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February 10, 2016

In whose interest is this decision?

Why do we so rarely read this sort of headline? Local council overturns luxury homes proposal in favour of much loved children’s meadow. Multiple health and social benefits for local community win the day. There are of course lots of good reasons why housing developers need permission to build houses but there are times when these planning decisions seem deliberately antagonistic and almost vindictive in nature. The long running case of North Kelvin Meadow may finally have reached its end. 


Andrew Learmonth, The National

GLASGOW City Council has approved plans to allow a developer to build 90 new flats on a “community-created” green space.

Campaigners who have spent the past 20 years transforming the neglected wasteland into a much-used park say the fight is not over after the council also, in principle, backed their proposal to keep the ground as it is.

Politicians criticised the “chaotic” decision taken by the council’s planning committee for taking the decision which means the council’s executive committee must now make a judgment on both plans. It also means the Scottish Government will likely get involved and call in the £10 million proposal from developers New City Vision for closer scrutiny.

Cllr Kieran Wild said the ruling Labour administration has forced the developers’ application through “against the wishes of the community”. And Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the council had nothing but “contempt” for the local residents who worked on the meadow.

“I’m disgusted by the decision that has been made today,” Harvie said. “After years of Glasgow City Council’s neglect of the site the local community worked hard together to create something inspiring, and the council’s reaction began with threats of legal action and now ends with a promise to send in the bulldozers.

“Any local council should be proud to have a community like the people who created North Kelvin Meadow, but instead they are showing nothing but contempt. I don’t expect the local residents simply to give up, and the Greens will continue to offer whatever support we can.”

The meadows were council-run football pitches and tennis courts that fell into disrepair in the early 90s. Over the last 20 years residents have planted seeds, built treehouses and renovated buildings. The meadow is now much used by local nurseries and families.

During the session yesterday, the chair of the Children’s Wood charity that runs the meadow, Emily Cutts, told councillors: “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.”

After the meeting there was much optimism on the group’s Facebook page: “Great news. The children’s wood plan has been accepted, with conditions. We’ll immediately be launching a detailed plan. The [New City Vision] plan also got accepted, but there are lots of conditions and it will go to the Scottish Government.“

MP Natalie McGarry tweeted: “How chaotic. Planning permission given for two competing plans for North Kelvin Meadow.”


A council spokesman said the new flats were needed: “The approval of this planning application from New City Vision will deliver both much-needed family homes in the West End and improve the North Kelvinside pitches facility, as well as a substantial receipt for the public purse in a time of unprecedented financial constraints for local government.”