Historic changes were confirmed at the annual general meeting of the Pearce Institute (PI) in Govan on Wednesday 2 June.
Ownership of the building has been transferred from the 104 year old Trust to a limited company and registered charity.
Councillor John Flanagan, Chair of the Management Group, told the poorly attended meeting: ‘The PI has undergone a remarkable transformation both physically and legally. The Trustees made way for the new charitable company to become the legal owners from 1 January 2010. And £1.4m has been spent on the roof.’
Norie Mackie, Chief Executive of the PI added: ‘Ownership of the building was transferred from the Trustees to the new Board of Directors representing local people – among them Central Govan Community Council, Govan Housing Association, Govan and Linthouse Parish Church, tenants, hall user groups and individual members.’
He pointed out that more than 40 groups have been using the facilities of the PI to learn new skills, to exercise, to dance, to meet friends and receive support to quit smoking. ‘Thanks to grants from Awards for All, the Art of Living Club was started in May 2009 and has provided a wide range of activities for local people to enjoy.’
He said this year will continue to be challenging as the impact of the recession continues and commented: ‘We are confident that significant growth opportunities remain in our key target market of conference hire and associated catering. At the core of our confidence lies the vigorous drive of Glasgow City Council through the Central Govan Action Plan and Townscape Heritage Initiative.’ The meeting at which financial accounts were unanimously approved, was chaired by Rev Dr Moyna McGlynn.
Freezing cold is still holding us all in its icy grip, but fire is causing havoc of its own.
A fire in a pawn shop in Southcroft Street, Govan on Friday 9 January, caused people to flee from the four tenement flats above and an adjacent close. Strathclyde Fire & Rescue were alerted at 1pm and had the fire under control by 4pm. All the flats at 3 Southcroft Street and the shop interior were badly damaged. Initially two fire pumps from Pollok station, one from Govan – a few hundred yards along the road – and an aerial rescue pump from Cowcaddens were called out but the fire quickly spread up the building and into the roof space. Four other fire tenders were summoned and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were inside the building at the height of the blaze.
Area Commander Garry Milne of the South Glasgow Area, said: ‘Our firefighters succeeded, in very difficult conditions, in stopping the fire from spreading to adjoining tenements. The street was very icy so the firefighters had to make sure of their footing outside the building.’
Seven households of Govan Housing Association properties and two private households were made homeless by the blaze. Some people stayed with relatives but the majority were accommodated in two city centre hotels for the weekend – including a dog. Some of the families returned to their homes in the close adjacent to the fire on Monday 11 January but the four families residing at 3 Southcroft Street will be found alternative accommodation as it will be some time before their flats can be made habitablen. Said Germaine.Hahn, Chief Executive of Govan Housing Association: ‘In order to be sure that no residual embers were still smoldering, the firefighters had to demolish an internal wall so there is substantial work to be done to the flats before they can be occupied again.’ Currently, because of the number of fires , the loss adjuster will not be able to assess the damage for some time. Added Ms Hahn: ‘A horrendous aspect of this is that none of the households appears to have had any insurance cover. It means they have lost everything.’
Four families will be found long-term accommodation by Govan Housing Association.
People who were made homeless a few days before Christmas when fire ravaged several floors at 83 Waddell Court, Gorbals, are still without a permanent home. One resident died: 61-year-old Thomas Smith. Four were treated at Victoria Infirmary for smoke inhalation. And 15 others were treated at the scene by paramedics.
More than 40 people were rescued when the blaze broke out around 3am on Wednesday 16 December. At the height of the blaze, 20 fire appliances were at the scene and 20 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were in action inside the building. The fire was brought under control around 7am and the eastbound lane of nearby Ballater Street was closed most of the day, causing severe traffic congestion. Tenants in all the 77 flats were moved from their homes and fed and accommodated at Gorbals Leisure Centre, next door.
Area Commander Garry Milne said: ‘In my 20-plus years in the fire service I have never seen such a fierce fire in a property such as this.’ The flat where the fire started was alleged to have collapsed.
Alex McGuire, Acting Director of Housing and Customer Services for Glasgow Housing Association which is responsible for the high flat bloc said: We are still waiting for the outcome of the fire investigation and are unable to comment on the cause of the fire or related matters until then.
‘The recent re-cladding works had full Building Warrant approval and the systems used have been fire tested and carry the appropriate certification. The cladding is not plastic.’ A total of 58 families have returned to their homes but 16 tenants cannot. Twelve of these tenants are living in temporary accommodation and four have chosen to stay with family and friends.’
‘Our priority continues to be getting families back into their homes as quickly as possible but only when it is safe to do so and once remedial repairs have been carried out.’
The safety of high flats is likely to be raised at the first meeting of the year for Glasgow Homes Owners Campaign on Thursday 21 January at 7pm in Jurys Hotel, Jamaica Street. Senior officials of GHA (Glasgow Housing Association) are expected to attend to give details of a longer pay-back time agreement for home owners who are obliged to have GHA as a factor and who have had their homes re-clad or re-roofed. Some face bills of £14,000 and were, initially, expected to pay within a year.