Scottish Parliament debate on 17th Dec 09

We’re mentioned a few times by various MSPs and we’d like to thank each of them for that.

The debate was entitled Allotments, Community Gardens and Grow-your-own Projects.

We’re a bit of everything of course. We have part of the land as allotments (via raised beds) but equally important for many is the Meadow in the centre part, and we also cater for bio-diversity via the small wood. Plus there’s our community compost bins, community fruit orchard (started with 10 bushes) and engagement with schools and local people. So it’s worth reading the debate as we’re actually doing what these guys are talking about.

Click here and you’ll find the debate about halfway down at col 22327.

Sandra White MSP (SNP) “………However, the recent experience of people in North Kelvin has not filled many in Glasgow with optimism. The council’s attempt to have the local people forcibly removed from the land that they have been using to grow their own food, without proper consultation or discussion of alternatives to the forcible removal of those people, goes directly against its stated aims. Although the council states in its strategy that it is guided by national legislation and public duties, it has acknowledged that, because of the archaic nature of the legislation on allotments, the statutory duty on local authorities to provide allotments is open to interpretation. Given that admission, I would be interested to know the minister’s interpretation of the duties on councils. I hope that she will also explain what recourse citizens would have if they believed that a local authority was not fulfilling those duties. If the minister accepts that the current legislation is open to interpretation, will she support a review of the legislation in order to address the uncertainties that exist not just in Glasgow but throughout Scotland?

Let us not forget that we are trying to empower individuals and local communities to provide for themselves and, as Jim Tolson has said, to teach future generations the essential skills of not just gardening but self-determination. Historically, due to many factors that warrant a separate debate, our sense of community and belonging has been eroded to such a point that many people now feel disconnected from the community in which they live. In areas such as those that we have spoken about in Jim Tolson’s constituency and in Glasgow, allotments can act as a focal point at which the community can come together and rediscover the values on which we in Scotland pride ourselves. That must also be seen as a fundamental aim of any national policy on the provision of green areas. ”

Robert Brown MSP (Liberal) “……..It is worth considering the example of the North Kelvin Meadow and Clouston Street in the west end of Glasgow. A community group took over a disused green space and made it into a multi-use community space for the residents. They are not allotments, but there are raised beds, a fruit garden, composting facilities and a wild flower plantation. They have made an extremely good job of it and an area that was previously rather neglected is now attractive. Of course, in its wisdom, the city council has not taken the opportunity to move forward with the site; rather, it plans to sell the land, which is in an area of the city in which there is already substantial traffic congestion and a large number of tenemental properties, to a property developer. ”

Robin Harper (Lothians) (Green) ” I thank Jim Tolson for bringing this debate to the chamber today. I would like to reflect on a few of the issues that have been raised. Like other members, I was concerned to hear about what has happened in North Kelvin Meadows—it shows that we do not yet have the right mindset about allotments. I hope that more can be done to assist that group. …….”

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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2 Responses to Scottish Parliament debate on 17th Dec 09

  1. James says:

    Wee correction: Mr Brown might prefer to be tagged as Liberal Democrat.

  2. northkelvinmeadow says:

    What a mistake to make, my apologies!! Its been corrected. Thanks James

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