Thanks to years of continued pressure by Green Councillors, City Property are finally listening and have agreed to implement a rent freeze, a review of all rents, to improve tenant engagement and provide support for small businesses.Bailie Christy Mearns
Green Councillors were yesterday welcoming plans to provide much-needed attention to the city's neglected High Street.
The new High Street Area Strategy and Action Plan was passed at the City Administration Committee on 1st November and is the result of a year's worth of cross-party discussions, community and business consultation and extra dedicated council staff time. (For full details, see here.)
An intervention from Green Councillor Christy Mearns, who before she was elected was active in fights to protect listed buildings on the High St, ensured that all Councillors from the three wards that cover the High St would form a Reference Group to guide the work of creating the Strategy. The Reference Group will continue to meet to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan, which includes plans to support struggling small businesses and make more of the unique historic nature of the surrounding area, including Glasgow Cathedral, the Necropolis and Drygate, Glasgow's oldest street.
"Greens have long campaigned for action on and investment into the High St, to reflect its historic character and unique potential, so it’s great to see a new effort led by the new council administration", said Cllr Christy Mearns.
"Thanks to years of continued pressure by Green Councillors, City Property are finally listening and have agreed to implement a rent freeze and review of all rents, as well as committing to improve tenant engagement. We’ve ensured that support for small business and reversing the historic neglect of built heritage are key priorities in this strategy, which means that GHA and City Property will have to work together to find solutions to long-standing issues with poor maintenance and astronomical rents.”
Cllr Kim Long continued: "We welcome all steps towards make the High St more people-friendly, but fundamental transformation must include less traffic, less congestion and more active travel. Greens will be pushing for this as part of city centre transport plans.
"Greens have long been concerned about the council's lack of engagement with local residents, business owners and community groups around High Street. This Strategy marks a change in direction, and going forward, Cllr Christy Mearns and I will be working to ensure that the community is fully part of the decision-making process. We all have a stake in our High St and it’s exciting to see it finally getting the attention it deserves.”