Category: Concerns and complaints (Page 1 of 2)

Network Rail – Strathbungo Station demolition

(Latest Update on 19 July 2020: NR’s second response, background on electrification)

Only a couple of weeks ago we were concerned that Network Rail were restarting tree felling along the railway line, and sought assurances that they would abide by previous agreements. They replied to reasssure us that they would. There remains a certain lack of trust around what Network Rail say, and what they do, so perhaps this was a sign of progress.

Jump forward to this week and we discover that, without any consultation with anyone, Network Rail were to demolish the old Strathbungo Station booking hall (more recently Susie’s Shop) on 18-19 July.

However before we had time to publicise it here, word got out on Facebook and Twitter, and caused a certain amount of outrage. As a consequence Network Rail have postponed the demolition to allow a period of consultation. Why they couldn’t have done that first is anyone’s guess. Postponement is a long way from preserving the building, and they clearly see no future for it, but none the less it is a small victory of sorts. Thanks for this must go to several people who objected, and alerted others;

  • The Strathbungo Society
  • Vivien Thomson
  • Niall Murphy, Glasgow Heritage
  • Paula Khan, Change.org petition – you can still sign to support!
  • Cllr Jon Molyneux
  • Stewart McDonald, MP Glasgow South (includes the Station) – his letter here
  • Alison Thewliss, MP Glasgow Central (includes Strathbungo)
  • and others I may have missed

Network Rail’s response to the Society is below:

Hi Jane

I hope you are well.

We have taken the decision to postpone the demolition work planned for this weekend on the former Strathbungo Station booking hall which adjoins Nithsdale Road on the Southside of Glasgow.
The former Strathbungo station building has been vacant for some time and is no longer fit for commercial use. Unfortunately, due to its deteriorating condition, we believe the best course of action is to remove the building from the railway.

Pausing the planned demolition this weekend gives us the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the community, and to share more information about the structure and why we believe it has no viable short or long-term future.

There are a number of bridges in the area which will require different levels of work for the future electrification of the line. We are keen to share information on our proposals with the community at a time which will enable meaningful discussion as we develop the plans. This will be as part of the wider engagement ahead of work starting on the East Kilbride Enhancements programme.

We will contact you again to update on this matter in the near future but if you have any questions or would like to discuss, please let me know.

Regards

Owen

A further more detailed response was received on Thu 16 July:

Hi Jane,
Further to my previous email confirming the postponement of the demolition of the former Strathbungo station booking hall (Susie’s Shop), may I respond to some of the points you raised in your email.
Firstly, please accept my apologies that this situation has arisen. It is not what we want and expect in terms of how we conduct our business and is symptomatic of the time it takes for a large organisation to change how it operates and to live up to what we have committed in relation to community engagement.
When we became aware of this situation, we escalated the matter within the business and this directly led to the postponement of work.
For context, the work was planned in order to remove any safety risk associated with the deterioration of the structure to both the operational railway and carriageway and from any further trespass or vandalism – which has seen an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown.
From visual assessment, it was the view of our property team that the condition of a range of elements of the building deemed it uneconomic in commercial letting terms to restore the building to a lettable condition in line with current building standards and regulations. Some issues included the lack of utilities, the presence of asbestos but primarily the condition of the wooden floor, sitting as it does over the railway.
It was also noted that the significant investment required would be only for a short time period -given that the structure would require work to ‘height clear’ to enable the proposed electrification project and so a poor use of tax-payer funds.
As previously advised, a range of work is required on a number of bridges on the line to make them safe for an electrified line. We are in the process of designing these solutions and developing plans for how this work will be delivered. This will include securing all appropriate consents and permissions where required. The structure on Nithsdale Road will now become part of the wider plan to enable electrification of the line and consequently will remain untouched in the short-term.
As per our previous discussions, it remains fully our intention to discuss the development of this project openly and constructively with the community. The recent situation has reaffirmed the view of the project team on the importance of ensuring that our lineside communities are fully sited on what we are doing and part of the process as the plan is developed. This will include what the bridges look like and will not include any ‘temporary’ barriered solutions that become permanent over time.
I hope this clarifies the points you have raised but if you need anything further, please let me know.
Best regards
Owen

For some background reading I discovered a Network Rail document from 2015 on electrification. If you are of an engineering bent, it is actually quite readable and interesting. If not, confine yourself to Chapters 11 & 12, which indicte the issues NR are likely to have with the station and with the footbridge also. The footbridge in particular would appear to be doomed by electrification, so odd that they just spent so much money doing it up.

Meanwhile Paula Khan, who orgainsed the petition, arranged a drop in session outside the station on Saturday, and received many positive comments.

Comments on preserving Strathbungo Station

If you have any ideas, let us know, here or on facebook.

We will keep you updated as things develop.

Our environment

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 Drop In Tuesday 6th December

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

Queens Park Baptist Church

People going through bins

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 …

Litter and Rubbish

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.

Nithsdale Rd an Nithsdale St pavement resurfacing

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 nickkempe@tinyworld.co.uk

Continue reading

Siamese cat Queen / Marywood Square

Hi

Does anyone know who owns the Siamese cat that seems to live in the back lane between Queen and Marywood Square?  Seems to be mainly around the 30s and 40s of the streets.  Description below.

It’s been appearing at my back door fairly regularly for a few months, and having very loud, very vocal “discussions” with one of my cats.  (If anyone has heard the “discussions” you’ll know how loud they are!)

The cat seems to be out at all hours and all weathers, and I just wondered if it is in fact owned, or if it’s a stray.  I’d love to hear from the owner, or anyone who might know them.

Description: the Siamese is a fairly large, but quite skinny cat with soft brown head, vivid pale blue eyes and a very light cream front that shades to soft brown at its back, with soft brown legs and tail.  It is a bit wary of people but not really shy.

Thanks!

Bin Rakers No More

Bin Raker

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.

Save Our Beautiful Plants!

What do you think the Council could do to most improve Strathbungo – planning enforcement? Better street-cleaning? Fixing broken street furniture and hard landscaping? Sorting out dog fouling?

Well, they could do all of the above but this week residents on March St were informed that what the Council thinks would really improve Strathbungo would be…removing all the lovely planters which have brightened up the front of their flats for well over a decade.

The lovingly-tended plants have been mentioned several times in the Newsletter, at meetings and just in general chit-chat as being a real highlight of the Strathbungo Summer and are a great example of what residents can do for themselves to make our environment cleaner and greener, something the new citizenship handbook states is a duty for everyone living in Britain.

I’ve already contacted our city councillors to ask if they can help us reverse this barmy decision and would love to pass on the comments of other residents who appreciate this and other attempts to create an oasis in our sandstone desert!

I’m also on the look out for pictures of the plants in full bloom as this pic does not do them justice. They look great on streetview but I can’t find any good pics in our archive, so if you have some please do post!

You can read the letter residents received here:

I had hoped to set up a petition but, under the Council’s recently changed rules on public petitions, can not do so before the deadline in the letter as it needs to be approved by a meeting of the Community Council.

 

St Bride’s Swimming Pool Closure Plans

Glasgow City Council is planning to close St Bride’s Primary School’s pool, in the basement of the listed building. Four such pools are earmarked for closure, putting pressure on an already limited resource, especially in the Southside.

Many community groups and local schools, not just St Bride’s, use this valuable community facility to teach primary school pupils to swim and a decision on the closure is expected to be made on 7th February.
What can you do to help?

  • Write to your councillors by post or by email, asking them to help save the pool at St Bride’s.
  • Go to your local councillor’s surgeriess and let them know you want to help save the pool.
  • Join us from 12 noon on 7-2-13 outside the City Chambers before the full council votes on the budget.
  • You could also print and distribute this  flyer: swimming pool next
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