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Strathbungo Society response to Glasgow City Fire and Rescue Plan

December 1st, 2017 No comments

New Fire and Rescue Plans are being adopted across Scotland and a consultation on Glasgow’s is open until the 10th December (see here for all documents and online response form).   As a member of the Glasgow Community Planning Partnership the Society was consulted and considered the plan at our last meeting.  The response we submitted is pasted below and raises points about the provision of fire stations, access to the back lanes, the implications of the Grenfell fire disaster and fire safety in conservation areas.

The committee is keen to engage in more consultations in future and would welcome any feedback people may have.

Strathbungo Society response to Local Fire and Rescue Plan for the City of Glasgow 

The Strathbungo Society is delighted to have been asked to respond to this plan and more particularly that the Fire and Rescue Service is consulting local communities about the role of the Fire and Rescue Service.

We believe there are many positive proposals to the plan and are particularly pleased to see that the Fire and Rescue Service is keen to join up what it does with other services and make the most of the resources it has.  Two excellent examples of this are the proposals for how the Fire and Rescue Service could assist with responses to cardiac arrest in the city and how, when making fire safety checks, staff could also help people, particularly older people, identify other hazards in the home.  This is sound joined up thinking.

We have four major concerns about the plan.

  1. The Plan says nothing about the provision of fire stations in Glasgow. We are concerned that the success the fire brigade has had in reducing the impact of fires (eg domestic fire safety) and therefore reduction in demand could lead to demands or proposals to reduce the number of fire stations in the name of efficiency.   We accept efficiencies should be considered but from a community perspective, knowing that the fire and rescue service is there – even if never called upon – not just for fires but for major emergencies is one of the foundations for community safety and we do not think that should be reduced in any way.  Far better the fire service extends the way it uses its resources (as in proposals above to extend its role) than to cut them.
  2. The Fire and Rescue service should review how it best services effective access to Strathbungo’s / Glasgow’s narrow streets and lanes. A recent bin fire in the lanes behind Moray Place / Regent Park Square was inaccessible to the fire engine that attended.  More than one car was parked and blocking the entry to the lane from Nithsdale Road.  Luckily the fire was not too far down the lane, so the fire officers were able to run a hose to the blaze and extinguish it.  The incident could have been a far worse.  However, it illustrates two problems; one the public safety issue of vehicles blocking entrances to lanes which could be addressed by council traffic and parking control.  Traffic wardens are rarely seen in the area so making sure the area is on their radar would be a first step. (a matter for the Police?); Secondly the possibility for the Fire Service to consider the use of smaller fire engines / vehicles to allow it to effectively attend via narrow roads and tenement back lanes, of which there are many right across Glasgow and Scotland’s major cities and towns.  This issue is similar to that faced by the City Council’s cleansing services who now provide smaller vehicles to undertake the service rather than much larger vehicles.

 

  1. We are surprised that there is absolutely no mention of the Grenfell Fire and the implications this has for fire safety in the city, particularly when we know there has been extensive survey of buildings which it is reasonable to expect the fire service to take a view on. The commitment in the plan to “Working in partnership to ensure the appropriate provision of fire safety standards are incorporated in new premises under construction or premises undergoing material changes” does NOT go far enough. Some buildings need to be improved whether other material changes are happening or not.   We would like to see the fire service actively developing and arguing for further fire safety measures in a range of buildings across the city and part of this should be the retrofitting of sprinkler systems into tower blocks and public buildings that so far lack them. In addition, this could also usefully include a new policy of paid-for fire safety checks of Airbnb properties, particularly where these are in effect operating as short-term lets and other non-statutory forms of multiple occupation.
  2. How the Fire and Rescue service best promotes fire safety in tenement, terraced and Conservation Areas. We believe the Fire and Rescue Service has an important role to play in finding solutions to how modern fire safety measures can be made compatible with conservation objectives and in traditional tenement and terrace properties.  For example, the requirement for fire doors in some properties has resulted in the removal of fine old wooden doors.   We cannot see why doors cannot be created which meet both fire safety requirements and reflect the character of the original architecture.   Similarly, Victorian houses / flats are poorly insulated by modern standards, and there are risks that in addressing this private and third sector operators may be using unsafe materials / methods (as in Grenfell fire) or else the materials and the way they are used destroy the character of the house.  Therefore, we would like the fire service to consider its role in relation to wider objectives such as ensuring the fire safety of tenements and terraced houses in conservation areas – such as Strathbungo and Pollokshields – and its role in reducing fuel poverty.

Other comments we would make are:

  1. We agree with the analysis that much deliberate fire setting is of rubbish and fly tipping. A contributory factor to this has been the failure of Council refuse services to clear bulk items timeously (or at fixed times) with the result that items can lie on the streets or back lanes for prolonged period, in fact weeks.  A proportion of these are then set alight.   We would request therefore that the fire service adds its voice to local communities in making the case for improved refuse and especially bulk uplift collection.
  2. We also recognise that risks of fire within houses is likely to increase due to the forecast increase in numbers of people with dementia and the numbers of people with dementia living at home and these risks may further increase due to the escalation in mental health problems within society. This causes great concern for relatives and neighbours and we believe the fire service has a key role in developing effective preventive measures and besides sitting on Community Planning Partnerships needs to be at the table for Health and Social Care Partnerships.
  3. We understand the Fire and Rescue service shares our concern about misuse of fireworks. They have highlighted the practical difficulties of a ban on retail sales but seek their agreement in principle to support a community-wide initiative to explore a solution based on legislation and a programme of social interaction to address the causes

 

We welcome the commitment of the Fire and Rescue service to our local area partnerships in Glasgow and believe the issues we have highlighted here provide many good reasons why the Fire and Rescue Service should spend time interfacing with other services and local communities.

Beware – burglars about!

November 28th, 2017 No comments

Without wishing to raise undue alarm…

There has been a spate of burglaries recently (both in Moray Place and across the railway line). They appear to be targeting specific properties known to be empty (even if only during the working day). The burglars have been disturbed on at least two occasions.

Please take extra care to protect your premises and deter these folk! You will find plenty of advice here.

Pollokshields Heritage winter lectures

November 13th, 2017 No comments

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Website upgrade

November 1st, 2017 No comments

Our hosting company will be updating the server where our website lives so the site may be unavailable over the next few hours (1 November).

On phone boxes, websites, social media and the next year…

October 27th, 2017 No comments

At the Strathbungo Society AGM on Tuesday 24th October, as well as the usual annual reports and a fascinating insight into Bygone Bungo, we held discussions on a variety of subjects at different tables. We asked each table to provide the top 3 or 4 points from their discussions, so here they are:

The coming year

  1. Promote the Society as a support / platform for folks in the community who want to do things – from setting up a book club or lunch club to a community dining event etc; we’ve got contacts, seed-money (perhaps), social media and web presence to help folks realise their ideas.
  2. Let the wider community know when there are important, formal consultations on the go: the Society successfully lobbied the Boundary Commission for Scotland to get Strathbungo into the same UK parliamentary constituency as Pollokshields (as it is for Council and Scottish election); no one else in Strathbungo commented (or knew about it).
  3. Think about a community-based Christmas giving event: ideas included working with a local choir to sing carols and use it to seek donations to local food banks. Or (ditto) hiring Pollok Park’s Clydesdale horses to do a Christmas ”trot about” up and down the Squares and Gardens.
  4. Other ideas: more arts stuff at Bungo in the Lanes, even working with artists to create artworks; get a box junction at the entrance to Moray Place to enable freer access; encourage flower planting in the lanes …

The phone box

Aka the “Bungo Booth”?

  1. All agreed this would need a flexible design and organisation that could allow it to be used by many different local groups, organisations, business (and for us to be able to link in with them).
  2. Popular on the survey and in the group was an information panel on local history / Greek Thomson… Discussed possibly of this being on external solid side of booth as a permanent display allowing rest of booth to be used as a multi-purpose space.
  3. Potential uses: book exchange, bike station, pop up shops / events, art exhibition / installation, tool library, greenhouse, starting point for architecture / local history trails / running groups. Hire for use would be nominal amount to cover running costs.

Web presence

  1. Make better use of social media: need to be much more active e.g. use our own Facebook page more, post in the Strathbungo & Shawlands Community group, use Twitter and Instagram?
  2. Rethink website (aka The Bungo Blog): need to think about who uses it and why, keep the blog (not everyone is on Facebook), think about what information newcomers to the area need/want to know.
  3. Check out other community websites as examples: e.g. Pollokshields Heritage & others

Feel free to add your thoughts here, or to comment on our Facebook page. Thanks to everyone who came and took part!

Doors open day – Pollokshields Heritage organised walks 16th/17th September

September 8th, 2017 No comments

Pollokshields Heritage will again be offering three walking tours and two bus tours as their contribution to this year’s Doors Open Days Festival, as follows:-

 

On Saturday 16th September

Pollokshields Heritage Trail One: the Villas

Starting at 11am from Maxwell  Park Station

Walk duration is two hours

 

Saturday 16th September

Pollokshields Heritage Trail Two: the Tenements

Starting at 2pm from Maxwell Park Station

Walk duration is two hours

 

Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September

Pollokshields Bus Tour

(Registration from 1.45pm at Maxwell Park Station)

Tours start at 2pm from Maxwell Park Station

Tour duration is two hours

 

Sunday 17th September

Dumbreck & Hazelwood Heritage Walk

Starting at 11.30am from the café at House for An Art Lover

Duration of walk is 60-70 minutes

 

All the above appear in this year’s Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival brochure on pages 37 and 39, at paragraph numbers 9, 33, 34 and 35.

www.glasgowdoorsopendaysfestival.com

‘Greek’ Thomson exhibition at The Lighthouse – ‘Lines of Thought’

August 24th, 2017 No comments

 

1 moray_place

 

A new exhibition of the work of Strathbungo’s own Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson – he designed and lived at 1 Moray Place – is currently on at The Lighthouse.

Organised by The Alexander Thomson Society, the GIA and the Mitchell Library, it focuses on Thomson’s drawings of some of his key projects and includes 17 of his rare original drawings.

The exhibition is part of the city-wide celebrations of the bicentenary of Thomson’s birth.  It runs until 8 October 2017 and entrance is free.

For more information about The Alexander Thomson Society see –  http://www.alexanderthomsonsociety.org.uk

 

Looking for a place in the ‘Bungo…

March 8th, 2017 No comments

An ex-Strathbungo resident, Kevin, is looking to return to the neighbourhood. Kevin’s asked if anyone thinking of moving away and selling their property could contact him please? You can email him at schirnk@gmail.com.

QP Christmas Shopping Evening

November 8th, 2016 No comments

qpbc-a5-xmas-flyer-final-1

Come to our Christmas extravaganza with food, shopping and entertainment in one perfect evening! We’d love to see you there.

Stalls selling crafts, cards, art, unique gifts and hampers, with live entertainment and much, much more! Christmas shopping evening cafes serving meals, teas, coffees and cake.

Entrance (including arrival canapes): £2.50

All proceeds will go to the Cosy for Christmas appeal from The Space, Govanhill

#QPChristmas

Queen’s Park Baptist Church

Address: 20 Balvicar Dr, Glasgow, G42 8QS

Email: office@qpbc.org

Phone: 0141 4233962

Website: www.qpbc.org

Facebook: Queens Park Baptist Church

Twitter: @QPBC

“Make Your Mark” – new housing in East Pollokshields

November 3rd, 2016 No comments

Following the “Make Your Mark” consultation earlier in 2016, proposals have now been published for developing the old Gasworks plot in East Pollokshields, with an open consultation being held by developers at the Tramway on 8th November between 2-7.30pm.

Although Pollokshields Community Council welcomes new development, they are concerned about the lack of consultation about what is to be developed and have asked the Society to help publicise the development proposals. Here’s what they say:

“We welcome new housing development in our area but only when there is full community consultation and consideration of the effect on Pollokshields – schooling, public transport, traffic implications, additional leisure & green space requirements. The developers of the first social-rented phase have declined our invitation to provide detailed plans in advance so we can circulate their proposals. Instead they have committed only to the minimum necessary under planning law by holding the ‘exhibition’ at the Tramway next week [on November 8th]. This is the sole statutory requirement to ‘consult’ under existing planning laws.

We urge you to attend the Tramway event where we will record your comments and ensure they are conveyed to the planning authority. A community council member will be on hand throughout but if you have some spare time to help us keep a record of your views, please get in touch.

Because we regard the 8th November event as inadequate for meaningful consultation we intend to repeat the exercise at a planned Public Meeting on 24th November. The venue is SoulRiders in Forth St from 6-9pmhowever the Home Group management has not yet committed to attend. This is part of a more detailed event to present the results of the MakeYourMark charrette earlier this year. We will include a vote on how to best organise community empowerment. A buffet will be offered from 6pm as well as an exhibition. Full details very soon.”

You can download the leaflet about the Tramway consultation here.