Glasgow residents battle council over ‘meadow’

Volunteers are hoping the former Clouston Street playing fields are protected as greenspace and not sold for housing
Volunteers are hoping the former Clouston Street playing fields are protected as greenspace and not sold for housing
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A GROUP of residents in Glasgow are hoping to persuade the local authority not to allow building on a former playing field they believe should be protected as greenspace.

Councillors are expected to decide in the new year on whether to back plans to build 90 properties on land between Clouston Street and Kelbourne Street, on the edge of the Maryhill and Kelvinside districts of the city.

It’s so inspiring to think the campaign can set an example for communities across Scotland to get directly involved in saving local green spaces

Tam Dean Burn

The council-owned site was until the mid-1990s used as red blaes football pitches.

Local residents argue that since the local authority decided to stop maintaining the area for sporting use two decades ago they have been responsible for its upkeep.

A group of volunteers renamed the site North Kelvin Meadow and have planted a variety of trees and flowers in recent years.

They have opposed the local authority’s long-held plans to sell the site for residential development.

Glasgow City Council has entered into a legal agreement to sell the site to New City Vision (NCV), on the condition NCV applies for, and receives, full planning permission for a residential development with complimentary open space.

The voluntary group have submitted their own application to protect the site as greenspace.

Local resident Douglas Peacock, spokesman for the group, said: “In one shape or another, this land has always been used by the community and that should continue - especially as the community has looked after the land for the past 20 years.

“Residents can see the link between green community spaces and the health and happiness of people, especially young kids. Surely it’s about time the council can see this link as well?

“This wild green space in the heart of this city is an ideal place for kids to play, learn and grow up in. Schools and nursery groups see the benefit and use it.”

Actor Tam Dean Burn is among those supporting the residents’ campaign.

“It’s so inspiring to think the campaign can set an example for communities across Scotland to get directly involved in saving and developing local green spaces for all who live there,” he said. “This is community empowerment in action.”

In April 2007 Glasgow City Council approved a Sports Pitch Strategy policy and implementation plan to improve the network of quality sport pitches in the city.

In November 2007 the council’s executive approved a report identifying the upgrading of the existing North Kelvinside pitches as suitable compensation for the release of Clouston Street for development.

The first £1 million of the sale receipt will be committed to upgrading the North Kelvinside pitches.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said as the matter was subject to a live planning application, they could not comment other than to say it would be considered in due course.