Approved MCTCC Meeting Minutes, 27 April 2021

Approved at our meeting on 25 May 2021

Online Conference through MS Teams Tuesday 27th April, at 7pm

Community Councillors: Dr Duncan MacLaren (Chair), Tam Coyle (V/C), David Cowan (Secretary), Peter Hayman, Niall McColl (Social Media Manager), Gerald Hirst (Treasurer) Eileen Mills, Daniel O’Malley and Chris Murphy.

Residents: TD, ST, GS, DW, PP, GR

Ex-Officio: Denise Hamilton (GCC City Centre Services Team), PC Stevie Scott (Police Scotland)

Elected Representatives: Sandra While MSP, Provost Philip Braat, Councillor Eva Bolander and Councillor Angus Millar.

1. Welcome by the Chair

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and was pleased to see some new residents in attendance.

2. Apologies

Received from: Sgt. Phil Showell (Police Scotland) though PC Stevie Scott attends in his place, and Veronica Low of Greyfriars Gardens.

3. Minutes of the last meeting (23rd February 2021)

The Chair noted some typos which he will follow on to the Minute Secretary after the meeting. The March minutes were approved as a correct record of proceedings. These were proposed by Daniel O’Malley and seconded by Peter Hayman.

Action Points will be dealt with during the meeting.

4. Presentation by Denise Hamilton (GCC City Centre Management Team)

Denise Hamilton met with Duncan and Tam previously and she reassured them that her Team are listening to the concerns of our community. Her office is within Neighbourhood Regeneration and Sustainability, formally known as LES and Planning and Building Standards departments.

Local areas have benefitted during lockdown due to the travel restrictions. Conversely, Glasgow City Centre has had to tackle anti-social behaviour, graffiti and businesses closing down. They liaise with Police Scotland and the NHS to work towards control and reduce drug misuse.

Spaces For People

To prepare for the ending of the first lockdown a City Centre Taskforce initiative was formed earlier this year to improve the design of streets to encourage social distancing under the Spaces for People project; and to revive the City Centre. It has streamlined making contact with the relevant GCC Officers.

During the first lockdown, red and white barriers were installed at the roadside at the edge of pavements; however, they were only partially effective and so have either been taken away or replaced by planters, the higher quality type have been setup in the Merchant City.

However, in some cases, this caused inconvenience to pedestrians due to vehicles parking on the pavement as the original parking bays are now taken-up by the planters. The occurrence of such illegal parking has eased through enforcement.

The surrounding of George Square has had a new road surface laid. In addition, the east and west carriageways have been closed. The installation of planters, and the road closures, are planned to be temporary measures, it is believed.

The Counting House (Wetherspoons) and Elia restaurant have been given use of the part of the closed-off road. An outdoor license was granted last year, however the second lockdown stopped it’s use. GCC are not charging for additional space, however it is refunded from the Scottish Government and it is believed it could be extended into this year. It has been reported that visitors have thought this was public seating as it so very close to seating nearby.

George Square Refurbishment

A design contractor for the full refurbishment of the George Square has been allocated and work is expected to start in early 2024 (as has been published in the press). A six week survey of the project has recently began:

https://glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=27012

Vacant Buildings

Sandra White MSP enquired if GCC were considering change of use of buildings, e.g. the old Debenhams building on Argyle Street. It is understood that the City Centre Taskforce will consider how best to use the vacant buildings and are to carry-out a survey. Funding is being sought from the Scottish Government to make the real estate attractive to new business ventures.

City Centre Taskforce

A ‘deep-clean’ of the City Centre, which includes the Merchant City, has started. Resources are being diverted towards graffiti removal, however in some areas this reappears soon after cleaning. The City Centre Taskforce aim is to aid business revival by increasing the pedestrian footfall. One key way to promote this is to return to Glasgow hosting events safely.

The Night Zone, where taxi ranks are monitored, has been restarted in the Merchant City. Sandra White approved of this due to the expected increase in custom to our area.

COP26

ST enquired if, for COP26 event, where the travel hubs will be. This will outlined in the Transport Plan which is yet to be published, the main campus will be the SEC. The event will be one the of largest events that has come to Glasgow.

The Chair has been contacted by the ‘Get Ready Glasgow’ campaign who are informing all community councils about the event, and so will soon be giving MCTCC a presentation.

Other issues

Daniel O’Malley raised the issue of more recycling facilities for the Herald Building as raised at the building’s AGM. Denise Hamilton will arrange for an officer from the Recycling Team to visit. Daniel commended the police for stopping a party in the building being held in flat that had been given a short rental for this purpose. Cllr Millar explained GCC policy on such matters and how, if there is a shared entry to a building, then planning permission would not be granted for a short term let.

The Chair thanked Denise Hamilton for her time this evening and her presentation.

5. Report from the Treasurer

Gerald Hirst reported that the MCTCC bank balance for April is of £1,808.07.
There are I.T. commitments of £78.99 to be taken off.

6. Report on those issues forwarded to the Police

PC Stevie Scott has been away from the city centre for over a year, this is his first month back. A new Area Commander Ross Kelly is in place. Sandra White enquired about the problem of cars racing through our streets. PC Scott understood this has been a long-term issue and talk to Sgt. Philip Showell about this. It is not an easy issue to tackle and so would require a co-ordinated response to reduce ‘boy-racers’..

Peter Hayman added how the drivers deliberately produce as much noise, and fumes, by revving, surging forward and then braking sharply. PC Scott noted that noise pollution is the remit of the Council. Previously, overnight restrictions have been imposed in an attempt to stop such nuisance after complaints from residents and people staying in hotels in the west of the City.

Councillor Bolander noted they use a circuit of roads and, in the past, would congregate at Blythswood Square where cars have been confiscated due to illegal modifications. She recalled the laws relating to busking guidelines and asked the police if this could also be applied to this type of noise pollution.

It was reported the Safe Use Drug van has relocated to the rear of Old Wynd. There was an assault in Parnie Street on Saturday 24th April at 5pm, residents have appealed for the Trongate area to be monitored. PC Scott confirmed the area is part of the daily rota for police patrols.

7. Hustings Update (29th April at 7pm)

Daniel O’Malley will be hosting the MCTCC Hustings one week prior to the Scottish Elections 2021. The candidates for the Glasgow Kelvin Constituency will be asked pre-prepared questions relating to pertinent local matters. There will also be questions taken from the audience at the end. It will be held with the Zoom Webinar function,

8. Merchant City Park Update

Peter Hayman gave an update on the project and how the establishment of a park would be preferable to another tall tower. An article he has written was published in the Agenda section of The Herald newspaper. The project continues to gain support of residents and businesses. An update was sent out to the group’s membership. This site would be an ideal meeting and conference location for COP26.

Eileen Mills, and others, attended the Your Place online conference last Thursday. However, as the site has been sold, the concept can only be applied to other undeveloped areas, but as Tam noted, the same process is being repeated there. Peter McCaughey suggested that a separate session could be held to feed into an artist’s impression.

DW would be disappointed to see another building put in this prime location which is popular with visitors. He read an article about the Candleriggs development recently and, it would appear, there will be more than enough new high-rise buildings in the area in the next year or two. Eileen Mills appealed to Provost Braat if he would take MCP’s case back to GCC to see if there could be a reconsideration of putting a park at 69-97 Ingram Street. He responded that his would be difficult, if not impossible, as the land is now sold to Artisan Properties but that he would take on the task and report back.

Sandra White gave her consent to attend the next MCP meeting.

9. Councillors’ Reports

Councillor Eva Bolander

A Fan Zone events will be held in Glasgow Green instead of the Merchant City. This is an area for fans to watch the Scotland football team play there games in the Euro Championship against the Czech Republic (14th June), England (18thJune) and Croatia (22nd June). There will also be some cultural events taking place nearby.

The Merchant City Festival (MCF) will take place this year; the proposed dates are the weekend of the 8th to the 11th of July. Both events will have to adhere to Covid restrictions. Activities and shows are being arranged in George Square for three days, and in the Barrowland Park for two days. No food trucks will be allowed this time to stop people congregating too close to one another. There is a steering group meeting planned.

Tam noted that the weekend of the MCF coincides with the final of the UEFA Euro championship game on the 11th July. As Barrowland Park is not in the Merchant City, perhaps the vacant space in Candleriggs would be a more appropriate area. However, as this is private land, other events may be planned in that location.

Lord Provost Philip Braat

He carried-out a walking survey last week, as the City came out of lockdown, and noticed the large quantity of graffiti on the walls. He is pleased to see that the City Centre Taskforce have begun the deep cleaning programme. The City must be a welcoming place for people to return to which also means cleaning up a little.

The carpark at the rear of Carrick Quay, raised by ST, does need some attention such as repainting of the double yellow lines and parking enforcement. ST has raised the issue of additional recycling facilities for buildings with Steven Eagan and asked for a survey to be carried out.

The new planters in Merchant City are pleasant aesthetically; however, he received reports of illegal parking on the pavements. For the moment this problem has settled down. It is hoped that businesses return to work and normal operations as soon as possible.

Councillor Angus Millar

Denise Hamilton had answered several of the issues that he, and Cllr Bolander, were meaning to speak about. He, and the Chair, have rescheduled a meeting with GCC Officers to develop a plan to eventually open up access to Ramshorn Churchyard.

The next Avenues programme is to be west side of Argyle Street. After this is complete it will be the turn of the east side of Argyle Street which includes Stockwell St and Trongate. Depending on operational constraints, it is planned for designs to be completed for this phase by early 2022 and an implementation plan will be drawn up. Community engagement will take place.

Other projects in progress are the Sauchiehall Precinct, and Garnethill Underline are due to be completed before this, so the start date is dependent upon these finishing on time.

The Clydeside has been deep cleaned as one of the first areas. The Council and the police will be working together with the City Centre Taskforce to keep the area clean. Cllr Millar hopes, to give a presentation in the future of all the initiatives that are taking place in this regard.

10. Planning Applications

Peter Hayman reported that the first building on the Candleriggs site has applied for a variation to the planning permission that was granted, as distributed by Niall McColl. This will incorporate a rooftop bar, restaurant and terrace alterations, more details can be found on the GCC website.

MCTCC’s objection to the demolition of the building at High St, George St, has been confirmed by David Drummond, and will be included.

A CCTV installation at 180 Ingram St as the ‘Cruise’ shop is being refurbished.

ST reported that workmen, whose work van advertised they were involved in building pontoons on rivers, have been seen in front of Carrick Quay.

11. Licensing Applications

There were no applications of note this month. Tam has forwarded all Licensing Applications of any note on to all Community Councillors whenever he receives them.

12. MCTCC Social Media

Niall McColl reported there have been 30 submissions to the Residents’ Survey. More submissions would be welcomed Survey.

An Event Calendar has been added to the www.mctcc.scot website as Scotland comes out of lockdown.

The registration process for meetings has been simplified, now coming from the website. A prior notification function has been added. Facebook and Twitter following is increasing, and we now have over 50 subscriptions to our mailing list.

13. Addressing Local Issues

Jocelyn Square

The Jocelyn Square development has completed an archaeological survey. Cllr Bolander, and others, were surprised to hear that nothing was found during the survey as it is one of the oldest areas of Glasgow.

Eileen Mills sent an email to the Chair noting that only a legal flaw could be a matter of redress now, see https://www.dpea.scotland.gov.uk/ The Chair and Cllr Bolander acknowledged that a considerable number of conditions have been applied to the development going forward by the Notice of Intention report (ref. PPA-260-2117) to Scottish Ministers from the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division.

Sandra White enquired about the Environmental Assessment; the Chair confirmed this had been completed. In the first instance the land was seen as contaminated but has since been cleared after a subsequent survey was carried out.

Twinning

Steven Dowling’s office has contacted MCTCC about our area being twinned with another community in Europe. Our area would benefit if our area had more community groups for local landmarks. A decision on this will be taken at the MMM.

Get Ready Glasgow

The Chair has asked that our group is added the Get Ready Glasgow forum for updates on the build-up, and events, during COP26. The Dear Green Pledge has contacted us regarding the climate emergency and to consider how we can improve the environment in our community.

14. AOCB

The Chair noted this was the last meeting when Sandra White will be attending as an MSP. The Chair thanked her for all her work and support over the years and hoped she would still attend as she is a resident of our area.

The Chair thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.

**Date of next meeting: Tuesday 25th May, 2021 at 7pm A Teams link will be circulated for registration.

Action Points

  1. Chair to write to the CEO of Tesco regarding the provision of hand sanitiser (Duncan MacLaren)
  2. Response from Ian Elder regarding putting Peter Hayman in touch with Planning/City Property (Peter Hayman)
  3. DRF artist, Peter McCaughey, to interview Tam Coyle (Tam Coyle)
  4. Issues around drug-taking and dealing to be communicated to Tam for the police (all)
  5. Report bin and recycling issues to Lord Provost Braat (Lord Provost Philip Braat)
  6. Lord Provost to arrange an MCTCC visit to recycling facilities in Glasgow once it is safe to do so (Duncan MacLaren)
  7. Presentation on George Square to be given to MCTCC (Cllr Angus Millar)
  8. Contact Strathclyde University Estates Department re the opening of the Ramshorn Graveyard (Cllr Angus Millar)
  9. Arrange a meeting to discuss the Ramshorn Graveyard (Cllr Eva Bolander)
  10. Report back whether CCTV can be installed at the Carrick Quay carpark owing to drug paraphernalia being found there (Tam Coyle)
  11. Residents can receive a copy of the homelessness report mentioned in these minutes from Cllr Bolander (all to Cllr Eva Bolander)
  12. The Lord Provost will use his good offices to see if anything can be done about the Ingram Street car park site becoming a park, at this stage (Lord Provost Braat).