Saturday, February 11, 2006


Electricity wiring

At the meeting two weeks ago Stephen McAvoy promised to deal with the problem of live electricity wires, lying exposed and often vandalised in the landings, backstair areas and closes of the three tower blocks in Cedar. This has been a problem for many years now and it is about time it was fixed, as it presents a real hazard to people living in the blocks. We were therefore very glad of the commitment that was made at this meeting.

Having allowed a week's grace our meeting last week agreed that we should survey the three tower blocks to see what improvements had been made, and this Thursday past (9/2/06) we made a comprehensive survey of all the landings, backstairs and closes within the three tower blocks. Our members were actually really shocked to note the level of disrepair recorded in the findings below.

Floor 22/block 104: the live electricity wires in the backstair are exposed dangerously, and piping insulation is exposed. The plaster in the doorframe to the liftshaft room is broken. On the landing electrical wiring is exposed.

Floor 20/block 104: The electiricity wiring on the landing is exposed and the area is a mess with fire damage that has not been delat with. In the left hand close there is a large crack in the roofing tiles, there is a light that has gone out, and there is exposed wiring. in the right hand close there is exposed wiring, cracked roofing tiles, and the guard on the window preventing it from swinging 360 degrees is broken - this is a massive hazard for children. In the backstairs electical wiring is exposed above the NTL box.

Floor 19/block 104: the chute has a large crack in it.

Floor 17/block 104: The NTL box is broken and exposed. In the left hand close there is a broken glass door. The landing roof tiles are 'decorated' with national front graffiti. In the right hand close there are exposed wires.

Floor 14/block 104: The chute is very badly damaged and the NTL box exposed. In the left hand close the wooden frame at number 57 is hanging from the wall. In the left hand close the end window has been very badly vandalised with paint. In the landing the drying room has had it's wooden panel slap-dash repair for broken glass kicked in. In the right hand close there are tiles missing from the walls and various doorways have large gaping holes in them.

Floor 11/block 104: The NTL box is exposed. In the right hand close the wiring is exposed.

Floor 8/block 104: The chute is badly damaged, the NTL box is hanging off the wall and the wiring in the backstair is exposed. in the right hand close the wiring is exposed.

Floor 5/block 104: The NTL box is broken and the chute is badly damaged. in the left hand close tiles are missing and wiring is exposed. There are also holes in the wall and cupboard in this close.

Floor 2/block 104: The NTL box is broken. ***The landing wiring is exposed dangerously***. A roof tile is broken. In the left hand close the wiring is exposed.

Floor 22/65: Wiring and piping in the backstair are exposed. A landing light is not
working. the wiring is exposed in the left hand close. There is exposed wiring in the right hand close as well.

Floor 20/block 65: the NTL box and the chute at the bin are broken. Tiles on the landing are exposed. One of tha landing lights is off. In the left hand close the light is off.

Floor 17/block 65: The chute at the bin is broken. The NTL box is exposed. The landing has exposed wiring. The right hand close also has exposed wiring.

Floor 14/block 65: Both the NTL box and the bin are broken. One of the landing lights is out. In the right hand close the light is off and ***the exposed wiring is a deathtrap***. The light in the left hand close is out.

Floor 11/block 65: the NTL box is exposed. The landing has uncovered wiring. The right hand close has holes in the walls at doorframes. The right hand door is graffitied.

Floor 8/block 65: The NTL box is exposed along with ***dangerous wiring***. In the right hand close the roofing tiles are cracked. On the landing there is exposed wiring.

Floor 5/block 65: There are exposed wires by the bin. There are wires exposed in the
landings. On the left hand side there is dangerous wiring exposed and one of the lights has gone out.

Floor 2/block 65: The landing has a hole in the roof and there are exposed wires. in the left hand close there are wires lying unsafe and in the right hand side the window is broken.

Throughout the whole of number 9 block the only area which does not suffer from broken NTL boxes is floor 2, and the wiring problem there remains endemic. On the 14th floor there is an NTL box without a cover.

Sunday, February 05, 2006


Extracts from meeting with Stephen McAvoy

On heating, with reference to the newly fitted storage heaters coming away from people's walls leaving gaping holes in the plasterboard because the brick-filled storage-heaters were improperly attached and fitted by workers incompetent to do the job:-

"I'm no defending that, I mean we're paying substantial money for these contractors[...]
These houses should have been marched in and marched oot when the work was finished, so some'dy should have checked it immediately after the work was finished. I'm presuming what you're telling me is that after that check was done this things come away fae the wall. In any event that's no acceptable. I don't know about it and i didnae know about it at the time but if you don't mind we'll still make contact wi ye and well still take up the issue wi the contractor as well...


“I'm no suggestin the heatin system you've got's the best. [...] the idea o putin the new radiotors in was to give you upgraded heat, and the concern that I'm taking back the night is that we havenae achieved that objective.”

“Ma personal opinion is that type of heatin system that's there is not the best that GHA can provide for ye. That's ma honest opinion.”

On lifts:-

“The contract is already let. ... Six lifts in all of the blockas will be done.”

On Raglan Halls:-

“There's a feasibility study going on at the momenty to open that as a 'cyber cafe'.”
On Water pressure/washing machines:-

“firstly I accept your point, I don't think a washing machine is a luxury to be prefectly honest wi you... what I wil do is speak to the local repair team manager tomorrow and I'll find out who's been to see it and if there are any possible solutions... “

With reference to the close door at number 37 being kicked in and left unmended over the whole Christmas period, prompting further vandalism:-

“Well I'm in complete agreement wi ye in the sense that prevention would be better than the cure if we got to it a bit more quickly, What did it cost us to fix the graffiti, what did it... Apart fae the heartache that you had what did it cost us in terms o additional repairs to dae what's to be done. And ma suggestion is there's a duty officer in that office everyday and if there are any problems and issues that you have then by aw means I'm askin that you contact us because we have the means to do somethin about it, and also have the means to put a bit [sic] – the contract's there in terms o building services and the're timescales for them to carry oot their repairs but there has to be common sense as far as that, that, that's applied and I still reserve the right to have the discretion to apply that common sense, and I encourage ma staff to have the common sense to apply that as well, in the sense, that what ye;re sayin to me is it wasnae, it wasnae a simple case from a door burst or a lock, the were associated problems fae that and that's something should'ae been taken in account in terms o how quickly they got there to actually fix it.”

On the external fabric, and the roofs of the low-rises:-

"Well we are committed to doing that [upgrading the existing close doors] and that's actually in the current programme o works. Erm. The reason for the delay is that we intend to tag... tackle the outside fabric o the buildin, erm, and some problems wi the roof, perticularly at the corner of St. George's Road, there's a real issue wi water penetration in one o the roofs as well and the intention is to tackle all the work. Nou apart fae the fact that this makes sense from a common sense there are also some owners who are elligible for a grant."


"The reason for the delay is nothing to dae wi the owners. Believe it or not we want to overclad and roughcast the buildings – or at least part of them there as well to improve the heat insulation in them. And part of the problem we have - you'll be aware that there's been issues wi cracks in part of the buildings as well – we need planning permission from the city council, because those buildings are classed as brick buildings"

[It should be noted at this point that many of the low-rise flats have suffered from levels of dampness which have made the houses near uninhabitable. The association is aware of one lady who moved in with her children eight years ago whose kids suffer from bad asthma and bronchitis, because the walls are wet and black with mould. In the winter her kids need to sleep in her living room because it is too damp in their bedrooms for them to sleep. She has complained about this repeatedly and received no satisfaction. GHA's attitude to her problems is encapsulated in the one time they bothered to address her situation – they sent two workers round with a pot of white paint 'to cover up the damp'. Needless to say her walls were black again within a week.]

On controlled entry systems:-

“Due to be done is a new controlled entry system and that's a changeoverto the metal-magnetic system that they have further up on Garscube Road.”

On the mobile phone mast situated on the top of number nine block:-

“No there's no health and safety risk coz ye remember we had an issue in the whole city a few years back about suggestions that radiation and suchlike came from these masts, so there was a health and safety assessment done for every multi-storey property across the city at that point in time, so it's kinda raking the ashes o somethin that's already been checked if you like but you have my assurances that that has been checked.”

[I wonder if Stephen would mind if we let the top of his house to a mobile phone company without telling him? I wonder what he would say if, when he raised questions about its safety and why he was never consulted when we chose to let his roof to the highest bidder for the erection of a mobile mast, we had said to him – 'No worries Steve, we looked at this issue a while back and believe us there really is no problem here, and we feel you're raking over old ground there mate' ?]

On the issue of Raglan concierge not being in their office during their duty hours:-

"There's a reduction in the numbers o staff so obviously if the guys are oot and aboot, cleaning the stairs or whatever it is that they're daein, the station is going to locked at that point in time, so what they've been instructed to do is to put a notice on the door saying I'ma away for an oor, or I'm away for two oors or whatever's happenin."

[Oh well, that's alright then...]

"So if that's not happenin and also they're being instructed that if they're away for that period o time that they leave the contact number... the guys are in radio contact ok so see when the fellas that work in raglan are out and about they're still in radio contact with the control centre at Cedar, so they're still contac... for a health and safety point of view fae their point of view but also on the basis o bein able to contact them, but I take on board what you're sayin about it no being opened for the oors that is should be open."

[There are obvious issues for people in Raglan street about anti-social behaviour and violent crime, and it's very brass-necked of Stephen McAvoy to say that concierge staff – who I think should be in the station in Raglan 24/7, especially in light of both the Peggy Weir murder, and recent serious disturbances such as an incident where dunken/drugged youths were chucking objects such as televisions at passing cars on St George's Road – are not available because of GHA staff cuts. I have no doubt that Cedar Tenants Association would do all it could to support tenants in Raglan if they wanted to address this issue.]

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Meeting With Stephen McAvoy

Cedar Tenants Association has been working for some time to secure a meeting with the community housing manager of Queen's Cross Local Housing Organisation - the local branch of the GHA which manages Cedar. We had been looking to secure such a meeting since a consultation we took at a public meeting revealed that something tenants and residents in Cedar would like to see most was that they got a chance to put their concerns and questions to, and had them dealt with by the housing boss for the area.

On Thursday the 26th of January the association held this meeting and managed to extract a few commitments from the Queens Cross LHO boss:-

1) Exposed live electricity wiring (in many cases left unfixed, and often dangerously vandalised for years at a time) will now be fixed in the three tower blocks, as of Friday the 27th of January.

2) He will meet with us again whenever we like, at any point in the

3) That washing machines will no longer be treated as "luxury items" (previously Queens Cross LHO stated that low water pressure issues in the tower blocks - the result of an antiquated water system, where tap water is drawn from rooftop water-storage tanks as opposed to from rising mains - were not a problem because it only affected washing machines and other domestic appliances, which were "luxury items" which therefore tenants should do without).

[No washing machine being manufactured today will run on the low water pressure in the flats in Cedar, and special filters which were formerly produced to deal with this problem are no longer available to buy. The reason for this is that every other city in Europe has already dealt with this water pressure problem and so there is no need outside of Glasgow for these filters to continue to be produced.]

4) That the association will be able, towards the end of February, to view the timetable and list of investments and repairs due to get underway in Cedar over the next year.

Mr McAvoy also promised the following, but outlined no specific proposals, and gave no firm timetable:-

1) That all of the flats will receive new kitchens and bathrooms this year.

2) That the lowrise flats (which have suffered from dampness due to longstanding, unmended, leaking roofs and cracks in the masonry) will be overclad and harled, pending planning permission.

3) That the lowrises will have new heating installed.

4) That badly-needed magnetic, security doors will finally be fitted to the closes of the lowrises.

5) That the ill-conceived and poorly fitted installation last year of new storage heaters to the tower blocks will be reviewed to see if proper thermostatic controls can be fitted.

6) That following the installation of new kitchens and bathrooms the six lifts at Cedar will be replaced. The current lifts are 24 years old and are subject to constant breakdowns.

We believe it marks a significant milestone that we were able to meet with Stephen McAvoy, and that he gave a commitment to meeting with us in future whenever we want. Previously he had refused all contact with us, and denied the existence of our tenants association. As a result of our campaigning we were able to get him to come to our area and meet with us, to discuss what WE, as tenants and residents in this area, believe should be happening here. Tenants in this area have had enough of being bullied, ignored and lied to, left to live in a community which has not received the investment needed to sustain it. Now we are getting active.

We hope to post an audio file of this meeting to this website in the next week so that people can hear what was said at the meeting. In the meantime over the next few days we will post extracts from some of the things Mr McAvoy said during the meeting that are of relevance to tenants in the area.

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