When I first moved into Marywood Square 4 years ago I thought that the lane running up the back of my tenement was a brilliant opportunity to get some wild flowers growing, so I sowed some seeds. They came to nothing. I was busy, new flat etc, I didn’t really give it much thought. The next Spring I took it a bit more seriously and I and a close neighbour both sowed seeds. Same result – nothing! But this time I realised why. The lane had been sprayed by weed killer – or so it appeared to me by the burned vegetation. So last year I gave seed sowing a miss only to see a couple of new plants in my garden killed as weed killer drifted through the railings.
I’m now getting more and more aware, and concerned that we have a serious environmental problem and it seems that globally we’re in the throws of a sixth mass extinction of species (manmade this time?) including a major threat to insects which are at the bottom of a food chain that maintains birds and animals and are crucial as pollinators. Could we in Strathbungo not play a small part in countering this by challenging the Council, who I’m presuming spray the lanes with weedkiller, and consciously try and turn our lanes into a haven for wild flowers insects and birds. It seems to me that this could be a very positive experience for the children in the area who with proper parental encouragement and support might enjoy helping bring wild flowers into the lanes and learning about them and the wildlife they support. I’ll contact the Council (again) and this time try and find out just why they think it’s a good idea to spray weedkiller. It seems strange to me as they don’t seem to take any responsibility for any other kind of “maintenance” in the lanes. Would other residents, and maybe the Strathbungo Society itself be interested in trying to get the spraying stopped and encouraging wild life into our area?
Network Rail will be holding a public drop-in event tomorrow, Tuesday 6th December 2016 in Queens Park Baptist Church Hall, 180 Queens Drive, Glasgow, G42 8QD from 3.30pm to 6.45pm. In attendance will be representatives from Network Rail and the Strathbungo Society, as well as their contractors, QTS, all of whom will be on hand to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have about this work.
This is an opportunity to discuss
- what will happen to vegetation outside your house on Moray Place when work starts in February
- what replanting scheme, if any, you would like to see afterwards
We would really value your input. If you are a Moray Place resident, consider bringing a photo if you have particular concerns over vegetation opposite your house.
Queens Park Baptist Church Hall, 180 Queens Drive, 3.30pm to 6.45pm
Queens Park Baptist Church
In case anyone hasn’t noticed this, there are a few people who regularly come and go through the bins in the back lanes – a man and a young lad and a woman who is mostly on her own. I’m not sure what (if anything) can be done about this – any ideas? – but thought I should flag this up and two related points – confidentiality and mess.
All my rubbish is genuine rubbish, and I shred anything with confidential or personal information, however would urge everyone to please be extra-vigilant in making sure that no personal details make it into your bin.
In relation to mess, apart from any big items my rubbish is bagged before being binned however when the “pickers” come and sift through the bin contents they of course open the bags which creates a really unpleasant mess. I try to tidy up a bit around my bin when I see the mess, but it does feel like a losing battle …
At the Pollokshields Area Committee, on which Kevin Kane and I take turns to represent the Strathbungo Society, litter and rubbish are regularly discussed. There has been a real push by councillors and other committee members to make improvements in the local area, both by reducing the amount of litter being dropped and improving services. As a result of these discussions, a number of suggestions have been made for litter bins, including one from us – supported by Councillors – for a litter bin on the Darnley Rd side of the pedestrian footbridge over the railway. This was installed a couple of weeks ago and we hope it will reduce the amount of rubbish thrown onto the railway embankment. If there are any other places you think would benefit from a bin do let us know.
We have also been in dialogue with Land and Environment Services about how we could improve the bulk collection service. At present it can take three weeks for such rubbish to be collected by which time the weather, vandalism etc can have scattered the rubbish all over the back lanes. After a suggestion made at one of the Strathbungo meetings we asked whether it would not be better for the Council to collect on a fixed day each month, so that people would not have to put out rubbish without knowing when it would be picked up. The Council actually operates such a system with a number of housing associations but has fixed pick up points. The local officials, who have been very helpful, have said that if we could agree fixed pick up points they would make recommendations to senior managers to try this out (the position is complicated because the current system has been decided by the Council as a whole and local areas do not have the discretion to adopt alternative systems).
After discussion at the Committee meeting this week, it was felt the problem with fixed pick-up points is first there is no vacant public space, so it would mean people volunteering to use their property in the back lanes for this purpose )(which we thought would be hard to obtain, and second that some bulk pieces of rubbish would be hard to carry to pick-up points. We therefore agreed to go back to the Council and ask them to look at other alternatives, including whether it would be possible to have a fixed pick up day each month but instead of the Council trawling all the lanes, they would just pick up from places notified to them by residents beforehand. Under such a system, if the pick up day was the last day of the month and you had bulk rubbish, you could put it out the day before and ring the council with details of where to pick up the rubbish.
Whether the Council will be open to trying this out we are not sure but meantime if you have any views or other ideas on how to reduce the amount of litter please let us know by commenting on this.
In mid-August pavements on Nithsdale Street and Road were resurfaced with black tarmac. This was done to a very poor standard and seems to have no account of the Council’s policies for Conservation Areas. As a result the Strathbungo Society Committee wrote to the Council to express our concerns, state that we thought this was a lost opportunity to improve the local streetscape and to ask for a way forward (the letter is pasted below). The Council has now agreed to a site meeting on Thursday 25th September to look at the standard of the work undertaken and discuss the issues that we have raised. We will post an update following this meeting.
Meantime the Society has contacted a number of local residents who we know have expertise in architecture or planning conservation who may be able to give examples of good practice we could cite at the meeting. If you think you could contribute to this please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You may have noticed the increased presence, and persistence, of the bin rakers of late. In my case, I am fed up of rebagging my rubbish every fortnight before the binmen come, especially when it gets ripped open again during the night. However things reached a nadir last week when I left an electrical cable running out under my garage door for the use of a builder working in the back lane. The rakers cut the cable at both ends and made off with 20m of electrical cable, value probably little more than 50p. In doing so they pulled as much cable under the door as they could, ripping the electrical socket off the wall and leaving mains cabling dangling dangerously in my garage, and cost the builder £20 – it was his cable.
It is time to fight back, albeit legally. I have spoken to the police at Gorbals Police Station (in particular PC Ali Martin) who are aware of the problem, and are keen to identify the culprits. While they are planning plain clothes patrols in the lanes in the next few weeks, we can also help. We need to do more than just move them along, and if you do not wish to intervene, call the police on 101 (the new non emergency number, not 999) immediately. If they have someone free they will come round and try to catch them in the act.
If you feel more proactive, the issue is one of identification; this is best achieved by two collaborating witnesses, and photographic evidence to identify the individual. I almost got a photo of the protagonists last week and regret not doing so. While I have sympathy for those less fortunate than ourselves, it stops when they begin causing criminal damage, and this needs to be nipped in the bud. Happy snapping, but of course, no taking the law into your own hands. It just isn’t the Bungo way.
Perhaps members of the society are already aware of this and have passed it on, but it seems that we will be saddled with the charming building works at the east end of Nithsdale Road for another month. As a reward for their consideration in our neighbourhood, the aptly named Forkers have been offered the contract to carry out the repair work to the lanes, requiring continued use of their infernally bleeping diggers seven days a week.
If it is possible to salvage a silver lining from this situation, it is that Forkers will have to clean the windows in Nithsdale Road once they’ve finished (I’m guessing that this only applies to the outside and that the dust that has forced its way onto inner sills and into closes will revert to our jurisdiction) and those who would like to have their cars washed should make themselves known to the site manager, Willie, for him to arrange it.