Glasgow councillors approve bulldozing @KelvinMeadow for private flat development


Community protests ignored as PS10m sale passed by Labour councillors

A MUCH LOVED community space is Glasgow’s West-end is set to be torn up for multi-million flat construction after city councillors narrowly voted in favour of planning permission.

North Kelvin Meadow and Children’s Wood grew as a community centre over the past eight years despite the threat of a private development project.

Today the planning committee granted permission to New City Vision for 90 private units on the land. The land was abandoned, but is still owned, by the city council. The vote in favour was narrow, with eight Labour councillors voting in favour in contrast to six votes against from the SNP.

Two objectors – Ralph Green, a trustee of the Children’s Wood, and local resident Iain Black – challenged councillors at the meeting over the damage such a private development would have to local amenities and green space.

Black, scathing of the council’s handling of the case, said: “This is illegal. We are entitled to be consulted. We weren’t. We were offered a choice of house builders. These aren’t house for poor people. They’re for rich people.”

“We will continue to fight,” he told the meeting. “We will never surrender.”

Twenty four years ago, when the council tore down the goalposts on the site, Green planted grass seed to develop the derelict ground as a meadow – which has grown into a much wider community project.

“What are we saying to you? We undervalue you. We undervalue your children.” Ralph Green

Councillors had, that morning, been greeted at the meadow by 100 local supporters of the community space, who use the meadow as a children’s play park alongside a wide range of charitable and educational organisations.

Green, who is also a retired social worker, explained that the community taking ownership of the land had brought great social and economic benefits: “To lose the site would be devastating,” he told the committee.

He asked what message the council was sending to those who benefit from the space: “What are we saying to you? We undervalue you. We undervalue your children.”

During the meeting children protesting the private flat development could be heard outside the city chambers chanting: “Save our woods!”

Green councillor Kieran Wild also presented his objections , arguing that demolision of the site would breach national planning guidelines on safeguarding local amenities.

Scottish Government ministers had already notified the council that any construction project should be referred to the government for review. It remains unclear if there are grounds under planning regulations to oppose a private council development.

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Picture courtesy of North Kelvin Meadow