Glasgow City Council set to take action over Govanhill fly-tipping

Kingarth Lane is to have gates installed to control fly-tipping in the area
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Frustrated residents who are “losing the will” over “incessant” fly-tipping in a Govanhill lane have received a boost after plans to install gates were approved on appeal.

Kingarth Lane, between Calder Street and Allison Street, is a hotspot for discarded rubbish, with mattresses, fridges and building rubble dumped in the area alongside household and food waste. Members of Kingarth Lane community group have reported dealing with “dog faeces, human faeces, maggots and rats”, but their initial bid to put up gates was refused by council planners.

They ruled the black, galvanised steel gates would be “an incongruous addition to the street scene” which would reduce “connectivity” in Govanhill. Residents “desperately” launched an appeal as they couldn’t “see another way to prevent the fly-tipping endemic”, and councillors on the city’s review committee supported their position. Three gates, which had initially been installed and had to be removed, can now be placed at entrances to the south from Calder Street, north from Bowman Street and south from Bowman Street.

Fly-tipping is a concern among people in Govanhill and the Gorbals.Fly-tipping is a concern among people in Govanhill and the Gorbals.
Fly-tipping is a concern among people in Govanhill and the Gorbals.

The lane is not adopted by the council but it is responsible for “street lighting and gullies”, which means a “stopping-up order for their removal” is required. Officials reported the section between Bowman Street and Calder Street is a through route so carries “public access rights” and cannot “legally be gated” without the order. The order could be secured through a planning application and would mean the land is free of the “council’s control”, an official explained.

Kingarth Lane community group initially organised litter picks to clean up the waste, and then paid a private firm to collect rubbish, but it was repeatedly “back to square one” as dumping continued. Members then secured £20,000 of council funding to buy the gates, only to be refused planning permission as they were ruled to be contrary to policy. In the appeal, they argued the gates were “a far pleasanter view” than a lane “full of rubbish”. They claimed the lane is not “used as a public access path” as it is blocked off at one end and “unpleasant to walk through”.

The group said property owners, refuse teams and emergency services would be given a code to use the gates. A condition of the consent will mean arrangements for “the distribution of keys for the gates” must be approved by the council before they can be installed. Private lights will also be required. “We truly believe that installing gates is the only answer here,” the appeal added. “It has gone beyond something that we can safely deal with as a community. We have challenged people in the act of dumping, taken photos of perpetrators and shared them with the council. The community is tired and losing the will because the issue is incessant.”

At the review committee, Bailie James Scanlon, Labour, who represents the Southside Central ward which includes Govanhill, said: “It will be no surprise to anyone that I’m fully supportive of this application. This is part of the battle against fly-tipping. I’ve seen at times some vans in these lanes, emptying their vans. It’s a fight that we are losing. He then added, “I think everybody knows how bad Govanhill is and how it affects our council colleagues in the cleansing department. It is soul-destroying when they see what they have to do.”

Cllr Eva Bolander, SNP, who chaired the committee, said: “I would usually always protect the public access and thoroughfares, but I can see these lanes, and the problems and condition they are in, would probably improve a lot by having the gates installed.”

Bailie Thomas Kerr, Conservative, said installing gates “seems like common sense” while Cllr Ken Andrew, SNP, described fly-tipping in the city as an “absolute scourge”. Cllr Paul Leinster, SNP, said: “I’ve worked in Govanhill for a long time and know how much of an issue this is. I think in this case there are exceptional circumstances which would allow us to go against what the usual policy would be.”