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May 30, 2012

We need more of this, not less

There’s something life affirming about stories like North Kelvin Meadow.  A local community ‘adopts’ some disused Council land that had suffered years of neglect , fly-tipping and much worse.  And now, with the rubbish cleared, and heaps of tender loving care, the space has been transformed into a much cherished urban meadow.  This is much more than somewhere to walk the dog or for children to play safely – this shows how shared space can really build communities.  The Council begs to differ.


To sign the petition to save North Kelvin Meadow click here.

To read about latest developments click here.

The North Kelvin Meadow Campaign is a community group set up on 13 October 2008 to campaign for the disused green space between Clouston Street , Sanda Street and Kelbourne Street (G20 – North Kelvin Ward) – the area of the former Clouston Street playing fields – to be kept as a multi-use community green space for the people of Maryhill and others in the West End.

The campaign was set up after Glasgow City Council rejected out-of-hand the results of a survey, conducted in August 2008, which showed that local residents overwhelmingly supported the creation of a green space on the former playing fields. The Council wanted – and wants – to proceed with a plan to sell the land to a property developer for the creation of 90 flats. Local residents opposed this new development as the area is already densely populated with attendant traffic problems. Its also going against the stated policy of the Council which states x football pitches should not be sold off if they are being used for any other open space activity by local people.

There has been two survey’s of local opinion . The last one was the largest which went out to about 1700 homes in the area. 94% of local residents responding to the survey opposed the Council’s plan to sell the land to a property developer and supported the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign’s proposal for a mixed-use green space comprising allotments and a community orchard, a wild meadow and a small wood.  You’ll see by the huge number that have signed the Petition along with their comments just how much overwhelming support this campaign has got and which continues to grow.

The land was not being looked after by Glasgow City Council

This land has never had housing on it.  The former tennis court now has 30 foot trees growing out of it (we call it the Wood now). It’s a beautiful space, which the Council had previously allowed to degenerate into an informal dumping ground. The  North Kelvin Meadow Campaign cleaned the land up and turned it into a community green space called the North Kelvin Meadow. As off August 2011 the land falls into the West End Conservation area – this on its own “should” save it but unfortunately we still believe the Council want to carry on with their plan to sell. That means 480 trees would be chopped down as a result even though all trees in a Conservation Zone should be protected.

The Meadow comprises raised-bed allotments, a fruit garden, composting facilities and a wild flower plantation. It is one of the largest Orchid sites in Glasgow – all wild, with some of the Orchids being about 15 years old. There is a shortage of allotments in Glasgow as a whole and there is currently only one very oversubscribed allotment ground (8+ year waiting list) in the Maryhill and North Kelvinside area. The North Kelvin Meadow has helped provide new allotment opportunities for people living in the local area. But its not just about allotments – there is a huge problem in Glasgow of obesity, asthma, unhealthly eating and drinking and a lack of community. This land helps to address these issues and it does it with no cost to the taxpayer so far.

The North Kelvin Meadow Campaign has not been daunted by posturing from Glasgow City Council, which slapped an eviction notice on the land on 15 July 2009. Local residents continue to sign up for raised-bed allotments and are getting involved with the large Community Raised Bed as well

On 21 August 2009, the campaign group was taken to court by the Glasgow City Council for improving their local area, a move described by Patrick Harvie MSP as ‘absurd’. The sheriff upheld a limited interdict ad interim against two named campaigners only, preventing them from putting up bat boxes and installing new raised beds. The sheriff said the campaigners ‘had done only good’.