Sunday, November 27, 2005


So what's that 18 times now, or something?

In yet another 'surprising' incident the right hand lift at 65 Cedar street broke down last night and a lift engineer had to be called to 'fix' the problem.

This has happened well over a dozen times now since the lift was repaired having been out of action for four and a half months.

So what did they do with all that money they never spent?


Welcome to the New Venice

"It's a good looking scheme for what is, at present, a disaster zone. Good stuff. Will be very dominant on the hill too, weird contrast next to the power station! Unfortunately I doubt it'll be big enough to overpower the council blocks in Cowcaddens."

This is what passes for a public debate on the subject of 'little venice'. There is much talk about strategic masterplans, regeneration, and 'the image of the city' that this building project will project, along with sunny images of futuristic buildings coupled with happy smiling people, but it is notable that amongst the talk about how house prices in Spiers Wharf - the gated community of 149 houses and offices on the other side of the canal from the St George's Estate - will surely rise there is absolutely no mention of how the vast majority of people who live in this area will benefit from them.

In fact it is telling that whenever the publishers of glowing reports and articles discuss 'New Rotterdam Wharf', and 'New Dundas Wharf' in the context of those who live in this area currently it is partly in a fearful tone. We are something to be controlled and moved on. Our areas, the communities we live in, are eyesores that need to be 'dealt with' and any possible 'benefit' from this scheme can only be construed as something that moves significant 'new people' into the area, rather than being developed as something that improves the lot of the ordinary people who actually already live in our communities.

A MASTERPLAN to transform the Forth and Clyde Canal in Glasgow into a "Little Venice" has been given the go-ahead. [...] However, the report makes no secret of potential problems - notably security issues because of a perceived threat from yobs along the canalside in areas such as Maryhill.

Indeed even the objections lodged to the scheme have been couched in the adverse effects perceived to the folk in the Spiers Wharf flats (who as we've said constitute a tiny minority of this region's tens of thousands strong population. Little or nothing has been made of the fact that while Glasgow City Council is prepared to lavish money in a PFI scheme to build hundreds of £200,000+ luxury flats money cannot be found by the authorities to re-open our community centre in Raglan Street, our provide decent play areas for our kids.

In our communities we've seen massive underspends (over 50% in the South Maryhill LHO area - which covers the St. George's Estate - and over two thirds for Hamiltonhill LHO).

If the £100 million of investment that the council is keen to 'help out' with was to be used to regenerate our area for the people who live there I'm sure this plan would have no detractors. However, having spoken to one of the architects behind this plan, in the near secret 'public consultation' it became abuntantly clear that this scheme is in no way going to benefit locals. When I asked this archect whether any of his 'warehouses' would have flats which were available to rent, he said no. He went on further to say that he had been speaking to 'the key partners in social housing', and 'to the GHA' and he had been told that "nobody wants to live in social housing", so therefore his plans didn't incorporate any.

So what we have is the authorities on one hand sponsoring a development for the super-affluent, which will need to be 'protected' from the wilds of Maryhill, and on the other a pre-existing community, that has seen massive neglect over many years both under the council, and now under their pals at the GHA, which stands to gain exactly nothing, apart from an encroaching population. A population that is to some extent frightened by the existing community, and which will not interact positively with it, and one which will need to import its goods and services because its 'needs' are not taken care of by what serves the current community.

This is effectively a yuppy colonisation, and it will result in a change in the character of our area for the worse, making it harder for the people of our communities to afford to live in them. It's bad news and it needs to be stopped. It is also deeply ominous that a time when all this luxury flat building is taking place in our community the flats that we live in - which we know the GHA considers to be under 'Options Appraisal', where they may choose to knock them down at any point between now and 15-20 years down the line, depending on their own undisclosed priorities - are seeing massive underinvestment.

Does the GHA know something we don't?


Strategic Underinvestment

South Maryhill LHO Investment Spend for year April 2004 - March 2005

Target | Planned | Actual | Variance
£1,788,081 | £1,058,746 | £856, 497 | £931,854


The GHA can gloss those stats up in fancy brochures through the letter box all they like, but the numbers speak for themselves. Out of a budget of £1,788,081 for the whole year, they managed to spend just £856,497, which equates to just under 48% of the actual budget for the year.

In other words they managed to spend less than half their budget on this area. This is despite the fact that the Cedar Court part of the St George's Estate is needing its lefts replaces its common areas better maintained, its repairs more efficiently carried out, it potential asbestos problems dealt with, its childrens' play areas invested in and upgraded and the general look of the place improved.

Our housing officials and representatives have become so incompetant they can't even think of things to spend money on while the people who live in the area have ideas coming out of their eyeballs in terms of what that near million quid they forget to use this year past could have been spent on.

Friday, November 18, 2005


A letter from Patricia Fergusson

In response to the letter from our treasurer Patricia writes the following:-

"Dear X,
Thank you fo your letter of November 5th regarding the breakdown of the lifts at your home in 65 Cedar Street.

I have forwarded your correspondence to Bailie Malik's office as she will be best placed to deal with your concerns. I had noted however, that you had said you were yet to hear from either myself or Bailie Malik with regards the issues you had raised with us during our roving surgery in Cedar Street. Bailie Malik has infact been in touch with Stephen McAvoy at Glasgow Housing Association to bring to his attention the issues you had raised. I believe that Bailie Malik is still awaiting a response from Mr. McAvoy and as soon as this is forthcoming; she will be back in touch with you.

In the meantime if you wish to contact Bailie Malik to discuss your concerns, she can be contacted at Glasgow City Chambers on (0141) 287 5883.

Yours sincerely,
Patricia Ferguson MSP"

In other words the elected representative for this constituency in the Scottish Parliament has declaimed any responsibility for the state of social housing in her constituency. Apparently social housing is not under her ambit of responsibility, as long as it is issues affecting tenants that really matter to them. This is passing the buck.


Tenants Are Not Puting Up With This Carry-on

A message from the Association's Treasurer

Tenants are not puting up with this carry-on with our flats, and when Tenants have to walk down the (excape root) the backstairs, the stairs are so dangerous they are slippy, and wet, that someone could have a bad accident, and fall its not right for old people or tenants who have kids, babys with prams having to walk up and down all those stairs. It's not right, and something has to be done to our lifts. We need some new ones, and I think its about time we got them, everyone knows that. Also the engineers they said the same thing that the lifts are no use so why are we not getting new ones, as we cannot put up with this, lifts out of order all the time. It's not us if GHA can't afford them, it's just not acceptable the continuous breakdown. We the tenants are sick of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


A letter to Patricia Ferguson MSP

A copy of this letter was sent to the Housing Manager at Queens Cross - Steven MacAvoy.

It was written by the current treasurer of the tenants association.


Dear Patricia Ferguson,
I am writing to you regarding the breakdown of our lifts at 65, Cedar st,.
As I left the house on Friday 4th Nov morning the two lifts were off and the was for (25 mins) there were 7 tenants walking down all the backstairs as we reach the foyer tow of the oldest tenants who have lived in the flats since they were built were standing to get the lift to their houses. When I spoke to the concierge he did not know they were putting the two lifts off, I was really, really, annoyed at having to walk down all the backstairs from the (17 floor). Its getting beyond a joke, two weeks before this the wee boy who lives along the corridor from me he was stuck.
But he said it was to be about 10 mins or so, and thats what the two oldest tenants said they would be back on in (10 mins). It was (25 mins) but no one told us, the Tenants , whether or not it's 10 mins or not we are supposed to know. Plus 2 lifts off at the one time was never allowed they must keep one lift operating so I was so annoyed. Also the wee boy along the corridor was stuck in the lift the week before, for more than (1/2 hour) and that was just after 6-00PM. Its just getting beyond a joke the week before the boy was stuck the lift kept banging at nearly every floor the banging, and noise was terrible then the boy was stuck in it. The the two lifts off on Friday morning, is it not time GH payed out for new lifts?
GHA never let you know what is happening with out lifts, also don't tell tenants the lift is going off, for a period of time, and having the disgrace to put both lifts off, and don't let the tenants know it's reidiculous. I don't think yourself Patricia od Councillor Malik or GHA members would put up with it either - so why should the tenants of Cedar st. We want new lifts not lifts that break down every so many weeks - it's getting worse. I would be grateful if I would have a response this time regarding our lifts, and other repairs they are going to do in our flats, or whether they are being pulled down like in Springburn.

Yours sincerely,

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Looking Forward - Youth Facilities

At a recent meeting of Cedar Tenants Association it was decided that we would like to see a meeting for the whole North Woodside area where many people from the wider community came along and had their say, and which gave us, as a community, a chance to think and plan about youth facilities in the area.

The Association has learned that the community council in our area (woodside community council) has been trying to tackle some of the anti-social behaviour that goes on in the area, where missiles have been chucked dangerously from heights and where youths have been causing trouble on the wider st George's estate by playing loud music. We think this is a major issue for issue for people living in the area, but we're also pretty clear that a lot of what goes on could be avoided if there were decent facilities for local kids and youths to play and be rowdy in.

Considering that many of the trouble makers are as young as twelve we think that this position is all the more justified. Yes we need to be tough on crime but we feel some of it is simply kids with nothing to do making a nuisance of themselves, and certainly in Cedar there is little for them to be getting on with and the play facilities that exist are not good enough, or not fit for the purpose, or in the case of the climbing frames in front of the concierge station they are badly maintained and actually unsafe.

We feel that there is a space now for people across woodside to get together to talk about these issues and we would really like to see a wider number of groups get involved in organizing an event that would bring together people from across the wider community and we will over the course of the next few weeks being making contact with other groups and agencies to see if we can make this come together.

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