The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow have a rich history of use and activism. Please see here for the Timeline of events over the last almost 200 years.
Records show there were never any buildings on this land (see the map to the left from 1822).
This map from 1883 shows that the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow as being open green space. Kelbourne Park school and North Kelvin College were a cricket ground. Clouston Street was called Montgomerie Street and Sanda Street was called Gower Street. Oban Drive was Oxford Street and Fergus Drive was Cambridge Street.
By 1894 the Cricket Ground had become Kelbourne Park. The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow open space.
Glasgow City Council buys both pieces of land using the powers of the Education Act for £4,800. We don’t believe they are under Common Good.
During WW2 there were barrage balloons on the Land. It was of course near to the BBC on Queen Margaret Drive and hence it was used to protect that building. Also during the War foreign soldiers (mostly Polish) make shift huts on the tennis court which they stayed in
The land was used as a sports ground for the local school on Kelbourne Street (Garrioch Public School established 1905 which was also Shakespear Street Junior school for a short time. This building was then Stow College and is now North Kelvin College). The Land had a running track, sports area and a tennis court. The old small brick building still on the land beside Clouston Street was used as the pupils changing room (there were originally two, one for male and one for female) We believe there was also a pavilion on the land.
In 1972 the School closed and merged with North Kelvinside Secondary on Oban Drive. The building was later turned into a college (first Stow college and now North Kelvin College) after which the sports area and tennis courts gradually fell into disrepair. Local people still used the land as it was a red blaze surface and had a football pitch with goals. However, without upkeep from the Council it fell into an ever greater state of disrepair. Local people witnesses council employees drive their van into the goal posts and destroy the chance to play football. Its not known when tennis was last played on the tennis courts, most people only remember football being played in that area. Over the years local people continued to use the ground, though now with no upkeep from the council, for dog walking and occasional games of football, for example. There is also a Right of Way through the land from Kelbourne to Clouston street.
Miller Homes application to build around 100 residences on North Kelvin Meadow is rejected. Scottish Reporter’s Report rejecting the Miller Homes Application. The planning officer in charge of the application at Glasgow City council recommended building, however the planning committee rejected the application. The application went to the then Scottish Reporter and was thrown out. Plans to build on the land were rejected. The reporter states” In an area of high residential density, this open area is an amenity feature providing recreation of a quite different type from that which can be enjoyed in the nearby Botanic Gardens”
Local people sowed grass seed onto the red blaze and planted some trees. They also did the occasional litter pick up. Mother nature then did her thing.
At some point the doors and windows of the old brick building were stolen and the place became a drinking and drug den. Local people didn’t like walking past it and inside it looked like something out of Trainspotting!
Compendium Trust was formed with a plan for the land. The plan was to build flats on the old former tennis court area (now a wood) and to use the money that would generate to build five-a-side football pitches on the rest of the land. They secured 1.2 million in potential funding. This plan was backed by Glasgow City Council but ultimately failed due to noise legislation – a test which was conducted at the very end of the process. The argument was that the football pitches were too close to peoples’ homes. The Compendium Trust then ceased.
1998 – North Kelvin Community Council (NKCC) holds a workshop sponsored by 1999 Year of Architecture. Attended by Maria Fyffe MP, councillors, planners and architects. Decided that 20% set aside for housing 80% for community use.
1999 – Decision is taken by NKCC to pursue sports and housing development for Clouston Street site.
2000/1 – NKCC produces 12,000 copies of 3 issues of INK newspaper. Leases shop in Queen Margaret Drive. Published local survey.
2002 – Compendium Trust is formed as a registered charity to facilitate sports development.
2003 – Partnership agreed between The Compendium Trust, Glasgow City Council and Queens Cross Housing. SportsScotland decides any loss of the site to sport would require a compensation payment of, allegedly, £650,000.
2005 – Agreement reached with SportsScotland which grants the Trust £195,000 towards sports development on site.
2006 – Public meeting in Scout Hall. Planning Application for 81 flats and the mixed sports field proposals. Trust is promised £1.2 million towards the development.
2007 – Development proposals fail planning criteria and the application is withdrawn.
2008 – Compendium Trust is abandoned.
The Council hired the local Scout Hall and showed four proposals for the land. Each proposal was to build 115 flats – the only difference in the proposals was the architects. Local people were asked which one they supported. No alternative other than selling the land for 115 flats was put forward. It was very difficult to find out how to object to these proposals.
North Kelvin Meadow Campaign was formed to lobby for the land to become a community green space. Local residents started by clearing the land of litter, installing a litter bin, planting flowers, installing raised beds, mending fencing, installing compost bins, and putting a door and shutters on the old brick building which is now used as a store room.
Two residents were taken to court by the Council in order to prevent them putting up communal raised beds and bat boxes.
New City Vision (NCV) Ltd signed the missives with the Council for the sale of the land but the land was not actually sold; the selling of the land depended on New City Vision receiving planning permission.
Between 30 Nov 2010 – 15 March 2011 New City Vision Ltd, the Council intended developer, conducted a pre Planning consulation with local people. A legal requirement.
In August, the land falls into the new West End Conservation Area
The Children’s Wood starts up to demonstrate to the council an alternative to housing that would meet many of the communities needs, like the widening attainment gap, mental and physical health problems, food poverty. This began with forming an official playgroup, holding regular public events, bringing schools and nurseries to the land for outdoor learning, researching the impact of the space on various outcomes, and involving as many people as possible. The Children’s Wood sought to challenge the fatalism around the chances of success in saving the space from a housing development.
Elections held to elect the next group of Councillors across Glasgow. The North Kelvin Meadow campaign writes to each of the potential new Councillors to find out their views. The campaign publishes their responses. Greens, SNP agree to save the land, Labour do not.
5 days after the local council election, New City Vision Ltd submits a planning application to build flats on the Meadow and Children Wood and destroy 480 trees etc. Planning Application 12/00924/DC
The Children’s Wood continued to raise awareness for the campaign. Julia Donaldson gives support to the cause, The Children’s Wood create a Halloween lantern parade in October and a Reindeer Parade and protest on the land before Christmas. Forest School Clubs are put on for the local community.
The New City Vision planning application is made live and the community have until the beginning of January to object. The Children’s Wood organise a daily protest in George Square over the holidays including Christmas Day and New Years Day.
The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow Campaign submit formal objections against the plans for housing.
Glasgow University polls 3000 local residents surrounding The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow, asking them one-question: build? Don’t build? On NKM and CW, using latest voting technology. The research finds that over 90% of respondents do not want the land built on.
The Scottish Government respond to The Children’s Wood online petition asking for a ‘call-in’ of the plans to build on the land. The Government write to Glasgow City Council saying that if they are minded to grant planning permission on the land then they must show the government all documents before a decision is made. Success for the campaign.
The Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow become a venue for the West-end Festival. Julia Donaldson visits the land.
Glasgow University research finds that spending lunch time on North Kelvin Meadow and Children’s Wood increases the attention span of local Maryhill school children, compared to spending lunch time in their classroom or in a concrete playground.
The Children’s Wood becomes a registered charity.
The council submit plans to zone the Children’s Wood andNorth Kelvin Meadow for housing in the upcoming City Plan. The community object asking for the zoning to be for greenspace and to delete Housing Proposal H023 Sanda St / Kelbourne St / Clouston St
The Children’s Wood petition the Scottish Government asking them to reject the housing proposal for the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow in the upcoming City Plan.
The Children’s Wood submit a counter planning application to keep the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow as a community woodland and park
Both the Children’s Wood planning application and New City Vision planning application go to the planning committee. There is a site visit by the planning committee. 100’s turn out despite the terrible weather. Both planning applications are accepted.
The Children’s Wood petition the Scottish Government asking them to ‘call -in and reject’ the plans for housing on the land. 6000 people sign online and paper copies and a photo campaign spreads around the world.
Scottish Reporter ‘call-in’ the New City Vision application.
The Children’s Wood moves from 100% volunteer led community group to having two part time paid positions on the land: Schools and Community Engagement Officers, thanks to The Robertson Trust.
Acadmecis, educators, public figuers and celebrities sign a Public Letter asking for a full public inquiry into the plans to build on the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow. The appointed reporter choses to hold a Public Hearing,
A Public Hearing happens in Maryhill Burgh Halls. A site visit occurs on the second day and 100’s of community members turn out to meet the Reporter.
The campaign to save the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow from a high end housing development is successful. Scottish Reporters reject the plans and the land is saved.
The Children’s Wood are in communication with the City about leasing the land long term.