Glasgow Cross.

Angus said statistics on penalties imposed because of the Low Emission Zone would be available at the end of the first month.

Eva said some cities had enjoyed success in designating a street art area. 

There had been a useful discussion about the world cycling championships at the Area Partnership meeting.

Tam noted that Calton Community Council had contacted GCC about disturbances ‘celebrating’ Celtic’s win of the Scottish football league title. 

Scott asked if GCC had taken further talks with football clubs about such anti-social behaviour. Angus said this was a recent phenomenon and he was disturbed by it. It would be better if Celtic could organise an event at Parkhead. Philip said this could be unrealistic.

Scott said there had been almost no attempt by Celtic FC to stop the mass march on Glasgow Cross. He was astonished that Irish flags had been put up over a mile along London Road. Angus said the Council did not condone erection of such flags.

Gary suggested that MCTCC should meet Celtic FC in advance of the new season to try to resolve the issue. It was unacceptable for a large area of the city centre to be shut down in such a way. Angus said early engagement would be welcome. Eva said it would be a good idea to have an operation, with shared intelligence, such as that based around Partick police station for major events at Kelvingrove Park. 

DH said a ban on off-sales of alcohol around the area would be helpful.

Scott asked about the status of Community Enforcement Officers (CEOs). In April MCTCC had been given a number by Denise Hamilton on which they could be contacted. This had proved to be wrong and there had been no response to a message he had left on voicemail several weeks ago. Had the number of CEOs been slashed? He had heard of 50 being reduced to 10. Philip explained these officers could impose on-the-spot fines for minor offences. If there was to be a reduction in staffing numbers the city centre would largely be unaffected.

Angus said that for budget reasons the number of CEOs was indeed going to be cut. However, it was not such a drastic reduction as 50 down to 10 although the latter figure could be correct. Eva said CEOs were not involved in combating public disorder. 

 5. Litter pick and recycling

Niall has contacted GCC with MCTCC’s recommendations following its litter pick in April.

6. Planning

An application had been made for change of use of offices in Glassford Street into a pub. Tam said MCTCC should object on the ground of over-provision.  

Mark said that in the vicinity bordering Virginia Street there are now (or shortly would be) 10 or so bar/club/entrances, exits and rooftop establishments. He pitied local residents. It was often difficult to sleep and the area was becoming predominantly a centre of adult entertainment. Wilson Street and Virginia Street used to be a residential district so those who bought properties could not be blamed for knowing it would turn into this kind of area. 

Peter reported that HMW in Argyll Street was changing its frontage.

JR said those behind the night time economy were putting business before people. What benefit were such outlets bringing to local people? He would close them all at midnight.

Scott asked if it would be worthwhile having a presentation on the new St Enoch Masterplan. Eva noted this was so far only a planning application in principle so it might be better to wait for more details.  

7. ‘Merchant City Park’ 

Eileen summarised the Pre-Examination Meeting (PEM) held over Teams video earlier that day in connection with the Scottish Government’s ‘calling in’ of the application to build 109 apartments on the site of the NCP car park in Ingram Street.

The purpose of the PEM was to set out further procedural arrangements.  Attendees included the developers, City Property LLP, KSG Acoustics, MCTCC Councillors and others. Among focal points were GCC’s Open Space Strategy, surface water matters, the ‘Agent of Change’ principle concerning the impact of noise from entertainment venues, and changes brought about by the introduction of The Fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4).

Third parties have until 4 August to update their representations on NPF4. A site visit will take place, limited to up to three people nominated to represent ‘other interested parties.’

(The Reporter subsequently confirmed her preference to schedule a hearing on the matter)

Scott noted that NPF4 mentioned national waterfront developments in Dundee and Aberdeen but not Glasgow.

Community Councillors will discuss the outcomes at their next Mid Monthly Meeting.

8. Treasurer’s report

Carla reported a total of £10,750.68 in the bank following receipt of £200 from ITV for filming of the ‘Shetland’ series in Miller Street.

9. Grant giving scheme

Niall reported that one application has been received but was outside our area (from Glasgow Life for a contribution to poster displays outside the Museum of Modern Art).

Niall will issue another appeal for applications in advance of the first deadline of end-July. Suggestions are welcome.

Eva suggested contacting Impact Art, an organisation recommended by DH.

DH suggested spending money from the grant giving fund on printing out copies of NPF4 since this would be relevant to many planning applications. Tam said any application  should be made to the MCTCC sub-committee. Eva said it might be possible to order a copy from the Scottish Government.

10. Ramshorn graveyard

DH said there was a lot of litter and bins were overflowing.

11. Website and other publicity

Niall said quotes for re-design had been received from four suppliers, with wide price ranges. He and Ros will discuss to proceed but the current expectation is that those shortlisted will be invited to give a short presentation to a future mid-monthly meeting. 

Twitter – MCTCC now has 230 followers. A recent tweet about inconsiderate parking on Candleriggs increased engagement substantially and gained new followers.

Mailing list – our privacy and social media policies will be updated effective from 1st August. Details will be sent to our mailing list on 3 July.

New posters are available for shops, cafes and residential buildings. Volunteers are required to distribute them.

Date of next meeting: Tuesday 25 July, 6.30 pm, City Chambers