ACORN Scotland: Maryhill campaigners ‘occupying’ land in response to sale dispute with Glasgow City Council

ACORN Scotland: Maryhill campaigners ‘occupying’ land in response to sale dispute with Glasgow City Council

From Glasgow Live:

Community activists are currently occupying land in Maryhill earmarked for sale by Glasgow City Council.

The derelict land on Collina Street, known locally as ‘The Valley’, was used as the main location in Still Game but has now become the centre of an ongoing dispute.

Campaigners have set up a wooden hut with one volunteer at a time taking turns to occupy the land. They plan on maintaining a presence on the site until the council stops the sale and engages with locals.

A temporary extension to the sale has been granted due to the pandemic to allow offers of interest to be submitted. The site is currently being marketed for 125 units of low-cost homeownership.

But locals are considering a community buyout over concerns that the social housing needs of the community are being ignored in favour of selling to private landlords.

Living Rent member and Wyndford Tenants Union committee member Norman Cunningham accused the council of failing to speak with the community about the plans before the original sale deadline.

He says he community have developed their own vision and solutions for how the piece of land could be used for a ‘sustainable, environmentally-friendly, community housing development’.

He told Glasgow Live : “We decided to occupy the land and then the next day the sale was postponed – but we only found out through the media. We decided we would still go ahead with the occupation because they never communicated with us about what was going on.

“We’ve set up a wooden hut called Boabby’s Bothy where one person can sit in at all times. We won’t stop until they sit down and talk to us. So far, the council has failed to respond to our attempts to meet with them and have continued to gaslight us.”

The sale of the land is part of the Maryhill Transformational Regeneration Area which Mr Cunningham has been described as ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The Collina Street site will deliver 125 new low-cost home ownership properties in Maryhill, homes that will complement the wide range of affordable housing already built – and to be built – in the area.

“The low-cost home ownership properties cannot be sold to private landlords as there is strict assessment criteria for the purchaser and unless they meet this criteria (first-time buyer, income threshold and so on) they will not be permitted to purchase. When completed, most of the homes in the Maryhill Transformational Regeneration Area will be in the socially-rented sector, underlining the reality that affordable homes will be a feature of the entire regeneration area in Maryhill, and providing low-cost home ownership offers a choice for those who prefer to buy.

“The wider project will transform the quality of housing in this part of the area, and it should be noted that this is a community-led masterplan that includes mixed tenure projects across a number of sites. That master plan is supported by the local housing association.”

The Still Game for The Valley group will be holding a public meeting at 6.30pm this evening to discuss the campaign and proposals for the Community Right to Buy.

To join the meeting, click here.