Campaigners finally guarantee the land will remain in community control
After a long period of uncertainty to protect the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow, lasting around 25 years and including three public hearings, many protests and site visits, the land has finally been secured from any threat of development.
The popular community site is run by a local charity who applied for a community asset transfer in 2019. The asset transfer is a legal right for communities across Scotland through the Community Empowerment Act. The Children’s Wood applied through the asset transfer process and were awarded a long-term lease of 25 years.
However, there was a last minute attempt by Glasgow City Council to insert a clause allowing them to take back an undefined part of the land at any point for ‘educational purposes’ – leading campaigners to fear that the site could be built on in future. This would have undermined the community empowerment process.
The group attended the online public hearing on the 26thof October with the support of local teachers, climate campaigners, play specialists and local residents. After deliberation, the council announced today (28thOctober) that they have withdrawn the clause and now fully support a 25 year asset transfer. This means that finally the community can be free of any uncertainty and know that they will have community control over the land for at least the next 25 years – ensuring that the children who play there today will be able to bring their own children there one day.
Professor Niamh Stack, Chair of The Children’s Wood and local resident, said:
“In a time when everything is at sea, community anchors like that which The Children’s Wood provides are ever more essential. This decision by GCC is a true articulation of the intent of the Community Empowerment Act. The Children’s Wood is so much more than just a physical space: it is a hub of community actions that can now be determined by, and for, that community.
Emily Cutts, of The Children’s Wood and local resident, added:
“I feel proud of Glasgow City Council and the particular councillors who voted to support The Children’s Wood Asset Transfer
“The Children’s Wood has demonstrated what a community can do when it works together on a shared vision. We are lucky to have The Community Empowerment Bill here in Scotland and we couldn’t have achieved this result without it, nor indeed without the willingness of Glasgow City Council to back our community by supporting the transfer.
The land, and what happens on it, is a model for how we can create sustainable, playful and resilient communities. Given the year we have all had, we needed this news now more than ever and it takes a large weight off our community.
I hope our historic agreement with the council inspires others to create and support outdoor community spaces for all to use, particularly with children in mind. When children are at the heart of a project it brings everyone together”
Marguerite Hunter Blair, CEO of Play Scotland who campaign for the importance of quality free play, said:
“This is a ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’ moment for everyone in the community who uses and supports the Children’s Wood. We are delighted that Glasgow City Council has removed the restrictive clause and agreed the community asset transfer request made by the Children’s Wood. The simple test of more public benefit in community ownership has been met and this empowers the local community to realise its sustainable vision and aspirations. The evidence provided by the group in support of their asset transfer request was powerfully impressive.
“If this group had not succeeded in this positive climate of land reform, and place-based sustainable development, then I am not sure who could.”
Tam Dean Burn, Actor, and local resident
“It’s inspiring that Glasgow Council have recognised and endorsed the true value of this wonderful green space with this decision. I’m hugely excited at how the community self-empowerment that got us here can now further develop as a shining example to other areas of Glasgow and beyond in desperate need of such grassroots sanctuaries.”
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