Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 16:50 UK

Legal row over derelict land use

North Kelvin Meadow
The campaign group has cleared the site and installed raised vegetable beds

A community group which planted flowers and grew vegetables on derelict land earmarked for building is being taken to court by Glasgow City Council.

North Kelvin Meadow Campaign said its volunteers had acted after the former playing fields in Clouston Street had lain unused for more than 25 years.

The council said a development planned for the area would provide new homes, a park and playing facilities.

It is seeking to evict the group and has been granted an interim interdict.

North Kelvin Meadow Campaign was formed in October last year by local residents who wanted to "clean up" the land on Clouston Street.

Douglas Peacock, who chairs the group, said the idea was to transform a derelict piece of land into community use.

"The campaign began with a few people volunteering to plant flowers and clean up the site," he said.

Local people are being taken to court for improving their public space, for working together and for growing their own fruit and veg, something which Glasgow needs to do much more of
Patrick Harvie MSP
Scottish Green Party

"It's now a wild flower meadow and on the back of this some local people wanted to grow vegetables - hence the raised beds which we have installed.

"We now want to do something bigger and install a raised bed which will grow herbs and lettuce for the whole community".

Mr Peacock said the area had also become a haven for wildlife, and bats were known to feed there.

He said the council had objected to the group developing the site further as it would have been more difficult to sell.

The campaign group's case is being backed Green MSP for Glasgow, Patrick Harvie.

'Absurd action'

"The city council has seriously misjudged popular feeling about the North Kelvin Meadow, and it will regret this absurd legal action," he said.

"Local people are being taken to court for improving their public space, for working together and for growing their own fruit and veg, something which Glasgow needs to do much more of.

"The North Kelvin Meadow Campaign is Glasgow at its finest, and the council should be listening to it, not prosecuting it."

North Kelvin Meadow
Campaigners want to grow more vegetables on the site

But the authority insisted it had acted properly in relation to the site and had no choice over "unauthorised development".

A spokesman said: "We did issue an eviction notice against those people who are using a piece of land on the former Clouston Street pitches as an allotment.

"They have no consent to do this. Clearly they did not vacate the site, hence the matter going to court."

The spokesman said the council agreed to sell the 1.4 hectare site some time ago, and negotiations with the potential buyer were ongoing.

If the sale goes through, the area would see a mixture of flats and houses. A park and new playing facilities would also be built.

'Community consultation'

The council spokesman added: "The potential developer was picked on the basis of presenting the best financial offer.

"Their design was the one that had most support at the community consultation day which the council held.

"The capital receipt from the sale of the site is being used to fund the construction of a new playing facility at the corner of Queen Margaret Drive and Maryhill Road."

The spokesman added that the council "absolutely support and encourage the use of allotments in the city", but said the land at Clouston Street was "not an official allotment".



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