Just a little slice of Glasgow Life

David Cameron’s great vision for combatting the austerity being imposed on the UK is the “Big Society”.  No-one really seemed to know what it was all about except that it involved people working for free.    But as with all things in time it’s  become clearer.  If you’re on the dole, you get to stack shelves at Tescos for free as “work experience”, because they will cut off your dole if you don’t; if you are the relative of a disabled person you get to support them out of your own income as they get cut off disability benefits, while the crooked pals of Cameron make millions and shut down criticism.  That’s the big society for you.

When you actually want to do something to improve your own society, your own community, rather than making money for Cameron’s old school chums or boosting the profits of corporates, that’s quite a different matter.  A group of community activists in Maryhill became sick to death of the eyesore that is Maryhill locks, tennis courts and running track which have been allowed to fall into disrepair at the hands of Glasgow Life  - an arms length management organisation, controlled by Glasgow City Council.   Despite numerous community attempts to see Maryhill Tennis Courts & Running Track maintained and used, the Council and Glasgow Life have bolted gates closed, and allowed the running track to become overgrown.  Led by Stephen Koepplinger, a well known local activist, who has previously won awards for his community work, they decided to spend an afternoon, clearing it up so that it could be restored for community use, setting up an event and encouraging people across Glasgow to get involved and help improve Maryhill.

You would think Glagow Life would be grateful.  You would think Glasgow City Council would cheer on the community minded individuals involved.  You would think they might offer some assistance, maybe suggest that a few staff could be assigned to help, perhaps the use of equipment, or some cash to buy materials

But no.  Glasgow Life threatened them with the police.

Dear Mr Koepplinger

I am writing to advise you that I have been made aware of a Facebook page publicising an event titled ‘Maryhill Locked Out’.

With regards to the Maryhill Park Running Track and Tennis Courts I can confirm that no permissions have been granted for the activities outlined on this page. The page indicates that “volunteers will set to work restoring the running track and tennis courts at 3.30pm”. Glasgow Life are responsible for the management of this track and tennis courts and have not authorised any such work.

Glasgow Life have brought this matter to the attention of Strathclyde Police as we are concerned about potential damage to Glasgow City Council assets and any attempts at unauthorised access or subsequent ‘work’ to either the running track or tennis courts will be reported to Strathclyde Police immediately.

I understand that you are one of the organisers of this event and would wish to advise you of our position.

Glasgow Life have been in discussion with local clubs and Glasgow City Council regarding potential developments at these sites. If you have suggestions for these facilities I would recommend that you approach Glasgow Life on a formal basis to present your proposals.

Regards

Lynne Colvin

Cluster Manager
Glasgow life

Glasgow’s facilities belong to the people of Glasgow.  It is shocking that Glasgow City Council have allowed them to fall into such a state of disrepair, and it is disgusting that they threaten those who seek to restore them for their intended purpose with police involvement.   Glasgow has some of the worst obesity and physical activity problems in Scotland. The Commonwealth Games are coming to Glasgow and being heavily touted as “a good thing”, yet all the locals have seen thus far is its community being destroyed and its facilities removed.

Despite local community leadership in Maryhill working to see sports investment, and increased physical activity, the Council has actually been obstructive. There is a big regeneration scheme underway at Maryhill Locks. Many tens of millions of pounds are being poured into the area to build a private housing scheme, but local people have been locked out of sports facilities, and despite enthusiasm and people with a track record of providing cycling and sports provision in the area, the council refuses to budge.

One can only speculate as to why the council and its quangos should feel so threatened by communities taking responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, at a time when they are destroying communities ostensibly for the purposes of promoting health and well-being.

Answers on a postcard.

Leave a comment below, or join the discussion on the or join the discussion on the Second Council House of Virgo facebook page. .
15 comments
stephen koepplinger
stephen koepplinger

Thanks for your support! It is much needed and appreciated. It can get a bit isolated trying to do the right then when it goes against the grain of the powers to be. Reading these blogs of support is very encouraging and I thank everyone who has supported the work that we are doing. Let's keep getting ourselves organised so that we will build a better society for the next generation! Stephen

Melanie McKellar
Melanie McKellar

Good for the community in Maryhill..... 'community' is something that has been slowly destroyed all over the UK, never mind in Scotland, since the thatcher years of the 80's. Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Life should be ashamed of themselves for promoting disunity!

James McNeill
James McNeill

A bit dishonest to try and blame the mismanagement by Glasgow's Labour council on Westminster don't you think? Although the letter was rude, this will almost certainly be a liability issue. If someone twists an ankle on that running track, they can sue for millions.

Mhairi Mcalpine
Mhairi Mcalpine

James McNeill tennis courts and a running track? Derelict property? I don't think so.

Second Council House of Virgo
Second Council House of Virgo

James McNeill - managed to recover the comments, but the latest one you posted seems to have disappeared. Sorry!

James McNeill
James McNeill

Your link has pretty much no bearing on this as it refers to liability in sporting events, not derelict property. This is about a derelict property. And you'd better believe a judge will rule against a failure to secure a dangerous site.

Mhairi Mcalpine
Mhairi Mcalpine

Jd McNeill ..the law in Scotland does now seem to be settled, following the case of Sharpe v Highland and Islands Fire Board [2007] CSIH 34. The case was dismissed at first instance and the subsequent appeal refused. Commenting on the facts at hand, and the wider question of liability, their Lordships hearing the appeal acknowledged that the standard of care in these types of action is difficult to define. Rather than attempting to devise a distinct standard of care, the court considered the appropriate the test in these types of cases to be akin to the familiar, common law neighbourhood principles expected of people in every day life, with each case being judged with reference to of its own unique set of facts. Lord Johnston summed up matters as follows, “the test to be applied in the context of negligence……is whether or not the competitor in question has committed an error of judgement that a reasonable competitor being a reasonable man of the sporting world would not have made.” http://www.morton-fraser.com/publications/articles/1305_liability_for_sporting_injuries_sustained_on_the_field_of_play-whats_the_score

JD McNeill
JD McNeill

Mhairi Mcalpine - I'm sure you've seen the adverts on telly? You know the ones... "Have you had an accident? Make a no-win, no-fee claim" Having worked in finance in local government, I can tell you James is not being daft, he is quite correct. Kids in sports events usually have to sign a waiver of some form, either included in registration docs or similar. Even schools do this these days.

Mhairi Mcalpine
Mhairi Mcalpine

I'm not suggesting that Glasgow City Council's mismanagement is the fault of Westminister, merely that there is an agenda being promoted by Westminister that people should work for free for the common good. In practice that means work for big business for nothing through workfare, and perform caring duties for zilch as disability support allowances are taken away. As for suing for millions if they twist an ankle, is that right? So every kid that ever had a hospital trip on the back of a sports event automatically becomes a millionaire? Dont be bloody daft!

Jim Dallas
Jim Dallas

PS What's a 'cluster manager'? Does she arrange the cluster ***ks or orders the cooncils breakfast cereal?

Jim Dallas
Jim Dallas

Our employees threatening their employers? Tell me it isn't so...

Taylor Charleston
Taylor Charleston

Glasgow life is an ALEO and operates as a private company so profit is always the top concern, they cant have people looking after their "Assets" because it will effect their money flow and then their pay and bonuses. Its sad that we've allowed what was once a pubic service become a greedy corrupt business. Everyone suffers but those on the boards.

MI Chelle
MI Chelle

Very bad move by the local authorities to threaten to prevent activists cleaning up a public space. How ridiculous!

Alan Kane
Alan Kane

not very clever just as we are approaching an election. much respect to the Maryhill community keep up the good work.

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