Council defends decision to evict Glasgow’s guerilla gardeners
Glasgow City Council has defended its decision to take legal action against individuals growing vegetables on municipally-held land.
A court hearing on Friday was the latest development in a saga that has pitted residents wanting to put semi-derelict land to good use against council aspirations to see it developed to provide family housing.
The site of the dispute, North Kelvin Meadow, was once a well-used playing field but over the years has fallen into disuse.
Relatively recently a group of local residents have taken to plating vegetables on the former football pitches and using the site as impromptu allotment space.
The council’s line is that the gardening interferes with the process of developing the site for the good of the community.
A spokesman for the authority told edie that there had been attempts to develop the site for more than a decade and in recent years consultation with the community had shown that the majority were in favour of a scheme that would see family homes built there.
The scheme would see around 115 homes built on the site and would include a requirement for the developer to provide a small park.
Money raised by the council through sale of the land would be used to provide a new playing facility in the neighbourhood.
He said that the criticisms that had been leveled against the council that it was against locally-produced food and community action were unjustified.
“Glasgow City Council absolutely supports and encourages the use of allotments in the city, in recognition of the environmental, educational and social benefits they bring to the people to use them,” he said.
“I must end by saying that this the North Kelvin Meadow issue is not about allotments – this is a grown-over piece of land that once contained football pitches and will be developed for housing, and a number of people have decided to plant on the land without permission.”
On Friday, chairman of the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign Douglas Peacock and treasurer Karen Chung appeared before the sheriff who ruled they should not create any more raised vegetable beds nor install bat boxes.
The campaign is quick to point out that the ruling only applies to the two named individuals and does not prevent others from continuing to garden on the site.
The North Kelvin Meadow Campaign also has the support of Glasgow Region MSPs Robert Brown and Bill Kidd, as well as Canal Ward councillors Billy McAllister and Kieran Wild. A petition protesting at Glasgow City Council’s decision to sell the land has attracted over 500 signatures.
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