Tag Archives: Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan

Glasgow City Council approves £3.3million for Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan

The Glasgow City Council Executive Committee approved spending capital funds of £3.3million towards the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan this week.

The sum is to be spent over the next five years and the council hopes it might be supplemented by other avenues of funding.

The Glasgow Reporter talked with a delighted Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Chair Andrew Montgomery, about his reaction to the news.  Montgomery said:-  “It’s absolutely great for all of us who have worked so long and so hard to get this approval.  It’s great to now be at the stage where we at least now know that the future for Shawlands is on the way up rather than the way down.”

Montgomery acknowledged the work of Councillor Archie Graham in ensuring the plan reached the Executive Committee.  “We are grateful to Archie Graham, the councillor for Langside, and the Deputy Leader of the Council, for pushing the Town Centre Action Plan forward, and getting it on the Executive Committee agenda so early in the new year for the administration.”

Last night the Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council held a scheduled meeting to discuss how to progress the Town Centre Action Plan which coincidentally fell the same day the news that the funding was approved.

The Community Council plans to make an application to Awards for All to get some grant money and then apply for other funding from the local Area Committees so they can start making improvements to the community.  Last night they defined potential short term and medium to long term action plans.

Short term ideas include transforming the wall that supports the walkway to the Shawlands Arcade into a mural which Montgomery says is similar to what they have done underneath the Kingston Bridge.  Another idea was to fund the replacement of the telephone box outside the Granary at Shawlands Cross with an old traditional telephone box which can be bought second hand.  The Community Council were also keen to discuss installing hanging flower baskets along Pollokshaws and Kilmarnock Roads with the Shawlands Business Association to beautify the area.

The lack of public toilets in the area was also raised.  Montgomery said:-  “One of the key things that we discussed  was that as representatives of the community and as members of the community we really need to feed into that plan at the very early stages so that the voices of residents are heard.  It  constantly came up that there are no public toilets in Shawlands.”

He pointed out that the are has no baby changing facilities either and added:- “if Shawlands is to have a vibrant daytime and evening economy, then we think the provision of public toilets is something that’s crucial. Again it could be something that in the early stages of the plan could be provided, on the basis that it’s not going to be something that would be wasted money, because it is something that in every survey has constantly come up.”

One medium to longer term potential improvement the Community Council discussed at their meeting was the refurbishment of the area in front of Langside Hall; by removing the trees outside and relocating the taxi rank a public square with raised seating could be created, which could also double as a stage for any public events.  Montgomery said:-  “If that could be done in the next couple of years, as we come into the Commonwealth Games year in 2014,  it would create a potential area where events could happen and visiting fans could gather and things could go on there.”

Montgomery is mindful that the money will need to be spent carefully.  He said:- “We can step back from the kind of idea that £3.3 million pounds is a welcome amount of money, but it’s not a pot of gold.  We will need to certainly be very careful of how that money is spent.”

The Town Centre Action Plan proposes the creation of a Shawlands Partnership which will bring together key local partners and stakeholders including the Community Council.  Montgomery expects that there will be another Town Centre Action Plan meeting which will set about establishing the Shawlands Partnership and he is looking forward to working with other organisations to implement the Plan.

He said:-  “It is absolutely critical now that plan has been approved, that funding has been allocated and we now need to motor on and work with the local councillors, the council, the Shawlands Business Association.  We all need to work together to see what significant improvements can be made in the area and that obviously includes AWG who have such a strong holding in the form of the Shawlands Arcade.”

Bailie Liz Cameron, Executive Member for Jobs and the Economy at Glasgow City Council, said on the Glasgow City Council website:- “Shawlands Town Centre is undoubtedly one of our premier civic centres, a favourite destination for both shoppers and those using its renowned bars and restaurants.  The council has joined with local people and businesses in recent times to create a plan that can take Shawlands forward over the next five years, and I believe this Action Plan marks the beginning of a very exciting period for the area.”

Push to get Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan moved forward

There is still hope that the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan will be included in this month’s Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee agenda, it was reported at the Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Meeting held at Langside Hall on Thursday 5 April 2012.

The Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan Steering Group met on Monday 19 March 2012 to discuss the Action Plan.  Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Chair, Andrew Montgomery, who attended the meeting, reported that there was cross party support for the plan being submitted to the Executive Committee.  Glasgow City Council Deputy Leader Councillor Archie Graham (Langside Ward) was charged with the task of getting it on the agenda.

Montgomery said: – “It is difficult to know whether it will make the final Executive Committee.”

If it is approved by the Executive Committee, who will meet for the last time before the local election on 26 April 2012, a budget will be allocated to the Action Plan.  The bid will then go to the Capital Expenditure fund, and it would be unlikely that it would be refused if already approved by the Executive Committee.

Montgomery again encouraged council candidates about their commitment to Shawlands.  Concerns for the Shawlands community were first raised by businesses and residents in 2008, and having funds allocated to the Town Centre Action Plan would signify real progress.

Montgomery said that he was very pleased to report that the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan Steering Group will continue to meet despite initial plans to replace it with a Shawlands Partnership.

Much discussion during this month’s meeting centred on how useful the police report was for this Community Council.  The police report statistics for April showed an increase on last month in the total number of incidents of assaults and vandalism in the Strathbungo and Shawlands areas but a decrease in the number of street drinkers and theft in Strathbungo.  Also noted was an increase in the number of incidents of drugs, street drinkers, theft and theft from a motor vehicle in the Queen’s Park area.

It was highlighted that the police report focussed on ‘main street’ crimes and left no room for other more minor offences, such as washing being stolen from back lanes, to be reported.  Community Council member Tony Halifax added:-  “It doesn’t tell us whether the police are concerned, or whether we should be concerned.”

Montgomery agreed.  He said:- “Raw numbers aren’t really helpful.  It kind of leaves us to draw our own conclusions.  There’s no background to it.”  He also thought that a clearer definition of assault and vandalism was needed.   He resolved to follow this up, and planned to contact the police and invite an inspector to join the next Community Council meeting.

Councillor Danny Alderslowe presented his Councillor’s Report.  In addition to attending the last full Glasgow City Council meeting he had attended a number of residents meetings and had been liaising with private landlords on behalf of residents.  He had been trying to get in touch with the landlord of a Niddrie Road flat which had experienced flooding three times and was now affected by dampness.  He had also been working on behalf of residents who had to move out of their Allison Street flats and had ended up paying Council Tax on two properties.  Councillor Alderslowe had been working to ensure they were reimbursed.

Councillor Alderslowe will not be standing at this year’s Glasgow City Council elections. Mr Montgomery said after his report:-“You have been an excellent councillor.  Danny, you go with grateful thanks and absolute best wishes.” Elected for Southside Central Ward in 2007, Councillor Alderslowe has served on seven Committees during his term, including Southside Central Area Committee, Education Children and Families Policy Development Committee and the Sustainability and the Environmental Policy Development Committee.  He is also a board member of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust.

Two local candidates standing in this year’s Council elections attended the Community Council meeting and were given an opportunity to speak.  Those present heard from Scottish National Party candidate for Pollokshields Norman Macleod and Scottish Labour candidate for the Southside ward Soryia Siddique.  Glasgow City Council’s elections will be held next month on Thursday 3 May.

Due to Shawlands Academy being closed for the Easter weekend, April’s meeting of the Community Council was held in a meeting room at Langside Hall on Langside Avenue.

The next Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Meeting will be held 7pm on Thursday 10 May 2012 at Shawlands Academy.

Future of Shawlands key topic for recent Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council meeting

Progressing last month’s ‘Future of Shawlands’ meeting was of high importance for the members and residents who met at this month’s Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council meeting held last week at Shawlands Academy.

Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Chair Andrew Montgomery proposed making use of the upcoming Glasgow City Council elections to achieve this goal.  There was unanimous agreement to his suggestion that the Community Council write to all parties and individuals running for office asking them what their manifesto would say about Shawlands and the Shawland’s Town Centre.

Montgomery was pleased with the support for last month’s meeting but was keen to maintain the focus on finding a solution.  The Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan is due to be finalised by May but there was discussion at last week’s meeting suggesting that the Glasgow City Council early May elections would delay the final document.

Shawlands has been categorised as a Tier 2 or ‘major’ town centre by Glasgow City Council.  Montgomery said:- “When you look at it, in the last 10 years Shawlands is the only Tier 2 Town Centre that has had no investment.”  He compared it to other Tier 2 town centres in Glasgow which had seen considerable amounts of money invested.

Other people attending the meeting echoed this need for investment.  One person didn’t think Shawlands was going to survive without immediate action.  Last week three shops shut and three more are set to close soon.  Rates and footfall were said to be contributing factors.

A local resident commented that Shawlands was ‘a fantastic area’ and it was ‘what a vibrant urban area should be.’  She had already taken part in many community activities to enhance and clean up the area.

A number of ideas on how to improve Shawlands were said to have come out of February’s meeting.  Held on 9 February at Shawlands Academy, the ‘Future of Shawlands’ meeting was attended by Glasgow City Councillors, representatives from Development and Regeneration Services (DRS) and around 90 members of the public.  The meeting provided a forum for public concerns and was a chance for the public to comment on the draft Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan.  It is thought that DRS are working to distribute the ideas contributed from members of the community.

In addition to Councillor David Meikle‘s report, local police officers delivered the police reports on the Strathbungo, Shawlands and Queen’s Park areas.  In response to a resident’s concern regarding the armed robbery at Jim Blair Insurance in late February, the officers said that  CCTV footage images had been circulated and they were trying to get a positive identification.  They highlighted that there were more officers in the area of Shawlands as a result of this armed robbery and they hoped this would reassure the public.

As part of the Licensing Report an application by Peckham’s V & V Limited was discussed.  Peckhams have applied for on and off sales licenced hours in the old Bank of Scotland building at the top of Skirving Street.  While there were a couple of people in opposition to this application, many thought that it was a brand that would add value to the area.  It was voted that the Community Council would raise no objection to this application.

The next Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council Meeting will be held on Thursday 5 April, 7pm at Shawlands Academy.

Passionate public debate about future of Shawlands Town Centre

Around 90 members of the public gathered for a passionate debate on the ‘Future of Shawlands’ and the Shawlands Draft Town Centre Action Plan at Shawlands Academy last night.

Litter was discussed again and again by those present at the meeting.  Shawlands was called ‘filthy,’ ‘manky,’ and ‘a dump’ by residents upset with the amount of litter being left in the town centre.

Led by the former Chair of Shawlands & Strathbungo Community Council, Scott Mackay, the meeting was also attended by Councillors Kahlil Malik, Archie Graham, David Meikle and Paul Coleshill.   Council Planning Officers Tim Mitchell and David Dunlop were also there and they outlined the history of research and consultation which has led to the current draft Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan.

The Town Centre Action Plan seeks ‘to re-establish Shawlands as the Heart of the Southside, by balancing the needs of place, people, businesses and sustainable living’.  Using a holistic approach to address the challenges the district faces, it hopes to ‘ensure that Shawlands is  desirable place in which people can choose to live and invest.’  One sobering fact from the plan was ‘of the 20,990 residents in the catchment area, only 3000 consider Shawlands to be their main centre.’

Last night was a chance for public concerns to be heard and debate concentrated on the more visible issues facing Shawlands, such as litter, the vacant shop fronts, parking fees and the Shawlands Arcade, long considered to be an eyesore.  While Arcade management were said to be trying to attract investment, with Sainsbury’s potentially planning to open a shop there once more, opinion was divided on what should be done to address this ‘anchor’ of the town centre.

Andrew Montgomery, Chair of Shawlands & Strathbungo Community Council, was very pleased with how the meeting went.  “I thought it was really good.  There were a good number of people here.  People are really passionate about Shawlands; I think that again came across.   But there are some fundamental basic things.  People have said the streets are dirty, they need to be cleaned. People have been saying that for years.  What do you need to do to get that message across to the Council?  I mean how often do people need to say the streets are filthy?”

He is keen to see how the Action Plan develops.  “The really important thing,” he said, “is that the Draft Action Plan is there, the consultation is just finishing.  We’ve got to see an Action Plan that comes out with action points.”

He would like to see specific commitments on service delivery met.  “We’d like to see a service delivery for cleansing.  So the streets will be swept by 8 o’clock each morning.  There’ll be a further sweep at 3 o’clock on the afternoon on these days.  We’ll monitor that for six months and see what standard that sets.  We’ll revisit it and see whether it’s the right standard.”  He also believes that the street furniture and signage in Shawlands needs to be looked at, and that local businesses must play a part.  “The Businesses Association are talking with  firms to say ‘well if we all put a hanging basket up each, it will cost us £30 each but what a difference it would make to the street.’

David Dunlop, from the Council’s Development and Regeneration Department, thought the meeting was very positive. He said:=”Litter’s clearly a major issue.  But we moved beyond that.  We started to talk about the nitty gritty issues, the challenges that it faces, so it was very positive.”

Dunlop has high hopes for the Town Centre Action Plan and wants the Shawlands one to “set the standard” for future action plans in Scotland.  He continued:- “I want to go beyond simply physical regeneration and think about it in a holistic way.  Nice pavements won’t solve anything.  Litter won’t solve everything.  It’s about looking at the broader sense, trying to tackle it across all the series of different mechanisms. And that’s what is important.”

There is still time for those interested in the future of Shawlands to comment and contribute to the final Action Plan which might be published by May, if not before.  Dunlop strongly encourages involvement:- “We urge people to take the time to try to go through the Action Plan.  I know it’s a big read.  And I know that the supporting documents are even longer.  But it’s worth taking the time.  We want you to criticise.  We want you to take it apart.  You know, it’s too important.”

The meeting ended on a positive note and those present were able to talk further with the City Planners and local Councillors.

Referring to a point made earlier in the meeting when a member of the community encouraged the people of Shawlands to ‘take control, ‘Montgomery agreed, and said:- “We are community; we all need to come together.  I’m very much looking forward to get a shot of the power cleaner to clean the streets!  So I’ll be applying to get that on a Saturday morning and that will keep me busy on Saturday morning.”

The Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council meets the first Thursday of every month at 7.00pm at the Shawlands Academy.  The next meeting will be on Thursday 1 March 2012.

For a copy of the Shawlands Draft Town Centre Action Plan click here.

For a copy of the Shawlands Retail Study click here

For a copy of the Shawlands Town Centre Action Plan – Health Check click here and then select ‘Completed consultations’ under Your Council.  The Health Check is listed there.

Click here for a copy of the 2009 Shawlands survey.