Through council notifications and actions of the The Children’s Wood, the community will now be aware that a Planning Application has been made to the City of Glasgow to obtain Planning Consent to develop the North Kelvin Meadow and Children’s Wood. The aim of the initial application is to obtain approval in principle for our plan. This is the plan which has been shown to The Children’s Wood previously, approved at the AGM, and been subject to more wider consultation. All of the detailed elements of that plan are attached to the application in an accompanying written statement. If and when our submission is approved by the City and the site is eventually transferred to/through The Children’s Wood to be held in trust for the community, the plan will be developed over time in three distinct stages. This will provide the opportunity for further and wider community engagement with all users of the land, however the priority at the moment is to obtain planning permission.
Our submission will run parallel, of course, with the house builders present application for the same site. As part of our broad strategy to attempt to bring this running problem to an end we have written to the Leader of the City Council, Councillor Matheson, asking for the release of the site to our Committee as an outright purchase for a nominal sum of say £1.00 or thereby. Alternatively, the City could offer the site to the Committee on a permanent lease basis for an annual peppercorn rent. We have indicated our willingness to meet and discuss these two alternatives with Councillor Matheson and/or his representatives.
The City Planners have indicated that a decision should be made within two months of our application being declared valid. Our application was declared valid as of the 29th May, 2015. As things stand at the moment, the application is considered to be a local application and would therefore normally be dealt with under the Statutory Scheme of Delegation. If the application is not determined within the two months period then we can ask for a review by the Planning Local Review Committee and this process is called a Notice of Review. However, and this is of the most fundamental importance, if representations (letters of support or objection, from third parties, etc.,) are received by the City this could result in our Application being referred to the Planning Committee for final determination. Clearly, short simple statements supporting our application must be made by everyone. I would advocate keeping such individual statements brief and to the point. By the same token, It is equally essential and of the greatest importance to send clear and concise statements to the City objecting to the house builder’s application. Your reasons why house building should not proceed on this site are especially significant here. Your arguments/comments in regard to both applications should be targeted as nearly as possible to planning matters. All comments must be considered by the City as relevant to the eventual determination of either of the two planning applications.
The City, I believe, may consult with the appropriate Scottish Ministry given the issues involved here and the level of local public disquiet. The Scottish Minister can, if he considers it appropriate, issue a “call-in” instruction (i.e. take over the role of the deciding planning authority) for either one or, indeed, both applications and the final determination would be made by him through his professional advisers. It is also possible, given the past planning history of the site that he could refer the issue on to the Planning Inspectorate for a Public Hearing so that all sides can present evidence and the facts weighed up before a final decision is reached by the appointed Reporter. However, these possibilities are only conjectures at this stage.
In all of these circumstances, appeal procedures are available but, at the moment, the best solution could be to allow the situation to develop at its own pace but under a close watchful eye. Any developments will, of course, be relayed on to you as it is important to keep the information loop as open and complete as possible.
In the meantime, please do take a little time to record your support for the Children’s Wood and your objections to the Housing proposal. It is of vital importance. Your comments should be sent to Mr Ian Briggs of the City Development and regeneration Services, Glasgow City Council, 231 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1RX.