Meeting Minutes, 28 May 2024

These draft minutes will be reviewed at our next meeting on 25th June.

Attended by: Tam Coyle (Chair), David Cowan,  Peter Hayman, David Hughes, Gordon Millar, Scott Thornton; Ward Councillors Philip Braat and Angus Millar; Ian Elder, Glasgow City Council; Police Constables Stephen Clarke and Sean McFadden; TD, DF, NF, TMcK, RN; By Zoom video – Alice Cowan, AC, CD, SL, EM, SM, CS.

Apologies: Gary Atkinson, Niall McColl, Colin McKay, Rosalind Wardley-Smith; Ward Councillor Eva Bolander; Eileen Mills


Adopted proposed by Tam Coyle, seconded by Gordon Millar. Approved.


PC McFadden (SMcF) reported indicative crime statistics as follows for the period 30 April to 28 May in the MCTCC area: 144 offences reported of which 84 were detected. These included assaults on police officers, bail breaches, threatening and abusive behaviour, and retail theft.

Police had seized six e-bikes in the city centre illegally modified to remove the speed limiter. More such seizures were expected. A total of 15 bikes were involved throughout Glasgow. Scott reported this would be on the agenda when he, Tam and Gary meet MSP Kaukab Stewart in early July.

Following a tip-off from a member of the public, police had executed a Sheriff’s warrant following seizure of illegal substances on King Street.

A police officer had been appointed to specifically target vandalism and graffiti in the city centre as this is a rising issue. Scott said he was due to meet her in the coming weeks.

There was lengthy discussion about the serious disturbances and vandalism following Celtic FC fans’ celebration of their team’s Premiership title win on 18 May, when 25,000 massed at and around Glasgow Cross. 

Many attendees spoke of their anger at the damage, violence and widespread litter caused. Tam noted that Rangers fans had rampaged through the city centre, targeting Celtic fans, running past police vans.

Glasgow Council staff were commended on having cleared the area in time for the Cancer Research Race for Life the following morning.

Sympathy was expressed for police who had been left to keep some sort of order in the mayhem, albeit incurring large overtime costs paid for by the public. Tam said he, Scott and Gary had discussed the pending problems with Inspector Johnny Watters well before 18 May.

PC McFadden said police had tried to provide a ‘proportionate’ response with the main aim of keeping people safe.

Scott asked what contacts GCC had held with Celtic or Rangers FCs.

Councillor Millar said Glasgow City Council had an ‘ongoing dialogue and engagement’ with Celtic FC although neither Celtic nor Rangers had made any comment about that event or disruption in and around George Square when Rangers won this season’s  League Cup or their ‘Ultras’ fans rampaging through parts of Merchant City on 18 May. He encouraged local communities to continue to agitate about the problem.

Councillor Braat said the behaviour was unacceptable. All parties had to shoulder part of the responsibility.

David Hughes said the clubs were opting out of their responsibilities.  They should be made to pay for the damage and other costs incurred.

Tam said the situation was the same as the previous year when Celtic had also won the league. Lessons had not been learned. 

Councillor Braat said there was a ‘spiral’ of such activity and the problem was likely to occur again next year. 

Scott noted that MCTCC had issued a joint press statement with Calton Community Council, condemning the fans’ behaviour and stressing the effects on residents and businesses, and would be taking the matter further. 

He quoted local residents saying police had been slow to turn up, only appearing in significant numbers after a large crowd had already gathered. The incidents had been a stain on Glasgow’s reputation; Glasgow was trying to attract tourists; this was having the opposite effect.

EM quoted a fellow resident in his block that she had been frightened that flares set off during the disturbances on 18 May could have set light to cladding.

SL asked for more CCTV cameras to be installed in the inner city. PC McFadden said public space was allocated by GCC. Councillor Millar said it cost £30,00 to install a single camera with an annual running cost of £10,000. 

On another matter, the Director of the Tron Theatre had reported via email that drug peddling and use had become worse around Chisholm Street. Users were sharing entry codes for various flats. PC McFadden said he was aware of one suspected premises. 


Ian Elder, Project Manager, City Centre Regeneration at Glasgow City Council, gave a presentation and took questions.

The Strategy brings together Glasgow City Council (GCC) and Scottish Government plans including National Planning Framework 4 = A ‘Plan of Plans’.

Almost 50% of Scotland’s population live in or within an hour of Glasgow.

There are three pillars:

Magnetic Experience’ – More compelling reasons to visit, shop and enjoy the city centre. Development of the riverfront. Complete work on the quay. Recognise new patterns such as working from home. Glasgow has a fantastic cultural life which GCC needs to support. 

‘Front door to innovation’ – Digital, health technology, climate science and creative industries which converge with arts, engineering and business. Glasgow manufactures more satellites than any other city in the world outside North America. 

‘A place to live’ – Responsible to planet and people-inclusive. Moves to Net Zero. Double city centre population by 2035. Climate resilience, development the evening and night time economy including better transport links. ‘Connecting green places.’ Mixed localities had been shown to be more resilient post-Covid, as in New York. 

Empty properties are being targeted for re-purposing.  GCC is looking to use its existing powers more assertively and requesting additional powers from the Scottish Government. It is investigating more innovative ways to heat homes and office buildings.

AC said a large number of buildings in Glasgow and 20% of those in Scotland including historic buildings were off the national gas grid. How could they connect to the network? Councillor Millar replied that GCC’s strategy depended on national policy for connecting with low carbon energy sources.

Ian said GCC wanted to support communities with small scale interventions.

Tam said if it wanted to ‘green Merchant City’ why had it approved construction of 109 flats on the NCP car park in Ingram Street, a site which should become Merchant City Park (MCP)? 

Almost every construction project discussed at MCTCC meetings over the past two years had been about student accommodation. MCTCC wanted more social housing. 

RN asked what was happening with MCP. Scott explained that the Scottish Government Reporter gave her report to Ministers back in January and they were still considering it.

Peter said the strategy did not contain adequate provision for facilities for the elderly.

A total of 18 priority actions included the Avenues project, which would include the ‘Highlandman’s Umbrella,’ also covers George Square which Councillor Braat said should be completed in April 2027, and the stretch from Central Station along Clyde Street to the Trongate. 

RN criticised that particular part of the Avenues project saying there were too many barriers to access the River Clyde and different teams were handling different segments and different remits. The strategy was not holistic. He had lodged an objection to the proposal following the recent public consultation.

Councillor Millar replied that these were covered by different funding sources. 

A resident said there was a pressing need for a primary school in the MCTCC area. Councillor Millar said such funding depended on the Scottish Government. 

David Hughes said more ‘swing parks’ and green spaces were needed. The situation resembled Easterhouse in the 1960s. The Plan had an absence of local leisure amenities and was flawed. 

RN countered that Glasgow Green was a wonderful such amenity. Expenditure on play parks in Merchant City should not be at the expense of good quality architectural projects.

Another resident said there were many attic-type residential spaces which could be re-purposed.

Ian’s presentation slides will be sent to MCTCC and made available for all to view on the Website. ACTION: Tam

RN asked about the future of the College of Building and Printing site. Tam explained this was outside MCTCC’s area but he would liaise with Townhead Community Council. ACTION: Tam


Attendees again complained about the continuing surge in applications for Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).

Councillor Millar said GCC did not have the power to mandate certain property types. The City Council wanted a mix of residential developments. Social housing would be part of the St Enoch Centre re-development. 

David Hughes said GCC’s Planning Committee has the right to grant or refuse planning permission. Townhead Community Council and other CCs were ‘disgusted and appalled’ at the high number of applications there. 

Answering questions on the City Centre Strategy, Ian Elder said developers were looking for a relatively high Return on Investment of 5-6% which explained their preference for PBSAs.

RN said students were a temporary population. An indigenous population was preferable.

A resident said Glasgow City Council was focussing too much on student accommodation. IE said although students came and went there would always be students in Glasgow. 


Councillor Millar said 3,100 parking tickets had been issued in the MCTCC area between January and April. 

Scott asked if GCC was concerned at the snail’s pace progress of the Scottish Government’s Single Building Assessment Programme which is supposed to remediate dangerous cladding and timber decking to avoid another Grenfell-type disaster.  

Set up in 2021, the programme had so far only completed 2 developments with work started on only 28. He had been informed that a large proportion of the buildings concerned were in Glasgow.

Councillor Braat said the problem was known at Lancefield Quay where it was causing owners problems concerning insurance and mortgaging as well as safety.

Re city centre busking Councillor Millar said GCC would publish a paper tomorrow and it would be discussed at the Council next week. Additional signage was planned to communicate the limitations. He will send the paper to MCTCC. ACTION: Councillor Millar

TD said the direction of traffic at the junction of George and Albion Streets should be changed because it was creating a hazard. This would be covered by Councillor Millar’s Walkabout with Community Councillors tomorrow.

BMcK complained about installation of air-conditioning on a building on Saltmarket which he said did not have planning permission.

NF said smells from polystyrene boxes left in pallets by a restaurant in King Street ‘resembled raw meat.’


Homeless Project Scotland

Councillors complained anew about the failure of Glasgow City Council officers to even respond to repeated enquiries from MCTCC about why no enforcement action had been taken on the required Change of Use application for the homeless shelter in Glassford Street.  Community Councillors stressed the disturbance and annoyance to neighbouring businesses and residents including Spires Apartments and the House of Gods Hotel.

Scott quoted GCC’s policy on Planning Enforcement which the Council’s Website described as ‘high priority’ and underlined the need to ‘safeguard the amenities of neighbours.’

New applications for PBSAs

The latest such application is for 137-151 Trongate (near the British Heart Foundation charity shop). 

This is for demolition of a category ‘B’ listed building at 137-143 Trongate and unlisted building at 145-149 Trongate and erection of a 9-storey short-stay serviced apartment building, including retention of category ‘B’ listed facade, ground floor retail unit and use of first and second floors of category ‘B’ listed building at 151 Trongate as serviced apartments

Scott noted this led through Old Wynd to two other buildings which had received planning permission for PBSAs, in effect creating a mini student campus. 

Peter said the proposed tower was ‘not aesthetic.’ Since MCTCC policy is to oppose further applications for PBSA he will submit a formal objection. Closing date for objections is 7 June. ACTION: Peter 

GP surgery

As part of its campaign to get the first GP surgery in Merchant City, MCTCC has submitted a Freedom of Information request to Greater Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership about the number of local residents registered with practices elsewhere, and will follow this up. ACTION: Scott 


Peter said six applications for Short Term Lets (STL) did not seem problematic. 

Scott noted that an application for an STL did not have to be refused if the apartment concerned shared a common entry. This is only one of the factors which the Licensing Committee has to consider. 


To take place from 19-21 July.


Gordon reported a bank balance of £9,750.

David Hughes said he had made an application to GCC for £520 for litter pickers.


Scott is arranging a photoshoot for presentation of the approved £1,000 donation to Impact Arts.ACTION: Scott 

Tam asked everyone for suggestions for other grants for local good causes. ACTION: ALL


Meeting to be held in City Chambers tomorrow. David Hughes said an aim was to start public tours in  2025.


Gary and Gordon attending this event tomorrow.


MCTCC sub-group meeting on 10 June to create an action plan. This will include a presentation on a revamped Website.


RN said owners in the Italian Centre had been presented with extraordinary remediation costs as it was a listed building. He asked for ideas for heritage grants. ACTION: All

He asked about the derelict site bounded by George Street, High Street and College Street. Could the owner be asked to at least tidy it up? Peter suggested the site should be protected by GCC.ACTION: Peter/Ward Councillors

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday 25 June, 6.30 pm in City Chambers

NEXT MMM – Tuesday 11 June, 6 pm, iCafe