Second planning application passed giving community hope for victory
THE COMMUNITY GROUP which turned a derelict council site into a thriving children’s woodland will continue their campaign to preserve the site, despite council planning support for a private flat development.
Glasgow Labour councillors narrowly approved the plan for 90 private units in a PS10m sale at a planning meeting today [Tuesday 26 January]. However, councillors also gave consent – in principle – to the proposal from North Kelvin Meadow to protect the green space.
Campaigners must now convince either the city council executive or the Scottish Government to reject the private development. The two separate planning proposals, on the same land, will be considered by the council administration while also facing a review from government ministers.
The chair of the The Children’s Wood charity that runs the meadow, Emily Cutts, presented councillors with an alternative plan to maintain the wood for the residents and families: “We have a strong local community that are behind this space. Our city’s motto is ‘People make Glasgow’. It’s initiatives like the Children’s Wood that make people want to live here.”
She added that the space was crucial in addressing modern social problems relating to mental health, loneliness and the educational attainment gap.
Local resident Iain Black warned councillors they would have to overcome significant local resistance to any private development, which has already been stalled for eight years over various planning disputes.
“This is not over by a long shot,” he told CommonSpace. “In a year and half there will be an election and there’ll be a new administration. They’ll vote differently [against the private development].”
Black hoped that further challenges to the private sell-off will mean that bulldozing the meadow is eventually mothballed.
SNP group council leader Susan Aiken said: “Planning committee voted to allow both applications for North Kelvin Meadow. Confusing but means Children’s Wood gets another shot.”
Aiken added that the outcome was “not the worst outcome” and still gives campaigners hope.
Yet council planning officials have recommended consent for the private flat development.
Granting planning permission for the sell-off led to a wave of anger at the council.
Karie Westermann said: “Heartbreaking. Used by schools throughout the area and much-loved residents. So, so many other places to build.”
Actor Tam Dean Burn, who has campaigned to save the meadows, said it was time for the Scottish Government to intervene and prevent any sell-off.
Ross Greer, a Scottish Green candidate in May’s election, added: “Another appalling decision from Glasgow Labour, destroying the city’s most successful community greenspace.”
Robert Gray, directing his disappointment at the council, asked: “How can you claim to represent citizens? Can’t wait to vote the lot of you out in May.”
Cartoonist Lorna Miller suggested direct action may be necessary to maintain the land for the community.
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Picture courtesy of North Kelvin Meadow