Here’s a standard letter to help you make your objection to the planning application that will destroy the land by building 90 dwellings on it.
All you need to do is copy and paste it into a new email, insert your name at the bottom and send. However do feel free to change this standard letter and submit it more as your own.
If your going to print out and send it by letter then please sign it and include your name and address. Anyone, anyway is allowed to send in an objection. But they can’t be anonymous. It’s entirely up to you if you include your street address if sending by email. Be sure to include the Planning Ref number 12/00924/DC in the email header.
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SITE: Site At Kelbourne Street/Sanda Street/Clouston Street
PROPOSAL: Erection of residential development with associated parking, landscaping and vehicular access and demolition of existing structures. Ref 12/00924/DC
Subject: Council Planning REF: 12/00924/DC
Dear Planning Committee
I’d like to state my strongest objection to the above planning application 12/00924/DC which refers to land commonly known as the North Kelvin Meadow.
The description of the land is inaccurate in the Planning application. Its not a gap site nor in a state of disrepair. It’s a wild green community space that is thriving and has even won an award from Glasgow City Council via the Evening Times Street Ahead awards where it was a finalist in the “Best Environmental Award” category in June 2012. Its won two awards from Beautiful Scotland. It would be a huge loss of amenity for this community if it was built on. Its always been used as a community resource and by building these 90 dwellings would fundamentally change the use of the land by the community from Green open space to one of residential.
Its now part of a Conservation zone.
This planning application incorrectly states its not part of the West End Conservation Zone which came into effect August 2012. Therefore no discussion is contained on how it satisfies that zoning. I note the decision to sell by the Council was taken before this rezoning and so ask that it now be rejected due to the change in circumstances.
Counter to City Plan 2
Building on the site completely runs counter to the objectives of Glasgow City Council’s own City Plan 2 which repeatedly states that Brownfield Sites will be used for housing in preference to Greenfield sites or X sports pitches. In this case there are over a dozen such brownfield sites in the West of the City.
Also City Plan 2 designates the site as ENV1 (Protected Open Space). The Planning application by New City Vision Ltd does not address the designation of the land as ENV1. This must be addressed and an argument made for the development of a protected open space.
The Housing Land Audit designates the site as New Build on Greenfield in an Urban setting, yet City Plan 2 sets out that housing development on Brownfield sites is preferable to Greenfield sites.
The City Plan policy team are not listed as consultees on this planning application. Given that the proposal concerns land designated as ENV1 they should be.
From a historically point of view it should be noted that the Scottish Office appointed Reporter, A. G Bell who on 9th Sept 1996 rejected planning permission being given on this land.
City Plan 2 (p.121, DES 2) states that any development should protect existing biodiversity, compensate for unavoidable loss and enhance or add to the biodiversity (DES 4). These plans fail this test.
Currently the land supports wildlife and biodiversity; it is also a logical extension of the green network that allows movement of wildlife between the River Kelvin and Dawsholm Park and further to the north being the Canal and then Ruchill Park. This will be destroyed with these buildings. The eco survey contained in this planning application doesn’t mention the 500+ trees, the wild flowers and grasses, abundance of orchids, and wildlife that inhabit this land. It’s rare for a piece of inner city Glasgow to be left to flourish by nature but that’s what this land has done for at least the last 22 years i.e. since the Council took away the goal posts in 1993. Many would agree that it hadn’t been looked after by the Council, as a sport pitch for many years before that.
City Plan 2 makes many claims to promoting allotments e.g. from Land & Environmental Services Allotments Strategy 2009-2013:
“Our vision is for an inclusive vibrant community of allotments in Glasgow contributing to the wellbeing of our citizens . . .” (p.9)
“Key aim of the Allotment Strategy is to underline the Council’s commitment to protecting and developing allotment provision in Glasgow” (p.11).
With the current format of 34 open access Raised Beds, both private and communal, plus the community orchard along the side of Kelbourne street, 2 large community raised beds, 2 Children Wood Group raised beds , the North Kelvin Meadow helps deliver a reduction in green house gas emissions by growing food for the community within the community and by its composting bins (currently 7 large ones). This planning application seeks to destroy this. Surely with an 8 year waiting list for an allotment in the area this should not happen. This planning application doesn’t take this issue into account.
GLASGOW OPEN SPACE STRATEGY:
Page 11: Glasgow Open Space Vision: “To ensure Glasgow continues to be a “dear green place” for both residents and visitors alike by integrating open space into all aspects of the city’s activities in ways that promote sustainability, equality and enhance quality of life.” This planning application would destroy the North Kelvin Meadow which includes the Children Wood Group in direct contravention of this aim!
Within the application form section 5 for existing use of land states ‘open space’ this should be clarified as recreational community green space.
The design access statement notes that the land has not been maintained, this is untrue.
A great many representations from local people were made to the Council when asking for feedback on creating the next City Plan i.e. number 3, and new Local Development Plan (LDP). These are call out in the Main Issue Report (MIR) Issue Number 26. The latest news on that is a Reporter i.e. Representative of the Scottish Government will be appointed, who will address the difference between what people want and what is stated by the Council. Surely this process should be finished before a decision on this land be taken, as if not , then it’s being taken with out of date information and views. Indeed with the category name of the land so different depending on which Council planning map is used an independent person is needed to access what is correct.
The spirit of the community.
The Council should take into account the efforts local people have made over many years to maintain and campaign for this land. Again this is contrary to the City Plan which encourages community initiatives and the benefits that’s brings to Glasgow. This Planning application will destroy all that.
No like for like Compensation
The Council state that in compensation for the loss of the land to the community the Council will use the first £1.1m of the sale proceeds to renovate the red blaes football pitches off Maryhill Road. This isn’t compensation for my or the communities loss. First of all it’s not a like for like comparison. The Meadow isn’t being used as a football ground and hasn’t been for a very long time. Even if it was this would result in one less football pitch. The sports pitch strategy for Glasgow shouldn’t , and indeed isn’t, to be one of cannibalization. The history is that the Council took away the goal posts in 1993. Local people then sowed grass seed and some trees were planted. Now 22 years later there is a thriving greenspace with many of the 500 trees over 30 feet high. The land has always been a community resource and I feel this should continue. Contrary to the Council’s own policy there has been no public consultation on whether to build flats, just what style of flats.
There is no council or national policy to sell off X blasé sports fields if being used by communities for other open space activities. Nor is Sports Scotland the only body that should be consulted on whether it should be sold.
And indeed Sports Scotland agrees with that position. See below which is copied in from their policy document:
“ NPPG 11 requires planning authorities to recognise
the importance of playing fields for sport, recreation
and amenity. sportscotland’s remit extends only to
sport. We can therefore only advise on the value of
playing fields for sport while planning authorities must
also take account of their importance for public
amenity and informal recreation. “ (my emphasis) .
Any compensation must be based on what is there at the moment. For example there are 500+ trees proposed to be destroyed all of which should have Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) on them as they are in a conservation zone, yet no like for like compensation is given for this act. In addition my view is its more than individual trees being cut down, this planning application aims to cut down an entire Wood within a conservation zone. Whatever the land was decades ago that is the reality now .
Within the Council Open Space Map (Audit PAN65 – On Line Services) it is described as sports pitches, protected open space whose mapping needs updating. This updating hasn’t taken place yet and so the council decision to sell is based on land that is incorrectly categorized. The former tennis court area on Sanda Street is not designated at all.
Within the Housing Land Audit (Site 1703) it is described as NB-G-U (New Build on Greenfield in an Urban setting). So being designated Greenfield means any compensation must be Greenfield.
The Planning system is supposed to allow for the representation of the views of the local community. I am concerned that the Council is disposing of land designated as open space in order to benefit from the price of the sale. The community will not benefit from the sale, as we will lose a valuable and well used open community
Decisions need to be made from up-to-date information.
The council have put too much emphasis on what the land was i.e. a sports pitch and not what it is today i.e. an open community greenspace. Making the right decisions for people means taking into account up to date information. If circumstances have changed, so should Council decisions.
The Children’s Wood and Glasgow’s Strategy for Outdoor Learning.
This building development would completely destroy what is known as The Children Wood. No reference is made to the impact this would have in the planning application. The following should therefore be taken into account:
1. This is an active and award winning community group that has successfully introduced Children into a woodland environment where they can play, learn and socialize. They have linked up with many schools and nursery groups in the area. Demand in the area is very high for the events that are put on with large numbers attending each event and great demand for their weekly playgroups and forest schools sessions. See http://thechildrenswood.com/ for further details. I now see so many more families come to use the land on their own, from first being introduced by one of these events.
2. There is an established pre school play group using the land that is part of the Scottish Pre School Play Association.
3. This supports Glasgow Strategy for Outdoor Learning.
4. Other nursery groups also use the wood such as Belhaven Nursery.
5. Special needs schools in the nearby area use the land.
6. There is an established Forest School Group using the land which has been working with many local schools.
7. Woods for learning strategy. This site currently serves to fulfill the council policy remit of having areas where kids can learn in woodland settings called the Woods for Learning Strategy. Importantly it is also within easy walking distance of where many kids live and provides an area for unstructured play as well. The little manicured formal public outdoor space on the proposed site is not adequate recompense for the large wild park and play space that the community has at present and always has had in one form or another which is proposed to be utterly destroyed by this application.
8. This planning application takes no account of the children well being in having this wood destroyed. As the pre planning application was started by the developer some 2 years ago (Dec 2010) much of the good work above that has been carried out since has failed to be taken into account. Indeed 2 years is too long a gap for a pre consultation and submitting at planning application as new people have come into the area.
Quote: “Wild spaces are invaluable to children, especially those growing up in towns. They stimulate the imagination and nurture the spirit. Places like the Children’s Wood within North Kelvin Meadow are hard to come by in urban settings and so should be preserved at all costs.” Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo and Children’s Laureate
Quote: “For decades we have restricted children’s freedom to play outdoors and there’s growing evidence that this trend is damaging their physical health and emotional well-being. We now have to take positive steps to ensure that children have easy access to wild spaces like the Children’s Wood in the North Kelvin Meadow. It would be a travesty if this special place for children disappeared under concrete. Dr Carol Craig, CEO of The Centre for Confidence and Well-being
Quote: “The availability of a woodland setting immediately accessible to our children and staff, on the doorstep of the school, is a real living experience. This naturally beautiful and exciting environment is alien to many city centre children and which is impossible for schools to replicate in their playground such that has taken decades to evolve naturally – a real wood.”Gillian Kulwicki, Head Teacher at Belhaven Nursery School
‘As one of our member groups, SPPA supports The Children’s Wood Playgroup and its provision of outdoor play. SPPA endorses outdoor play and recognises the value it holds for children. The children are very active and engaged in exploring their local surroundings, learning through a variety of activities and benefiting from being in a natural environment.’
Ian McLaughlan, SPPA’s Chief Executive
Effect on Flood Protection and the Sewage issue.
There is a flooding problem in this area, especially down by the Kelvin Walk Way where sewage has started to come up through the drains. This flooding issue is linked back to the area surrounding this land. The planning application takes little account, nor estimates the extra expenditure needed to upgrade the sewage system to cope with this extra building. The land currently offers the advantage of being a sink for rainwater, if developed this would be lost. Do the calculations for surface water discharge take account of increasing strength and frequency of very heavy rainfall in the coming years?
Effect of increase in traffic and car parking.
This is one of a number of developments that are currently being built in the area. For example: Block of flats on the site of the X Esso petrol station and flats on the X School site both off Queen Margaret Drive, plus the potential development of the X church on Kelbourne street which is beside the Happy park. The Council Local Development plan states there is Sufficient Housing Supply in the area. Why then build more?
There needs to be a proper traffic and parking assessment carried out as although this development falls just below the threshold the area has a particular local bottle neck as the only exit is via Queen Margaret Drive to Maryhill Road or Byres Road. The threshold is a city wide one, but there is local specifics here that should be taken into account.
The application lists its allocation of car parking to be on Clouston street which is already full. This will be made worse by the existing barrier on Clouston street and Hotspur Street which means people wanting to travel west of the city may park on the Kirklee side of the Clouston street barrier.
The design access statement notes that no parking problems were observed in the area. Perhaps they could interview some people on the surrounding streets to get a more realistic view on this – there are problems already which means this planning application is incorrect.
The scale and intensity of the mews development is unprecedented in the area and possibly the whole of Glasgow. Mews are normally small buildings dotted along the lanes behind townhouses or occasionally tenements, very subordinate to the main streets and buildings. The mews in this proposal are dominating the whole development, there is nothing remotely like it in the area, it is totally out of character with the conservation area in terms of scale and pattern, i.e. almost a continuous large terrace rather than very few and far between scattered small buildings.
The new layout does not conform well to the 19th century built pattern as stated in the design access statement. In fact it tries to make a completely new block size, pattern and building depth and layout of the block interior. Aside from simply not meeting the design intention of replicating the pattern, grain and character of the area it also poses many questions of how this very non-standard layout might actually work in reality.
There is no precedent for a 2.5 storey mews house anywhere in the area
The proposed development takes away significant local amenity and does not replace it with anything like an equivalent, which contravenes various council and planning policies.
The profit motive.
The motivation of the Council is to gain access to the sale receipt for this land. Less than 10% goes back into other sport pitches (assuming this ever would happen). Yet the Council has no policy on selling off its existing assets such as this land for profit. It’s entirely different selling land that is disused, from selling this land that is and always has been used.
The sale price has changed.
Back in 2008 the Council competitively tendered the land and chose from four companies. It based its decision by going for the highest bidder. It now appears the Council and the developer New City Vision Ltd have agreed a lesser price (perhaps by some millions). Other developers weren’t included so how does the Council now know its gained best price. And why would it change the price having agreed it with New City Vision Ltd originally. If the above is indeed true this is surely against best value and governance policy of the Council.
The land has always been used for recreation in one form or another by the community and that should continue. It allows hands on activity by local people that often isn’t offered by city parks. Especially now as there is less land for this than previously. Council policy states that no X blaes sports pitch should be sold off its being used for any other open space activity. Clearly this is and no explanation has been given on why this policy commitment is being broken.
A group often overlooked are those between 11-17 years of age. Too young to socialise in a pub, and too old to want to be part of formal kids group. This green space is fairly hardy when it comes to being used, especially compared with buildings like community centres. Nature just grows back. The land doesn’t try to be like a Botanic Garden’s or a Kelvingrove Park. Instead it’s a much more wild and informal place, allowing hands on activities. The bottom line is this land has been used by this age group for decades and it successfully serves their needs from a social, educational, recreational and happiness point of view.
Natural and Historic
No one walking across the land today could help but see just how much nature has made its mark. It looks natural and it is. It also has a history of serving the community that we’d like to continue. Building flats would destroy that link with its past. Again this issue isn’t dealt with in this Planning application.
Why build more housing?
The Council Local development plan states there is Sufficient Housing Supply in the area. Why build more? Especially with so much housing development currently in progress in the local area at this time.
Right of Way loss
There is a right of way that has been continually used for many decades from the main entrance on Kelbourne street to Clouston Street. This development would lose this. I note there is a close through the Town House development on Closuton street which in theory could be used by the public but this is unlikely given the covered nature of the of the walk way going through the centre of that building. Plus this planning application actually marks that part of the land as private.
Design of out character with the area
There is no precedent for such an intensive inner ring of development as that made by the mews houses.
The design does not even met the criteria of providing a reasonable area of public space as the public space provided is unusable due to overlooking and a feeling of being neither private nor public space.
There are huge issues with privacy and overlooking due to the double ring of apartments and the mews as an inner ring with public space right at the most private part of the layout. All very unworkable and the public space would feel very unusable due to being so heavily overlooked.
The character of the local housing is one of high, bay-windowed tenements with deep, undulating facades. Therefore, the extremely flat facade of the townhouse section looks out of place in its architectural context. The columns do little to mitigate its flatness. Furthermore, there is no historical precedent for a block of flats in the (largely Victorian-era) West End of Glasgow to have a flat roof. To summarize, it would be my view that the townhouse development should not be built as it is not sympathetic to the architectural character of the neighboring buildings in this Conservation area including those that are listed.
No support for sale.
There has been overwhelmingly support not to build flats on the land over many years. Council giving this planning application the go ahead would be in direct opposition to this view.
Lastly I would urge each of the planning committee members to go and actually see this land, and especially during one of the weekly kids sessions or events. Am sure you’ll see this as something the Council should be supporting and not one to be destroyed.
Name and Address: