Maryhill Park Investment Plans move forward.

Entrance sign for Maryhill Park, Glasgow

I notice there has been some interest over what’s happening at Maryhill Park. So I was delighted to hear from Glasgow Life today that two of the tennis courts should be open by the end of next week.

This sees further progress following the public consultation which established the investment plans for the park and follows the preliminary meeting of the Friends of Maryhill Park by residents in this area of the ward.

Glasgow Life have confirmed that:  “Over the coming months, planned investment work will be carried out to upgrade the tennis courts and further specialist work is planned for the running track. We will give access to the site, to allow for a spring clean of the surrounding areas.”

Glasgow Life, in partnership with local clubs and other agencies are looking at future plans for investment in the area, including the running track and tennis courts at Maryhill Park.

The city has invested £17 million in sports facilities in six locations which are within walking distance of the site, including a new £8.3 million, state-of-the-art leisure centre at Maryhill and numerous indoor and outdoor pitches.

Recent Investment 

  1. Maryhill has seen the construction of the city’s most recent major leisure Centre at Gairbraid Avenue in the heart of Maryhill. This significant facility sits alongside the redeveloped Burgh Halls as part of a massive regeneration project. The Leisure Centre includes a swimming pool, fitness suite, health suite, dance studios, sports halls etc and was opened in 2010 at a cost of £8.3m.  In this short space of time it has attracted over 400,000 attendances.
  2. New sports pitches and community leisure facility at John Paul Academy. These opened in 2008 at a cost of £2 million and have attracted 140,000 local people since it opened.
  3. Refurbished sports pitches adjacent to Maryhill Park. These opened in 2008 at a cost of £250,000.

There are numerous opportunities for young people to get active in the Maryhill area. Glasgow Life supports numerous sports clubs and activities for young people in the local area, including, bowling, football, judo, martial arts and netball – all of which include new expansion within junior ranks. The Maryhill Junior Boys Club and the Sapphire Gymnastics Club have been credited as outstanding examples of engagement with young people. 

Glasgow Life also supports the Maryhill Harriers, with the junior club attracting a regular attendance of 28 young athletes to the club.

Maryhill Activity Directory provides a comprehensive listing of activities and events in the Maryhill area. The directory includes activities mainly from the communities of Acre, Cadder, Firhill, Gilshochill, Hamiltonhill, Kelvindale, part of Lambhill, Maryhill, North Kelvinside, Ruchill, Summerston, Westercommon, Woodside, Wyndford & beyond.

A Fresh Start for Glasgow

front page of Glasgow Liberal Democrat ManifestoIf you read the press the council elections in Glasgow are often framed as a battle between the SNP and Labour in some kind of titanic struggle that may determine the outcome of a future Independence Referendum.

But the reality is that these elections are actually about how our City is run and our communities best served. The choice on May 3rd should be about electing hard working Councillors not part time politicians. Being a Councillor is a job of work, Councillors in Glasgow are responsible for a budget of over £2 Billion pounds and how Councillors resource, plan and deliver services affects the daily lives of citizens far more than any MSP or MP.

We believe these elections give Glasgow an historic opportunity to shed the mistakes of the past and deliver a fresh start for our city, restoring it’s reputation and re-establishing the bond of trust between our city and its people. Some of our key themes are set out in our Manifesto for Glasgow.

So I urge constituents, keep on asking the hard questions of what candidates will actually do, and most of all exercise your right to vote on May 3rd.

Community groups benefit from March Area Committee grants

Community Notice Board

The March meeting of Maryhill Kelvin Area Committee was happy to support the following bids from local groups.

£2050 to Wyndford Residents Association and Wyndford & District Community Council for ‘Wyndford World Cup Fun Day’ to take place in and around Maryhill Hub on Saturday 26th May 2012.

£1000 towards the Cadder Community Festival which will be held on Saturday 16th June 2012.

£1000 to Summerston Youth Forum towards a gala day on 30th June 2012 North West Women’s Centre.

£2000 for St Mary’s Primary School for new playground equipment.

£1,800 to John Paul Academy Parent Council for equipment for playground games event.

£2000 to John Paul Academy for equipment and clothing for pupils participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

£4647 to support the refurbishment of Cadder Community Centre, this follows on the successful bid for £28,000 approved at the Maryhill Kelvin and Canal Local Community Planning Partnership.

£539 for new IT equipment for The Disability Community project which aims to enhance the lives of disabled people within the local area by improving services and providing opportunities for personal and social fulfilment.

£250 to Gairbraid Women’s Church Guild towards the cost of Bus hire for a trip to Oban on 2nd June 2012 for approximately 33 people.

£195 agreed for bus trip by the North West Women’s Centre to the Scottish Parliament.

£600 to Greater Maryhill Outreach project for children’s musical instruments.

£450 to Wyndford & District Community Council towards purchase of laptop and printer.

£830 to Glasgow Repertory Company towards delivering a tour of the 2012 production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to communities in Glasgow. This proposal is specifically aimed at a performance in Botanic Gardens and one in the St Matthews Centre (Canal ward). These performances will be free at both venues and take place on 17th and 18th July 2012.

A budget for millions, not millionaires

A £3.5bn tax cut for working people.

  • Biggest single ever uplift in the tax threshold
  • 21 million working people getting an extra £220 tax cut
  • Tycoon Tax raises FIVE times as much from the super-rich

The Liberal Democrats have ensured this is a budget for the millions not for the millionaires, delivering a £3.5billion tax cut to average working people.

As part of the Budget, the Chancellor has announced that from next year, the Income Tax threshold will be raised further, ensuring that no one pays any income tax on the first £9,200 they earn.

In Glasgow that means 14,910 people will have been lifted out of paying Income Tax all together and a further 198,700 will receive a £220 tax cut. This is on top of tax cuts of £200 last year and a further £130 next month.

This budget shows the value of Liberal Democrats in Government. As a Scottish Liberal Democrat, I want to see a fairer tax system where help is provided for those who need it most and where the richest pay their fair share.

Raising the Income Tax threshold will help average working people in Glasgow and especially in my own ward of Maryhill Kelvin who have been struggling with bills and higher cost of living.

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:

“Liberal Democrats have been clear in our priorities for the Budget. We wanted to see a Budget for the millions, not the millionaires.

“The Coalition Government inherited an unfair tax system from Labour, who in their 13 years hit ordinary working families hardest by abolishing the 10p tax rate while letting tycoons get away with shameless tax avoidance.

“Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are doing the right thing to clear up the mess Labour left behind, making sure the wealthiest pay their fair share by clamping down on tax avoidance, introducing a ‘tycoon tax’ and putting an end to stamp duty dodging by the super rich.

“Raising the Income Tax threshold is a key Liberal Democrat commitment that the Coalition Government is implementing. The announcement in the Budget will mean almost 2 million people will be taken out of paying Income Tax all together in the UK and give nearly 21 million people a £220 tax cut.”


“Cadder deserves the best”

That was the clear decision of last month’s task group meeting where Cadder Housing Association and Grant/Murray architects unveiled the stunning artwork from the new plans for Cadder Community Centre and Sports Hall.

The task group which includes Cadder Housing, the Centre’s management committee, Cadder Community Council, council and voluntary sector partners and Cadder’s Councillors, MSP and MP were thrilled by the vision of a new build sports hall and refurbished community centre.

And in further good news, Maryhill Kelvin Area Committee approved a grant of £12,000 for work on the Community Centre and will consider a further bid at our next meeting in April. 

All of us know Cadder deserves good community facilities and when it comes to the Centre and Sports Hall Cadder has shown it has big plans which we hope all of the community will get behind and support.

Friends of Maryhill Park

Land and Environmental Services intend to hold a meeting in John Paul Academy during the week beginning 23 April 2012 to which residents who have expressed an interest in establishing a Friends Group for Maryhill Park will be invited.

In the meantime LES have advised on the use of Amenity/Greenspace ENV2 receipts towards providing play facilities and landscaping within Maryhill Park.

The funds will be used to create a new toddler’s play area in Maryhill Park and to introduce wildflower areas in the area just off Maryhill Road.

By re-landscaping this area and introducing meadow planting it is hoped this will enhance the wildlife value and biodiversity of the area and provide another area in the park where schools can visit and study nature.

February Area Ctte Grants

This month Maryhill Kelvin Area Committee was happpy to support the following bids for support:

North Glasgow Healthy Living Community

Funding for 7th Annual North Glasgow 5k Fun Run to take place on 22nd April 2012.

Awarded £822

Go Safe Glasgow Road Safety Partnership

The partnership requested a total sum of £42,000 from Area Committees across the city to contribute to two initiatives (£2,000 per committee) as follows:

1. Costs of fitting out and purchase of on board recording equipment and signage for a Speed

Reduction and Information Vehicle. Go Safe Glasgow is launching a year long speeding campaign supported by Strathclyde police. The vehicle will be deployed on a rotational basis within each area. A quarterly report will be submitted to each Area Committee supporting the vehicle; and made available to engineers in their assessment of measures to reduce speed in identified areas. Strathclyde Police will support the initiative through targeted enforcement of identified repeat offenders. Each area will have an equal share of the resource which in addition to recording speed can be deployed to local communities to deliver road safety messages.

2. Go Safe Primary Safety Pack. The partnership will develop an interactive safety education resource which will cover all aspects of safety including prevention of crime, road safety, water, railways and fire. A fully Interactive Website will enable the involvement and input of local elected members and include links to access local services and agencies; additionally some documents will be available in other formats/languages. Education Services will develop and provide delivery of the programme throughout their schools as part of the Curriculum of Excellence.

Awarded £2,000

Cadder Housing Association

The housing association requested a contribution towards the following upgrades to Cadder Community Centre:

1. Renew / Upgrade Male Toilets approx £5,000

2. Renew/ Upgrade Female toilets approx £5,000

3. Remove obsolete water storage tanks approx £2,000

4. Create new reception space from intervening space between existing reception area and toilets approx £15,000

5. Renew internal doors approx £5,000

Work on the exterior of the building has been carried out including commissioning a new roof, cladding, heating and connecting fire alarms. The next priority is to make the centre more welcoming.

Awarded £12,000 and agreed to give further consideration to further funding at the next meeting.

1st Glasgow Boys Brigade 

To purchase equipment for use by the 51 members during the camping weekends, weekly activity programmes and the annual summer camp.

Awarded £1,575

First our Rail Stations, now SNP target Bus Services

As the consultation on Rail2014 and the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme end, and we await the outcomes on station closures and the future of the Queen Street to Anniesland northern line, we might have thought that that the public fury over these threats to our public transport would have taught the SNP Government that people want public transport improved, expanded but definitely not cut.

But this week I received notice from First Group of a new threat by the SNP Government to bus services.

The Bus Service Operators Grant, administered by Transport Scotland, is paid to bus operators to enable them to run services which might not otherwise be commercially viable and keep fares down.

The Scottish Government has recently informed bus operators that, from 1st April 2012, it plans to reduce the budget for the Bus Service Operators Grant by around 20%. In addition, the Scottish Government is changing the method it uses to calculate payments to operators. The combined effect could have a far reaching impact on many bus passengers, particularly those who live and travel in areas like the Glasgow conurbation.

And among the consequences First Group warn of:

  • Increased fares and a reduction in service levels – this is likely especially in cities such as Glasgow.
  • Increased pressure on local authorities – it is likely that the reduction in support will make it more expensive for local authorities to support socially necessary bus services and school services as operators will face higher costs when operating contracts. In addition, local authorities may be asked to support more services that are no longer commercially viable.

The SNP are telling people to use public transport on the one hand and are then cutting transport funding on the other. The SNP have known for months from the bus operators themselves that the scale and the speed of these cuts would have a damaging impact on the bus network, and it’s simply not good enough to try to pass the blame and expect operators to maintain current services while cutting their grant.

People are already struggling to keep pace with the rise in the cost of living and this latest news of increasing bus fares and cuts in services will hit the pockets of those hardest pressed in society and do nothing to promote greater use of public transport.

Maryhill Activity Directory 2012 Launch

Maryhill Activity Directory is one of the really valuable resources I’ve came to rely on over the last few years. Jammed packed with details of all the voluntary groups and activities across my ward and the wider Maryhill area.

The Directory is a credit to Jim Hamilton, who’s energy and enthusiasm seem boundless, and to all the team who bring this together. The launch at Maryhill Fire Station was a great day out and was officially launched by Lord Provost Bob Winter who spoke on behalf of all four ward Councillors including Mary Paris, Mohammed Razaq and myself. 

We have been delighted to provide funding for the Directory over the last four years. I know we all wish Jim, his team and the Directory every success in the future.

Hard copies of the directory are available at most centres or you can drop Jim a message at: [email protected]

A budget that put Glasgow first

Today we came so close. In fact we came to within 2 votes of securing a better budget, a budget that met Glasgow’s needs. Too often people tell me that when push comes to shove politicians will always go with what is in the interests of our party and not what is necessarily the best for Glasgow.

So today we faced the question head on and we put Glasgow first. All of Glasgow’s opposition parties agreed to meet this morning and see if we had the wit and the will to set aside party advantage and work in partnership to present a credible alternative budget that for the first time in a generation stood a real chance of securing a majority in Council.

This wasn’t going to be an SNP budget, a Green Budget or a Scottish Liberal Democrat budget. No party would be able to claim it had sole ownership or led on this budget.

We were able to agree an alternative and the full detail of our budget is contained here in the Opposition Budget

Despite our best efforts and the support of six Labour Councillors we were unsuccessful. The Labour party budget secured the support of 38 Labour Councillors, one suspended Labour Councillor and one Independent. In total they had 40 votes to our 38.

Despite the spin they place upon the opposition budget and claim it cut education and jobs, the fact is that our joint budget proposed:

  • £32 million for a new primary school building programme.
  • To restore the cap of no more than 20 pupils in S1/S2 Maths and English classes.
  • Employ additional ESL Teachers and increase the number of teachers in Family Centres
  • A £2 million jobs fund to support training and employment for young people
  • The appointment of a Carers Champion and increased investment in Carers Centres.
  • £8 million additional investment in roads and pavement maintenance.
  • Enhanced recycling and the introduction of weekly blue bin collections.

We believe that it was right for Glasgow’s opposition parties to try to secure the best possible budget for Glasgow. This time we lost but I believe all of us benefitted from working in partnership in the best interests of Glasgow. I think that’s what people want to see more of, not less. Rest asssured I will always work with those who continue to put Glasgow First.