Attended by: Tam Coyle (Chair), Carla Arrighi, Gary Atkinson, Alice Waimatha Cowan, David Cowan, Peter Hayman, David Hughes, Niall McColl, Colin McKay, Eileen Mills, Scott Thornton, Ros Wardley-Smith, Ward Councillors Eva Bolander and Angus Millar, TD, DFo, DF, JF, GM, NM, EW
By video: HL, JR, DS
Welcome and apologies
Tam welcomed those attending,
Minutes of the last meeting held on 26 September 2023
These had been circulated. Adoption proposed by Gary and seconded by Tam. Approved.
Thanks to outgoing Councillors
Tam thanked outgoing members Carla Arrighi (Treasurer), Mark Dougan and Eileen Mills for their work for the Community Council, and presented a bouquet to Eileen in recognition of the central role she has been playing in the campaign to create Merchant City’s first park.
Welcome to new Councillors
Tam welcomed newly elected Councillors Alice Waimatha Cowan, David Hughes and Gordon Millar.
Tam read out a report by PC Wilson who was unable to attend because he was taking part in police activities in connection with Hallowe’en in the city centre that night.:
Good evening, and firstly, apologies for my absence this evening, I am unable to attend as I am deployed as part of a pre-planned operation to minimise anti-social behaviour and disorder in Glasgow city centre.
PC Wilson updated MCTCC in regard to upcoming events – national and European Football.
High profile national and European football fixtures continue in Glasgow, all supported by extensive Police Scotland operations, involving specialist support where appropriate, and European matches benefiting from international liaison with relevant countries in terms of intelligence and supporters groups engagement.
Halloween – addition resources deployed to minimise anti-social behaviour and disorder in Glasgow city centre.
Bonfire night – ‘Operation Moonbeam’ now in its 6th year, is the Police Scotland national policing response to disorder and other offences linked to Bonfire Night Celebrations.
Operation Moonbeam allows Divisional and Local Policing Commanders to call upon specialist resources to deal with any spontaneous incidents of significant disorder that occur.
This is in response to the use of increasingly powerful fireworks, instances of dangerous material being within bonfires and the deliberate targeting of Emergency Service, Local Authority personnel and their equipment or vehicles. In recognition of this clear and unacceptable escalation, an executive decision was taken to enhance the national policing response.
PC Wilson updated MCTCC in regard to ongoing Busking Engagement, initiative continues with dates scheduled through October, with officers from Glasgow City Centre Community policing regularly patrolling the ‘Golden Z’ engaging with buskers and ensuring they are aware of GCC Buskers Code of Conduct
PC Wilson updated MCTCC in relation to ongoing proactive work in relation to drug misuse and associated ASB in area.
Clydeside/Bandstand area is a continued focus, with daily uniformed patrols, plain clothed patrols and additional assistance from G Division resources including officers from Divisional Violence Reduction Unit and Pro-Active CID.
Remind residents of previous security advice given regarding communal entrances.
As always, request for information from residents and committee members regarding emerging areas of concern for extra attention from police.
CYCLING ACTION PLAN
PC Wilson updated MCTCC in relation to an number of ‘days of action’ focussed on Road Traffic offences committed by cyclists in Glasgow City Centre. The ‘4 E’s’ approach has been adopted, Engage, Explain, Encourage, Enforce. As part of the enforcement phase a number of offences have been detected, and also a number of non-compliant e-bikes seized by police.
26/09/23 – 31/10/23 99 Crime Reports, 55 detected (35 days) Up from 92 Crime Reports, 30 detected (28 days) 30/08/23 – 26/09/23
Misuse of Drugs Offence noted in relation to ongoing proactive work by LPST2 and DVRU
Tam and Colin said noise from buskers was getting worse. Colin had approached one busker and asked him to reduce the volume but had been ignored. Scott said none of the 4 buskers he had approached knew anything about the Busking Code of Conduct. The evidence suggested that police claims of regular engagement with buskers were overstated.
Scott asked Councillor Millar for an update on the pubic consultation to which MCTCC had responded. Angus said a report would be issued including a series of action points. This would be shared with the Community Council.
DF said he had noticed an increasing preponderance of used drug users’ needles in the streets.
Councillor Bolander questioned whether the proposed Safe Consumption Facility would make much difference. Gary said it was doubtful that drug users in the MCTCC area would walk round to the facility in Calton.
Angus said the facility would not be a ‘silver bullet’ and was only a pilot. The rationale was to take users off the street and reduce the impact on the wider community.
Tam said he understood the facility would not be in operation until next June or July.
Ros reported she had ridden in a taxi cab which had taken a far longer route than was necessary. She had found it was not properly licensed and reported the incident to police who had not been helpful.
Ward Councillors’ reports
Angus reminded the meeting about his recent walkabout with MCTCC Councillors. Gary noted that Louise McMonigle of GCC who had taken part in the walkabout and had agreed to provide a report on action points, had not so far done so. Angus promised to follow this up and said a further walkabout would be useful.
A planning application for the refurbishment and re-design of George Square, part of the Avenues project, would be submitted in the next couple of weeks. Surrounding avenues would be tackled as part of the same package. This will involve substantial construction work so engagement with the local community was essential.
Gary asked about the future of the statues. Angus said they would be re-positioned within the Square. Eva said several were in bad condition and might not be suitable to be returned.
The City Centre Task Force’s work had resumed after being interrupted by the Covid pandemic and included the ‘Golden Z’ programme. The City Centre Strategy had been published and brought together various other programmes such as the Transport and Tourism Plans, functioning on a ‘hub and spoke’ format to maximise cohesion. He would report to the Community Council each month. Responses to the strategy were welcome.
Eva said she had been working on installing more planters, including outside the Ramshorn cemetery and Wilson/Hutcheson Street and the corner of Wilson/Brunswick Streets. Local businesses were being asked to look after them.
Communities were invited to work on Local Place Plans for which tools were available. These had to be taken into account when local development plans were set up so it was important to get these up and running.
The High Street Action Group has resumed work, covering both sides of the thoroughfare even though they are in different Council wards.
In 2025 Glasgow would be celebrating 850 years. MCTCC may wish to consider its involvement.
JF complained about drug paraphernalia and dog mess in and around her flat in Bell Street. Eva followed these up with the questioner immediately after the meeting.
In answer to a question from EM, Eva said she would check the time at which the Ramshorn cemetery gate would be closed in Winter.
Scott asked whether GCC had taken further action to minimise the risks posed to people by e-bikes and scooters. Angus said it was up to police to follow up breaches of the Highway Code. It was illegal to sell an e-bike without a speed limiter. Police had impounded a number of bikes where this limiter had been removed. Meetings had taken place with food delivery companies to improve the situation.
Ros said it was apparent that many courier riders were working for different companies and it was essential they should have insurance. It was impossible to identify them because they carried no registration. Gary said this should be raised at Scottish Government level. Angus said the problem included issues of employment law and there was a limit to the actions which GCC could take.
Scott said so far the delivery companies had merely offered statements of good intent.
In answer to a question from TD about the impact of the LEZ Angus said air quality figures varied markedly month by month and it would only be possible to assess this a year after the Zone’s introduction. The number of fines had been dropping. No expansion of the LEZ was planned.
MCTCC has objected to an application for a short term let on the High Street on the ground that it risked becoming a ‘party flat.’
The application for Purpose Built Student Accommodation in Osborne Street is due to go before the Council’s Planning Applications Committee. MCTCC has objected to this and in principle opposes all applications for student housing.
Eva asked Scott about plans for the Pipeworks ‘gentlemen’s sauna’ behind Carrick Quay. He said the estate agent had advertised the sale of the adjacent building (formerly Annie Miller’s pub) for £600,000 to build apartments.
Gary said it was a fait accompli re 1 am bar extensions. Licensees will decide whether or not staying open longer is financially worthwhile.
Gary would appreciate any comments well in advance of the last date of objections. He has shared with Councillors current applications received, along with GCC ‘sAdopted Licence Statement and GCC’s Tourism Plan to 2030.
We need to watch out for effects of 4 am extensions at Polo Lounge and AXM, both at the top of Glassford Street. Noise and anti-social behavior may impact on local residents as well as that from the two new hotels.
Gary reported on his meeting with the owner of the House of Gods hotel/club in Glassford Street. There was a potential noise problem for nearby residents from the bar/lounge.
What are the restrictions of attracting dwell-time for night-time economy and what are GCC proposing to do in addressing said issues? Lack of public transport after midnight is an issue? A question for Angus Millar at next Main Meeting.
An application by the Spiritualist could represent a change of image as a sports bar.
The Merchant Steakhouse application involves an external bar area for a Santa Grotto and external markets while also changing its trading hours.
Eva summarised the new regulations for short term lets including AirBnBs. Letting out a whole flat now requires planning permission.
Christmas Lights switch-on
Miller Street residents have been included in the allocation of free tickets.
Grant Giving Scheme
Niall said an £800 cheque was going to Project Ability to buy a defibrillator and £1,000 was being sent to Friends of The Ramshorn following their successful applications.
Applications from Merchant City Park Ltd and Impact Arts (each for £2,500) are pending.
Next meeting: Tuesday 28 November, 6.30 pm, City Chambers