Meeting Minutes, 28 November 2023

Community Councillors: Tam Coyle (Chair), Niall McColl, Peter Hayman, Scott Thornton, David Hughes, David Cowan, Gary Atkinson, Ros Wardley-Smith,

Residents: EM, P&DW .

Elected Representatives: Cllr Philip Braat, Cllr Eva Bolander and Cllr Angus Millar.

Ex-Officio: PC Sean McFadden and Fiona Campbell – NRS, Golden Z.

Attended Online (via Zoom): EM, NM, JR, AC and RE.

1. Welcome by the Chair

The Chair welcomed everyone in person and online to last full meeting we will be holding in 2023. There will not be a meeting in December.

 Apologies: GW, AC, CA, and Colin McKay

2. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes were proposed as a true representation of the meeting by David Cowan and seconded by Tam Coyle.

3. Police Report

PC Sean McFadden issued a report for last month’s meeting covering a range of police activities over the last month.

PC Wilson is now a Sergeant and has moved to Maryhill Police Station. As such, PC Clarke will now work with PC McFadden in the city centre.

A         City Centre Marches

Each weekend there have been impromptu demonstration marches in response to the situation in the Middle East. The marches in the city centre have included George Square, George Street, Buchanan Street and Glasgow Green.  There has been little impact on public safety, nonetheless these events are closely monitored. 

The police priority during any protest taking place is to keep everyone safe, and to ensure that a sense of normality returns afterwards. Several march bands will be present in Glasgow city centre on Saturday 9th of December, as per licencing notices.

B          New Parking Regulations

Cllr Millar noted that from 1st January 2024 national parking regulations will come into force on pavement parking. Edinburgh are implementing this from the 11th of December, 2023.

PC McFadden said the police will only intervene if a parked vehicle is causing danger to the public, or traffic, not if there’s just a possibility it might pose a risk sometime in the future. Candleriggs is covered by regulated parking. Members and residents discussed if 2 wheels on the kerbside of parked vehicle, or 4, would constitute an offence. 

Mr Thornton enquired if there had been any update on the e-bike issues, and how they interact with pedestrians. PC McFadden reported there had been at least one project which saw 12 ebikes riders issued with a fine. The legality of certain types of e-bikes was questioned and if they are allowed to have a throttle accelerator on the handlebar.  Cllr Bolander understood fewer problems are being reported.

C         Homelessness

PC McFadden gave an update on police aspects of the homelessness and recognised Glasgow has a real pressure on resources to help. He and colleagues have much experience of working with the less fortunate and help direct them where to find assistance.

Those who present themselves as homeless may be given shelter in a hotel,  if there is room for them. Some have No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) and so are harder to assist. Glasgow now has number of organisations in the city centre which help those most in need. The homeless will have 24 hours access to services. A recently opened Marie Curie Albion St centre provides a range of facilities and advice.

4. Presentation by Fiona Campbell, GCC NRS Planning

Fiona Campbell’s presentation was an exploration of the Glasgow Golden Z Summary 2023 document, which can be accessed from:

There were many stakeholder engagement meeting to create this 400 page document (including Appendixes 100 pages in themself). Ms Campbell noted recommend reading the Case Study of the Merchant City and the other chapters.  There are also good comparisons to other European cities.

The ‘Z’ relates to Sauchiehall St, down Buchanan St and along Argyle to Trongate. It was commissioned to understand the current situation in the city centre and look at what the retail, and other, opportunities may be possible going forward. 

Glasgow had a large number of department stores which, under pressure from changing trends and the pandemic, saw them closing down.  These included BHS, TJ Hughes. Watt Bros and Debenhams, There has also been fire damage to several blocks of buildings and closure of the ABC concert hall. However, there is still many positive aspects still going on such as the Avenue projects and the redevelopment of Buchanan Galleries and St Enoch Centre offer opportunities going forward.

The document is segmented into the following categories:-

  1. Balanced – Repurposing large single use assets, Transform the urban environment, opportunities for more residential living.
  • Legible – “Safe walking and cycle routes along with a good public transport will better connect the wider community to the centre with environmentally friendly public transport.”
  • Living – “This would generally be mixed-use solutions with active ground floors and a variety of tenures (private for sale, affordable, student, elderly/ supported/ sheltered).”
  • Working – “The hybrid working model across office, home and ‘third’ spaces is loosening the relationship between office occupancy and productivity and for many, the workplace is becoming more about ‘collaboration’ and less about ‘processing’.”
  • Vibrant – “A successful city centre needs to be vibrant and safe providing culture, music, bars and restaurants and underpinning the city’s economy (and tourism) particularly at weekends and evenings.”
  • Responsible – “Alongside the city core has a role to play in  responding to the climate  change challenge by delivering on the various strategies, increasing density and making the best use of what we have already.  The city centre benefits from a legacy of quality historic buildings and some less loved but robust vacant and underused structures.”

MCTCC commended this report for adding to our knowledge of the opportunities and challenges facing our community and the business sector. A proactive approach to solving the identified challenges is required by GCC. One of the concerns raised was how the architectural heritage of Glasgow’s buildings have been neglected. They are, often as not, sold to the private sector to demolish or renovate extensively. This is also the case very few remaining green spaces in the city centre, contrary to numerous reports we receive lauding the value of green space on peoples’ wellbeing.

Empty Properties

Eileen Mills asked about the property register and if this was up to date such that proper maintenance costs could be allocated.  Fiona Campbell confirmed that GCC inventory of owners is partly out of date, so much so that GCC are working on setting-up a new database of owners. Before this can be done a reliable process has of how to track who the current, or last known, owners.  

Cllr Bolander confirmed there was a recent workshop on empty homes and how to get them keep up with maintenance and other matters.  They are looking at Compulsory Sales Orders (as opposed to purchase orders) to tackle this matter. Cllr Bolander is happy to distribute the information from this workshop upon request to Eileen Mills and others. 

5. Planning:- St Enoch Centre, King Street Car Park, Cycle Lanes and Student Accommodation

We are awaiting more details with the developers for this large developments. See

6. Ward Councillors’ Reports 

Cllr Eva Bolander

The Planning Committee had a long meeting to talk about two planning applications for student accommodation new builds. The first was the Osborne Street/Old Wynd planning application by Nova Osborne Ltd. The second application was for the vacant Marks and Spencer building in Sauchiehall Street. Tam noted this was outwith the Merchant City, however it was agreed it was relevant to the pressures of planning and community development, in Ward 10, Townhead and East of the High Street for example.

Central Living Strategy feeds into the Living Strategy and the changing make up of a more residential demographic in the city centre.  As discussed with Fiona Campbell, GCC are in the process of renewing the City Development Plan.  As such, supplementary guidance has been requested regarding the large number of students who are more transient due to leaving after completing their studies. 

Cllr Angus Millar

Cllr Millar reminded everyone they could respond to the City Development Plan 2 (CDP2) by the 3rd of December. Peter Hayman, who circulated the details of this to members the previous day, would respond on behalf of MCTCC. 

Cllr Millar gave an update on Candleriggs. He is going to attend an event about electric car charging. At this time there is no update on the traffic island repair in the central paving in Trongate raised by Eileen Mills previously.

Cllr Philip Braat 

Cllr Braat gave a brief update on the ebike situation. There have been fewer complaints following work by police. One of the problems they faced was how to identify individual ebikes, which are shared with by several delivery riders.

7. Drugs – ‘Safe Needle Bin’ pilot scheme

Tam informed the meeting that MCTCC are awaiting the findings of the safe needle bin at New Wynd near Parnie Street. 

8.  Buskers

MCTCC are awaiting the conclusions for a GCC Consultation on this issue. A “Busking Engagement” initiative continues with dates scheduled.

Officers from Glasgow City Centre Community Police regularly patrol the ‘Golden Z’ engaging with buskers and ensuring they are aware of GCC Buskers Code of Conduct”.  

9. Early morning bin collection noise

Scott Thornton would like to clarify what time were bins lorries permitted to begin  morning work. Cllr Eva Bolander has sent an enquiry for this matter but, as yet, has had no reply.

10. Complex Needs Drop-in Centre – Bell Street

Chair Tam Coyle has received emails regarding a very recent planning application at in Bell Street with the above title. It is unknown to everyone at this time what would the premises be used for. However, it was notable the application does not contain a ‘change of use’ element to application.  

It has been in the news recently that a same place for intravenous drug use will be set up in Hunter Street in Carlton in dedicated premises away from main thoroughfares.

As we have no meeting in December, and the latest date for objections is understood to be the 15th December, a vote may have to take place tonight, or soon afterwards. It was agreed to wait for more information on what purpose the application was for before a vote should be taken 

11. Planning and Licensing, including Der Berliner/Murphy’s Bar

Peter Hayman circulated by email yesterday to members the list of planning applications  for October and November that relate to our area.

He and Gary Atkinson attended a introductory meeting today in the City Chambers about the City Development Plan 2 (CDP2).  This is a four-year process, the Scottish Government asked local authorities to engage with community councils. Mr Atkinson was given an A2 sized information poster regarding this. 

George Square consultation: 20th of December is deadline for submissions.

12.  Meeting with MP/MSP

A meeting with Kaukab Stewart on Monday 4th of December has been arranged which Tam Coyle, Gary Atkinson and Scott Thornton will attend.  Tam asked members to send any questions for Kauka to him within the next few days.

13.  GP surgery in Merchant City

Scott Thornton has been in contact with the HSCP.  Part of the process of establishing a new GP surgery requires that a ‘Situation Background Assessment’ is carried out. This will require funding from the Scottish Government. This will take time to be applied for and received. 

Tam understands the forthcoming King Street car park development will allocate space therein for a new doctor’s surgery, as this was part of the planning application.

14.  Treasurer’s Report

There is no Treasurer’s Report this month as Gordon was not able to attend.   Niall McColl noted that the independently audited accounts need to be with GCC by 31st of December.

15. Area Partnership representation

Gary Atkinson attended the NW Area Partnership yesterday which was chaired by  Cllr Bolander.

16. MCTCC Grant Giving Scheme

Impact Arts, an organisation that works with youths, will have a meeting with the MCTCC in January regarding a possible award of £2500.

17. AoCB

David Hughes is shortly to arrange a meeting the Friends of Ramshorn Graveyard.

The MCTCC Christmas Meal will on Tuesday 12th December.

The Briggait are having an event to celebrate the 150th anniversary on the 7th of December. 

The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting:

Date of next meeting:

Tuesday 30th January 2023 at 6:30pm