Aileen Colleran’s Blog

Partick, Politics and Passions

Partick West News 29/09/07

The Mansfield park project has been years in the making, with the most extensive consultation I’ve ever witnessed , including the hiring of a shopfront in Dumbarton Road with the plans and a scale model on display for comments and alterations. Council departments could learn something from the effort the Friends of Mansfield Park (assisted by Partick Housing Association) have put into trying to involve and inform as many people as possible. Last month the council granted a 99 year lease to assist them in their lottery bid, but this decision was “called-in” for scrutiny by the SNP. I’m not making a political point, but being factual as it wasn’t a cross party call-in and am still slightly puzzled by the intentions behind it. If the argument was that a 99 year lease shouldn’t be granted to a community group/charitable trust , then that doesn’t square with the statement of an SNP councillor from the southside who signed the call-in but stated at the scrutiny meeting that he wished his community trust could secure such a lease.

Scrutiny committees can potentially overturn council Executive decisions, (it didn’t and there wasn’t a vote on it, maybe a case of second thoughts or quit whilst you’re behind ? )  and on the very week when the Lottery bid application was being submitted, this could have scuppered the entire project and was less than helpful to the many people who’ve worked so hard for many years on this. My involvement has been less intensive than the community activists and workers who’ve been the real drivers for these plans. From what I can work out, the SNP objection wasn’t really about the lease at all, but calling into question the amount of community consultation and the reduction in the size of the football pitch. Granted, the pitch will be smaller, but better quality and multi-purpose – replacing the red blaes with a surface fit for children and young people to play on. Only one objection was lodged at the planning stage, and as the Tesco development shows, people in Partick aren’t slow to make their views known.  There may well be some who feel the full size pitch should’ve been retained, but the extensive consultation showed an aspiration to make more use of the space with toilets and catering and events and play space – and to retain the Farmers market, which wouldn’t have been possible on a full size pitch as modern surfacing couldn’t cope with the fortnightly damage from vans and stalls but has been planned for in the refurbishment with a civic square.   I just can’t work out why anyone would want to threaten a multi-million pound investment in their ward – over half of the £2 million pounds has been secured (and wouldn’t be available for a plan B as it’s tied to this plan) and if the Lottery bid is successful will be a major cause for celebration in Partick and any new councillor coming in could’ve said they secured it after years of a Labour councillor not delivering it …as one of my anxieties during the election was that I would be challenged on why it was taking so long to refurbish Mansfield Park !!!

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September 30, 2007 - Posted by | councillor, Mansfield Park, Partick, SNP

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