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Update on the Arnold Clark development

Representatives from AS Homes and Southside Housing Association (SHA) were kind enough to attend the last Strathbungo Society committee meeting, and elaborate on their plans for the site at Pollokshaws Road and Nithsdale Drive.

Some points to note:

  • In response to concerns raised, the height at the corner has been dropped from eight storeys to seven, though possibly by extending the seven stories a little further along Pollokshaws Road (see sketches). At this end it will then drop to 5 storeys to match the roof line of the next building. On Nithsdale Drive it will drop to 4 storeys near the Mission Hall. They intend to provide “sunlight analysis” diagrams with their planning application, which may help decide if this sufficiently allays fears of neighbours, especially those on the other side of Nithsdale Drive. While they justify the height based on examples of other tall corner buildings in the neighbourhood, we did note that generally those buildings do not cast shadows over neighbouring residents.
  • There will be no on-site car parking, in line with Council expectations. SHA state that car uptake amongst their tenants on other developments is actually very low, even where parking has been provided. The parking (nose-in) on Nithsdale Drive will be retained, and they may provide electric charging points on some of these bays. Secure cycle storage wil open straight out onto Pollokshaws Road.
  • All services are contained within the footprint of the building (bin-stores etc.)
  • The building will be in a mostly red brick finish, to reflect the local red sandstone tenements.
  • They expect it to be a “gas free” development, and are looking at alternative heating options, and solar panels on the roof.
  • The planning application will be lodged with the council in about two weeks from now, and there will then be the usual statutory period if you wish to object or raise concerns. So watch the Council planning portal, and if we hear, we will link to it here.
  • SHA and AS Homes are not involved in the other Arnold Clark future development further along Nithsdale Drive (the old servicing depot).

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Queen’s Park North Play Area – petition

We’ve been asked to publicise this by a Bungo resident, who says:

There is a campaign to improve Queen’s Park north play area. It’s in a terrible state and not fit for purpose.

The park serves as an important asset to children living in flats with limited garden space. There’s currently poor separation of play equipment by age group and no inclusive play equipment.

I’ve organised a petition calling on the council to ensure the Scottish Government’s “parks and open spaces funding” is allocated to improving the play area in their capital investment programme 2022-23.

You can find out more and view photos of the play equipment here: http://improveourpark.co.uk/

You can view (and sign!) the petition here: https://chng.it/YQP6kz7PC5

Glasgow Times article here: https://tinyurl.com/yckhpc5h

Your support would be greatly appreciated!

More bike hangers

Another bike hanger has appeared this week in Strathbungo, at the Pollokshaws Road end of Queen Square.

It was originally planned for the other end of the street, but the Society passed on concerns regarding the width of the hangar on the narrow roadway, and so it has been installed at 2 Queen Square, which is slightly wider.

There is clearly a need for these; sadly this one is already fully booked, as is every other one in the neighbourhood. If you want to add your name to the waiting list, or request another one somewhere, you can do so on the cyclehoop website. A space costs £72 per year.

Little Einsteins Nursery

Note: We have been asked to post this by a Strathbungo resident. The Society itself has no knowledge of, or views on, the issues raised.

Hi there,

I’m writing in relation to something that I’m sure hasn’t escaped your attention: the closure of Little Einstein’s Nursery on Nithsdale Road. Publishing on it in the future could be a really helpful thing to do and I would love to assist with that, as for right now I’m hoping we can exercise some Strathbungo community power to avert the permanent closure of this treasured local nursery.

They received a devastating lowest possible grading in their Care Inspectorate assessment last year. As a direct consequence of this, they now cannot find an insurer and have been shut since Monday last week (21st March). Having explored all the UK markets including Lloyds of London (my wife works for an insurance broker and has been supporting this process), it is becoming clear that the insurers are not interested in them at this grade. This is understandable given this is the lowest possible score the CI can award, which presumably is as close to instant closure as can be allowed to operate. This is a ridiculous overstatement and wildly inaccurate reflection of reality. The CI seem ignorant, unsympathetic and unhelpful on the fact that their rating is created a situation where permanent nursery closure is becoming the only possible outcome. If they cannot operate, they cannot make any earnings and will be unable to get reassessed.

We’ve been very impressed by all the improvements the Little Einstein’s team have made since the grading, but unfortunately their published scores remain unchanged. From our perspective, there is no cause for the nursery to be shutting over this. I’m confident our daughter receives above average care today, she loves the place and people, and misses both sorely. The impacts of closure are significant; loss of jobs, disruption and lost earnings for families, and disrupting the happy lives of young people in our community.

I’m frankly shocked by how this has all unfolded and am confident that if those involved could sit down together for a reasonable and considerate conversation, informed by all the relevant facts of the matter, that it wouldn’t be happening. I’m going to write to our MSP today.

One thing I wondered if you could help with is whether through the community network we know any Underwriters? My experience of these people is they are pivotal in the insurance world and that they make balanced and pragmatic decisions, which I’m confident in this case would be to find a way to allow the nursery to continue to operate.

Any other ideas or help of any sort you can lend to this cause will be so gratefully received by everyone effected I’m sure.

Many thanks for all your work and service to the community, I’m an avid reader of the newsletter and proud Strathbungoan.

Neil
neil.a.w.harrison@googlemail.com

Possible futures: Bungo Borehole Network

It is clear that we need to get Strathbungo off gas heating sooner rather than later, but onto what? Improving energy efficiency and insulation comes first, but we need to replace the boilers. One option is air source heat pumps where each property has their own independent system. Another is a district heating system where hot water is delivered directly to properties rather than gas. District heating needs a heat source, Central Glasgow will get a network drawing heat from the Clyde, parts of Southside might be able to run a network off the White Cart, and in some areas (regrettably probably not ours) minewater heat can be used. Strathbungo does not have an obvious heat source but there are still options.

Ground Source Heat Pumps which draw energy from under the ground (1.5-250m) can work better than Air Source Heat Pumps as underground is at a pretty constant temperature year round. They can use pipes laid in trenches if you have lots of space (we do not) or boreholes otherwise. However, the cost of drilling a borehole can be high, partly due to the cost of bringing in the equipment. Drilling lots of boreholes in one go is much cheaper per borehole than drilling them one off. Therefore a network of boreholes in Strathbungo’s back lanes might supply the needs of Strathbungo’s heating.

There are other advantages: such heat pumps can be run in reverse to provide cooling. While Glasgow has historically not had much need of cooling, we don’t live in that world any more. Heatwaves can kill large numbers of people. Consequently ensuring that at least some properties have cooling is an essential matter of life and death as well as increased comfort. We can invite neighbours round to lie next to cold radiators and wait for the weather to turn, as it surely will. Running the pumps in reverse also helps recharge the boreholes, increasing their capacity and efficiency in the winter.

One of the key constraints is the rate at which the ground cooled by the boreholes warms up again as heat moves in from the centre of the earth and surrounding ground. Draw energy out too fast and the ground will slowly cool over the years and the system become less efficient. Charging the boreholes in the summer from cooling radiators/solar thermal panels etc. can enable more homes to be heated off the same borehole network.

The main difficulty is likely to be organisational and financial rather than technical as there is a significant capital cost, complexities around running costs, title deeds etc. and it would only work financially if enough households made a firm commitment.

Kensa has a video of how ground source district heating systems can work.

Strathbungo Eco Group and Loco Home Retrofit are talking to one manufacturer about the possibility of a Bungo Borehole Network. We hope that developing this idea and assessing feasibility can form part of future back lane funding proposals. Loco Home Retrofit will also apply to the new Heat Networks Development Fund to develop this idea. We are looking for people to help manage this project, do get in touch: strathbungoecogroup@gmail.com

Interested in home improvements?

Energy prices have risen significantly and are set to rise even higher in October. Meanwhile the climate crisis continues to deepen and war criminals fund their crimes with fossil fuel revenue. You might be wondering how you could improve your Strathbungo home to reduce energy expenditure, improve comfort, and save the planet. Working out what to do and finding appropriate tradespeople can be difficult and expensive. However, Strathbungo Eco Group is working with Loco Home Retrofit to coordinate bulk purchasing of advice and works to bring down these costs and make it much easier.

We hope to coordinate the bulk purchase and implementation of energy saving home improvements, from insulation and windows to heat pumps and solar panels.

We have developed form to gather interest which you can find here:

https://forms.gle/ecH5i9NTckoNHDbJ9

If you live outside Strathbungo, do not worry, there will be a form for you as well before long.

Disclaimer: Several members and directors of Loco Home Retrofit are also members of Strathbungo Eco Group.

More on Back Lanes Funding

*** UPDATE – May 2022, see below ***

We previously reported on plans to access council funds for refurbishing back lanes.

The council not only required bids to come from a formally constituted body, i.e. The Society, but also set a very short deadline for the first round of applications, preventing us from conducting a fuller consultation. We therefore set about surveying the lanes and establishing how we could make small but meaningful improvements to the lanes within a budget of £20,000.

For the bulk of the bid we chose to focus on improving access in the back lanes, specifically for active travel, such as those walking and cycling, and sought to identify the areas where this is most difficult. On a wet day it became obvious that where the poor state of the surface combines with a tendency to flooding, lanes can be completely impassable to those on foot. The areas worst affected are the two entrances to the Vennard/Marywood lane from Vennard Gardens, and a short mid-section of the Marywood/Queen Square lane. If our bid is successful we will be looking to find a contractor who can perform patch repairs to these areas to improve access. We will need to seek permission of the owners of the adjacent properties, as the lanes are their property, and we will be approaching them in due course.

While we acknowledge other suggestions were made, we felt it appropriate to concentrate on fixing the worst problems first.

We have also bid for funding for indemnity insurance, previously withdrawn by the council, to cover our Brighter Bungo clean up events, a matter of a few hundreds of pounds.

There will be further rounds of funding, so if we can pull this off, it may allow us to bid for further projects in due course. We will let you know how we get on.

Update – May 2022

The Society has been awarded £20,000 to be spent by mid October. We need the written permission of the adjacent residents, who own the lanes, and are making good progress making contacts. We will also be seeking contractors who might be interested to discuss what can be achieved. If you think you have the skills to help us email our chair.

Network Rail Bridge Replacements

There’s an update on Network Rail in the newsletter, out today.

Furthermore Cllr Molyneux has received an acknowledgement of the importance of incorporating provision for active travel in the redesign of the roadbridge. While the structure is the responsibility of Network Rail, what is laid down on top of it is the responsibility of the council.

MESSAGE SENT ON BEHALF OF HEAD OF TRANSPORT STRATEGY, NEIGHBOURHOODS, REGENERATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

Dear Cllr Molyneux

Further to your enquiry dated the 1 February 2022 I write to provide you with a final update.

The Nithsdale Road Bridge is a key route identified in the proposed City Network; one of the major interventions set out in the Active Travel Strategy. Due to the railway there are no viable alternative options for a west-east link in this area. The route would act to connect the South City Way with the proposed extension to the South West City Way and has been identified as a likely priority project in the Interim Delivery Plan for the City Network.

The area surrounding Nithsdale Road Bridge is in the second tranche of Liveable Neighbourhoods which has now secured funding. Liveable Neighbourhoods will work with the communities to establish projects in the area based around four key thematics: Local Town Centres, Everyday Journeys, Active Travel, and Streets for People.

The works on and around the Nithsdale Road Bridge provide opportunity to deliver for both the Active Travel Strategy and Liveable Neighbourhoods by providing protected cycle space and making the route across the bridge more attractive and welcoming for pedestrians.

Head of Transport Strategy
Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability

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