Councillors to rule on North Kelvin Meadow housing plan

Campaigners at the former public playing fields, which they believe should be kept as a community site and not built on
Campaigners at the former public playing fields, which they believe should be kept as a community site and not built on
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THE future of a former public playing field which campaigners want to preserve as a community park remains uncertain after councillors today backed two competing proposals.

The council-owned site in the west end of Glasgow was effectively abandoned in the mid-1990s and local residents have since worked to restore it as a greenspace known as North Kelvin Meadow.

The local authority’s planning committee heard details of two plans - one which would see 90 flats built on the site, and another which would preserve it as open ground.

Glasgow City Council previously entered into a legal agreement to sell the land, between Clouston Street and Kelbourne Street, to New City Vision (NCV), on the condition NCV applied for, and received, full planning permission for a residential development with complimentary open space.

A majority of councillors backed NCV’s application after conducting a site visit this morning.

But a second, alternative, proposal, put forward by The Children’s Wood, was also passed by the committee.

The Scottish Government now has 28 days to decide on whether to call in the housing proposal.

If ministers allow the decision to be made at local level, a final ruling on which application to approve will be made by the council’s executive committee later in the year.

A council spokesman said: “The council is minded to grant the application for the residential development after the committee voted in its favour, but given that the Scottish ministers have made a direction in relation to this application, the council is required to send relevant details to the ministers for their consideration.”

The North Kelvin Meadow campaign has argued it had been responsible for the area’s upkeep for two decades since the council stopped maintaining the area for sporting use.

“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,” local resident Douglas Peacock told The Scotsman.

“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.”

Architect James Adam, who has drawn up the NCV housing plan, said the development would enhance the area if approved.

“The design is very much in keeping with the area,” he told The Scotsman. “The existing tenements are in a late 19th century classical style. The design would compliment that, not fight it.”

NCV’s plans include the retention of an existing public right of way across the site, as well as public space between the new buildings.

READ MORE: The campaign to stop housing being built on a former public playing field