Glasgow wasteland used for prostitution and drug taking should become park, say residents

Glasgow families are calling for a patch of city wasteland used for prostitution and drug taking to be transformed into a safe public park.

One resident said she had been calling ambulances for drug addicts who have collapsed on the ground beside Hunter Street in Collegelands.

The residents are also concerned for the safety of prostitutes who use the grounds and have been seen with men. The matter has been reported to the police.

The empty area, which is a magnet for fly tippers, is owned by Glasgow City Council but is rented out by a private developer for £1 a year.

Resident Brian Timms, 85, who has lived in Hunter Street for 30 years, said: “I’ve had in front of me a crime scene all that time.

“It involves all types of crime from prostitution to drug taking to dumping rubbish on a huge monumental scale.”

Mr Timms said an architectural student who live there was “frightened to go out” in the area.

Residents submitted a petition to the Glasgow City Council Wellbeing, Empowerment, Community and Citizen Engagement City Policy Committee asking for the land to be converted into a community park for Collegelands.

Speaking at the meeting last week, Poppy Harvey said: “It has had really bad effects on my mental health.

“There have been times I have considered covering my windows up on the southside of my flat so I don’t look out and see this land. It is a wave of sadness I feel when I see this land and how it is being used and abused.

“It is not a case of if but when somebody dies on this land because of the behaviour taking place.

“I’ve had to call ambulances for people who I have witnessed injecting themselves with drugs and have collapsed. It is very sad for those people in that situation.”

There are more than 200 tyres dumped in the area currently, the meeting heard.

Resident Gary McLelland, 33, told the committee the council-owned land was on a 175 year lease to TDI Corporation and Dawn Developments have a stake in the ground.

Pointing out there are serious concerns, Mr McLelland said: “We think the land is being mismanaged and the lease is not being adhered to.

“You as the council and the landlord have the responsibility to investigate what is happening with this land before you make a decision on the benefits or disbenefits of having a park.”

Ewan Curtis, council group manager of neighbourhoods planning and building control said a community park would need agreement from TDI Corporation.

Council official Pauline Bradshaw said “As landlords the council don’t have a great deal of control through the lease to determine what happens to the site.”

She said Police Scotland should be contacted over the criminal behaviour.

Ms Bradshaw said the council will pass on the concerns to TDI Corporation and ask the firm to take action.

Officers are to develop an action plan to keep the site maintained going forward and will let residents see a copy of the ground lease.

The meeting heard the council hopes to get the site tidied up in the coming weeks by approaching the company.

The council will consider enforcement to make it happen if necessary.

The council’s stalled spaces programme, which helps community groups develop projects on sites, would also be involved in the process.

Councillor Graham Campbell, SNP, who cycles on Hunter Street thanked the residents for “their community mindedness,’ determination and the actions they have taken to save people’s lives.

He voiced surprise at a 175 year lease – and asked whether the council could be sure the organisation would last that long.

The politician was told long leases are not “uncommon.”

Councillor Campbell said: “I think the residents have made a very strong case for the use of this spoiled place.”

A council report said the land in question “is the last one of the masterplan’s development plots that is to be developed and currently has an approved planning permission in principal for a mixed-use development.”

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