Meeting Minutes, 30 January 2024

Glasgow City Chambers & Online Conference*

Tuesday 30th January 2024, at 6:30pm

Community Councillors: Gary Atkinson, David Cowan, Peter Hayman, David Hughes, Colin McKay, Niall McColl, Scott Thornton, Rosalind Wardley-Smith
Residents: KB, DF, SH, TMcK, PS
Elected Representatives: Cllrs Philip Braat and Angus Millar
Ex-Officio: PC Sean McFadden.
Attended Online (via Zoom): Tam Coyle (Chair), Alice Cowan, EM, NM, AC and RE.

1. Welcome by the Chair – Tam welcomed everyone in person and online to our first meeting of 2024.

Apologies: Gordon Millar and Cllr Eva Bolander.

2. Minutes of the last meeting(28 November 2023) 

The minutes were proposed as a true representation of the meeting by Niall McColl and seconded by David Hughes. Adopted.

3. Police Report

From 1-23 December 2023, within the MCTCC area, police recorded 143 crimes wth 116 detected and 27 undetected. For January 2024 the figures were respectively 143, 117 and 26.
(Detected means a suspect has been or will be charged; undetected means police may have a suspect but enquiries are ongoing.  Police statistics are indicative only and should not be taken as an absolute measure of crime and are subject to analysis)
~Police Station Closures~
A public consultation, running to December 2024, has opened on possible closures of police stations in Scotland. PC McFadden encouraged MCTCC to submit a joint response.  As Stewart Street Police station in Cowcaddens is in Tier 3 of the considered closures, it is less likely to be closed but that is not guaranteed. More information is on ~
~Homeless Project Scotland~ (HPS)
Shortly before Christmas HPS started operating a homeless centre and night shelter at 67 Glassford Street but has not applied for planning permission. Cllr Braat reported the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have attended several times in relation to fire safety.  Cllr Millar reported that the police have been engaging with the project and that SFRS are satisfied with compliance with the regulations and not looking to intervene. It is understood there have been no structural changes to the building.  
Cllr Millar understood the concern that these premises were opened without notification or due process. He explained that planning enforcement is by definition retroactive. If a breach of planning permission is suspected the first step by HPS would be to apply for a Change of Use.
Tam reported that an email from GCC arrived today declining responsibility for some safety aspects of the premises. Police have been contacted and remain in communication with the homeless centre’s management. HPS have apparently responded to fire safety protocols requested by SFRS.
~Incident responses~
A resident reported people attempted to set up a ‘squat’ in part of the square at Brunswick Street. PC McFadden advised him to call 101 in future and 999 if there was an immediate threat.  This have been 3 incidents in 130 Clyde St this week.  Tam advised there is also an email address and Contact Us section on Police Scotland’s Website.
There have been reports of drugs misuse in the Briggait area and also at the junction of Wilson and Virginia Streets.  It was reported that 3 different close doors were breached in Clyde Street in the previous weeks.  Police were notified.

4. Ward Councillors’ Reports

Cllr Angus Millar –
He suggested that MCTCC might request a presentation from the Health and Social Care Partnership on the range of work they undertake with homeless organisations.  They are supported by GCC and have staff and volunteers.  Tam noted that the Simon Community is due to give a presentation to MCTCC next month.
A planning application is expected for a hotel on Maxwell Street. A first public consultation will be held at Granite House, Stockwell Street on Wednesday 28th February (3-7 pm).
Another walkabout survey is planned for February.
‘Active Travel’ road works are taking place in Clyde Street to extend the South Cycle Way on to King Street.
Cllr Philip Braat
He urged people to respond individually to the Police Estate’s consultation mentioned
above. He believes people should support the continued operation of the Stewart St Police station since Glasgow is one of the busiest cities in the UK, particularly because of the frequency of major events held here.
He was contacted recently regarding a trip hazard on Candleriggs.  A temporary repair is scheduled to be carried out this weekend.
The GOMA library facilities will be closed on Friday 16 February for updated library software and staff training.
He has received several reports of missed bin collections which has been a issue over the festive period. Overtime has been available to the department for domestic waste uplift.
A resident enquired about bin lorries parking on the pavements, thereby causing damage to the paving for pedestrians. It was discussed that they must do this to maintain traffic flow whilst emptying the bins. Locations include Ingram and Fox Streets.
TMcK reported a build-up of water in streets, possibly due to blocked drains outside The Old Ship Bank public house at 164 Saltmarket and at 52 in the Calton. Peter Hayman reported that food waste bins were not being emptied. Cllr Braat will make enquiries about this. Cllr Millar explained there was a need to clear the backlog of recycling bins and other waste first following the festive period.
A resident enquired about the replacement of the bins at South Brunswick Street that have changed from having a ‘letterbox’ type entrance to one with bottle sized circular entrances.  These are not sufficient for the area as it is a busy street.  There is now a build-up of rubbish. The street requires at least one normal-sized bin.
PS reported fridges and a dishwasher on a pavement in Parnie Street. Cllr Millar will follow this up but noted there is a GCC phone number and Website section to request bulk uplifts.  
Scott Thornton enquired how many GCC employees were still working from home. Cllr Millar said this would vary for each department. He was aware some call centre staff are working from home but attend the office for certain matters.  
David Cowan enquired if the GCC Finance office at John Street might re-open as there is real difficulty in contacting the Council Tax department. Emails take around a month to get a response.
Cllr Millar confirmed there are no plans to reopen services at the City Chambers and residents must go online. He said they can make an appointment to attend. There were two other methods available which require requesting a ‘callback’ from a member of staff, which can take 3 weeks, or emailing them which also has a response time of approximately 3 weeks.

5. Safe Needle Bin Pilot Scheme

The pilot scheme for the safe needle disposable bin in New Wynd ended on 28th  November.  Tam has not had a reply from an email sent in early December regarding this and will chase it up again.

6. ‘Complex Needs Drop-in Centre’ – Bell St

MCTCC spotted a planning application in December and arranged a meeting on 18 December with Jim McBride and Kelda Gaffney. They were informed the centre would be an outreach centre for staff relocated from Hunter Street. This is to make room for the planned new safe consumption room facilities, much in news headlines.  Scott Thornton wrote to them two weeks ago, asking them to confirm our understanding but has not received a reply.  Cllr Millar has requested a meeting with Mr McBride but has not had a response.

7. Planning and Licensing

Peter Hayman distributed the list of planning applications for our area to MCTCC members prior to the meeting.  Scott has lodged the Community Council’s objection to the application for student accommodation on Osborne Street/Old Wynd Lane adjacent to the recently approved application for a similar new build for the same purpose.  The objection mentioned over provision of student accommodation in the city centre and lack of housing diversity.
Dominus, the developer, said in their application that within 5 years of this building being completed it is possible that 30% of residents in the vicinity would be students.
Peter Hayman said it was ironic the application mentioned that among the reasons students were attracted to Glasgow was the city’s architectural heritage, yet proposed student accommodation buildings were uniform with little or no architectural merit.
A planning application has been submitted for an Afro-Caribbean supermarket on Howard Street in the former Corrigans’ fishmonger’s store.
~Licensing – Short term applications~
Tam forwarded all licenses applications to members for our area prior to the meeting.
The licensing department has been busy since the change of legislation last August.
Dreamworks Ltd have submitted 6 applications for two blocks of flats in Ingram Street.  
Cllr Millar noted they cannot be granted planning permission if the flats share a common close.
AC noted that the majority of standard title deeds would allow for legal action against a business operating from the building. This may require locating the advert for the business or short term let.
Scott will lodge an objection on behalf of MCTCC and advised that individual objections should be made quickly.

8. Public Consultation on Busking

Tam reported a particularly loud busker playing at 9.30am last Monday outside the defunct Debenhams shop. He was asked to reduce the volume but did so only temporarily.  
Cllr Millar read out the feedback from last year’s Consultation. There is no decision on the next steps.
Over 2,700 responses were received and were still being analysed. Initial findings are that most of the responses expressed the view that the public enjoy the entertainment and find it contributes positively to the vibrancy in the city centre.
However, a significant number noted that the high volume was distracting or a nuisance.  They believed the busking code of conduct should be enforced more, especially at certain locations and times, day and night.
Edinburgh City Council are also undergoing a consultation on busking which may lead to a request to transfer powers of enforcement of regulations.

9. White Wall for Street Art

Gary Atkinson and Tam Coyle met representatives from SWG3 Street Art Team and The Social Hub to create a potential Street Art installation on the gable end wall on the new Social Hub building. 
Discussions are underway to seek financial grant support from the Glasgow Mural Trail, Area Partnership budget. There is an agreement between the Social Hub building owner to use his wall for a new mural. Fundraising is underway for this start-up project to allow SWG3 to speak with 3 potential artists for initial sketch ideas to share with project partners.

10.  Trongate/Glasgow Cross Central Reservation Paving

Many months on from when the problem was reported GCC are still awaiting slabs that have been ordered. Cllrs Millar and Braat will look into this.

11. Early Morning Noise from Bin Lorries

Scott reported he had been awoken by recycling bin lorries as early as 5.45 am.  There is apparently no law regarding what time bin lorries can collect domestic waste.

12.  Merchant City Park

David Hughes confirmed that the Community Council continues to await the decision of the Scottish Government Minister on the Ingram Street planning application once he receives the Reporter’s findings.

13.  MCTCC Website Upgrade

Niall McColl has researched grants to improve our website to allow for audio and video but no suitable funding is currently available. The estimated cost of £3,000 might be outside our current budget since the Impact Arts application (See 16 below) is still pending.

14.  Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Gordon Millar reported that MCTCC has a bank balance of £9,827.62

15. Friends of Ramshorn Graveyard

Davd Hughes reported that this charity was formed last Summer and had received a donation of £1,000 from MCTCC under its grant-giving scheme. The need to appoint a chairperson has been holding up progress.

16. MCTCC’s Grant Giving Scheme

Niall McColl, one the three members of MCTCC’s sub-committee, will be arranging a meeting with Impact Arts to discuss possible award of a grant.
It was discussed if the TRSMT music festival should be approached for a donation due to the large number of fans who travel through our area to and from Glasgow Green.
Community Councillors will formally present a defibrillator to Project Ability at 103 Trongate next week, bought with an £800 grant from the Community Council.

17. AoCB

AC explained how GCC had issued an advisory notice for changing non-historic windows in buildings. It detailed that they will not accept any change to UPVC frames and that aluminium should be used.  However, this is not a thermal insulator. UPVC is also cheaper to install – in his case it would cost £20,000 for aluminium and £7,000 for UPVC.
Cllr Braat believed UPVC was not allowed in Conservation areas but was sympathetic. Many buildings had already fitted UPVC window frames before their home area became included in a conservation area.  
The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

Date of next meeting:

Tuesday 27 February at 6:30pm