Talks over leases for three Glasgow council sites to start

Talks over leases of three Glasgow council sites, including football pitches in Pollok and Shettleston to community groups will begin after receiving approval.

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Officials at Glasgow City Council are set to negotiate deals for Nethercraigs Sports Complex on Corkerhill Road and Greenfield Football Centre on Duror Street as well as land around a former council depot site at Elder Park.

Pollok United Nethercraigs Community Interest Company would take over the management of Nethercraigs Sports Complex while Shettleston Community Sports Trust would be responsible for Greenfield Football Centre if leases are agreed.

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Glasgow City Mission, a Christian charity helping homeless and disadvantaged people, would take on the former depot site on Govan Road.

Councillors on Glasgow’s contracts and property committee gave the go ahead to negotiations on Thursday. The three deals are being considered under the People Make Glasgow Communities programme, a council scheme which gives third-sector and community organisations the opportunity to have greater control over venues.

Nethercraigs Sports Complex could be leased.

A council official said consultation has been carried out over the future of Greenfield Football Centre and 92 per cent of over 500 respondents supported the trust managing the facility.

She added a “refresh of the synthetic pitch” is planned at the centre in partnership with Glasgow Life, which runs culture and leisure services for the council.

Councillor Kevin Lalley, Labour, who represents Baillieston, said: “I drive by it very frequently and it’s been very well used up to covid and it’s starting to be very well used again.

“I am fully supporting this, this is a fantastic opportunity to use that facility for its proper use for the community of Shettleston and the wider public.”

At both Shettleston and Pollok, the community groups have been operating the facilities under a community activation pilot, allowing access for groups who used the pitches prior to the covid pandemic.

A council report stated Pollok has been “delivering football, aerobic exercise, cycling and educational and charitable activities since 2006” and has “evolved to take a more community-centric approach to their programming and activities, developing from a football club into a sports charity organisation.”

It added: “It is envisaged the club will provide a base for Pollok to expand their services and support to the local community. They also intend to maintain access to other groups and schools.”

Councillor Ken Andrew asked what would happen if groups started to make “significant surpluses” while running the council-owned facilities.

The official said: “None of these are big, profit or surplus making facilities in any way. It’s more the case that we are watching closely with the organisations to make sure it’s financially sustainable in the long term.”

Another official added: “When they generate profits they go into a reserve so these organisations can ride out the storm of increased utility costs or if they get hit with a big bill for maintenance or whatever, so actually we assess those particular organisations that have got an ability to generate a profit more favourably because they are more than likely to be financially sustainable.”

Glasgow City Mission intends to create a learning space to “encourage children to engage with the outside environment” on the former parks depot site at Elder Park. The land is currently owned by the council but is not being “actively maintained”.

The charity, which has supported vulnerable people in Glasgow for almost 200 years and has run a child and family centre in Govan since 1987, already has permission to use a smaller area of land, next to the depot site, for 12 months.