Tue 11 Apr, 2017

Christy Mearns

Glasgow

Glasgow is blighted with derelict sites that are being kept out of productive use, by developers, and at the community’s expense. Glasgow City Council needs to do more to weed out bad practice and ensure that, once planning permission is granted, building and completion happens within an appropriate timescale.

Allowing this to happen is an insult to communities, who have to put up with eyesores like these for far too long. Many residents in Garnethill, including the local Friends of Garnethill Green Spaces (FROGGS) group, would like to see this site better used and turned into a community garden or green space, at least temporarily. But, not only is it boarded up indefinitely, the developer in this instance has taken liberties and fenced off surrounding public areas. It is time Glasgow City Council ended this deadlock or removed them completely.

Unfortunately this is far from the only instance of corporate ‘land banking’ in the city. The council needs to recognise the detrimental impact that this practice is having on communities, and has a duty to stand up for the interests of local people over private profit.

Scottish Greens have long advocated for a Land Value Tax, which due to the added cost would disincentivise companies from holding onto disused sites for prolonged periods of time. A larger group of Glasgow Green councillors elected in May will work to empower local communities to assert their right to buy and would also seek to give communities a right of appeal over planning decisions, a course of action which is presently only open to developers. This is a move that will help to level the playing field, and will hand power back to local people.

Greens know that local people are the ones who best understand what their community needs and wants. It should be the voices of local communities, not private companies, that are at the heart of the planning process

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